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Communication as Manipulation

The Case of Hillary Rodham Clinton

In her chosen role as doting public grandmother to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, columnist Mary McGrory is ever on the alert for opportunities to whip from her journalistic handbag her favorite images of those two extraordinary kids. In true grandma-like fashion, she is transfixed by their every utterance and sees their failures as simply an excess of good intentions. Of Bill, she wrote in August—nearly three years after his election—that he had just "made a remarkable discovery. He has found out that he is President." Ms. McGrory thereby proved the truism that grandmothers delight in behavior others find stupefying.

Mary McGrory's deepest feelings, however, are reserved for Hillary. Indeed, she feels Mrs. Clinton's pain, calling the First Lady "poor girl" when the public mistakes for overreaching her energetic willingness to apply herself. After informing all who would listen of young Bill's winsome discovery of his presidential status, a now-suffering McGrory wrote that as for Hillary, she is in "a post-['94] election slump," for which "a return to global splendors might compensate." Further, "life has not been much fun for the bright, ambitious woman who dreamed of being co-President [so] a little adulation might lift her spirits." To top it all off for the distressed McGrory, Hillary "writes a column that has not caught on."

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