Hillary Clinton Is Not a Flawed Candidate

Hillary Clinton: Flawed Candidate?Frank and I were talking yesterday. He expressed his annoyance with what has become a standard liberal disclaimer. Before attacking Trump, the writer will note that “Clinton is a flawed candidate.” He was specifically referring to an article by Jonathan Chait, New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd Writes Disastrous Defense of False Equivalence. In that article, before going after Trump hard, he wrote, “How can the news media appropriately cover Trump and his clearly flawed opponent without creating an indecipherable din of equivalent-sounding criticism…” Frank’s point was that of course Clinton is a flawed candidate. All candidates are flawed. What’s with the constant repetition of this?

I had a different take on it. It ties into a tweet storm I did a few days ago. I do a lot of them because I get cranky a lot.

Not a Flawed Candidate

Clinton isn’t a flawed candidate. She is a great candidate. But I can already hear all the reactions, “But she is a flawed candidate because…”

Hillary Clinton is often thought of as a bad politician. And you know what? She is. She doesn’t glad-hand with a smooth smile, she doesn’t give rousing speeches, and she doesn’t walk into a room and make it stop with her sheer force of personality. Clinton lacks, as Miz Molly Ivins would have said, “Elvis.”

But that’s “politician” — not “candidate.” Charisma doesn’t necessarily make a great candidate. Just ask President Palin.

What Makes a Great Candidate

What makes a great candidate starts with knowing what the hell you are talking about. And Clinton knows. She knows the ins and outs of the federal government and can talk to your ear off about whatever happens to be the question in front of her about the federal government.

She also has over a hundred thousand words in her policy proposals. And she knows them just as well as she knows about everything else. This is why she tends to have a great deal of policy in her stump speeches. A flawed candidate? I don’t think so.

Reaching Out to Voters

Reaching out to voters is another critical skill for a candidate. Now in a presidential race this tricky. You can’t knock on 125 million doors in the US by the time of the election. But there are ways around this.

You can have small community meetings with local officials. And you can have smaller more intimate rallies. You can send people to do preliminary work on what would be best for you to do to have the biggest impact. Clinton does all of this.

In the debates, she stays around after to talk to the people who asked questions about their needs, and has staff get back to them. She has her staff follow up with people who are at rallies. Clinton calls it table talk time. Back when she was in the Senate, it led to a lot of legislation that she never asked credit for.

And unlike most other candidates, she is still thinking about Flint. This is not a flawed candidate.

Clinton’s Stamina

Stamina is another essential quality of a great candidate. And we know how legendary Hillary Clinton’s stamina is. Her schedule the day she found out she had pneumonia had two fundraisers in two states, a two hour policy meeting, a press conference, and an interview with a reporter. She lasted an hour in the direct sunlight with Kevlar on in the New York humidity on 9/11. Then despite taking the rest of the day off, she did another interview on Monday. Reporters have complained on Twitter about how they can’t keep up.


Finally, she has the ability to turn the tables on her opponents. Witness the brilliant trap she sprung on Friday that few people seem to understand is brilliant. First, she made a statement that the media won’t shut up about. Granted, they are tut-tutting her for saying something that they all know is true.

As Scott Lemieux noted, “It strikes me as obvious that Clinton’s much-discussed ‘deplorables’ phrase was a Kinsleyian gaffe — a politician’s statement that gets criticized not because it’s false but because it represents a truth that is supposed to remain hidden.”

But in addition to the discussion of the “optics,” the media have been talking about the fact that she isn’t wrong. They’ve said, “Oh, you were too broad.” So she walked it back by saying that she was wrong about the number of deplorables. That can be taken either way. And it doubles down on the fact Trump is followed by too many racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic people.

It further lays a trap since it gives the media an excuse to ask people like sitting governor Mike Pence if he will denounce David Duke as deplorable. Pence, of course, refused to do so.

Clinton Is a Great Candidate

There are many other reasons why, far from being a flawed candidate, Clinton is a great candidate. But for me it is the fact that she has the knowledge, the stamina, an eagerness to connect with people, and the ability to trap her opponents into making fools of themselves. Regardless how you look at it, she isn’t a flawed candidate.

