Clinton vs. Trump – Not likely to be a Pretty Picture

That’s the topic I wrote about today in a blog at Huffington Post. Clinton isn’t the Democratic nominee yet. But looking ahead, it may be that the very traits that have drawn Clinton considerable criticism are the ones that will prove most useful challenging Donald Trump. As I’ve written in The Secret Handshake and It’s All Politics, when the political climate is nearly pathological, you can’t be a purist and survive. You have to be a street fighter. That’s what Hillary Clinton is capable of being. Though, that side of her is what has caused many to think she needs to be more feminine.

Well, those days need to be over. First, you don’t need to trade in your femininity badge to spar with incivility. You have to not take what rude and crude people dish out and know how to give as good as you get. There’s no need to lower yourself to their level. You have to refuse to demure, think on your feet, demonstrate conviction, counter lies with facts and empty claims with data, meet crude jokes with higher level humor, and skillfully unsettle their foundation.

It’s a tall order. I’ve often been asked why I didn’t write The Secret Handshake years earlier by people who could have used it in their younger years. The answer is that learning how to manage politics — especially the nastier versions — takes a while. Clinton has put in the time. She’s garnered the experience. And she can run the gauntlet of insults regarding her style and femininity. She knows if they don’t get you one way, they’ll try another. And this time it’s for the presidency.

This battle will be about respect around the world and what America is and stands for. It’s the tough side of Clinton, the aspect that’s been so frequently criticized, that may save America.

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5 Responses to Clinton vs. Trump – Not likely to be a Pretty Picture

  1. Cort Curtis says:

    Nice article. I share your sentiments. I am developing a greater confidence in her as weeks go by and believe that she really will be the best person to take on Trump.

    • admin says:

      Cort: Good to hear it. You sound like a very thoughtful person, so I’m sure your vote will be a very considered one. All the best, Kathleen

  2. Jay says:

    I read your recent article mentioning the heat Hillary takes for her voice. I’ve been reading a lot on HuffPro lately about how making such an observation about Hillary’s voice and demeanor is sexist.

    I strongly disagree. If you look at the last Presidents we have had — Bush I and II, Carter, Bill Clinton, Reagan, Ford, Carter, and Obama — none of them were ever yellers. Obama could raise his voice sometimes in a big crowd setting but his style was not monotonous yelling.

    Responding to criticism of Hillary’s voice as sexist prevents one from seeing possible other factors going on.

    In my opinion, Americans don’t want a candidate who yells at them. Bernie is a monotonous yeller too. It’s grating. And boring.

    Try to consider just for a moment than one of Hillary’s biggest problems is that she truly needs to take some basic tutoring in public speaking. It has nothing to do with her gender.

    • admin says:

      Jay: Point well taken. I’ve sent along some advice to her regarding vocal issues. Some have been implemented. Some of the criticisms she receives are naturally about things people don’t like. That’s fine. Some, however, are influenced by our gender expectations — at the very least. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

  3. Jay says:

    I’m not looking for a fight and I’m voting for Hillary over any Republican I see at this point. However, this idea that criticisms of Hillary’s style are influenced by “gender expectations” somewhat worries and annoys me.

    Here’s where I’m coming from. I’m going to rattle off a number of criticisms below. Take a look at how each word or phrase affects you emotionally as you read them.

    The candidate’s style is:

    1) grating

    2) too angry

    3) cold

    4) robotic

    5) yells too much

    6) doesn’t speak from the heart

    7) monotonous

    8) overbearing

    9) doesn’t smile enough

    10) looks uncomfortable in own skin.

    11) Low energy

    Now take a moment and ask yourself an honest question. Did any of the above make you reflexively jump to Hillary’s defense because she is being held to an unfair double standard? A victim of a sexist world view in which women aren’t allowed to act like “men” and be seen as equal?

    Well, before I come off looking like Rush Limbaugh or some other obvious jerk, my aforementioned items 1 through 11 were more or less describing public criticisms of:

    1) John Kerry

    2) Al Gore

    3) Mike Dukkakis

    4) Bob Dole

    5) Mitt Romney

    …not to mention countless other male candidates who couldn’t even get through their party’s primaries to win the nomination.

    What all these men share beyond some (or many) of the aforementioned qualities is that they are all, in the blunt words of Trump, LOSERS.

    Their gender wasn’t an issue. And gender is not Hillary’s problem now. The brutal truth is that she is not blessed with natural talents when it comes to public speaking.

    She’s smart, knowledgable and experienced. But so was Al Gore. But none of that stuff pushed him over the top when it counted because he lacked the ability to speak from the heart. Compared to George W., Al Gore came off like a stiff. A loser. Before Bill Clinton chose him as a VP he was a loser in at least two primaries. He stunk at just speaking from the heart, appearing natural and comfortable.

    When commentators say Hillary is hard to listen to, it is NOT because she is a woman. It’s not because they are sexist. Unfortunately, and I’m sorry to say it….She. Is. Hard. To. Listen. To.

    If one sees the world through the prism of gender, it’s easy to apologize for Hillary’s poor skills at oration by saying she is being held to an unfair and sexist standard. But, as I just pointed out above, she’s not. She has the public speaking and debate skills of many male losers before her and she needs to turn it around immediately if she wants to win this election.

    Donald Trump is a disgusting monster. His hateful rhetoric is an abomination. But he has an amazing ability to come off as supremely confident in who he is. He speaks from the heart, or at least appears to. He is relaxed at all times.

    Reagan, George W., Arnold Schwarzenneger , Bill Clinton, and Obama have made amazing accomplishments with arguably light resumes. They didn’t do it by being the smartest or the loudest. They did it largely by being relaxed and comfortable and staying true to who they are. They were comfortable in their own skins. Obama took some time to perfect it but he was light years ahead of Hillary.

    I don’t remember Reagan pretending to have a southernn accent when he spoke to southerners. I don’t remember him getting inside a tank and pretending to be a warrior. He played it cool. He always appeared relaxed. He didn’t yell.

    All I’m trying to say is that all of these reflexive feminist counter attacks in defense of Hillary are missing the point. And if she listens to them, buys into them, and keeps going down her present path she could actually lose to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Just like she lost to Barak Obama. And just like she has somehow managed to squander an insane lead over Bernie Sanders.

    I believe she is failing because she is grating, hard to listen to, and needs to take some very basic lessons in public speaking. I really don’t ever want to say the words “President Trump” and pray she has the ability to learn and change.

    I’d almost rather have Bernie versus Donald because Bernie sounds like he truly is emotionally connected to what he is saying. He sounds like he deeply believes what he says. But, to be fair, he yells too much as well and his appeal is pretty limited.

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