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Hillary Derangement Syndrome

The amount of anti-Hillary vitriol coming from my friends on the left is almost as toxic and filled with loathing as that issuing from the wackadoodle right. It’s so prevalent that it’s got a name: “Hillary derangement syndrome.”

It’s been thoroughly worked over by pundits and commentators. Just punch it into any web browser, sit back and take a wander.

However, there’s not been a lot of discussion about how it became an Internet meme and, most importantly, how it drifted from being part of the decades-long right-wing attack on all things Clinton to being a staple of the left-wingers who support Bernie.

I think its roots are simple and, interestingly, from a remark Hillary made in an interview with Rachel Maddow, she understands it.

It’s a case of the “there’s-gotta-be-a-pony-in-here-somewhere” bit, one with negative overtones. For those who don’t know, this is the punch line of an old joke about a kid who is so totally upbeat and optimistic that his parents try to see if there’s anything that he won’t find engaging. So they put him a huge stable filled to the rafters in horseshit. They come back an hour later and he’s just swimming in the stuff and laughing, “with all this horseshit there’s ….”

In Hillary’s case it began when she was FL of Arkansas. She didn’t stay home like a good southern gal, bakin’ cookies for the locals, wearin’ floppy hats at fairs and smiling at her man. She acted like she belonged, like she was a co-governor. It didn’t go over well and the mudslinging began.

L. Jean Lewis, a thoroughly discredited investigator, hammered away at the Clintons during the ’70s and ’80s, claiming that they were, somehow, implicated in illegal loans and other underhanded dealings with the failed Whitewater development company. Despite numerous investigations, including one in the US Senate in the ’90s, nothing came of it.

In 1993 Vincent Foster, a friend and former law partner of Hillary’s, killed himself. Soon after rumors began to spread that she had hired a contract killer to take him out because he “knew too much” about the Clintons. Like Whitewater, it was all crazy paranoid thinking and nothing came of it. But, like Whitewater, it hasn’t died. Google “Vincent Foster” and the conspiracy sites will pop up with 2016 dates.

When Bill won the presidency he let it be known that he considered Hillary an unofficial “co-president.” She quickly took positions of authority not seen since Eleanor Roosevelt, specifically heading up the health care initiative. The response from her critics was predictable. It showed, once again, that she was just another uppity woman who didn’t know her place. Rejoicing and laughter rippled along the right flank of Congress when her efforts fell short.

When Bubba got caught up in the Monica mess Hillary got hammered yet again. Some opined that the reason Bill wandered was she wasn’t doing her “wifely duties” and he had to get his blow jobs elsewhere. And since Bill’s past peccadilloes with Jennifer Flowers were also fodder for the tabloids, the word was that it all just showed how useless Hillary was as a wife.

Oddly, those with a more feminist bent also complained she showed weakness by staying with him, arguing that a truly strong woman would have left and filed for divorce.

When she ran for the Senate from New York she was called a carpetbagger for having only moved recently to the state. She was vilified in the press — far more than a real carpetbagger like Scott Brown who, after losing his seat in Massachusetts, ran (and lost again) in New Hampshire.

By now the scene was set. Nothing she did would or could be right. Every slip was magnified. If she voted for the Iraq invasion (along with 208 other Democrats) she was forever labeled a warmonger. Her repeated apology for casting this misguided vote has made no difference — earlier this week Bernie hit her with it again. Others maintain that her admission of error is phony and that she’s just trying to curry favor with the anti-war crowd and still others say that it shows she has no principles and is a flip-flopper.

Then there was Benghazi and now the email dust-up.

Nothing has stuck. None of the charges have been substantiated despite the dozens of official and unofficial committees, investigations and inquiries.

But what has stuck is the feeling, vague but tenacious that something’s amiss, that somehow she appears untrustworthy or dishonest or will do anything to win.

Lately it’s gotten kicked up a notch as scores of bloggers, commentators and Internet trolls repeat the charges: She’s untrustworthy. She’ll start another war. She really is complicit in Benghazi. She doesn’t believe the progressive things she’s now saying. She’s in Wall Street’s back pocket. She won’t release the transcripts, etc. etc. etc.

Each new blog fits into the already established mental set. The accumulation of the attacks, the accusations, raised eyebrows, whispers in the halls and we have the basis for the derangement syndrome: “With all this shit around there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere.”

We are, all of us, subject to the “pony-in-here” effect. In fact, in situations like Hillary’s you have to work not to let it creep up on you. 

We need to step back and look more objectively at her voting record (virtually the same as Bernie’s) and her time as Secretary of State (upon retiring she was regarded as the most effective since Dean Acheson) and her struggle to get the nation’s first universal health care program and, importantly, her ability to remain calm and focused under even the most withering attacks (Trey Dowdy’s Benghazi Committee’s eleven hour grilling). We’re going to need to do this because she’s going to be the nominee and any vote not cast for her will be a vote for whatever cretin the GOP puts at the top of their slate.

Reader Comments (2)

The first half of your article is quite compelling. Even progressives (including me) who don't trust her on the issues today would likely agree with the points you raised about right-wing led witch hunts over the past 25 years, which have turned up nothing of substance. Where I believe your argument is considerably weaker, however, is in underplaying the level of betrayal we liberals feel when she's clearly puppet-stringed to Wall Street, the banks, big pharma, the war machine, the DNC and it's disgraceful establishment, and the corrupt campaign system which she plays like a fiddle. This issues create strong distrust for Clinton among progressives, and we feel she could do more damage to the "brand" as its faux-champion, even possibly setting back the movement. You wrote the following paragraph, which should be in bold print, because this sums up our "derangement."

"Lately it’s gotten kicked up a notch as scores of bloggers, commentators and Internet trolls repeat the charges: She’s untrustworthy. She’ll start another war. She really is complicit in Benghazi. She doesn’t believe the progressive things she’s now saying. She’s in Wall Street’s back pocket. She won’t release the transcripts, etc. etc. etc."

I could amplify that and then ad a few more facts and concerns, but the issues you brought up are pretty damning. Then, her flip flops on the Iraq war, job-killing trade agreements, and so forth, and it now appears we've been served GOP lemonade light wearing a pantsuit representing the "liberal" wing of American politics.

This is what we find appalling. And that's not a "deranged" vision of imaginary political ponies. It's a pack of fucking Clydesdales.

April 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNolan Dalla

Spot on Arthur. What is disturbing is the number of folks on the far left that have been infected. Liberal progressives are acting like the Tea Party, pass the 100% purity test or be damned. I view this as a non-serious approach to politics if you plan to govern the entire country, not just your party.

April 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterM Steckel

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