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   The Same Old (New) Hillary

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5/8/2005 7:00 pm

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Entered 5/8/2005, Updated 5/8/2005

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After years of free-floating propaganda, her colleagues are astonished to discover that she is collaborative and congenial.

May 16 issue - In 1992 I spent part of the day with the wife of the putative Democratic candidate for president. We covered the issues, the campaign and her husband's plans for the future. And we talked about faith, about how both of us believed our religion had led us toward a heightened interest in various social-welfare issues.

That's the real Hillary Rodham Clinton. A lifelong Methodist, she's as reticent about her faith as a Sunday-school teacher—and she once did teach an adult class, back in Arkansas. Yet recently when she's mentioned God, knowing snickers have erupted. Ultraconservative pooh-bah Gary Bauer was quoted as saying it was "the ultimate makeover."

Actually, a makeover has been underway since the former First Lady went to Washington under her own steam as a senator. It's just not the one Bauer means. People are finally seeing past the stereotypes and fabrications. In New York state her approval rating is just shy of 70 percent. After years of free-floating propaganda, her colleagues in the Senate are astonished to discover she is collaborative and congenial. "Those people wanted to hate Hillary so bad," Harry Reid said when she visited Nevada. How disappointing: she's likable, not to mention smart and hardworking.


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