13 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton Is Not a Flawed Candidate

  1. Maybe this is just semantics, but isn’t the opposite of flawed “flawless,” or “perfect?” I basically agree with you; I wish liberals would say good things about her rather than default to “well, at least she’s better than Trump.” It’s gradually dawned on me that much of the gut-level negative feelings about her were implanted by a smear campaign that’s been going since I was in elementary school. So my feelings towards her have gotten much more positive over the last year. Still, “flawless” isn’t a standard I expect any human to meet.

    • I wish other liberals would-she is a brilliant, talented, kind, tough, ruthless when needed, fighter who has the stamina of a marathon runner.

    • That was very good, even if it made me really uncomfortable. What it shows is that words don’t matter much. These people get Trump’s actual message regardless of what he says.

    • The bit where he tries to find South African white supremacists and only finds really magnificently crazy one? That’s hilarious, I’d never seen that before.

  2. Strange – I’d use the words ‘politician’ and ‘candidate’ the other way round. All the charisma and glad-handing is part of the process of getting elected – of being a candidate. A politician, on the other hand, is the person who does the actual governing, law-making, negotiating – politics. Hillary may not make you think “I must listen to every word of this speech on TV”, but she has a track record of competence and a good moral sense. She’s also a good enough candidate that those come over, even if you don’t go away thinking “that speech will be talked about for decades”.

    • I was watching a documentary the other day with an in-law. It was about fracking, which we both hate, and the movie did, too. At times the filmmakers interviewed honest politicians who were explaining how much power energy extractors have in Washington. As soon as the politicians appeared on screen, the in-law would snort, “politicians.” And these were the good ones, who in substance the in-law agrees with!

      And to me that summed up the problem. Style versus substance. The in-law does not vote, and loathes Trump’s racism. Yet has stated how “he is a good businessman” with grudging respect. In the GOP primary, the candidate with the most serious (if vile) political experience, Jeb, was the first one to collapse. People correctly perceive that their government has failed them. Thanks to propaganda, this anger isn’t directed at corrupt officials, but at “politicians.” The most popular GOP figures are the ones who keep almost every shred of actual policy out of their public statements.

    • Politicians can be anyone who runs for office or anyone who has to use political action to get anything done-like a manager at an office.

  3. While I plan to vote for Hillary, I do have one serious reservation about her and that is her vote for the Iraq war. That vote had to be for political reasons only as she had to know the war was phonier that a three dollar bill.

    • I agree. But I look forward to spending 4-8 years complaining about her. I am terrorized at the thought of spending 4-8 years doing anything at all with Trump in power.

  4. Ha! If being a congenital liar is not a flaw, I don’t know what is. Hillary scripted her own loss. Lie, obfuscate and call frustrated, left out, ignored, hurting people deplorable and irredeemable. And some Jack __ suggests that it was a truism not to be spoken. That is why you cry babies lost. And guess what? You are going to lose for a long time to come because your version of reality is not real. Look at the map! Please keeping watching MSNBC and that nit-wit Rachel Maddow.. Listen and follow her, please! The map will only get more red.

    • Hm. I didn’t write this article, but I don’t see a lot of cry babies who lost. I see a lot of people like you who are even more vile when they win than normal.

      I do love how conservatives come on here and spout all kinds of things about who we are. You don’t know anything about us. You should get out more. We are much more likely to be reading Noam Chomsky books than watching Rachel Maddow. You’re projecting.

      Update: I just remembered that in 2004, Republicans were everywhere complaining that liberals were whining because they lost. When the Republicans lost in 2008 and 2012, I don’t recall liberals running around pouring salt in the wounds of conservatives. I think it says rather a lot that people like Danny exist. Back in September, Elizabeth took the time to defend Hillary Clinton against attacks that she was a bad candidate. She wrote and article, it was editing and then published. Where’s Danny’s blog? What does he have to offer the world other than trolling liberal websites and showing he knows nothing about the people he’s bothering.

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