April 12th, 2008
11:01 PM ET

Carl Bernstein's View: A Hillary Clinton presidency


Editor's Note:  Carl Bernstein is a CNN analyst and author of A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  He is also the author, with Bob Woodward, of All the President's Men and The Final Days, and, with Marco Politi, of His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time.  Here, he writes a commentary on the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. For an opposing viewpoint from former Clinton lawyer Lanny J. Davis, click here.


What will a Hillary Clinton presidency look like?

The answer by now seems obvious: It will look like her presidential campaign, which in turn looks increasingly like the first Clinton presidency.

Which is to say, high-minded ideals, lowered execution, half truths, outright lies (and imaginary flights), take-no prisoners politics, some very good policy ideas, a presidential spouse given to wallowing in anger and self-pity, and a succession of aides and surrogates pushed under the bus when things don’t go right. Which is to say, often.

And endless psychodrama: the essential Clintonian experience that mesmerizes the press, confuses the citizenry, confounds members of both parties in Congress (not to mention the Clintons themselves, at times) and pretty much keeps the rest of the world constantly amused and fixated.

Such a picture of Clinton Redux is, by definition, speculation. But it is speculation based on the best evidence at hand: the demonstrable and familiar record of Hillary and Bill Clinton coupled together in Permanent Campaign-mode for a generation, waging a continuous fight on the national political stage since 1992, an unceasing campaign for the White House, for redemption, for their ideas (sometimes) and for themselves (almost always), especially in 2008.

The basic dynamics of the campaign, except for the Clintons’ vast new-found personal wealth and its challenges, have been near-constant since they arrived in Washington: through Whitewater, health care, the battle of the budget, the culture wars, the tax returns released only under duress, the travel office, Monica, impeachment, the pardons and through Hillary Clinton’s often repugnant presidential campaign.

In many ways, the characteristic tone, secrecy, and resilience of the Clinton political march have been determined more by Hillary Clinton than by her husband, reflecting her deepest attributes and attitudes, fermented in recognition of the antipathy held against both of them, and often, the foul tactics of their enemies. As an aide put it (quoted in my book, A Woman In Charge: the Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton):

“She doesn’t look at her life as a series of crises but rather a series of
battles. I think of her viewing herself in more heroic terms, an epic
character like in The Iliad, fighting battle after battle. Yes, she succumbs
to victimization sometimes, in that when the truth becomes
too painful, when she is faced with the repercussions of her own
mistakes or flaws, she falls into victimhood. But that’s a last resort
and when she does allow the wallowing it’s only in the warm glow
of martyrdom—as a laudable victim—a martyr in the tradition of
Joan of Arc, a martyr in the religious sense. She would much
rather play the woman warrior—whether it’s against the bimbos,
the press, the other party, the other candidate, the right-wing.
She’s happiest when she’s fighting, when she has identified the
enemy and goes into attack mode. . . . That’s what she thrives on
more than anything—the battle.”

The latest transmutation of leadership in the campaign of Hillary Clinton for president –- Mark Penn’s departure or non-departure, be it window dressing or window cleaning –- is perhaps the best index we have of the more absurd aspects of her candidacy and evidence of its increasing bankruptcy.

The Clinton folks asserted to donors and reporters alike that this second “shake-up” in eight weeks at the very top of the campaign apparat represents some kind of great electoral moment, an opportunity for Hillary to state her case “more positively,” as if the negative approach had been forced on her; the beginning of yet another “turnaround” as if Penn, rather than Hillary (and Bill), has been the big problem. As if Penn were not an appendage of his two patrons, as if he were some kind of independent contractor twisting the candidate’s arm to do what comes unnaturally to her. The willingness of so much of the press, sensitized to the Clintons’ off-center complaints about one-sided coverage, to buy into this line is stunning.

