April 18, 2014

"Hard Choices" is the title of Hillary Clinton's forthcoming book about her time as Secretary of State.

1. We could talk about the title, which, like the similar title "Decision Points" (George W. Bush's book), suggests there will be a sequence of narratives highlighting the author's role as decisionmaker. I wonder how hard they thought about the word hard, which — like "bossy" and "shrill" — seems to be one of those words used to insinuate that a woman is insufficiently feminine. Why write "hard" across the image of a woman? You've got to know that's going to bring out the haters. Which is why it's bait. If you take it, you'll be called a sexist. As for "Choices" — choice is a buzz word in the War on Women. Would you take away a woman's Right to Choose, including this woman's right to choose to be the one to choose everything that the most powerful person in the world gets to choose for all of us? If so, shame on you, you enemy in the War on Women.

2. I could prompt you to pre-order the book here, which would work as a way to show your support for the hard, shrill, bossy woman who writes this blog, amusing you day after day, year after year, making the relatively simple choices about what to blog — like Hillary's book title — and how to blog it — like a list of how something only marginally bloggable could be blogged and could stir up antagonism toward the blogger by warriors on both sides of the War on Women. That's not as easy as you might think.

3. I could detour into the territory of the contemporaneous announcement of the coming grandmotherhood of Hillary, the aging woman, the woman whose oldness the rightest of the right-wingers — Rush Limbaugh and Stephen Colbert — have warned us about.

Suddenly — oh! — she's a granny! I'm assuming the Chelsea pregnancy isn't a hoax, some manufactured PR. There have been rumors of the fakeness of all things Chelsea for years. Maybe some people will take that bait, and what a glorious skirmish that would make in the abovementioned war. But the more obvious bait, the bait Drudge took is the old Hillary-is-old/Old-women-are-worthless meme, and the Hillary PR people, I presume, want the anti-Hillary folk to say exactly that. War on Women, baby!

4. We could read the press release, and I know what you are looking for: Benghazi!!! What "hard choices" did she make there?, I hear you asking, out there on the internet. How dare she purport to sell us a book, dragging us through her elaborate challenges and the "hard choices" she made when she snapped "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?" at the Senators who wanted to know. If it doesn't make a difference, why write a book? A book about the past. The past is past. What difference does it make? From the press release:
Secretary Clinton and President Obama had to decide how to repair fractured alliances, wind down two wars, and address a global financial crisis.... [T]hey grappled with some of the toughest dilemmas of US foreign policy, especially the decision to send Americans into harm’s way, from Afghanistan to Libya to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Libya, AKA Benghazi. The decision made was to send Americans into harm’s way. To send them. After they got there, well... they knew where they were going, and a hard choice was made to send them there.

5. The press release begins with the line that we're told begins the book: "All of us face hard choices in our lives." And "Life is about making these choices, and how we handle them shapes the people we become." Perfectly banal, yet perfectly ready to make Hillary a perfect guest for all the daytime talk shows aimed at women. Contentless, cushy-soft, self-help psychological material. About all of us. Aren't we all really the same? My choices, your choices, choices for you and me, choices for me by you. We become the choices we make, don't we? Maybe you feel a revulsion at pap like that, but the country is full of voters, many of whom think with their feelings, and if last time boyfriend Barack captured their emotions, maybe this time Hillary can be their best girlfriend.

ADDED: 6. "Hard" is a variation on "not easy," the key words in Hillary's greatest moment in presidential campaigning and gender politics:
"It's not easy, it's not easy," Clinton said shaking her head. Her eyes began to get watery as she finished answering the question, "I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. This is very personal for me. I have so many ideas for this country and I just don't want to see us fall backwards. It's about our country, it's about our kids' future," she said softly crying, her voice breaking.


gerry said...

War on Women, baby!

The war that wasn't much, really.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I don't like the bait metaphor, as if Hillary is some hunter manipulating the prey, although I do concede sometimes hunters die and get eaten by the "prey."

Drudge is just as well "baiting" Hillary to cry again about how overwhelming campaigning is by making her remember how old she is.

But really, Drudge of course is no master-baiter hunter and Clinton no prey.

