Hillary Clinton's messiah complex
By Carey Roberts
It's no secret that Hillary Clinton views herself as a member of the God Squad, divinely anointed to shepherd the masses to greater gender consciousness.
"Hillary acts as though she has been chosen by God," recounts Edward Klein, author of The Truth about Hillary. "I find her to be among the most self-righteous people I've ever known," explains former New York Times reporter Bob Boorstin. And during her senate campaign Hillary glowed approvingly whenever Black preachers declared her "a woman of God."
But how many persons know how Mrs. Clinton's messianic streak may lead to her political undoing?
During her childhood Hugh Rodham treated Hillary as Daddy's favorite, sparing her from many of the chastisements and chores he imposed on her hapless brothers. As brother Tony remarked enviously, "Little Hillary could do no wrong."
Hillary's teenage involvement with the local Methodist church only reinforced her emerging priggishness. By the age of 17, Hillary's "messianism and sense of entitlement" were already evident, reveals Carl Bernstein in A Woman in Charge.
During her college years, Hillary Rodham's self-righteous streak fueled her many political pursuits. Those culminated in her 1975 marriage to Bill Clinton, a man she fully expected to one day become president.
But after Bill lost his 1980 re-election bid for the Arkansas governorship, a distraught Hillary began to speak at church meetings around the state. One day she traveled to a church in North Little Rock to deliver a homily on "Women Armed with the Christian Sword – To Build an Army for the Lord."
Hillary's unconventional blend of Christian faith and feminist ideology was taking shape.
Five days after his 1992 inauguration, Bill named Hillary to head up his Task Force on Health Care Reform. But her political miscalculations soon turned into an electoral fiasco. On November 8, 1994 the Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress, and Hillary was banished from the West Wing of the White House.
Smarting from her self-inflicted wounds, Hillary invited a group of New Age savants to Camp David. As recounted by Bob Woodward in The Choice, one of her guests was Jean Houston, a psychic who had conducted LSD experiments and claimed to communicate regularly with Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom.
What transpired that weekend – equal parts group psychotherapy and feminist consciousness-raising – may rank as the most bizarre episode ever involving a First Lady.
Hillary's healthcare debacle was emblematic of the female crucifixion, Ms. Houston believed. Speaking as if a witness to the Second Coming, Houston told Clinton she was carrying the burden of 5,000 years of female subservience. Driving her point home, Houston compared Hillary to Joan of Arc, the French woman who was burned at the stake in 1431 for heresy.
The best was yet to come.
In April 1995 Houston came to the White House, this time to conduct a séance. Seated around a circular table in the White House solarium, Houston instructed Hillary to close her eyes and engage in a conversation with Eleanor Roosevelt.
Hillary readily complied and was soon comparing Eleanor's epic struggles with her own. Houston intoned that the First Lady's woes were caused by self-important men who refused to accept women as equals -- ignoring how HRC's clumsy attempt to overhaul the healthcare system had exposed her political naiveté.
Now sounding like Daddy's little girl, Hillary asked why people kept saying things that hurt her feelings. The pity party was just getting started.
Over the next year Jean Houston continued as Hillary's spiritual and political mentor, constantly urging her to continue the fevered crusade on behalf of women's rights.
But some would ask, What's wrong with a candidate who casts her candidacy in the aura of historical inevitability and views every issue through the moralistic lens of right and wrong?
For starters, Hillary comes across as arrogant.
Friend Sara Ehrman once warned about Hillary that "God is on my side can be arrogance." Former Moynihan aide Lawrence O'Donnell believed Clinton's haughtiness was her most prominent difficulty.
And remember Hillary's recent encounter with CBS News anchor Katie Couric? Asked how she would feel if she didn't become the Democratic nominee, Hillary acidly shot back, "Well, it will be me."
Lloyd Bentsen, who served as Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration, observed how Hillary's "holier-than-thou" attitude often lead her to demonize her opponents – remember Hillary's paranoid remark about the "vast right wing conspiracy"?
Let's not forget all those who ended up on Hillary's fabled enemy list: Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kenneth Starr, Senators who doubted her, and even the Washington Post. Biographer Carl Bernstein notes how "Hillary's willingness to demonize her enemies had left [Daniel Patrick Moynihan] with lasting caution about her."
Enemy lists, paranoid fantasies, a supercilious attitude, and self-righteous crusades – shades of Richard Milhous Nixon.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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