HILLARY CLINTON IS NOT WELL-LIKED. The right has successfully painted her as “Crooked Hillary,” while the left has painted her as “Shillary.” She’s untrustworthy. She’s a liar. She’s a shifty, calculating politician. All of these accusations may have varying degrees of truth to them, but the accusations cloud another widely agreed-upon fact: She’s really great to work with. People who work with Hillary genuinely like her. They think she’s funny, intelligent, hard-working, competent, and effective.
Vox reporter Ezra Klein said he’s always wondered about this gap between her public image and her professional credentials. So he sat down with her for 40 minutes and talked to her about a wide range of issues.
What the interview reveals (to those who didn’t already know it) is that she knows her stuff. She eloquently argues for immigration reform, while acknowledging the struggles of the working class in a globalized economy. She commits to fighting for even more healthcare reform. And she argues that free college tuition is great for poorer families, but shouldn’t be universal because “I don’t want to add the cost of subsidizing me, or subsidizing Donald Trump.”
What’s most revealing though, is her answer to Klein’s question about her likeability gap. She says:
“There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective. As someone Exhibit A on that — since it has been a long time that I’ve been in that position — I get that. I get it.
And it’s always amusing to me that when I have a job, I have really high approval ratings; when I’m actually doing the work, I get reelected with 67 percent of the vote running for reelection in the Senate. When I’m secretary of state, I have [a] 66 percent approval rating.
And then I seek a job, I run for a job, and all of the discredited negativity comes out again, and all of these arguments and attacks start up. So it seems to be part of the political climate now that is just going to have to be dealt with.”
Klein for his part doesn’t buy it: he says it’s because the Presidential campaign is designed to benefit talkers, whereas Hillary is more of a listener. But the interview is worth reading in its entirety, as is his breakdown of the interview, especially if you’re not quite on the Hillary train.
What comes across is a politician who may be calculating, yes, but who also has extremely nuanced and intelligent policy positions — something we can pretty safely say we’re never going to get from Trump.
Read the full interview at Vox.