In fact, the demotion of Penn –- like the departure of Hillary’s acolyte Patty Solis Doyle as campaign manager –- is a confession that, for all her claims of “experience” and leadership abilities, Hillary Clinton has now presided over two disastrous national enterprises, the most important professional undertakings of her adult life, both of which she began with ample wind at her back: the healthcare reform of her husband’s presidency, and now her own campaign for the White House. These two failures -– and the demonizing of her opponents in both instances –- may be the best indication of the kind of President she would be, especially when confronted (inevitably) by unanticipated difficulty and/or entrenched opposition to her ideas and programs.

It is exactly under such circumstances that she usually resorts to the worst excesses that mark her in full warrior-mode - and all its scorched-earth, truth-be-damned manifestations. Bosnia, anyone? Smearing the women involved (or even thought to be involved) sexually with her husband. Responding to Barack Obama with the same mindset, disdain, and arsenal as she did Karl Rove and Lee Atwater, as if Obama’s politics and methodologies were as mendacious and vicious as theirs–and her own. Tax information kept secret (in 1992 to hide her profits from trading in cattle futures; in 2008 to shield the identities of Bill’s foreign clients.) A campaign that openly boasts of throwing “the kitchen sink” at her opponent.

What you see is what you get: Hillary’s cynical view of the larger interests of the Democratic Party, exhibited in her 3 a. m. red telephone ad. And her simultaneous, incongruous suggestion that Barack Obama –- notwithstanding his supposed lack of national security qualifications to be commander-in-chief -– would make a good vice president on her ticket.

And, yes, a sense of entitlement that veritably shouts, “Look, because I believe in good things, and because of all I’ve been through, I deserve to win this.”

And yet, there is no denying that, compared to the Bush years, the accomplishments of the Clinton presidency, in which she was an elemental force (and generalissimo in the often successful fight against the forces of “the vast right-wing conspiracy”) are prodigious, marked by peace and prosperity, whatever the price of the Clintons’ methodologies and personal failings.

In projecting what a Hillary Clinton presidency would look like, there is the conundrum of her senatorial tenure and what had appeared to be a surcease in her Pavlovian resort to trench warfare: a period in which -– until the day drew near for her to announce her presidential candidacy –- she seemed (to her oldest friends, certainly) happier and more at ease, and straightforward in her public dealings, and less guarded, than at any point in her life since she followed Bill Clinton to Arkansas.

Hillary Clinton’s unique star power, her performance as a senator and fundraiser on behalf of her party are what gave legitimacy to the idea that she might be a credible presidential candidate: all premised on her changed demeanor in the Senate years, compared to her embattled tenure as first lady. As a steward of her state’s interest, and a patient student of senatorial compromise and collegiality, she was widely commended by former skeptics in Congress and the press.

True, her most revealing moment as a senator of national consequence was the vote she cast to authorize George W. Bush to go to war, which she’s been trying to explain since with dubious credibility. (“If I knew now what I knew then,” etc.) Twenty-one of her fellow Democratic senators had no doubts about what Bush intended, and voted against the authorization.

The second most revealing moment was her endorsement of legislation to make flag-burning illegal, the kind of pandering she once attacked right-wing Republicans of practicing. Meanwhile, she and her husband have regularly misrepresented their own postures and statements in the run-up to the war, as well as Obama’s record, with Bill Clinton claiming to have been against the war from the start, and Hillary saying she has consistently been more adamant in her opposition than Obama -– except for the matter of his single “speech” against the war before it started.

The assumption of many senatorial colleagues, former Clinton aides, and reporters (including this one) was that her presidential campaign would be much different from the one she and Bill Clinton waged through the White House years.

In A Woman in Charge, I wrote about her ability to evolve, observable especially in the years before she met Bill Clinton and in the Senate: to learn from her mistakes. Events have proven me wrong on that count.

The 2008 Clinton campaign, in fact, has been an exercise in devolution, back to the angry, demonizing, accusatory Hillary Clinton of the worst days of the Clinton presidency, flailing, and furtive, and disingenuous; and, as in the White House years, putting forth programs and ideas worthy of respect and deserving of the kind of substantive debate she claims she wants her race against Barrack Obama to be based upon.

