Why Hillary will not become a conservative as a result of being made a pariah by the left

In a previous entry I said:

Now that the left has turned against her and thus turns her most innocent comment into an occasion for a national wave of condemnation, I wonder if Hillary Clinton is starting to have some understanding of what it’s like to be a conservative.

The answer is no. There is no chance that Hillary will come to any new understanding of things from a conservative point of view. The reason for this is contained in the fact, which I had not focused on until now, that she has been blaming the widespread hostility to her on misogyny. That’s right. Peggy Noonan sums it up:

Hillary Clinton complained again this week that sexism has been a major dynamic in her unsuccessful bid for political dominance. She is quoted by the Washington Post’s Lois Romano decrying the “sexist” treatment she received during the campaign, and the “incredible vitriol that has been engendered” by those who are “nothing but misogynists.” The New York Times reported she told sympathetic bloggers in a conference call that she is saddened by the “mean-spiritedness and terrible insults” that have been thrown “at you, for supporting me, and at women in general.”

This is extremely revealing, but not in the way that most people would understand it. Hillary is a left-liberal. Left-liberals are ideologues who cannot take in any experience except by fitting it into the liberal “script” of oppressors and victims. For left-liberals, if something good happens, they must see it as an overcoming of ancient bigotry—bigotry that has been completely in charge until this very moment, and only defeated by this present liberal victory. If something bad happens, they must construct it as a continuation or resurgence of ancient bigotry and oppression.

And the latter is what has happened with Hillary in this drama. In reality, of course, it is the left that has turned against her for her tough and sometimes unfair tactics against Obama; for making racial arguments against Obama; for appealing to her “white working class” support; for resisting the liberal consensus of the moment and not “getting with the program” by dropping out of the race; and, finally, for showing a most unliberal and heroic (or crazy) determination to keep fighting in the face of seemingly inevitable defeat. So the left has assigned her to the role in the liberal script of the hateful, racist, divisive conservative, and seeks to ostracize her on that basis.

However, this is not what she sees happening. Looking at this experience through her liberal-feminist lens, what she sees is an outbreak of sexist bias! Meaning, somehow, that it is conservatism that has defeated her.

The upshot is that the left and Hillary, looking at each other, both delusively imagine that they face a right-wing antagonist, since, as leftists, the only antagonist they can conceptualize is on the “right.”

Hillary will thus continue to imagine that her troubles have come from the right, not the left, even as the left attacks her and seeks to expel her from its ranks. Which means that she will fail to derive from this experience any useful insights that might change her outlook. She will remain as she is, locked up in her liberalism as in an iron coat. She is like Rubashov, the protaganist of Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, a loyal Communist who, as a result of being falsely arrested and sentenced to death by the Communist regime, becomes more loyal to it.

- end of initial entry -

Adela G. writes:

Hillary is, indeed, fatally blind to the faults of the left and even to the impact of her own campaign.

She is quoted in the NYT as referring to “mean-spiritedness and terrible insults” that have been thrown “at you [her supporters], for supporting me, and at women in general.”

By bracketing herself with women in general, she essentially argues that that her supporters and detractors both view her primarily as a woman; a representative, if not typical, woman. Nothing could be farther from the truth. She may have trod the well-worn path of ambitious women by marrying up and seizing power generated by her high-achieving husband. But in the scope and scale of her ambition, she is hardly typical—and to her detractors, hardly female.

Hillary is where is she today not because conservatives reviled her but because liberals repudiated her. Yet in her eyes, it’s all about misogyny. She should open those eyes and take a good long look at the far left America she helped create. But she won’t. Selective vision is the signal trait of the liberal. So Hillary will be able to console herself that she was defeated because she was a woman. She doesn’t yet get that you can place the race card in American politics far more successfully than you can the gender card.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 24, 2008 01:51 AM | Send

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