Hillary’s world

first_imgThat’s Hillary’s problem. She works at the likability thing, and has done a good job these last few years of making herself look more human and less political. But deep down, people will always harbor the suspicion that she’s a cynical, calculating manipulator; every act of home-spun charm the product of focus-group testing. And all it takes is the emergence of one embarrassing anecdote to undo all those efforts at sincerity and compassion. According to The Times of London, Socks – the Clintons’ White House cat – got the boot at the end of Bill’s term in office. The feline was shipped off to go live with Betty Currie, the president’s personal secretary during the Lewinsky affair. This, despite the success of Hillary’s book, “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets,” in which she claimed that the White House didn’t “become a home” until Socks joined the family. In that same book, Clinton also urged readers to think of pets as an “adoption instead of an acquisition.” Will the discarded Socks come to be seen as a metaphor for Clintonism? Should all the groups Hillary has adopted into her campaign – gays, Chinese-Americans, middle Americans, women voters, moderates – fear being dumped as soon as their political utility has expired? Little things mean a lot in politics. That’s why Socks was brought into the Clinton limelight in the first place. The Clintons understand that symbols matter much more than platforms to much of the electorate. Socks was a way to show just how loving Bill and Hillary really are. Now, it seems, he may have served his purpose all too well. A Clinton campaign smear? A significant flap on the campaign trail this past week has been Sen. Obama’s appearances with gospel singer/pastor Donnie McClurkin. Gay-rights groups and Clinton supporters have denounced the appearance, calling McClurkin “anti-gay.” But if one takes a look at his history and what he’s actually said, it seems that McClurkin is being smeared in an effort to damage Obama. First, a little context: When McClurkin was 8, his uncle raped him. When he was 13, his uncle’s son – that is, his cousin – raped him again. Naturally, this led to profound sexual confusion and disturbance, which plagued McClurkin for the rest of his life, and has included struggles with homosexuality. The way McClurkin sees it, he was not born gay. He wrestled with and suffered from sexual confusion because of his abuse. Later, he would find peace in his faith. And now he wants to share that peace with others who suffer the way he did. No, McClurkin is not out to “change” people against their will. “If you’re gay, and you’re happy, if you don’t think you need to change, stay just how you are,” he said. “But there are some people who are in the gay and bisexual lifestyle that are broken; that’s why the suicide rate is so high.” And when he speaks of change, he’s not so much talking about altering people’s inclinations as much as reforming the way they respond to them. You might disagree with McClurkin’s take, but you can’t argue with his experience – and there are many others he’s ministered to who feel the same way. It’s not “hate” to want to bring what has brought you peace to others who crave it. Moreover, McClurkin has been critical of Christians who pick on gays, or pretend that their sins are worse than anybody else’s. “You’ve got the church people who are lambasting and so demeaningly preaching hard against the person and not the sin. You’ve got the preachers calling them names,” he says. “We become harsh and we haven’t portrayed the love of Jesus Christ.” Instead, McClurkin says, “we’ve got to address (gays and lesbians) and we’ve got to love them, we’ve got to nurture them and we’ve got to embrace them. And we can’t judge them.” What’s more, if it’s really so disgraceful that Obama would even associate with him, what does it say that McClurkin performed at Bill Clinton’s Democratic National Convention in 1992? Chris Weinkopf, the Daily News’ editorial-page editor, blogs at insidesocal.com/friendlyfire. Write to him by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Sure. Anyone care to guess how many people “consigned to the margins” in other ethnic groups are making $2,000 contributions to HRC `08? Given her massive lead, both in money and in the polls, Clinton seems all but destined to win the Democratic nomination. All that could derail her is a major gaffe – or a scandal. If I were Barack Obama, I’d be sending investigators to Chinatown … Hillary’s cat problem In politics, personality often trumps everything else. Americans loved Ronald Reagan, just as they loved Bill Clinton, less for ideology than for personality. It’s why Arnold is a star and Davis was a bum; why Villaraigosa is a hero and Hahn a goat. It’s why W beat Gore and Kerry, and why Obama is even a contender. It helps to be likeable. China girl Amazingly, New York’s Chinatown happens to be a major fundraising hot spot for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The Los Angeles Times reports that legions of dishwashers, waiters and other low-wage earners in the area have been ponying up large donations for the New York senator’s war chest. Who knew Hillary could inspire such support from poor Chinese-American laborers? Or, perhaps, I should say, Hsu knew? Still, despite doing a solid job of exposing all the seedy ways this money may have changed hands – including pressure from the Chinese Mafia – the Times holds out hope for Hillary, noting that she was able to raise the cash through “appeals to the hopes and dreams of people now consigned to the margins.” last_img