Bill, meanwhile, has taken up Hillary’s old role as defender and apologist, with disinformation and misinformation, but (far less effectively than she defended him). Also with near-apoplectic tirades that have left their friends worried and wondering.

In the process of their search-and-destroy mission against Barack Obama, the Clintons have pursued a strategy that at times seems deliberately aimed at undermining Obama’s credibility if he becomes John McCain’s opponent — heresy in the view of an increasing number of the Clintons’ former suppporters and aides, a suprising number of whom now back Obama.

The choice ahead -– in Pennsylvania, and the remaining primary states, and for the super delegates, and perhaps even the arbiters of a deadlocked convention -– is clear enough at this point, at least in terms of what the 2008 Clinton campaign is about: the Clintons - plural. Theirs is a campaign for Restoration to the White House, not simply the election of Hillary Clinton. Theirs is, has always been, a joint enterprise, a see-saw routine in which the psyches and actions of each balances the board according to the personal dynamics of the moment.

A long-time associate of the Clintons, with whom Hillary has consulted in their quest to return to the White House, said early in her campaign: “She has a very plausible case for president. She had an eight-year super-graduate course in the presidency, a progressive platform…” He paused, and added: “[But] I’m not sure I want the circus back in town.”

That is what the Hillary for President campaign has become: the whole Clinton three-ring circus, with little evidence that moving back to the White House will alter that most basic fact.

– Carl Bernstein

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Ramesh


    Perfectly timed, perfectly written.

    This womans presidency would be run EXACTLY the way this campaing was run. Confrontational, partisan and brutally divisive. Oh and this would be in addition to her colossal mismanagement of people and resources.

    Best of luck people!!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Elva

    "We're oppressed as hades and we're not gonna take it any more."

    Women are sick and tired of settling for a lesser candidate when the best man for the job happens to be a woman.

    These type of sexist diatribes only motivate her supporters more. Lanny Davis has it right in response

    And no Carl. You don't have another book sale here. So you can stop pumping free ads for your book.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  3. A. Freeman

    Well said, and thank you Mr. Bernstein

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  4. Jeanne

    I don't even want to think about another Clinton presidency. Just say NO!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  5. Steve in California

    It's difficult to digest any of Carl Bernstein's Hillary bashing rants. He's so transparent in his contempt and hatred, I tune out whenever he speaks. CNN and Carl should make more of an effort to appear objective.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  6. JoAnne MN

    Carl must be trying to sell his book. No thank you!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  7. Nan

    So Mr Berstein,
    How about you also talk about Rev Wright, "Bitter Controversy" , Rezko, Michelle obama's comments and so on.....
    Hillary can create change not Obama. He just know how to give speechs.
    It'll be funny when Obama gets to the Whitehouse. What is he going to do then?
    Get prepared for another Bush

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  8. Eileen,Canada

    Another biased Clinton hater

    A lot of men just don't want a women president. But they would rather settle for a racist, elitist that we are just beginning to learn about.

    The media has not done theri job of investigating Obama more. If all these controversies were about Hillary Clinton she would have been asked to step down...double standard here....
    how about some unbiased reporting for a change. Lou Dobbs said it right on tonights show about Obama.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  9. Mary Ann, Atlanta


    We get it. You're just not that into her. Now move on.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  10. Karen

    Mercedes said Hillary Clinton is a remarkable woman. She may have some remarkable accomplishments to her credit, but she is a LIAR as well. She is extremely deceptive, coniving, and not trustworthy. Everytime she tells a story about someone she met on the campaign trail, I seriously doubt it. We need a president we can believe in. That requires honesty. Simply stated, she is a phony. . . certainly not presidential material.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  11. paul

    wow! spot on, carl!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  12. jonathan

    If only she would campaign in Dallas.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  13. Edward in CA

    Pat Newcomb, you must not understand anything about politics, or not understand anything about New York. Hillary Clinton would not have been elected to office in her own state. So she carpet bagged in New York to get elected, and leveraged her liberal cronies in the state to make it happen.

