Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hillary: the over-examined life

It takes effort to come up with something that hasn't been said about Hillary, but I may have succeeded. Unlike a performer who is adept at creating a winning and seductive public persona that belies their true dark, demanding, diva-like core, Hillary appears to have done the reverse.

Friends, staff members, even the media critics who've gone after her most harshly, come away from private encounters reporting, sometimes reluctantly and sheepishly, that Hillary is actually warm, witty, extremely likeable. One reporter concluded from the way Hillary listens and shows a genuine interest in others, that she must have had excellent parenting. Ironically, she's kept her charm at bay, no doubt in an effort to present herself as "strong".

As the first woman to make a serious run for the presidency, Hillary has had no role model. The entire nation has been serving as a focus group in a campaign that's felt like trial and error. And though we've seen the many faces of Hillary, it wasn't until this week that she revealed the one she reserves for intimates. Her softness moved many of us to feel an unexpected fondness for her, hell, even to vote for her.

Skeptics characterized Hillary's mini-meltdown as an attempt to win sympathy. We've seen her try to perform. In every commercial she's been conspicuously uncomfortable and unnatural. She's many things, but she's not an actress, which is why I trust that her tears were sincere and not scripted. If Hillary were a facile performer, she'd have shown us the lovable public persona actors present so convincingly, and we'd have seen huggable Hillary long before now.