The pandering is back — or, rather, it never went away.
The Fall of 2017 has brought with it the debut of a new book reflecting upon the madness of a year’s past. What’s different about this book is that its byline comprises of one of the very catalysts of the aforementioned madness. Hillary Clinton is apparently no longer “just chilling in Cedar Rapids,” or aimlessly wandering through the Chappaqua Woods — but rather she is experiencing a moment of deep inflection…or is she? The book is titled What Happened and is naturally receiving an ample amount of attention, both good and bad.
The book itself is aimed at providing justifications for the campaign that would put Donald Trump in the White House. I’m sure the tome contains some valuable insight into the Clinton campaign, along with some equally ridiculous machinations as to the source of her downfall. But something else entirely jumped out at me while combing through reactions to the book.
In Clinton’s book, there is a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche — the man famous for mainstreaming Nihilism. Below is the quote from Clinton’s book:
Clinton attributes the quote to Nietzsche, and then in a display of vacant dexterity the parenthesis were added to insert that ode to youth Hillary has made herself notorious for. Instead — just like her “Pokémon-Go to the polls” plea — it comes off more like Steve Buscemi from 30 Rock than a gesture towards pop culture. During the 2016 campaign, Clinton was asked on a black-oriented radio show what she carries in her purse every day. She replied “hot sauce.” She was promptly criticized for pandering, of which she did not deny. While stumping in Kentucky, a southern accent resurfaced as Clinton appealed to voters. The sycophancy consistently exhibited by Clinton’s empty entreaties is not unique to her, but she has certainly pioneered the practice.
What does this say about our political climate? Well, for starters, Clinton did not come out on top last November. So that bodes somewhat well for the composition of the American voter base. However, what topped Clinton ended up being sycophancy as well — just oriented differently. Donald Trump, over the last few decades has made an astounding flip in his overall politics. One example being his historic sympathy towards universal healthcare. Yet now insists his staunch opposition to it.
“Large swathes of the population want to be promised things like a wall, free healthcare, or free ponies.”
Unquestionably, rivaled only by his anti-Obamacare rhetoric, Donald Trump’s largest campaign talking point was a “big beautiful wall.” Like bees to honey, border-security enthusiasts jumped at this suggestion, and is likely a huge [read: “YUGE”] reason why Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office today. But upon his realization that governing is no walk in the park, that big beautiful wall has since turned metaphorical and the “big beautiful door” now more so resembles the current state of The Wall in Westeros than that which Hector of Troy knew so well. Trump is a pragmatic guy — you have to be to experience any sort of success in the business world. But, like a pedophile giving candy to children, this obvious reality did not stop him from feeding the line to all who would eat it up. (No, Trump is not a pedophile — something he had no issue likening Ben Carson to.)
To many, the progressive-Democratic darling of the past election seems an honest and sincere talisman for the plight of the average man “taken advantage of” by the evil elites. After all, nobody dogged the illustrious “one-percent” like the Vermont Senator. Yet, Bernie Sanders just bought his third house. For a man who constantly criticized those with multiple yachts (*ahem* Leonardo DiCaprio), it sure seems as if the pot is calling the kettle a rather dark shade of black. But those “darn one-percenters,” right Bernie? (Of which, he is now one.)
Most politicians pander in some respect, but few engage that temptation to such a ridiculous degree as the former First-Lady, but now “forever-never-president” Clinton. Even despite her political career at an end, barring unexplainable phenomenon, Clinton sticks to her sycophantic guns. While this is mostly a testament to her twisted resiliency, it also explains a bit of the state of U.S. politics. Large swathes of the population want to be promised things like a wall, free healthcare, or free ponies. But governing almost always yields a different result because the system is designed to obstruct. It is designed to prevent demagogic-ambition from running roughshod through the process.
The longer we indulge sycophants, the more likely the federal government becomes the one-stop shop for all issues in governing. Federalism will continue to be pushed out like Brett Favre in Green Bay. Sycophants deal in promises as empty as Hillary Clinton’s soul, and as frequent as Donald Trump asserts his hands and — er um, “something else” — are exorbitant in size. For the sake of our sanity, make it stop.
Follow this author on Twitter: @bradjCincy