    Further, every political expert, even those working in her campaign, characterize her presidential campaign to be one of great folly, mismanagement, disorganization, and incompetence. If that's who you want running the country, then we are in for some serious trouble.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  14. JJ

    Is this what an Obama presidency promises. If you say his middle name you will be put on a list.

    I’m going to keep posting until CNN stops censoring me.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  15. jeff

    Carl Bernstein speaks the truth.

    I recommend his extremely fair and balanced biography of HC to anyone who wants to know the pro's and con's of her background.

    BC is the kind of baggage no President needs to have around.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  16. JJ


    April 14, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  17. Edward in CA

    Thank you Mr. Bernstein, very well said.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  18. Pat Newcomb

    This is a tough article and hard to take. I wonder what the Clinton's did to the writer to make him so hateful. Sadly, I did not see anything in this article referring to his personal experience of this behavior. I respect the fact that there is some sort of axe to grind here, but there are so many statements stated so definitively that it's hard to separate fact from speculation.

    How does the writer answer the fact that Hillary Clinton was elected to the US Senate ON HER OWN – TWICE? Her re-election required her to win over hundreds of thousands of residents of small towns, farmers, factory workers AND small business owners. These folks can see through to someone's character pretty quickly and they must have liked what they saw. How does the writer answer the fact that Hillary Clinton sponsored or co-sponsored so many pieces of legislation – some of which requiring her to sit down across the table with arch rivals and philosophical enemies?

    As to management of the campaign - in the end, the voters and the delegates have to like what they see. Campaigns will be judged on the ends and not the means. A "well-run" campaign for a candidate who loses because he routinely exhibits his disdain for typical white people, blue collar workers and people from small towns and rural areas will end up in the dustbin of history just like every other second place.

    April 14, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  19. Terri

    Thank you, Mr. Bernstein. I was beginning to think that there was no one left who has actually been paying attention for the last few decades. Everything you've written is spot on and I'm simply baffled that more people can't see through it all.

    It saddens me that with the Democratic line-up we had this year, candidates far more worthy were all but ignored next to the Clinton whirlwind. It's a shame that circus has pre-empted serious issue considerations in elections more and more. Let's hope more people turn away from the manipulated distractions and distorted spin and realize that the last thing we need at this time is a return of the Clintons to the White House, and I say that as someone who voted for Bill twice.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  20. Deb

    Actually, I like the idea of Hillary as a warrior. Who wants an elitist wimp who can't bowl, talks about arugula, and thinks you take a six-shooter into a duck blind, as president?

    April 14, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  21. Independent Citizen

    Berstein, as always, stands up for objectivity and the American people. This is a well written, well researched perspective on Hillary's political life and style.
    I am an Independant voter and will vote for Obama. I see Barack as intelligent as Bill without the baggage. Hillary is too much of a control-freak to manage a Presidency. She would make a much better Chief of Staff. I would say she would have made a good leader of the DNC, but I think she has burned that bridge (among many).

    April 14, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  22. marc1a

    Boy...Such an ugly picture of a Clinton presidency. You know, it wasn't too long ago, and from what I remember, things were not so bad. In fact, for me personally and I suspect for many of you reading this, it was the best time of my life economically speaking. I can't believe what s short memory this country has. Sure, some mistakes were made, but do you people and the media really think Obama is not going to make mistakes. The media like AC, Matthews and Olbermann are so in love with Obama that they're willing to forget their journalistic duties, and do their part to influence the electorate. They stack their shows and their blogs with contributors or "experts" that are clearly in the tank for Obama. They are always quick to offer a defense of an Obama gaffe but relentlessly analyze Clinton's. This is total BS and the country is catching up to it. Obama supporters may own the internet but that doesn't mean the rest of the country doesn't see what's happening and Obama will not stand a chance in November without the support of Hillary supporters.

