Ralph Benko

Forty-five years ago Hillary Rodham made a fateful decision. It has defined her life.

Understanding that moment of decision is essential to understanding Hillary Clinton’s life — the successes and the failures and, perhaps, the future. It would explain the subtly discordant persona that causes the media — even many elite Hillary sympathizers — to present her as some kind of fabulous monster. And it may reveal something of the soul within.

Hillary Rodham chose the path of “central power” rather than the path of “personal dignity.” There is some evidence she is not fully at peace with that decision. Much depends, for her, her party, and America, on what she does next.

A media Hurricane Hillary begins to blow. It’s a Cat 5. The New York Times recently reports that the (by far) largest Democratic SuperPAC, which in 2008 had opposed Hillary Clinton, now actively is supporting her presumptive candidacy. Yet the elite media attention has an odd aspect.

Time Magazine’s January 27th cover story Can Anyone Stop Hillary? is illustrated by a tiny man dangling from the bottom of a raised stiletto heel. It is an odd, slightly monstrous, image. The New York Times Magazine, on January 26th, presents a Hillary Clinton cover generating enormous, unanticipated, buzz. Entitled Planet Hillary, it presents her with a distinctly alien mien. Again, a faintly monstrous depiction… in a sympathetic venue. Typical media cheek? Or something more?

Hillary Clinton is, without question, formidable. She is smart, skilled, experienced in seeking and wielding power. Formidable, however, is freighted praise. It conveys admiration but not likability. Frankenstein’s monster was formidable.


Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.