Usborne in the USA: A new pandemic sweeps America - Obsessive Anti-Hillary Syndrome

Clinton hasn't even announced she's running and the cudgels are already out


Early on in ‘Mitt’, the new documentary about Mitt Romney, one of his sons laments the daily lashing his old man is getting during his ultimately unsuccessful 2008 nomination bid - flip-flopper, automaton, dullard. “This is why you don’t get good people running for president,” he says. “What better guy is there than my dad? We’re in this and you just get beat up constantly. It’s awful.”

If there is any chance of Hillary Clinton not taking a fresh run at the presidency in 2016, this, aside from illness, would surely be why. It would be awful. To a degree it already is. We are probably 14 months or so away from her declaring, and already the cudgels are out. Andrew Sullivan, the columnist, contrived this week to liken her even to Claire Underwood in television’s House of Cards. (If you are not familiar, the scheming politician’s wife, played by Robin Wright, is ambition-wrapped-in-evil incarnate.)

There is some pretty tortured psychology involved here that hasn’t evolved much even since I first rode on a campaign bus with her and Bill through the Midwest back in 1992. Some will recall her noting she could “have stayed home and baked cookies”. She caught hell for it because she had found a sexism nerve and tweaked it. She proceeded to become the most influential first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt.

The root of Obsessive Anti-Hillary Syndrome, OAHS, is fear. In which case, she should be feeling flattered as well as battered right now, as we endure a resurgence of archaeology through the layers of scandals that marred her husband’s two terms, notably his impeachment and Monica Lewinsky.

Ancient history is one thing. Voters are entitled to everything in a presidential candidate’s story. Sordid history is another. Rand Paul, the libertarian senator who has his own Oval Office fantasies, has been the first to resurrect the episode, calling Bill a “sexual predator” and inferring that by association Hillary could ill take up the Democrat cause that Republicans are waging a war on women. Even Sullivan recognises that Paul’s graceless prattle risks boomeranging on him, yet the stained blue dress is now back out of the trunk.

“Hillary Clinton is the war on women, and that’s what needs to be exposed here,” Kathleen Willey, a former volunteer aide to Bill who accused him in the 1990s of inappropriate behaviour towards her, blurted in a radio interview this weekend. She can’t harm Bill much anymore, but Hillary perhaps she can.

Earlier this month, The Washington Free Beacon, a news site, dug up papers held by the University of Arkansas attributed to Diane Blair, one of Hillary’s closest friends until her death in 2000. The ‘Blair Papers’ include notes on conversations she had with Hillary over more than a decade that have become instant OAHS fodder, particularly the bits where she recalls Hillary dismissing the “whiney women” on her White House staff and her daring to give Bill the benefit of the doubt in the Monica maelstrom.

Blair cites Hillary branding the intern a “narcissistic loony toon” and elsewhere records: “HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behaviour but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning… of the term”. Whether or not she actually said such a thing, they are trying to say it shows a woman allowing political calculation to cloud reason and decency.

Mitt donned a helmet for a second round and Hillary, you can bet, will too. If folks like Paul are afraid, they should be. If they can’t stomach the fact that she has a spine of titanium they should seek treatment.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month  

General Election 2015: Politics is the messy art of compromise, unpopular as it may be

David Blunkett
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'