    April 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  23. Bit

    One more thing Carl:

    I have read all the Whitewater scandals and other scandals that went on with the Clintons during Bill's terms as Governor (Mena) and President. In all the scandals, there were peple that were killed that knew too much and who disagreed with the Clintons. I said all of this to say this-watch yourself so that you won' t become a VICTIM at the hands of the Clintons.

    Well done!

    April 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  24. Peggy

    This very insightful look at a "Clinton White House" was admirable! Thanks for putting into such eloquent words- things that I have been thinking and feeling since this election process started.
    I was a Clinton supporter in 1992 and 1996, but cannot in good conscience support Hillary this election.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  25. ibrahim

    The truth will win. If Barack is not elected, then America loses. You don't need to be an Obama supporter to know that. Hilary is doing everything just to spoil this man. Why can't we open our eyes?. In short enough is enough, we are tired and frustrated. Barack needs to be carefull because this woman is dangerous. God, oh God save us.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  26. Barry Koch,Va. Beach, Va.

    As insightful and as well written as Mr. Bernstein's book...the Clinton's would rather desroy Obama if they can not return to the white house... its always about them not what is best for the country..how sad..but then Hillary showed her true character when she refused to follow her instructions on the impeachment staff of Richard Nixon..and was discharged as a result..why is that never mentioned ???

    April 14, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  27. Mercedes

    Ho hum......yawn.......I don't have time for all these words.

    Mr Bernstein's words started sucking the life out of me by the end of the first paragraph.

    Hillary Clinton is a remarkable woman who has been conducting a fantastic campaign. I know where she stands and I hear her challenge for all of us to help her get this Congress and all the special interests moving in a direction to benefit all of us.

    Nothing else matters unless you make your living talking and writing in Washington DC. You can't show more than you know. So get out and see and EXPERIENCE the real country Mr Bernstein, Mr Obama, and all the other movers and shakers who think they have seen the light and must tell the rest of us how to live and what to think.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  28. Angelita

    Obviously Bernstein is capitalizing via his writings about Hillary Cllinton. Should she get the democratic nomination, why not call his next book Hillary Potter: " A Clinton's Thirst for Power .". I hope she really wins so that it will be a slam dunk in his face. It's time he ends his Hillary hatred and get a real life.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  29. Chuk Walton

    I get the impression that Bill and Hillary will kill to win the ultimate prize of their career. It is an ugly scene. McCain smirks through it all. After the Bush disaster, how could it be. McCain might as well have Hillary as Vice President.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  30. max

    Carls sounds angry. I give him credit for his work in the past but every singlr sentance was an attack line...not much of an analysis...it is obvious who he is voting for...

    this article just sounds a little over the top angry

    April 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  31. Steven Mays

    Very well written article. However, Mr. Bernstein forgets to mention Mrs. Clinton's flip-flop opinion of the Second Ammendment. If Im not mistaken, isnt Hillary one of Sarah Brady's best friends? Everyone should remember Mrs. Brady's total, almost fanatical, commitment to nationwide gun bans. Keep in mind the name Evan Bayh, he is a former Indiana Governor who is trying his best to become the Clinton choice for V.P. Pro-gun?, a staunch Clinton supporter, Mr. Bayh is also the loudest mouth-piece for all of the anti-gun, anti-hunting, special interest groups. I know it may be hard for some to fathom, but could it be that Hillary's sudden "fond memories" of hunting and target shooting as a child are simply one more in the string of lies? Sniper fire, " I support a strong military", ( psst..it was the Clintons who initiated the BRAC process that cut our troop strenght to almost a quarter of where it should be, why do you think the deployments and tours of duty are so long and so frequent?), taxes, Whitewater, Monica, ( I thought you werent some little woman standing by her man, like Tammy Wynette?)..hmmm..so far the track record is'nt looking too good...and last but certainly not least..what did really happen to Vince Foster?..I never have bought into the whole "He shot himself in the back of the head with a shotgun" theory..it just isnt possible. The list goes on and on...NAFTA..the LIncoln bedroom...oh yes, probably the biggest most blatant lie of all...remember when Hillary first ran for the Senate?..what was it she said with a straight face to all in earshot and camera range?.."Absolutely NOT, I HAVE NO PLANS WHATSOEVER TO EVER RUN FOR THE PRESIDENCY"...hmmm, How can there be anyone, possibly, who thinks Hillary is NOT a liar who's sole purpose in life is ..simply..to serve herself and no one else.?