They are both putting things out there in hopes something good (for their side) will stick, at which point yes, they will assume folks intuit they were the master controller baiting their foe even though they were basically just shooting in the dark blind.

Ann Althouse said...

@gerry You're linking to a piece that I'd already seen and judged unbloggable, which I find interesting since one of this post's topics is what is bloggable.

I passed on that Medved column in the WSJ (asserting that the War on Women failed) and thought it was a headline that some people want to believe atop text that meant nothing.

Jane the Actuary said...

My first reaction upon reading the first line of your post? That the title "Hard Choices" is a kind of dumbed-down "Decision Points." In the place, it's moving the words a couple notches down in reading level. Plus, "Hard Choices" seems kind of whiny, don't you think?

Ann Althouse said...

I guess one way to fight in the War on Women is to assert that there isn't really a war or that calling what there is a "war" doesn't work. All of what is said works to the extent that it works. That's what I talk about. I'm doing Meta-War here, talk about the talk.

Bob Boyd said...

That ain't your grandma's grandma, sonny.

PS-I like that picture.

sojerofgod said...

I was struck by # 5. Specifically this: "the country is full of voters, many of whom think with their feelings"
Is a person really thinking when they are feeling? Or are they just reacting. I was brought up to think that emotions and thought were really two different things and important decisions should be made with thinking, not reacting. (feels)
Then again I have been called a cold-blooded bastard on more than one occasion...
Don't you think we have done ill by choosing leaders based on how it makes us view ourselves? Is anyone ready for an adult to take the reins -if we can find one?

Ann Althouse said...

"Plus, "Hard Choices" seems kind of whiny, don't you think?"

In the context of sending people "in harm's way," it reminds me of the old line often ascribed to a parent applying corporal punishment to a child: "This hurts me more than it hurts you."

southcentralpa said...

I saw that it was called "Hard Choices" and thought "Crappy Choices" might've been more apt. YMMV.

PB said...

$14 million for a book she didn't even write.

Wilbur said...

Knowing when to buy and sell cattle futures requires ... yes, hard choices.

Deciding to quit sleeping in the same room with your "husband" (35 years ago)... apparently not such a hard choice.

Anonymous said...

Re: "and thought it was a headline that some people want to believe atop text that meant nothing."

The Secret of the Internet.

Why Cute Kitties Add Years to Your Life. The subsequent story had nothing about the serum extraction process.

MathMom said...

When I see the word "hard" and the name "Clinton" in the same sentence, I think priapism.

Bob Ellison said...

The "Hard Choices" title is a good one. "Profiles in Courage", "Six Crises", "Decision Points", etc. (I'd put these in italics, but I'm not referring to the books but to the titles.)

Find a title that refers to the challenges you've faced. The squirrel outside might call his "Four Nuts and a Dog".

The original one, of course, was "Mein Kampf".

gspencer said...

And exactly what Hard Choice did this person ever make as Sec of State?

pm317 said...

"It's not easy, it's not easy," Clinton said shaking her head. Her eyes began to get watery as she finished answering the question, ..

My reading of what happened in NH on that day is that Hillary saw that the fix was in.. she had just seen the skulduggery in Iowa caucuses perpetrated by Obama thugs. She knew what she was fighting with. I think her moment was genuine knowing that it was slipping away and in many respects, she also might have seen/known how unready Obama was and could not believe that he was going to get away with it.

Her moment then is our moment now and has been for a while -- cry away softly at the peril called Obama that you all caused us.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Drudge is right, old women are worthless.

Especially those who voted for Obama.

MayBee said...

The War on Women talk only worked on the women who already vote Democrat and/or Obama. That's why it didn't work.
It does work as a marker for ideologues and political zombies, because those are the only people who say it.

Hillary in 2008 didn't seem to want to position herself as a female candidate, for women. "Hard Choices" as a title points to her once again trying to not be the feminine, female candidate but rather a real decision maker. In that way, perhaps her people see Obama as poison for the stunt candidacy. People who are not "War on Women"- type believers will think twice about voting for someone *because* they are historic. That was a feel-good vote before, but next time won't feel so good. Because of Obama.

JRoberts said...

