“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables, right?” Clinton told the friendly audience fired up to see Barbra Streisand perform at the cavernous Cipriani on Wall Street. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it.”A comfortable setting. I hadn't noticed that Barbra Streisand was involved in this headslappingly stupid revelation of the contents of the mind of Clinton. We're frequently assured that Hillary Clinton is very intelligent — and we're being asked to rely on her judgment — but this was incomprehensibly stupid. Remember "Bushisms" and "Palinisms"? My post heading, above, commemorates one of the best Bushisms: "They misunderestimated me."
It's dangerous to misjudge a person as dumber than he really is, but it's dangerous — in different ways — to think that someone is smarter than she really is. And obviously, there are different aspects of intelligence. In a President, we want someone who can perceive all the factors and resolve complex issues with good decisions (as opposed to, say, nailing every geography question like What is Aleppo? or memorizing and reciting elaborate policy statements). Hillary seems to have let the audience in her immediate presence — Streisand fans — to loosen her up — she sounds drunk — and to say something that perhaps has already gotten laughs behind closed doors with intimates.
I'm not saying I think she did drink before speaking, only that — on the recording — I hear the woozy tones of the lowered inhibition and slack facial musculature you could get from drinking too much but that I assume she soaked up from her luxuriating position in front of an adoring crowd.
And I think we need a President whose judgment is NOT impaired by her immediate surroundings but who knows how to keep unseen people and places clearly in mind when figuring things out for us and for the rest of the world.
Not only did Hillary Clinton fail to anticipate how her remark would be heard outside of the ultra-glamorous Cipriani, but she also envisioned tens of millions of Americans in "grossly generalistic" terms — as if absurdly crude stereotyping belonged in presidential decisionmaking and people can be understood and dismissed as worthless under big inflammatory labels like "racist" and "sexist." It's not just an unfortunate quote that no one will forget. It's a revelation of a quality of mind that is exactly what we shouldn't want in a President.
And, for the record, "generalistic" isn't a word. It's as bad as any Palinism or Bushism, and I think some coinages — like "misunderestimate" (but not "refudiate") — are good. But "generalistic" isn't self-deprecating humor. It's a set-up for a kick at people she regards as not only beneath her, but not worth any care or concern at all. It's unnecessarily complicated. Why say "to just be grossly generalistic" when you can say "just to grossly generalize"? I'm suspicious of people who grab for bigger-than-necessary words — puffing themselves up, intimidating the poorly educated — so I'm taking the trouble to catch her on this choice of a nonstandard word.
Here's a screen shot from the (unlinkable) OED:
schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas/All I want is the truth now/Just gimme some truth...