    April 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  32. robert

    It has been obvious for quite some time that Bernstein had an axe to grind against the Clintons. The contempt oozed throughout his last book leaving stained and greasy fingertips as you turned each vindictive page. He has lost substantial credibility with this crusade, and would now have has bow to the condescending messiah Obama, who pisses on rural white women in Pennsylvannia as he jabs the air with an elite finger lecturing Americans on the 'change' he intends to bring. Why don't you tell us about the back door money Obama plied from Abramoff's law firm while cascading invective against Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing. What people need to know is that these DC journalists are in on the take and Bernstein is just another pig lining up at the Obama trough. Give me a break!

    April 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm |
  33. Robert Dalton

    Thank you, CNN, for putting Mr. Bernsteins remarks on your site. I'm almost as proud of you as the night I spent with Bernie and the Boys watching the Coalition aircraft bombing Baghdad. At last, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  34. Lisa

    I live in Illinois and chose to support Obama. It was not an easy decision since I would love to see a woman become President in my lifetime. In the beginning of primary season, I simply preferred him to Hillary Clinton because of his integrity and his courage to say what needs to be said. In short, I just liked him a bit more.

    As the primaries continued on, my respect for Hillary Clinton began to dwindle. I began to see what the Republicans disliked so much about her (which I used to see as only a witch-hunt to decrease Bill's popularity at the time). By contrast, my respect for Obama has increased proportionately to my growing dislike for Hillary. Each time she attacks him without judgment or mercy, he comes back stronger than before.

    In short, Hillary is putting her personal ambitions before everything else, including the Democratic Party, this country as a whole, and what's left of her integrity. The only way she could recoup any respect from me at all would be to drop out of the race – – immediately and with grace.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  35. JD

    "the accomplishments of the Clinton presidency, in which she was an elemental force (and generalissimo in the often successful fight against the forces of “the vast right-wing conspiracy”) are prodigious, marked by peace and prosperity"

    Excuse me, but what did the Clinton's do in their terms to foster this? Did they bring down the Iron Curtain? Did they create the massive 'peace dividend'? As far as the economy goes they governed over the largest stock bubble in history, the effects of which we are still feeling today – the massive credit bubble we are suffering from today can be traced back to the zero interest rates created by Greenspan in response to the stock bubble and the unchecked growth of Fannie and Freddie under Clinton's watch. Did they pass Kyoto? Bush gets blasted by Gore today on this and why didn't they pass it on their watch? What did they do except coast along during some pretty good times?

    April 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  36. jake

    No matter what you say, Obama, if he's the nominee will not beat
    Mcain, Obama has lot's of lies, the worst of all, the Wright controversy.
    How could we have a President who has ties with a Pastor who teaches hates, who hate Jews, white people and America. Why he could not disown people who are racist? The Wright issue will surface
    again in the General Election if Obama is the nominee and this controversy is still in the minds of millions of voters.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  37. Larry