I've read "Decision Points" and while I didn't agree with everything GWB did in his eight years, he always came across as someone who was proactive in his decision making process. The book title reflects that.

On the other hand, "Hard Choices" sounds reactive and seems to perpetuate the endemic "victim" mindset of the left.

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from "Hard Choices, Soft Skin":

"It's not easy, it's not easy," Hillaria said shaking her head. Her eyes began to get watery as she finished answering the question and her tightly-corseted bosom heaved, the pink satin straining with belief, "I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. This is very personal for me as Queen. I have so many ideas for my country, and for shoes. I can envision shoes, miraculous shoes, available to all, from the lowest sod farmer to the woman who prepares my bath. Though I have been anointed by the Powers That Be I have not lost touch with the man who tills the soil and she who waters my flower beds. Oh, my dry, dry flower bed, it is so in need of water, of the Water of Special Love, if I could be but moistened by the Gardener's Daughter's touch this Land will rejoice in kind."

David said...

I wonder if she will talk about deciding not to split with Bill over all the philandering.

That was one of the best choices she ever made, from a self interest point of view.

But was it a hard choice? That has never been clear to me.

pm317 said...

"I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. This is very personal for me. I have so many ideas for this country and I just don't want to see us fall backwards. It's about our country, it's about our kids' future," she said softly crying, her voice breaking.

Read carefully what she is saying. Yeah, she is ambitious and power hungry and you won't become president without that. But she also knew what it meant to nominate Obama and knew nominating Obama was to make him president -- no Republican candidate stood a chance in 2008. People like Ann pretend that the choice was between McCain and Obama. How ludicrous is that? The nomination contest in 2008 was the real election. Has she been proven right that Obama has been a disaster?

test said...

"Hard" seems an attempt to evoke sympathy, or a general defense of her choices. It's an implicit claim there were no better choices.

Gahrie said...

Did you really just write that Hillary's greatest moment in gender politics came when she cried?

Repeal the 19th Amendment.

Gahrie said...

I was brought up to think that emotions and thought were really two different things and important decisions should be made with thinking, not reacting

You must be a man.

somefeller said...

I love the smell of Hillary-hating in the morning. Smells like...victory.

The Drill SGT said...

"Hard Choices" is Bush's decision to surge

The decisions by H Clinton and Obama on Libya?

1. Lead from behind
2. go to war without even thinking about talking to Congress
3. failure to be realistic about the post-revolution security threats
4. Failure to support our men on the ground

As a former hard man, it sickens me to feel that our current administration and by inference a future Clinton admin doesn't understand that when you send soldiers or diplomats out on the edge, that there always has been an expectation that if $hit happens, that help will be sent. Not sharp notes of protest or guests on Meet the Press.

Operation Eagle Claw may have been flawed operationally and marred by political risk decisions, but Jimmy understood that he could not do nothing...

jeff said...

Why is the SOS making any decisions on sending the military anywhere or getting Bin Laden? Isn't that job supposes to be advising the president of probable reaction of other countries and working to support whatever his decision is with other countries? Why is the SOS "struggling" with those decisions?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Hillary is certainly the Granny, but who is the Grampy? Can we say, with anything close to the same certainty?

Anyone else find it at least interesting that there has never been a credible paternity suit against Bill Clinton, despite his rock/sport star number of reckless conquests?

Similarly, he himself seems completely unconcerned about such a thing ever possibly occurring.

What would the Occam Razor explanation of that, be?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that a lot of this is battle field prep, on both sides. Hillary is getting her stake in the ground that she is a dynamic decider, and no dithering Obama. And, she has a lot of nasty little facts and reality to overcome before she gets to that point. She flew a million or so miles with Secretary of State, and the result is no big international deals, and a much more dangerous world than when she took the helm in Foggy Bottom. So, she gets a book out telling how hard she worked, how thankless the job was, etc., it gets rave reviews from her sycophants at the major media, and esp. her hometown paper, the NYT, and she is off to the races.

