Nixon in a Pantsuit
April 15th, 2015

I’m inclined to think that the Hillary-Nixon parallels are even better than people assume. She’s secretive; she’s ambitious; she’s been around public life for forever; she’s not an innately gifted politician; she’s making one last-gasp run at the Oval Office, which she’s obviously coveted her entire life. But perhaps most importantly, she’s tough like Nixon. And I mean that in the best possible sense.

Galley Friend J.S. points us to this smart blog post exploring the likenesses at length. My favorite passage comes at the end:

I think the biggest thing with Nixon is he could plausibly argue that he was right all along. In 1964 Goldwater ran on the slogan, “In your heart you know he right.” By 1968 most people had figured that out and could see it on their TV. Nixon did not have to make the same pitch because it was manifest. Voting for Nixon was, to a small degree, about normal people regaining control of their country.

Hillary, in contrast, has always been wrong. The one and only thing she has gotten right in 40 years is that Obama was not ready for the job. That’s the one thing she can’t say in this campaign.

I’m not sure this is right, or fair to either Hillary or Obama. (She’s gotten a few other things right–marrying Bill!–and Obama would say that his presidency has turned out to be consequential in exactly the ways he had hoped, even if the rest of America doesn’t like the outcomes.) But it’s funny anyway.

Exit question: One of the things Republicans may underestimate about Hillary is this: If you went to your garden-variety Republican voter and told them that a Democrat was going to win the White House in 2016, but that they got to help choose which national Democrat it was, wouldn’t Hillary be at the top of their list? Wouldn’t Republicans vastly prefer Hillary to O’Malley, or Warren, or Harry Reid, or just about every other high-profile Democrat?

  1. Nedward April 15, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Surprised by your question. You don’t think character matters? I have heard registered Republicans say that the bright side of Pres. Obama was no Pres. Hillary (this was before he appointed her to State Dept. of course, and she & Chelsea’s sorority sisters burned the place down). What are your reference points for this belief? Beltway Republicans?

  2. REPLY
  3. Nedward April 15, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve been partial to the long-running Hillary-Madonna parallelism… Without even checking I’m sure this started with P.J. O’Rourke; but needs updating to incorporate fresh material like the Drake-reflux incident

  4. REPLY
  5. Fake Herzog April 15, 2015 at 7:27 pm


    The goal is to have a President who is NOT messianic. Hillary is definitely liberal, but she is also ruthless and appreciates how power works. Would President Hillary Clinton given us Obamacare? The “Russian reset”? The Iranian deal? Lifting the Cuban embargo? Executive order regarding immigration? We would have probably gotten something similar to the stimulus and maybe something as bad as Dodd-Frank.

    Yes, yes — this is all speculative alternative history. But it is in service of Jonathan’s point — true conservatives do care about character but character includes ideological beliefs.