Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hillary Clinton Needs "a silent retreat"

Wow, pretty insightful commentary from Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn on The Early Show this morning. I've never seen it articulated so well, but it feels exactly right.

Who is Hillary Clinton, and what does she want?

Hillary Clinton addressing supporters at her Montana and South Dakota primary night event in New York Tuesday (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The subject was raised with Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn on The Early Show Thursday by co-anchor Harry Smith, and Quinn minced no words, saying, "I've been intrigued by the questions in the last couple of weeks, 'What does Hillary really want?' And I think that the answer is that Hillary, up until now, has wanted what she thinks she should want. And what I think is that Hillary doesn't know what she wants. And she doesn't know who she really is.

"From the very beginning, when she married Bill Clinton, when she moved to Arkansas, she gave up her lucrative career, she changed her name during the campaign, 'I'll stand by my man' -- her personality changed. You remember when she first came into the White House and she had a different hairdo and a different outfit? She looked completely different. And people kept saying, 'Who is she?'

"And, even during the campaign this time -- during the Monica (Lewinsky) thing, when she stood by Bill Clinton, she was the health care maven. She was the strong one and the weak one.

And, during this campaign, she allowed him to, on some levels, sabotage her. She was feisty at some point and even shrill, and then she would cry.

"And then ... she said (after winning the New Hampshire primary), 'I found my voice.' But I don't think that she ever did find her voice.

"And I think that what she needs to do now -- and I know this sounds really strange, but -- if I were Hillary Clinton, I would go off to a retreat somewhere. ... A silent retreat. And I would stay there, I would take a sabbatical and stay there for three months, and not talk, and meditate, and think, and try to figure out who I really was and what I really wanted. I'm serious.

"I think that this is a tortured person who has run and run and run and gone for it and gone for it, and it's power, and it's this and it's that, 'I've got to be there.' There's never a moment where you see her relaxing, where you see her really stopping to smell the roses, stopping to say, 'Who am I and what is it that I want?'

"Maybe what she really needs is a wonderful, loving relationship with somebody instead of just going after power and being this ambitious person that I think she thinks she oughta be."
Wouldn't it be nice if our politicians actually had an identity outside of politics, a sense of who they are away from the power and the public image, and if they could stay grounded in that self-awareness even as they get swallowed up in the perpetual campaign cycles?

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