Drudge on the other hand is playing up the fact that she is old, old, old. She looks it now (looking at those pictures he put put up), and is now a Grandmother (my partner could be a great-grandmother by Hillary's age, so this isn't that much of a slam). The problem for Hillary and the Dems is that one of the demographics that put Obama over the top the last two elections is the youth vote - the Millennials, Gen Y, and maybe even Gen X. Hillary is some two generations chronologically from them. Obama got their vote initially against a crotchety old geezer, who was old enough to be their grandfather. Obama, on the other hand, was hip and cool. So, it was hip and cool to vote for him. But, Clinton is likely to be a generation older than whomever the Republicans field in 2016. I think it inevitable that Republicans push this point, that she is totally out of touch with much of the country, partially as a result of her age, and partially as a result of her wealth - this is the woman who apparently hasn't driven in 20 years - first for security reasons, and now because they just have so much (ill gotten?) money. The photos of their daughter's multi-million dollar starter home don't help either.

And, yes, Hillary! is the one that Republicans fear the most - I really don't think that there is another Barack Obama in the wings ready to save them. Because Dems tend to consider political office sinecures, there isn't a lot of turnover in their mid to upper ranks, and fewer opportunities for rising stars. And, inevitably, because of their connection to machine politics, and how long politicians stay in office, corruption seems to be endemic in their ranks (not that it doesn't exist in the Republican ranks, but, rather, it is much worse in the Dem ranks for this reason). So, I think that if the Dems want to keep the White House, Hillary! is their best, and almost only, hope.

garage mahal said...

Interesting that Hillary will become the first woman, first mother, and first grandmother President.

MayBee said...

I never really saw her name associated with the winding down of the wars. Reports always named Biden. It will be interesting to see what credit she takes- and if she credits GWB for the wind-down in Iraq.

Unknown said...

Where did lost 6 billion at State Dept go?

Hard questions are not forthcoming from an incurious, non-inquisitive Clinton-fawning press.

cubanbob said...

The only thing older than Hillary is her ideas. Four years or worse still eight years of her presidency and we will all be singing "Brother can you spare a dime?" There is no chance that if she becomes president that anyone other than hard leftists will be singing "Happy days are here again". As noted by others the hardest choice she has had to make was "Stand by your man". Financially it certainly did work for her.

Someone: interesting observation. I suspect Hillary had Bill snipped as a compromise on her looking the other way.

campy said...

"What would the Occam Razor explanation of that, be?"

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Anonymous said...

Crazy Street Corner Guy Off His Meds Says:

Hillary Clinton shows up at my corner sometimes, she just walks by with her scarf and her Whole Foods bag and twitches, she's got a twitch when she thinks people aren't looking. It is a bad idea for her to be here, a bad idea: bad things happen in the alley amidst the rats and garbage and urine and pigeon shit, it is a bad, bad place. And Harvey Keitel, Harvey is hungry for her, he rumbles like a lion when he sees her and his foot taps, bad things happen when Harvey's foot taps. I tell Harvey he cannot just have his way with Hillary Clinton, but Harvey doesn't care, Harvey knows he can get away with anything and I'll get the blame. Harvey is full of Anger and Lust and Herpes, and he won't leave me alone.

NCMoss said...

Hillary's demenour and body language scream "cynical"; it's no surprise Obama surpassed her in 2008 and why somebody like Scott Walker might do the same in the next election.

lgv said...

Hard Choices - because Difficult Choices doesn't sound as good.

Hillary did indeed have many hard choices. But, just because they were difficult doesn't mean they should go without scrutiny. How did Libya turn out? Anyone see that one coming? Let's embrace the Muslim brotherhood and through Mubarek under the bus. How did that turn out? She made a lot of difficult decisions that mostly turned to crap.

The easy choice was to write a book and collect a huge check.

Brent said...

the country is full of voters, many of whom think with their feelings

Editors note: after "voters" insert "52%"

Eric said...

I'm guessing this blog post is more interesting than the book will be.

Anonymous said...

Imagine, if you will, how utterly and finally devastating to the liberal cause a thing would have to be in order not to smell like victory to somefeller.

Tank said...

Next year ... Hillary comes out of the closet. Couple of months to let things settle. Then she runs as the first gay woman presidential nominee.

After Mozilla, who would oppose that? Who wants to be a homo homo homo phobic woman hating degenerate?

