She’s not in trouble because of the massive competence of Donald Trump. She’s in trouble because she is terrible at the game her husband invented: the game of “who cares more about people like you.” In March 1992, Bill Clinton met a member of an AIDS-activism group at an event at a nightclub in New York City. Attacked by the activist for not doing enough for AIDS victims, Clinton famously responded, “I feel your pain, I feel your pain.” Clinton’s false empathy led him from victory to victory; he defeated the out-of-touch George H. W. Bush and crushed the oddly self-referential Bob Dole.
But Bill Clinton’s wife is one of the least empathy-driven candidates in the history of politics. She’s manipulating, cynical, and nasty. She’s instinctively defensive, brutally cutting, and utterly cold.
The polls show it.
This week’s CNN poll demonstrated that 68 percent of Americans consider Hillary dishonest, and 54 percent think she’s running for personal gain. Fifty-five percent view Hillary unfavorably overall; but only 52 percent view Trump unfavorably. Just 47 percent think he’s running for personal gain.
A majority of Americans think Trump is running to help America. They think Hillary is running to help Hillary.
That’s Hillary’s fault.
But more important, it’s Barack Obama’s fault, and the Left’s fault.
Barack Obama has been a highly unsuccessful president by any objective measure. His foreign policy has led to the single most explosive rise in terrorism since the empowerment of al-Qaeda in the late 1990s by Hillary’s husband. His last two years have been plagued by a national increase in violent crime, particularly murder in major cities. The economy has continued to stall under his redistributionist, anti-capitalist watch.
And the Democrats have paid the price. The media that built Obama into a godhead for racial progress couldn’t abandon Obama; instead, they kept happy-talking their way through an increasingly dystopian America. So did Obama’s fellow Democrats. The result: massive Republican gains at the state and local level, and historic elections in 2010 and 2014 in Congressional races.
The media still can’t escape the Obama trap. When Donald Trump rightly pointed out a series of problems facing America at home and abroad, ranging from rising crime and economic malaise to the rise of jihadism, the media and the Obama administration responded by pooh-poohing Trump’s critique. No, they said, Trump’s wrong: Everything’s hunky-dory. He’s just being too “dark.”
Except he isn’t. And Americans know that.
Hillary knows it too, but she’s stuck in a bind.
Obama trapped her. Early in her campaign, Hillary seemed to want to break with Barack Obama’s presidency. She recognized that while Obama was personally popular, his tenure had largely been seen as a failure by a dissatisfied American republic. She therefore pursued twin goals: tying herself to Obama’s “first black president” legacy and big-government growth, and avoiding the consequences of his rotten decision-making.
By first delaying a decision from Vice President Joe Biden about whether Biden would run, the Obama White House forced Hillary into full-scale obeisance to the Obama era. That’s been disastrous for Hillary. Her convention week has completely ignored the serious problems that keep most Americans up at night. There have been five jihadist attacks in Europe in the last eleven months. On the first day of the convention, 61 speakers mentioned ISIS precisely zero times. That same day, ISIS beheaded an 86-year-old priest in Normandy, France. Over the past few weeks, Americans have mourned over a wave of anti-cop massacres. So Hillary is now trotting out the “Mothers of the Movement” — Black Lives Matter activists including the mother of attempted cop-killer Michael Brown — to promulgate myths about police racism.
Hillary doesn’t take Americans’ concerns seriously. She doesn’t feel their pain.
She feels her own pain.
Hillary’s pathetic self-indulgence leads her to moan about her plight even as the media fÃªte her. On Sunday, Hillary complained about her victimhood at the hands of the brutal vast right-wing conspiracy: “I often feel like there’s the Hillary standard, and then there’s the standard for everybody else.” Scott Pelley of CBS News, who was purportedly interviewing her, then followed up by asking, “Why do you put yourself through it?”
Hillary’s answer: “ ’Cause I really believe in this country.”
Nobody believes that for a heartbeat. Not when she’s dismissing the problems of Americans in order to pander to Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood or remind Americans of the importance of transgender bathrooms.
Now, Hillary believes that she can succeed by labeling Trump arrogant and self-centered. But Americans already know he’s arrogant and self-centered. They think he’s out to help blue-collar Americans, that he’s ready to protect them from the vicissitudes of the global economy and the evils of crime. Americans have no idea why Hillary Clinton is running.
This they do know: She doesn’t share their priorities.
But she’s trapped now. Barack Obama is her greatest asset, but he’s also her greatest liability. When Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention to the plaudits of the media, she painted a rosy picture of America. Hillary’s going to have to do the same in order to defend the Obama program. But that program means nothing without Obama at the head of it, as former majority leader Harry Reid and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi have found out.
In the end, that could be Obama’s final revenge on Hillary: not helping to deny her the nomination, but forcing her to go down fighting for his priorities, even as the American people increasingly come to believe she doesn’t care about theirs.