What made Hillary stronger?

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails are revealing almost entirely by virtue of what is written to her. Fearful of the medium, even on a private server, Clinton herself rarely wrote anything more prolix or profound than “pls. print” or “interesting.”

But once, during the maelstrom following the Benghazi attacks, Clinton wrote: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so I’ve rationalized for years.”

We can only speculate about the list of things that might have “killed” Hillary Clinton, but instead made her stronger. I speculate that Bill Clinton has a place at the top of the list.

It turns out that the Clinton campaign is using “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson as one of its theme songs. Fred Schwartz reports that it played repeatedly over the PA system at Hillary’s “relaunch” event this weekend while the crowd waited for The Queen to appear.

Schwartz also notes that the opening line of the song is “You know the bed feels warmer, sleeping here alone . . . ”

As for the song’s title, it usually amounts to self-pity masquerading as bravado. The cliche typically is more of a lament about indignities suffered than a convincing prediction of triumphs to come. Hillary’s add-on — “or so I have rationalized for years” — seems to affirm as much.

Self-pity isn’t uncommon in a president. It’s on display with the current one.

But self-pity is rare in a successful presidential candidate. Richard (you won’t have) Nixon (to kick around) is the only example I can think of off-hand. Look how that turned out.

We are, however, a society in which self-pity no longer is much despised. Among those on whose votes she will depend, Hillary Clinton probably gains appeal by virtue of having been serially cheated on by her husband and by having been so roundly attacked by her political adversaries. It all makes her a fellow victim.

These indignities are also central to Clinton’s claim to be a “fighter,” even if it’s not clear what fight she waged against her cheating husband. Enabler, yes; fighter, no.

If I’m right, though, victim status is more important to Hillary’s narrative than fighter status. She has lived too easy an economic life (first off of Arkansas taxpayers, then off of American taxpayers, and finally off “Clinton cash”) to feel the pain of poor Americans or of the struggling middle class.

Yet Hillary’s personal life hasn’t been so easy. Thus, she connects with millions of unmarried and/or unhappy women.

What hasn’t killed her can make her their “champion,” or so she hopes.

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