When I was 25 (okay, 32), I got dumped by my first untrue love. He’d fallen, six years into our relationship, for his next-door neighbor, a really pretty actress with the IQ of an asparagus and the ability to fill many a conversational lull with tributes to liposuction. But I digress.
The point is what happened after I got dumped. There was no stopping me. I wrote the guy letters. Long ones. I wrote articles, nominally on other topics, but really about him and the way he dumped me. These, unfortunately, got published. I phoned him in the pathetic hope of raising my stock by trashing his new girlfriend, along with the caliber of the movies in which she very, very briefly appeared. This was, as you will likely surmise, amazingly easy to do and also totally ineffective. I didn’t – couldn’t — let go of a guy who exchanged me for a moron, and I can’t believe these many years later that I’m telling you all this because the memory of my mortifying, excruciating almost erotic attachment to stone-cold failure haunts me to this day.
I was, in other words, simply a younger version of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I simply could not get out of the race, even though, let’s face it, the race was over.
What can I say? Everything I hate about myself I see in Hillary. It’s not the stuff you might suspect, either. Hillary’s self-absorption; her sense that the election is not about Iraq or defaulted mortgages or Wall Street piggery, or her; her Bosnian strolls down memory lane; her long and eventful relationship with Bill — this is why much of the press dislikes her, maybe with reason. But not me.
I don’t even hate Hillary because she screwed up health care. Frankly, anyone can screw up health care. It’s the other aspects of Hillary that make me squirm. To put it bluntly: they are uncomfortably familiar.
What kills me is the way Hillary deals with men other than her husband, especially powerful men. Whenever Hillary thinks Obama is onto something – a phrase, say, or even a piece of rhetoric, however tedious – she doesn’t do what most politicians do: which is to, say, challenge it. No, what Hillary does is fiddle with a syllable or two and then appropriate the last thing that pops out of her rival’s mouth as though it were her own (Yes we WILL!!).
Whenever Hillary hears a new idea, however stupid – ‘Let’s suspend the federal gas tax for the entire summer, and to hell with the laws of supply and demand! Let’s authorize Bush to take military action in Iraq and sit back and see what happens!’ – she grabs it, devours it, and calls it her own.
Then, if some new powerful guy comes along and disputes the very strategy she’s adopted from a previous powerful guy – like, oh, let’s say, maybe Obama might come along and dispute the wisdom of our military presence in Iraq — Hillary will turn around and repudiate every previous position in order to espouse that one too. In fact she’ll say she completely regrets “the way the president used the authority.” Like she never gave it up, panting and groaning.
I know I’m not supposed to talk about her that way, as though she were a groupie groveling before a rock star. I’m supposed to, as a close friend recently suggested, “understand that Hillary has to pander.” But you know what? One of the wonderful things about getting older is that you can actually stop pandering, and make your decisions clear-eyed, without reference to gender.
I’m voting for a guy.