‘Sometimes You Eat the B’ar and Sometimes the B’ar, Wal, He Eats You’ (Or: A Contemplation of Senator Clinton’s Humanity)

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 27, 2008 8:55am

Clinton-detractors/haters/critics be forewarned, I intend to contemplate her as a human being in this blog post.

Just something buzzing through my head for discussion purposes.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, entered this presidential race with the media thinking she’s too calculated, too cold, too contrived.

In the last few days/weeks, we’ve seen a different side of her. (Or sides.)

Whatever you think of her, she has in some ways "let it all hang out," as her generation used to say. Showing affection one day, anger the next, sarcasm another, stoicism the next, frustration last night.

Maybe that’s not on message, or even presidential, but it is human.

They say that a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. We’ve seen in the last couple debates Sen. Clinton let her guard down and show how she’s really feeling.  Whether it was her valedictory mood in the Texas debate or her annoyance with the media last night.

Now, here’s the thing. When you’re down and out, self-pity is a natural impulse. We’ve all been there. And the self-pity can weigh you down even more, making an ascent even tougher.

You know what that feels like. I know what it feels like.

Luckily for us, we don’t have to go through that with 300 million people watching.

When the history of Clinton’s presidential campaign is written — and who knows, it could be written after her two terms as president of the U.S. — pundits will contemplate the Obama phenomenon, the role of the media, and her campaign’s myriad missteps.

Her campaign has not risen to the level of what she offers as a candidate, and how she’s come across as a candidate does not equal who she seems to be in real life. For someone whose claim to the presidency is her preparedness, Clinton has not shown the kind of agility in this campaign that her supporters might have hoped for.

And as the candidate, she is ultimately responsible for all of it. You think Romney thought the prejudice against (and media fascination with) his religion was fair? You think John McCain thinks last week’s New York Times story about him was fair? You think Rudy Giuliani thinks the media treatment of him was particularly kind? Is John Edwards of the belief that the media paid sufficient attention to his ideas and proposals? Chris Dodd? Joe Biden?

Them’s the breaks, no one ever said any of this was fair. Certainly George H.W. Bush didn’t think the media coverage was fair when he ran against Bill Clinton in 1992, and he had a point, too. (As The Stranger put it in The Big Lebowski: "Wal, a wiser fella than m’self once said, sometimes you eat the b’ar and sometimes the b’ar, wal, he eats you.")

But Clinton’s reaction to it all has all been, at the very least, very human. Unfortunately for her, humanity often means fallibility. Maybe you think it seems desperate, or whiny.

But it does seem human. You gotta give her that.

Or don’t you? What do you think?

- jpt

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