07/25/2007 12:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Problem With Hillary

It seemed like an easy enough assignment, when I was first discussing it with "Off the Bus's" Jay Rosen and Amanda Michel. I had told them that, living as I do in the buckle of the Bush Bible Belt, I had observed that most of my progressive friends--who, let's face it, I've met online--really have no idea just how much conservatives revile Hillary Clinton, or how much they actually fear a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Last week, they asked if I might discuss that from the vantage point of being a stranger in a strange land, as it were, and I said, "No problem, guys! Half the friends and family on my e-mail list are neo-cons. Why, I'll just ask them and get right back to ya!"

Oh, I was so innocent back then.

As I was chattering about it to my moderate Republican husband, he gave me a pitying smile and said, "They won't answer you."

Now that just seemed plain silly to me. Here was I, a progressive, begging my neo-con buddies to spew out all the hate-vitriol they could manage about their favorite hatee. What was not to like about that idea?

He said, "They won't answer you because they don't KNOW why they hate Hillary."

Oh, what did HE know. Moderates just can't understand wing-nuts.

So I sent out the e-mail, and it was very respectful and nonthreatening in tone. I explained what "Off the Bus" was, (after explaining what was, because they probably never heard of it), and asked my question. I promised to handle their responses with respect, not to mention their names or any identifying characteristics, and to open a dialogue where progressives might understand better the fears and concerns of conservatives in a reasonable, fair-minded way.

I probably sent out a dozen e-mails.

I got two answers.

One pointed out to me that "we are currently engaged in a massive effort in the Middle East, whose culture does not respect women."

It was his opinion that the reason we were not respected in the Middle East was because we had sent a woman--Condoleeza Rice--to negotiate. And he went on to mention just about every other country who he thinks won't listen to a woman in the Oval Office.

Ewww, how I burned to respond and make it clear that Condoleeza Rice had not been ignored because she was a woman; she had been ignored because just about every other country on this planet complains that the United States does all the arrogant talking, does not listen, lays out commercials in support of Bush, and considers the discussion over. This is typical of the Bush administration--not just women in it.

But I had not sent out the e-mail in order to provoke fights with my friends and loved ones. I wanted to know what they thought. To argue with them would have been counterproductive, so I simply thanked him for his response.

Only one other answered, and this is a close friend who said, "Give me some time to organize my thoughts so I don't sound like the love child of Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter, although I would take that as a compliment. Offhand, the problem with Hillary is as much personality as it is political difference."

Needless to say, the thought of a love child between Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter caused a sickening shiver to run down my spine, but I thought his comment on personality came closer to truth than the pseudo-intellectual hogwash about male world leaders not respecting a woman leader. I don't think Golda Meir had any trouble getting respect, or Margaret Thatcher. Or Queen Elizabeth the First, for that matter. And if it's THAT big of a problem, then appointing some BIG STRONG MAN to be secretary of state might help, I dunno. I'm just saying.

When I pressed my friend to elaborate on the personality issue, he just said, "Conservatives feel the same way about Hillary running as Democrats do about a Newt Gingrich presidency. Although he would make a good president."

Yeah, I had to work hard to swallow the gag reflex on that one.

After waiting several days in vain for any more responses from right-wingers on my e-mail list, I decided to do intense scientific research.

(Also made a mental note not to let my husband know he'd been right, AGAIN.)

First, I went to and typed in Hillary Clinton, hate.

Almost 7,500 titles popped up, including the Hillary Voodoo Kit. ("You can stick it to her before she sticks it to you!")

Here are some random titles, most of which are available at my local right-wing public library:

Hillary Clinton: How Far She'll Go to be President
Hillary Clinton Nude: Naked Ambition
The Empress Project
Hillary Clinton's Ruthless Ambition to Take the White House
Madame Hillary; Her Dark Road to the White House
Rewriting History
The Secret War: The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists
Living Lies
Big Sister is Watching You
The American Evita

And this one, which I don't find funny at all:

Kill Hill

By this time, I admit, I was shaken. This kind of visceral loathing runs throughout the entire circulatory system of the Republican Party, and when they cut open a vein, it bleeds into the mainstream media and stains the Independents and moderates out there who are trying to decide who to trust in 2008.

From this point, I did another scientific study: I Googled the words, Hillary Clinton, hate, websites.

And I got 1,620,000 hits.

Just for the sake of comparison, I did the same thing for George W. Bush. He got about two million hits, but when you think about it--look at all the evil he has actually wrought on this earth!

With Hillary, it's just the FEAR of evil.

The first site I visited was, which sold a wide variety of hate-Hillary paraphernalia in their Anti-Hillary Shop. Here are some of the slogans you, too, can proudly display on a bumper sticker, refrigerator magnet, or coffee mug:

Wanna see Hillary run? Throw rocks at her.
Life's a bitch. Don't vote for one.
Hillary Rotten Clinton
Butt-Ugly Mug mug
No way in Hellary.
Bee-Otch 2008

I could also purchase, for a mere $19.95, my very own Hillary Nutcracker.

Her thighs were lined with serrated stainless steel, and for an additional five bucks--they'd throw in a bag of nuts!

By the time I decided to drop in on some of the more colorful hate Hillary websites out there, I was braced. I thought.

I was so innocent, back then.

Did you know, for instance that 9-11 was all Hillary's fault?

That's right. It's because of what Jerry Falwell said, how the liberals and all their baby-killing and gay-embracing--it caused God to remove his "shield of protection" over the United States and thus, allowed the terrorists to hit us.
Some of the more reasonable comments, of which there were few, were like this one: "I don't think this country can take two of them." (meaning, her and Bill.)

Here were a few more representative quotes:

"If you are a true Christian and follow Jesus's teachings, then obviously you are going to hate liberals."

"Hillary Clinton is a communist and a castrating feminist."

"She obviously pees while standing up."

And, more ominously:

"Satan can hope all he wants for a Hillary presidency but we simply won't allow this to happen."

I know most progressives don't really care what conservatives--or the more rabid Hillary-haters--think. If they support her, it's because they firmly--even passionately--believe that she is the most experienced and qualified candidate in the Democratic field and would make the best president.

But we are looking at a party that has only recently lost its grip on congressional power for the first time in twelve years--and their minority is a sizeable one, only a few votes shy of regaining the majority. Their president has been slowly amassing power in the executive branch in a manner that causes Constitutional scholars to blanch in horror.

Do you think they're going to let go of that grip on power easily?

Those who support a Hillary candidacy would do well to study the enemy, so to speak. Understand that 527's are already raising money to bring her down, and don't think that the constant onslaught of their hate ads over a bitterly-contested general election won't change some moderate and Independent minds out there.

My question is this: Do we really want to put this country through that in 2008?

And if we do: Are we absolutely certain that we won't wind up just as we did in 2000 and 2004, with a razor's-edge-thin and monumentally heartbreaking loss?

(After all, those candidates were eminently experienced and qualified, too.)

Do we want a Republican to reap the benefits of all the power-hording being done by the Rove-Cheney-Bush's?

I'm not saying those who hold power now won't Swift-boat any Democratic candidate out there...

My question is...

How sick is this country of the Hillary hatred?

Will the vote go to ANYONE as long as he's NOT HILLARY because, at heart, at least it will be a change?

My conservative friends are not as hate-filled as some of the nutcases on the hate-Hillary websites, but they've been forwarding me anti-Hillary e-mails and jokes since the 90's. It has never stopped.

And it never will.