Loading...

Maureen Dowd: Clinton charge of sexism is "poppycock"

26,345 views

Loading...

Loading...

Transcript

The interactive transcript could not be loaded.

Loading...

Loading...

Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on May 29, 2008

Maureen Dowd: "I think it's poppycock, really. I mean, Hillary Clinton has allowed women to visualize a woman as president for the first time in the way Colin Powell allowed people to visualize an African-American. And, she dominated the debates, she proved that a woman can have as much tenacity and gall as any man on earth. We can visualize her facing down Ahmadinejad. But, the thing is Hillary hurts feminism when she uses it as opportunism. And, she has a history of covering up her own mistakes behind sexism. She did it with healthcare. Right after healthcare didn't pass, she didn't admit she was abrasive or mismanaged it or blew off good advice or was too secretive. She said that she was a Rorschach test for gender and that many men thought of a female boss they didn't like when they looked at her. And now she's doing the same thing, and it's very, you know, in a way it's the moral equivalent of Sharptonism, it's this victimhood, and angry, and turning women against men, and saying that the men are trying to take it away from us. In the same way she's turning Florida and Michigan, and riling up and comparing them to suffragettes and slaves, and it's very damaging to feminism."

Many women I talk to, even those who aren't particularly fond of Hillary, feel empathy for her, knowing that any woman in a world dominated by men has to walk a tightrope between femininity and masculinity, strength and vulnerability. They see double standards they hate — when male reporters described Hillary's laugh as "a cackle" or her voice as "grating," when Rush Limbaugh goes off on her wrinkles or when male pundits seem gleeful to write her political obituary. Several women I know, who argue with their husbands about Hillary, refer with a shudder to the "Kill the Witch" syndrome... When the usually invulnerable Hillary seems vulnerable, many women, even ones who don't want her to win, cringe at the idea of seeing her publicly humiliated — again.

I know that the attacks against powerful women can be harsh and personal and unfair, enough to make anyone cry. But Hillary is not the best test case for women. We'll never know how much of the backlash is because she's a woman or because she's this woman or because of the ick factor of returning to the old Clinton dysfunction. While Obama aims to transcend race, Hillary often aims to use gender to her advantage, or to excuse mistakes. In 1994, after her intransigence and secrecy-doomed health care plan, she told The Wall Street Journal that she was "a gender Rorschach test."

"If somebody has a female boss for the first time, and they've never experienced that," she said, "well, maybe they can't take out their hostility against her so they turn it on me." As a possible first Madame President, Hillary is a flawed science experiment because you can't take Bill out of the equation. Her story is wrapped up in her marriage, and her marriage is wrapped up in a series of unappetizing compromises, arrangements and dependencies.

Instead of carving out a separate identity for herself, she has become more entwined with Bill. She is running bolstered by his record and his muscle. She touts her experience as first lady, even though her judgment during those years on issue after issue was poor. She says she's learned from her mistakes, but that's not a compelling pitch. As a senator, she was not a leading voice on important issues, and her Iraq vote was about her political viability.

She told New York magazine's John Heilemann that before Iowa taught her that she had to show her soft side, "I really believed I had to prove in this race from the very beginning that a woman could be president and a woman could be commander in chief. I thought that was my primary mission." If Hillary fails, it will be her failure, not ours.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/opi...

Loading...

When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next.

Up next


to add this to Watch Later

Add to

Loading playlists...