Let us not read too much into the new CBS News poll on Hillary Clinton’s popularity, but let us read something into it.
The biggest problem with the poll is that it covers an absurdly long span of time; as CBS describes it, the results show that Clinton’s “favorable views are 12 points lower than they were in the fall of 2013, just months after leaving her position as Secretary of State. Her unfavorable views have ticked up slightly, but the percentage that is undecided about her has risen eight points.”
Her numbers bounce around a lot: “Clinton’s highest favorable rating in CBS News polling occurred in March 2009, early in her tenure as Secretary of State, when 58 percent of Americans viewed her favorably. Clinton received her lowest favorable rating – 24 percent – in June 2003, soon after the publication of her memoir Living History.”
CBS also takes pains to note that 65 percent of poll respondents said the email controversy did not significantly change their opinion of Clinton… but a rather significant 29 percent did say their opinion grew worse, including 28 percent of independents.
Many of the respondents (62 percent) said they thought Clinton’s email server was inappropriate, even if they didn’t indicate a major shift in their overall opinion of her. That’s cynicism and supine acceptance of aristocratic privilege in a bottle: Sure, it was wrong, but our master class is above the law, so what are you gonna do? mixed with all hail our Dear Leaders, and doom to the foolish peons who think they have a right to read Her Majesty’s email!
Of course, some of the 65 percent who didn’t change their minds would say they already held a rock-bottom opinion of Clinton’s honesty, and didn’t find her secret illegal email server much of a surprise. A hefty share of exhausted cynics no longer expect much fealty to the law from our Ruling Class, and will only rouse themselves to anger if the media spends days telling them to get angry, which they’re not about to do with any Democrat, much less Hillary Clinton.
It’s interesting to watch the Clinton email scandal roll through our political consciousness at the exact moment many Americans are caught in another ObamaCare tax nightmare. The rules really are different for you Little People, and if you ever forget it, the IRS stands ready to remind you of what happens to grubby peasants who foolishly believe they can keep their documents secret for years as Hillary Clinton does.
Here’s the Hillary problem in a nutshell: her supporters, including disaffected moderate Democrats and independents who tend to vote for whoever the media crowns as the “cool” candidate, like the idea of Hillary Clinton much more than the reality. On paper, all this “historic first woman President” stuff sounds good – or, more precisely, it sounds bad to resist it, although there is doubtless a bit of skepticism out there about symbolic Oval Office hires, given the results of the First Black Presidency. The hardcore Dems will vote as they’re told, as always, but the moderate and indifferent audience probably feels a bit of genuine enthusiasm for “bringing back the Clinton years.”
That’s how it looks on paper… but then the real Hillary Clinton shows up, and the paper burns away to ash at the sound of her voice. Her popularity dips tend to coincide with moments of high visibility, as during the aborted campaign rollout she launched with the publication of her latest book. Nobody, not even committed Democrats, believes a word of the garbage she shoveled during her email scandal press conference.
They’ll pretend to believe it for political expedience, or because they don’t want to see the rascally Republicans win a fight, but that’s hard to do when the actual Hillary Clinton is arrogantly serving up stone-cold whoppers. And then she disappears into thin air! And the media lets her do it!
Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but he served those whoppers piping hot, with melted cheese and barbecue sauce. He was out there doing his Slick Willy routine while his hatchet men went to work on Republicans, prosecutors, and inconvenient women. He never pulled one of Hillary’s trademark scuttles back into the basement, because that’s not how he’s wired, and perhaps because he understood early in his scandal-palooza presidency that continued visibility would serve as a sign of courage and confidence by supporters, and a crucial slice of disinterested voters who enjoy a good show.
Hillary drags the same ancient Clinton hit men out of their tombs and unleashes a horde of angry geezers on the talk-show circuit while she disappears. It irks some of her less-committed supporters, and makes her look furtive and uninspiring to persuadable moderates. She’s nowhere to be found while major world events are unfolding, events a former Secretary of State who plans to run on that experience, the ostensibly smartest and strongest woman in the world, would be expected to comment upon.
She’ll stay underground while her theoretical appeal regenerates and robotic Democrat programming reboots, then make another Big Splashy Debut to formally announce her campaign. The media will lap it up, of course… but the audience is restless. The email scandal hurt her, not just because it highlighted the issues of trust and corruption that dog the Clintons with every American capable of rational thought, but because it took her off the stage during a few critical weeks, and even those nominally open to a Clinton candidacy noticed her exiting stage left.
Unfortunately for her, every time she takes the stage, she turns people off, and now they’ve got another reason to think her act is not only shrill and boring, but insincere.