When I first read that Hillary Clinton said we should have “empathy” for our enemies, my first thought was — is she senile? Who is she talking about? Empathy for Hitler? Pol Pot? Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? Surely if we only empathized with the ISIS leader a bit more, they wouldn’t be slicing off as many heads or placing as many women in sexual slavery, not to mention shooting large groups after having had them dig their own mass graves, Nazi-style. All that business about global jihad and caliphates and “see you in New York” would go away with a little sympathy. (Cue Mick Jagger.)
Yes, I know sympathy is often defined as “feeling for” someone and empathy “feeling into,” but let’s not get bogged down in minor distinctions. It’s hard for anyone with basic morality to have empathy or sympathy for ruthless transnational mass murderers motivated by extreme religious fanaticism. On Fox News Sunday, even Hillary’s normally complaisant supporter Jane Harman seemed repelled. George Will rose to her defense (sort of) by explaining Hillary’s peculiar word choice by saying Clinton employed “gaseous new-age rhetoric” about respect and empathy. True enough, and witty, but I suspect it’s more than that. Why would her mind even go in that direction?
Hillary, as most know now, is not a master of the English language in general She misspeaks herself frequently or simply reacts, as in the “what difference does it make?” outburst about Benghazi. In this way she is following in the footsteps of Bush 43 and Obama, neither of whom could be mistaken for Demosthenes, although Obama had some Greek pretensions in his scenic design preferences.
Bush stumbled with words because of weak linguistic facility he often joked about. For Obama it was something considerably worse, almost always to do with deception. He frequently lies and almost never speaks with candor, so ultimately the normal reaction is to tune him out, as most have at this point.
For Hillary, the problem is she no longer knows what she thinks — an absolute prescription for filling a void with “gaseous new-age rhetoric.” These days, it’s the first thing that comes to mind. You can almost see the wheels grinding when asked a question:
What did I think in the days of Saul Alinsky? What did I think back in Little Rock? What did I think when Bill was president, first term, second term? Should I bake cookies? Why did Monica keep that dress? How could I have left those billing records in the White house? Is this good in Ohio? What did I think when senator? When do the Watergate hearings start? What did I think when secretary of State? Is this a war zone? Am I under fire? What did Sergei Lavrov do with that reset button? Will Lanny Davis back me up on Fox? Why does Putin always show off his pecs? Is my old friend Suha still at the Bristol? I should ask Huma. What did Obama say? Should I be separating from him on this one or not?
Yes, like a pinball player, you can only handle so much. With all those different personas, opinions and rationalizations racing around in the brain, the machine overloads. And in Hillary’s case that machine is long overfilled, like one of those computer hard drives we’ve all junked. What we have here is not a “failure to communicate.” We have someone quite literally with nothing left to say — except perhaps “Elect me! Elect me! Elected me!” Oh, and by the way, I’m a woman.
So is half the rest of the human race. Do they all get to be president?