Well, besides me?

CStanley said...

With her Thatcheresque hairdo and this book title, I think we're getting a preview of the tack of her campaign. I think Prof Althouse nailed it: she will be portrayed as tough, and if anyone criticizes that image for being I sufficiently feminine then..."sexism!"

Anonymous said...

Crazy Street Corner Guy Off His Meds Says:

Harvey Keitel is full of Anger and Lust and Herpes and he has the Thing for Hillary Clinton. Harvey calls it "The Thing": Absorbing the powers of another through utter naked conquest. He eats the flesh, he drinks the juices, he eats and drinks the juices and the flesh and he becomes complete and Strong and no one can stop him once he has made up his mind, he is a Force of Nature that even Nature doesn't fully understand, he is the Lion and the Snake, his Snake Tongue darts between his lips and he doesn't say a word, all the words come into my head unbidden. I can feel his Desire in my testicles: I want him to leave me alone.

FWBuff said...

Hillary is channeling her inner Sondheim:

"I chose and my world was shaken.
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken,
the choosing was not."

-- Sunday in the Park with George

chillblaine said...

I believe the reason we elect certain men to high office is their relative virility. It's the same reason we buy a car from a certain salesman, or why some football coaches are more successful than others.

There is an analogue to desirable feminine qualities, certainly fertility. The grandchild could not have come at a better time - just as the book is being launched. The Hill probably needs to cry less and demonstrate her hardness more, if she expects to be C.I.C. Those foreign policy failures are going to be hard to paper over without blaming her predecessor.

jacksonjay said...

And exactly what Hard Choice did this person ever make as Sec of State?

Paris or Beijing?

Anonymous said...

"Interesting that Hillary will become the first woman, first mother, and first grandmother President"

Maybe, but it would be sooooo much more interesting to have a first woman, first mother and first grandmother native American as President.

Elizabeth Warren beats Hillary because she is more of a minority.

Lnelson said...

Maybe this time Hillary can be their best girlfriend.

Well, for ideological or low info single women, yeah.
For most non-metrosexual men, Hillary is America's ex-wife.

I think she has too many negatives to overcome. But that is assuming the voters seriously contemplate their own choices.

Some Seppo said...

Hard choices:

Serpentine motion or sprint for cover.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

campy said...>>What would the Occam Razor explanation of that, be?"

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

The husband of Hillary Rodham,
A fan of Gomorrah and Sodom.
Loved to see just how far
He could dip that cigar.
Hey, go smoke 'em if you have got 'em.

Rumpletweezer said...

Fixing fractured alliances? I must have missed this. Is there a single country with which we have better relations now than when President Obama took office?

And have we, as a generation, lost the ability to assess ourselves? Does Hillary have no self-awareness? Why does she want to be President? There's no obvious talent there. Does she have a sense of her abilities that's completely detached from her many failures?

Fen said...

I for one welcome our new Princess. God save the Dynasty!

mtrobertsattorney said...

Hillary is unelectable. Drudge's collection of all those photographs of her that he regularly runs will destroy her campaign.

If fact, one of his most recent photos, the one where she resembles the Wicked Witch of the West, has probably already doomed her candidacy.

garage mahal said...


Hillary (D) 51%
Jeb Bush (R) 42%

Hillary (D) 51%
Rand Paul (R) 42%

Hillary (D) 50%
Chris Christie (R) 42%

Michael Fitzgerald said...

She cried just like Dick Durbin talking about Abu Ghraib: The crocodile tears of a professional liar.

Steven said...

Sounds like a book asking for a counter-book entitled "Stupid Choices".

Big Mike said...

"All of us face hard choices in our lives."

Yep, and there are two questions: how well did the choices she made work out, and what did she learn from her mistakes?

If Hillary wants to suggest that she didn't make any mistakes, then that's her latest mistake.

Brent said...

CNN Poll Jan 2007

Hillary 37%
Obama 18%
Edwards 15%
Biden 3%

Same poll said 78% of Democrats expected a Democrat to win the Presidency over a year later

Brent said...

TIME Magazine Jan 2007

Giuliani 56%
Hillary 41%

Hillary 51%
McCain 47%