Many of us have worried about whether Donald Trump is a loose cannon. We have feared that he might lose control and do something dangerous if he is elected to the White House. His recent temperate performances have, however, allayed many of these concerns.
The real wild person, it seems, is Hillary Clinton. Although she has been portrayed as steady and dependable, there is reason to believe this is a public relations ploy. Behind the scenes she is apparently erratic and grossly disorganized.
I, like many people, assumed, that whatever her failings, Hillary was consistent and predictable. She seemed to be a policy wonk who might be boring and misguided, but at least was disciplined and stable. Now I have concluded that this too is an act.
Hillary’s aptitude for deceit has long been common knowledge. At least since her denials about Gennifer Flowers being Bill’s mistress, it has been clear that she is an accomplished liar. But that she has an uncontrollable temper, this was news to me.
Gary Byrne’s book “Crisis of Character” has been a revelation. He was one of the Secret Service’s Uniformed Guards during much of the Clinton administration. Standing, as he frequently did, by the door of the Oval Office, he was a first-hand witness to shenanigans that should not be associated with the presidency.
Although I was aware that Hillary threw a temper tantrum when she discovered Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, I did not suspect that fits of this sort were commonplace. I heard that she threw something at her husband’s head, but I did not realize this had occurred before.
Evidently Secretary Clinton has an explosive personality. According to Byrne, she often became enraged when things went wrong. So violent were her mood swings, that her subordinates were afraid to inform her of snafus. Isn’t this revealing? Doesn’t it explain why she often seems not to realize the nature of her mistakes?
Moreover, if Byrne is correct, Hillary has always relied on sycophants. Her need to be Queen Bee is so persistent that she requires constant deference. This may be the reason her current entourage is so large. It also makes it clear why so many of her subordinates are second-rate.
Is this what we want in the White House? Do we need a president whose character defects make it likely that she will be told only what she wants to hear? If so, she will probably make as many mistakes as chief executive as she did as first lady. Hillary, it turns out, is congenitally incompetent.
On top of this, she is even more self-centered than her husband. Byrne still feels the pain of having been thrown under the bus by the Clintons. He wonders how, for the sake of their reputations, they allowed the careers of so many of those who protected them to be trashed.
Neither of the Clintons is genuinely compassionate. Both are obsessively ambitious. As a result, they do not notice the destruction they leave in their wake. If others have to be sacrificed on the altar of their ruthlessness, they are not about to shed a tear.
The difference between Hillary and Bill is that he is likeable, whereas she is not. He could charm a frightened cat down a tree, while she would scare it up to a higher branch. Hillary appears to be mean because she is. The phony smile she puts on for the cameras really is phony.
Do you remember that reset button Hillary trotted out for the Russians. At the time, it seemed that her diplomacy had accidently hit an iceberg. In retrospect, this was no accident. It was a consequence of her haphazard style and inability to surround herself with capable people.
If she does the same as president, the damage will be much greater. Worse still might befall us if she has a tantrum while making foreign policy decisions. In other words, she is the loose cannon. She is the one whose finger we do not want on the nuclear trigger.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University