On her 70th birthday, my thoughts about Hillary Rodham Clinton, who I did vote for in the 2016 general election for President after backing Bernie Sanders in the New York State primary:
I’ve been watching her on her tour this year and I believe this is true: “Most of the tabloid criticism of the book suggests the book is an effort to shift blame elsewhere. That is complete bs. It is difficult to imagine any author more directly and completely accepting responsibility directly — and not just once, but throughout.”
But there seems to be a concerted effort to keep her in the woods, to get her to gracefully bow of public life, NOT to speak on International Women’s Day, NOT to speak at the Wellesley College commencement, NOT to go on a book tour.
As Dan Rather declared, “If you don’t like Hillary, don’t buy the book—it’s her prerogative to write it.” Or as the Boston Globe put it: Hate on Hillary, but she’s right about Trump. “You don’t have to like her. But don’t settle for a less than full reckoning of what happened to her.”
Rebecca Solnit notes: Don’t call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her. “Years of Republican plots, an opponent deified by television, and FBI smears stood in her way – and she still won the popular vote by more than Kennedy did.”
Joe Conason stated: “Now everyone knows that the Washington press corps dislikes and distrusts the former Democratic nominee. After all, several of its most eminent members have admitted their herd’s prejudice against her. But the nearly unanimous demand for her to be silent… cuts against normal journalistic curiosity, let alone the usual lust for fresh gossip.”
He points to a 140-page report out of Harvard, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. “What they found was a sharp asymmetry between left and right outlets that benefited Trump and damaged Clinton. And while most mainstream coverage treated both candidates negatively, it ‘largely followed Trump’s agenda.’ That meant reporting about Clinton focused on ‘scandals’ involving the Clinton Foundation and emails, while reporting about Trump focused on his issues, such as immigration.
A perfect example of that was Matt Lauer questioning Clinton about her email scandal instead of foreign policy at the “Commander in Chief Forum” in September 2016, while asking Trump policy questions.
She has a lot to say. She believes the Electoral College should be abolished. “I said that in 2000 after what happened with Al Gore,” Clinton told Anderson Cooper on CNN. Gore, who was vice president to Bill Clinton, won 266 electoral votes, while George W. Bush won 271. However, Gore won the popular vote by 547,398 votes. She called the institution “an anachronism that was designed for another time [that] no longer works, if we’ve moved toward one person, one vote.”
I cannot ignore, too, the not-so-subtle sexism that she had to endure. She has quipped, “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” There was an obsession about her cursing in private, not in public, which made her less “genuine” than her foul-mouthed opponent. A lot of men, and more than a few women couldn’t bear a woman having authority. It’s a
Hillary hatred derangement syndrome.
I felt badly for her when Hillary Rodham Clinton, as former First Lady, sat on the platform, listening to the Trump inaugural speech, which was a “cry from the white nationalist gut.” 20 January was “an out-of-body experience”; she attended in the hope of presenting a unified front following an ugly and bitter campaign.
The email Hillary Clinton’s pastor sent her the day after the election must have brought her some comfort.
I know she’ll continue to be perceived as evil incarnate – Harvey Weinstein is Hillary Clinton’s fault! – but I hope she continues to raise her voice anyway.