I found this interesting column today over at the online New York Times by Stanley Fish.
Jason Horowitz described the world of Hillary haters, many of whom he has interviewed. Horowitz finds that the hostile characterizations of Clinton do not add up to a coherent account of her hatefulness. She is vilified for being a feminist and for not being one, for being an extreme leftist and for being a “warmongering hawk,” for being godless and for being “frighteningly fundamentalist,” for being the victim of her husband’s peccadilloes and for enabling them. “She is,” Horowitz concludes, “an empty vessel into which [her detractors] can pour everything they detest.” (In this she is the counterpart of George W. Bush, who serves much the same function for many liberals.)
It’s an interesting read, mostly because it’s such a simple question to ponder with far-reaching consequences.
While the debate has always raged (in conversation with someone a few days ago we were talking about America’s readiness, or lack thereof, for a woman president), as the first female presidential candidate to ever really get this far (correct me if I’m wrong here, I don’t know if Shirley Chisolm got as much or as far in ’72) Hillary sure does get a lot of shit for all sorts of bizarre reasons. The “crying” incident for example…so either they’re crocodile tears and she’s a manipulative bitch…OR…they’re real and she’s a sore loser and a wimpy woman who can’t “play with the big boys”?
I’ve read multiple arguments that put her, when compared to other Democratic candidates for the nomination, as the more experienced political player on the field (probably tied with John Edwards). A legal career, First Lady of the US, Senator for the state of New York, generally having been in the dirtiest fucking game in the business probably longer than half the assholes who scream “Obama for change!”* at me on the street? And people are going to give her shit over wearing pants suits and make that as big an issue as Clinton’s initial support of the invasion of Iraq? Are you fucking kidding me?
Anyway, yeah. It’s interesting to see that someone is actually challenging the self-perpetuating machine that is Hillary-Hate. And while I’m not completely sold on her as a candidate, I do think that she is allowed a measure of respect. Not because “OHEMGEE WOMIN RUNNIN FER PREZIDENTZ”, but because she’s a presidential candidate. You wouldn’t be calling Pat Buchanan a cunt on TV if he was running just because he’s Pat Buchanan, would you? Well, I would, because he’s a pig and deserves AIDS just for not dropping dead yet, but that’s another story.
*) Not a slight against the O-man and his mostly youth-oriented campaign which seems to be trying to overlook that he’s a media golden boy just as primed for this by long-term planning Dem party heads since the last convention as he is by grassroots college liberals, just saying…