Understanding why people love Obama but hate Clinton

I am trying to understand the factors behind why people love Obama but hate Clinton. Writing this while on the go so please feel free to share corrections/feedback.

The most recent net favorability ratings are:

Obama is +8% [44% unfavorable, 52% favorable].

Clinton is -10% [53% unfavorable, 43% favorable].

Trump is -26% [61% unfavorable, 35% favorable].

Between Clinton and Trump, one could hypothesize that despite factors like sexism, general lack of trust in the government, scandals, a negative Clinton brand etc., Clinton’s still beating Trump. But let’s ignore Trump for a moment, as his numbers distort everything.

Back in 2008 I voted for Obama because he was an anti-war candidate who promised to end the wars and bring our troops home. But instead he simply “converted” the troops into contractors and has started new wars and military operations in Libya, Syria and provides support to a horrible anti-civilian war in Yemen. He intensified covert drone operations, killed many civilians and also ordered the extra-judicial assassinations of US citizens without any due process. Nobel Peace Prize!

I voted for Obama because I was upset about Bush’s expanded Patriot Act and the warrantless wiretapping program which was illegal and violated the US constitution. Not only did he pardon all entities involved in it, he instead oversaw one of the deepest, widest expansion of domestic surveillance programs while also being the most secretive administration in US history, persecuting more whistleblowers than all other Presidents combined. In the most recent Apple vs the FBI case, Obama has very clearly stated that he believes the government should have a “master key”, and blanket access to all secure communication to “combat terrorism”.

I voted for Obama because I wanted health care reform. I spent hours reviewing and monitoring the changes to the H.R.3962 as it became the Affordable Care Act. I wrote a detailed blog post about how I agreed with the provisions from a social good standpoint but I couldn’t see how it would bring costs down. I have gladly been on Obama care and I don’t know what I would’ve done without it, but I’ll also very much admit that it has become unaffordable and I struggle with the premiums and high deductibles and it’s only going to get worse.

I voted for Obama because I was afraid that there was a lack of meaningful accountability on Wall Street. Though most of Wall St just acted as any rational actors would and can’t be blamed, there were clearly some entities that willfully took advantage, misled others and made a lot of money while throwing the world into a recession. I was shocked that under him, not a single Wall St entity was prosecuted. There were lukewarm settlements that were a joke and most of the cases were thrown out because the prosecution didn’t bother to build a case. Not only did Obama ignore the demands of the highly energetic Occupy Wall St movement, he actually raised a shit load of money from Wall St for his 2012 bid.

Obama continues to strongly support TPP while most of the country is against it. To reflect popular sentiment, both Trump and Clinton oppose it. Yet Obama is seen favorably while Clinton is not.

If we look at Obama as an entity that was elected to meet certain promises that were made, in my view he has failed quite miserably. Now one can of course explain why he failed. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has failed.

Then what explains the difference between Obama and Clinton’s favorability rating? How can people love Obama and hate Clinton?

My hypothesis is that sexism is more clearly a factor here than vs Trump. Men get away underperforming while women have to meet a higher bar just to be considered in the ballpark of being equal. It’s a little worse here. I think Hillary is seen more unfavorably because Obama has failed over the last 8 yrs (e.g. Unemployment continues to rise in the swing states and it’s not Clinton’s fault). How messed up is that.

My second hypothesis is that this is evidence of how our world is rigged in favor of extroverts. Obama is a great speaker. He is charismatic. He can joke and he comes across as smart and graceful. When he gives one of his energetic speeches, I feel inspired and moved. Hillary isn’t good at that. But she is smarter than Obama. She has a lot more experience. And most importantly she has a real track record of actually getting shit done. The fact that Obama is seen favorably despite being an underachiever while Clinton is seen so unfavorably despite being a high achiever is one of the key examples of stuff that’s entirely broken about our society. We should judge people by their actions, not their personalities.

Hypothetically, the numbers show that if Obama was running against Clinton today he would win. I find that strange. I voted for Obama twice. But if he was running again against Clinton I would not vote for him. I view him less favorably than Clinton. I am not a fan of Clinton. But the things I dislike and distrust about Clinton also translate to Obama. If you are one of the majorities that loves Obama but hates Hillary, I would love to hear what your reasons are.


Leave a Reply