Donald Trump and many in the media believe Hillary Clinton yells a lot. But very few people have levied the same criticisms at Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders (who seems to be doing his best Howard Beale impression.) So why do people feel the need to call Hillary Clinton out on how she speaks at rallies? Well, Politics in Pink thinks it may have something to do with the fact that Hillary is a woman.
When Hillary yells (and yes—she does yell- like every other politician), it seems that some people hear their mothers yelling at them- and they don’t like it. The fact that Hillary is being accused of yelling is not particularly surprising given our continued cultural discomfort with powerful women.
But what is striking about the focus on the decibel at which Hillary speaks is that she is the only candidate this election season whose fundamental positions are not about yelling, but about conversation- about give and take.
While Bernie is calling for a revolution, and Trump is railing against Mexicans, Muslims, and Washington, Hillary Clinton is suggesting that governing is hard and requires serious thought and sometimes, compromise.
Hillary Clinton is actually making the radical argument for the elevation of moderation as a governing principle. She makes the profoundly unsexy argument that sometimes change is incremental and that incrementalism is OK.
Hillary has the audacity to suggest that sometimes politics can be a force for good. She argues that the wheeling and dealing that happens in Washington, where politicians compromise in order to help their districts (and constituencies) is not actually a sign of a corrupt system collapsing under the weight of its own moral decay. She suggests that actually, such deals are how government functions.
Hillary Clinton has been in Washington for a long time and this experience is often used against her. Her record of compromise has been offered up as an example of her hypocrisy and evidence of her moral bankruptcy. The charge is that she is not ideologically pure.
This is an ironic charge from the left. Progressives have spent years railing against right wing Republicans and Tea Party loyalists who have put ideological purity before country. Liberals have expressed outrage and exasperation at the right’s refusal to compromise with the incredibly moderate President Obama.
And yet, here we are in the midst of the 2016 presidential election, listening to progressives condemn Hillary Clinton for compromising in the very way they have asked Republicans to. Progressives see Bernie Sanders as pure and untainted because he has refused to compromise. But he has also gotten very little done.
And not for nothing, in a nation as deeply divided as we are about so many things, one side probably shouldn’t get everything it wants. Just as in personal relationships, there needs to be compromise and give and take.
Hillary Clinton may be yelling at her rallies, but when it comes to governing, she’s willing to sit down and talk to people with whom she disagrees. She is willing to compromise. And that’s a good thing.
(image from the BBC)