Yesterday, in the midst of a speech in West Des Moines, Iowa, Hillary Clinton had a coughing fit. Savvy Clinton watchers thought the cough raised issues about Clinton’s health. Other Democratic politicos were hoping against hope that something would happen to cause her to drop out of the race.
The more the Clinton campaign drones on, the more inevitable she seems, the more Democrats seem to be wishing that she would go away and to take all of that Clinton baggage with her. They know that she cannot be beaten, so they are waiting for divine intervention.
Strangely, if we believe the New York Times, Hillary Clinton is starting to turn off young feminists, the kind of women who would normally be flocking to her campaign. Apparently, they do not see her as the ultimate feminist icon.
Having railed against rape culture for months now, young feminists are, as they say, hoist with their own petard. It might be dubious to say that any woman who accuses a man of sexual assault is to be believed, unconditionally, but if that is today's feminist standard, then the women who accused Bill Clinton of rape and sexual harassment ought to be believed, unconditionally.
Feminists who rallied to support Bill Clinton when he was accused of sexual harassment and rape are now rejecting Hillary Clinton for having attacked the women who accused him. For all anyone knows feminists who did not care how Bill Clinton was treating women helped make sexual harassment and abuse more acceptable. To repeat a point that seems to need repeating, feminists seem not to be very sympathetic to women who are victims of sexual assault. Witness the feminist paradise of Sweden where anyone who casts aspersions on the character of a Muslim man who rapes a Swedish women is deemed a racist.
But it is also true that feminists and even women who were not feminists loved Bill Clinton. One might even say that they lusted after the roguish president. Nina Burleigh, who had once been the Time Magazine White House correspondent, explained that she would have been happy to give Bill Clinton a blow job to thank him for keeping abortion legal. Burleigh is a serious professional. Presumably she wants to be respected for her mind. And yet, her remark rang true and probably expressed the feelings of many female Clinton supporters.
In a 1998 interview Burleigh described her reaction to a casual encounter with Clinton:
I felt incandescent. It was riveting to know that the President had appreciated my legs, scarred as they were. If he had asked me to continue the game of hearts back in his room at the Jasper Holiday Inn, I would have been happy to go there and see what happened. At the time, that seemed quite possible. It took several hours and a few drinks in the steaming and now somehow romantic Arkansas night to shake the intoxicated state in which I had been quite willing to let myself be ravished by the President, should he have but asked. I probably wore the mesmerized look I have seen again and again in women after they have met him. The same silly hypnotized gleam was displayed on the cover of Time magazine in Monica Lewinsky's eyes....
One understands that Burleigh would have been happy to be in the position of any of Clinton’s conquests. One wonders if, seeing the price that Lewinsky paid for her dalliance, she still wishes that she were in that place.
Of course, Burleigh was aspiring to the role of concubine, not the role of wife. She did not want to be Hillary Clinton. She wanted to be Monica Lewinsky. But perhaps, not so much. After all, the women who got entangled with Bubba had to deal with the wrath of Jezebel.
Today’s Hillary Clinton supporters are trying to downplay Bill Clinton’s predations. But, the problem with Clinton was not, as Caitlin Flanagan points out, the affairs. The problem was the charges of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and rape.
While Katha Pollitt is willing to go to the barricades to defend Hillary—on the grounds that nothing was every proved, or some such thing—Flanagan offers this corrective:
What did Hillary know, and when did she know it? She must have known a lot, and she must have known it early on. She knew that the kind of women who vote for Democrats care about three or four huge issues—abortion above all—and that if you stay on the right side of those three or four issues, much will be forgiven, or overlooked, or disbelieved. In short, Hillary understood politics, at its most base and distasteful level.
So when Hillary Clinton tells you that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed and supported,” realize that what she’s serving up is a classic Clinton dodge. She’s not saying that every woman who reports a sexual assault deserves to be believed. In that case, we would have to believe Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick….
But I won’t vote for a candidate who helped “destroy” the credibility of women who came forward to report that they had been preyed upon sexually by a powerful man.
Hillary Clinton enabled her husband by staying with him and by defending him. It's as simple as that.
Women swooned over Bill Clinton, but the current election has shown that they are not inclined to swoon over Hillary. They see her as an opportunist who was willing to sell her soul for power and self-aggrandizement. They understand her marriage as one of convenience, an imposture designed to advance political careers.
Women do not seem to like Hillary Clinton. They do not respect her and have no interest in emulating her. Young women do not want to grow up to have marriages like Hillary’s. They do not want to have lives like hers. Can you blame them? If I may speculate, they do not understand a woman who would have entered into what appears to be a sham marriage, a marriage of political convenience, in order to gain power. Selling love for power does not appeal to young women today.
And then there is the lesbian question. Rumors about Hillary’s love of women have been floating through the Zeitgeist for decades now. One can find references throughout the non-mainstream media. But, now Slate magazine, hardly a right wing redoubt has published an article entitled: “Hillary Clinton Isn’t a Lesbian—But She Dresses Like One.” The story was so serious that Fortune magazine ran a column repudiating the notion. Whatever happened to Fortune?
One might ask how the Slate writer knows, but surely the story is intended to raise a question in readers’ minds, to introduce a thought everyone is thinking anyway. The story is insinuating, by using a rhetorical ploy, that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian and that she cannot hide it as completely as she wishes. Her appearance gives it away.
The writer suggests as much:
Still, if Clinton were a lesbian, I’d be proud to claim her fashion sense. Clinton embodies something many lesbians accomplish effortlessly: She dresses in a way that does not cater to, or even consider, the male gaze. Clinton has never sought to make herself a sexual object to please straight men, even when such men have mocked and insulted her for having the temerity not to.
Translation: Hillary Clinton has never dressed in a way that would attract male attention. By all appearances, this is true. If it is true, it explains why her husband was constantly looking for sex outside of his marriage. It also explains why he was so indiscreet. A man whose wife rejects him sexually and does not hide the fact that she does not want to attract male attention will be at pains to demonstrate to the public at large that he is really manly. It also explains why Hillary did not much care what he was doing… as long as it did not undermine his or her political careers.
One must add that most women like to be looked at by men. They do not like to be leered at, they do not like to be stared at, but they like to be recognized for their feminine charms. Obviously, lesbians find such attentions unwelcome and they dress accordingly.
It’s called fashion. The Slate writer is noticing that Hillary Clinton seems to have no interest in fashion. During her husband’s presidency, and even now, she seems unable to settle on one hairstyle. This suggests that she is markedly uncomfortable in her skin.