Will Hillary be the President Nobody Liked?

I blogged a few days back about the AP likeability poll on the presidential candidates, which showed Hillary Clinton with the highest “don’t like” numbers in the group, higher even than  Mitt “the Mysterious Mormon” Romney’s.

Does low likeability spell the end of Hillary? Not necessarily, says John Ellis at Real Clear Politics, who draws a parallel between the uncuddly Mrs. Clinton and another human porcupine who managed to gain the Oval Office twice, once in a landslide: Richard Nixon.

Like Nixon, Senator Clinton is widely disliked. Like Nixon, she cannot be made warm, even by a modern-day Roger Ailes. Like Nixon, she is a politician whose resentments are always close to the surface. And like Nixon, she is a politician about whom her peers have real doubts.

But also like Nixon, she is intelligent and diligent and determined and tough and she has been through hell and back. She is experienced in a way that only her husband and President George W. Bush are experienced. She knows what it’s like to get her head kicked in every day, day after day after day, for months and years on end. She endures.

As I noted the other day, “fun gal to have a beer with” is not one of my criteria for a president, so these polls have minimal impact for me. Voting is really not like a job interview, because when you hire someone you’re probably going to spend a lot of time with the new hire; like it or not, you’ll come to know certain things about her character, sense of humor and so on.

With presidents as with many ubiquitous celebrities,  I sometimes think we’d be better served by knowing less about them, not more. And in that regard, Clinton’s wind-chill factor may be an asset. I pity the poor bozo who asks her whether it’s boxers or briefs, or whatever is the female equivalent of that memorably idiotic question.


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