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Hillary's Likeability Factor

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Message Alex Gekas

I am so glad that I chose to spend the year teaching English in France. When the primary started, I said to myself, “I am glad I don't have to participate in this Coke/Pepsi debate between Hillary and Obama. I mean, really, is anyone in the press talking about how their policies differ in that 5% area?” I completely ignored the primaries for eight months, occasionally getting snippets here and there from the French news.

Recently, I had my first encounter with Obamamania. It was in my class of literature-track students. All girls. They told me they had a crush on Obama and that they think he should win. 

"Why do you want him to win?" I ask, "In English, please."

"Because ‘e is Black and beautiful," one replies. 

“Silly girls,” I think. 

"But he is Black AND White." I say, "What do you think distinguishes him from Hillary?"

 "'illary is a .....'ow do you say Monsieur.... Salope?"

"Nice try. You are not getting any bad words out of me until the end of the year. That gives me an idea. Vocabulary quiz. Take out a sheet of paper." Then I asked myself, "How are they forming these opinions? Where are they getting this information? They are FRENCH. Why do they give a crap?" I stopped at the newsstand on the way home and I saw all the fashion and pop culture magazines this week had pictures of Obama in designer suits. One caption read, "Barack Obama...le nouveau Kennedy noir - the new Black Kennedy." “Ah, OK. I get it. He has the Kennedy, Jackie O, George Clooney appeal.” For all their ranting and raving against American imperialism, they can’t resist American pop idols.

These are, of course, French high school students. But honestly, is this much different from how people of voting age in the States are making their choice? I was curious to learn more about the candidates so I decided to Google some articles. I started with Hillary and here’s what I got:

Hillary’s Bosnia lies. Hillary will stop at nothing to win this election. Hillary can only win the election by causing a bloodbath and ruin the Democratic Party. Hillary helping McCain win the general election. Time to pull out, Hillary. Voters turned off by Hillary’s negative attacks on Obama and remarks about his pastor. Chelsea rebuffs question involving Lewinsky scandal. Hillary exaggerates foreign policy experience. Ohio Republicans change parties to vote for Hillary in primary. Hillary win not impossible, unlikely. Girl in Hillary 3 AM Ad Obama supporter.

Cruella Deville comes to mind. You would think that the American public was ready to cart her off to the guillotine before she begins her reign of terror.  Nope. It’s a close race. What kind of publicity people is she hiring anyway? I saw a couple articles excusing the negative slant, chalking it up to Hillary’s lack of “likeability factor”. If she were that unlikeable this would have been over long ago.Somebody out there must like her.

I then Googled Obama:

Obamamania. Kennedys endorse Obama. Hope. Change. Obama supporters use Macs; Clinton supporters use PC’s.  Obama inspires youth. Obama Girl- I’ve got a Crush on Obama.  Obama ahead in superdelegate race. Post-racial America? Obama distances himself from Pastor. Obama took the risk to confront Race relations in America. Obama rebukes negative attacks from Clinton campaign. Yet another superdelegate endorses Obama. Obama offers healing from nation’s  past.  

You get the picture.

The same spineless institution that led us to believe there was WMD in Iraq has chosen its race horse for the Democrats. We shouldn’t be surprised when people who attend the Obama rallies can’t really talk in specific terms about why they support their candidate. Why should they? The media only started really pressing him late in the game thanks to SNL. Fox News had a video of a group of fifteen or so supporters and a congressional superdelegate who couldn’t name one Obama Senate accomplishment.

This kind of ignorance is far more detrimental to Democrats in November than any ‘bloodying’ that Hillary can inflict on Obama, oh excuse me, the party. How arrogant to suggest that the Democratic voters in the remaining states shouldn’t be given the right to choose their candidate. Hasn’t US Democracy suffered enough in the last eight years? If anything, Hillary staying in the race would prolong the debate and maybe some voters will finally find out more about the differences in their platforms. This, of course, assumes that the press will cover both candidates fairly. If they continue their Hillary bashing, she is left with no choice but to get out the boxing gloves. Candidates want to win because they believe they have the right platform. When Hillary does it “she will stop at nothing.” Hillary can’t possibly achieve the level of meanness that has been directed at her for years.

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Alex is an expatriate English teacher and translator living in France.
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Hillary's Likeability Factor

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