Camille Paglia has risen to fame as one of the premiere academics and social critics in America. Though a liberal and feminist, she has proven herself unafraid to challenge the orthodoxies of her party and progressivism.
Writing in Salon this week, Paglia, a Bernie Sanders supporter and contributor, explained why she cannot support Hillary Clinton. She also unloaded (in poetic, colorful style) on basically the entire field, with the exception of Donald Trump:
A few of the highlights:
On Rand Paul – “Snarly, petulant…with his sprig of retro forehead curls, [he] looked like a mummified Dorian Gray dressed by Sears Roebuck, circa 1959.”
On Carly Fiorina – “Smart and nimble but too taut and wired, like a buzz saw. Too much of a political novice.”
On Chris Christie – “…the lib Manhattan media just loved him to death. He was their fave Republican—he licked their boots, and they licked his. This blathering, gassy, waddling narcissist with his over-trimmed Pinocchio nose and lispy, quacking voice never had a prayer of a chance on the national stage.”
On Ben Carson – “A thoughtful, dignified private citizen…but was he ever remotely credible as a statesman on the international stage in the age of terrorism? His rote deep-think mode was to close his eyes and press his fingers together, like Madame Arcati conducting a séance in Blithe Spirit.”
On Marco Rubio – “[A] victim of perpetual-boy syndrome…[who] seems to have strangely stalled in post-pubescence…During high-wire gigs in Washington or at the primary debates, he chronically flubbed, either by autopilot glibness or painfully palpable anxiety attacks. Oh, right, we’re going to have this skittish, sweaty guy with five o’clock shadow and a bad comb-over going toe-to-toe with Vladimir Putin.”
On Jeb Bush – “…he was both uncertain and irrelevant. Then someone foolishly prodded him to lose weight, which reduced his gravitas along with the flab by now highlighting his bland, snub-nosed baby face.”
On Ted Cruz – “He reminds me of glad-handing televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, who were loved and trusted by so many but whose careers ended in disgrace.”
More on Ted Cruz – “[His] lugubrious, weirdly womanish face, with its prim, tight smile and mawkishly appealing puppy-dog eyebrows, is like a waxen mask, always on the verge of melting. This guy doesn’t know who the hell he is—and the White House is no place for him and us to find out.”
On Donald Trump – “[He] may be raw, crude and uninformed, but he’s also smart, intuitive and a quick study who will presumably get up to passable speed as he assembles a brain trust over the coming months.”
I think some of Paglia’s comments are a tad overdone and lacking in charity. But I think she makes a valid point when she says the Republican field, as a whole, seemed to lack gravitas. While many of the 2016 candidates brought impressive resumes and political savvy to the trail, few (if any) seemed like true heavyweights. Each seemed to somehow lack that undefinable, evasive quality that marked the giants of history.