    Thanks Carl for a great article. Finally, some truthful analysis of the Clintons without fear. Much appreciated. And Roger, if you think Obama can't beat McBush then are you saying Billory can? That's delusional. No way she can win. No way. Why do you think everyone, including Fox News and Rush jump on Obama at everyone opportunity to try and destroy him. Granted they are racist but they really want to run against Billory. You think John Kerry was attacked and swift-boated, just wait. Both of them will be attacked unmercifully and unfairly. But that's Republican politics. Thanks Karl Rove. They know McBush will be trounced by Obama, they fear him. Not her.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  38. JMR PhD

    As an amateur psychologist, I can't decide if both the Clintons suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder or a borderline personality disorder, the latter characterized by: re-writing personal history, a strong sense of victimhood and betrayal by others "for no good reason," constant accusation and devaluation of others, inability to *really* feel others' pain, treating others like Kleenex: to be used and abandoned, hair-trigger, bottomless rage, a sense of entitlement, and a corresponding demand that if they are "over it" (anger, lies, various sins) then everyone should be "over it"–because it really didn't happen anyway. All of this appears to be driven by abandonment issues and loss of approval–hence the frantic need to be in the adoring public eye.
    But we get what we deserve: our whole American culture is absorbing these characteristics, and, as we do, losing our ability to survive as a nation.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  39. MikeyC

    There is a morbid part of me that wants to see the Presidency unfold like a reality show on VH1.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  40. Holly

    Wow! Can you take out an ad in a Pennsylvania newspaper? That would be wo wonderful! You go, Carl.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  41. j

    Not for nothing, but 8 years ago the election was botched and look what happened. Welcome to the the Bush Admin. I'm not saying she's a perfect fit (or a totally honest one), but at least she's a known evil. Obama has great spirit and ideas, but can he deliver? I'm also not big on his high and mighty attitude that he presents, what makes him better than any one of us? He speaks grandly, but always with a mocking tone. I just feel a known political agenda is better than one no one has ever seen.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  42. GG

    Every comment I have heard out of this pundit's mouth has been anti-Hillary. He and Dick Morris make interesting bedfellows.

    April 14, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  43. Brendan Wilson

    Not exactly Pulitzer-worthy analysis there, Carl. You are simply repeating everything that the Republicans have been saying about the Clintons for the last 15 years or so. They are ambitious, manipulative and duplicitous ...and this is NOT news. Neither you nor the readers that are cheering you on had any complaints when the Clinton methods were being targeted at Republicans. How come?

    April 14, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  44. Debi

    Thank you, Mr Bernstein, for telling it like it is. The likely scenario for Hillary has resulted in this sequence:
    1. No way can this nobody compete with me !
    2. No way can he outraise me with some little online donations !
    3. Our backers need to put up or shut up !
    4. We have to bend every rule in the book to stop this !
    5. Find or create some dirt so I can make him disappear !
    6. If I'm going down, I'll bring him down with me !

    April 14, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  45. beth

    The best analysis I have read on the Clintons modus-operandi. Carl has put into context, with sound rational, why so many of us get a creepy feeling about this candidate. One can only hope more of our party will see this and votes accordingly. Bravoo, Carl !!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 at 8:12 am |
  46. lynn

    This should be on the regular political ticker not buried away!!

    April 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  47. dawn

    Frankly, it is amazing to me that there are still people in Pennsylvania, or anywhere else, who would still vote for her after the blatant lies she has told. Now she is jumping all over Obama for telling the truth about the people who are bitter, because they continue to get beat down by their government. Presto...she has turned herself into a gun-slinging, whiskey drinking Pennsylvanian. How can she live with herself?

    April 13, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  48. Dionne M.

    Thank you. Hillary Clinton should not be at the helm.

    April 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  49. deb813

    Roger I don't think you read this post, because if you had you would realize that a second Clinton presidency is a pipe dream. It was a pipe dream after Obama won 11 contests in a row. It was a pipe dream during the four different recounting of her Bosnia story. And it is a pipe dream today.

    April 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  50. Mary, Dallas, Texas

    As they say in the Baptist, "Let the church say Amen".

    April 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
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