clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

David Brooks has a weird theory about why Hillary Clinton isn't more popular

David Brooks has a column detailing the "paradox" that Hillary Clinton, who was popular as secretary of state, has become less popular over time.

This is pretty clearly because as secretary of state she played as a kind of neutral representative of the United States on the world stage, whereas as a candidate for president she's disliked by Republicans to her right and Bernie Bros democratic socialists to her left.

But Brooks has another theory:

I would begin my explanation with this question: Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun? We know what Obama does for fun — golf, basketball, etc. We know, unfortunately, what Trump does for fun.

This made me curious what Clinton's hobbies are, so I went to a website called Google and searched for "Hillary Clinton hobbies." I found that she enjoys speed walking, gardening, crossword puzzles, and Scrabble, which seem like pretty normal hobbies for her demographic, much as playing golf and watching basketball on TV are pretty normal hobbies for someone like Barack Obama.

Further research reveals that Clinton watches Dancing With the Stars and that she loves her baby granddaughter. This is not hard to find out, and it's kind of boring.

Brooks's larger point, however, isn't that he can't Google to find out what Clinton's hobbies are — it's that she's too much of a workaholic. People don't like workaholics because "workaholics are so consumed by their professional activities that their feelings don’t inform their most fundamental decisions."

And here I think we get to the sexist double standards that really do explain why Clinton is likely somewhat less popular than one might expect a similarly situated politician to be. For a would-be woman president to let her decisions be driven by "feelings" and emotion could be deadly, as would the impression that she's a dilettante. She needs to be all-professional and extravagantly qualified for the job. And yet having done all that, she's now this dreary, uncool workaholic who should play more golf.

Watch: Obama is one of our most consequential presidents