In These Times:
When you hear that Hillary Clinton is unlikable, be aware of the study that shows competent women are generally seen as unlikable; when you hear that Hillary Clinton is dishonest, know that this same study shows women in power are generally seen as dishonest. And know that when the same imaginary job candidate is presented to two groups, with the only difference being a male or female name at the top of the résumé, the female candidate is seen as less trustworthy than the man. In each study, these biased reactions were found in both women and men.
And realize that when women seek power—for example, by running for the nation’s highest office—a Yale study reports that “participants experienced feelings of moral outrage (i.e. contempt, anger, and/or disgust) towards them” and that “women were just as likely as men to have negative reactions.” In the very same Yale study, when “participants saw male politicians as power-seeking, they also saw them as having greater agency (e.g. being more assertive, stronger and tougher) and greater competence.”
That is not to say that there cannot be specific, convincing arguments against Hillary Clinton, or that there are not arguments against her. It is to say that people who criticize Hillary Clinton, especially from the Left, should be aware of how these stereotypes may distort our perceptions, and how we can frame criticisms without feeding into the very real misogyny that has dogged Clinton throughout her career—an antipathy once expressed in a “Hillary Clinton dismemberment doll,” complete with detachable limbs.
Once one cuts through that misogyny, one is forced to confront the reason the GOP has fostered hatred against her: For much of the early portions of Clinton’s career, beginning when she arrived on the national stage in 1992, Hillary Clinton was presumed by the Right (and many Democrats) to be too far left to be in politics. She was Bill Clinton’s left-wing liability, a Saul Alinsky-hugging, Children’s-Defense-Fund-working, non-cookie-baking, mouthy feminist, attacked on the stage of the Republican National Convention for supporting “radical feminism” and “homosexual rights.”
It was in part because of this hatred that Hillary Clinton became the person we know today: a candidate defined by her caution and her frustrating self-contradictions, seemingly torn between challenging the power structure and gaining enough credibility within that power structure to survive. Clinton believes that you need to be in the system in order to change the system, and I think that is true. Clinton’s path has given her tremendous impact, and in many ways, her politics—left sympathies combined with a survivor’s instinct for using the system, and a lawyer’s love of the fine detail—are reminiscent of Obama’s. While leftists have critiques of Obama, too, I think he’s been the best president in my lifetime, which started with Reagan. I also remember that second Bush a little too well to ever believe that the two parties are “basically the same” (though I have been told this many times).
When I hear claims about Hillary Clinton, the money-grubbing shill for Wall Street who thinks just like a Republican, I don’t recognize the woman who once snapped at her husband for not fighting hard enough for universal healthcare, telling him, “You didn't get elected to do Wall Street economics.” Similarly, I see no shifty dishonesty in the Hillary Clinton who, in 2005, pushed for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Bush administration’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina, and who today is the woman making the administrative negligence in Flint, Mich., central to her campaign.
Similarly, the Hillary Clinton who traveled to Beijing in 1995 against the wishes of her husband’s administration to declare that “women’s rights are human rights” is entirely recognizable as the Secretary of State who helped to create the Office of Global Women’s Issues and declared that “the United States must be an unequivocal and unwavering voice in support of women’s rights in every country on every continent.” In short, this is the same Hillary Clinton who is today stressing equal pay for women as a racial justice issue, given that the women who are most penalized by the pay gap are black women and Latinas.
And the Hillary Clinton who is “Republican lite,” “more like Reagan than FDR” and “to the right of Nixon” does not seem remotely the same Clinton whose votes aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 93 percent of the time during the two years they overlapped in the Senate. They famously parted ways on the 2002 decision to authorize the war in Iraq—a vote that Clinton acknowledges was a mistake. That doesn’t undo the war, or make her right in retrospect, and it doesn’t even defuse the idea that she voted for the war specifically to protect her reputation; many Democratic politicians with presidential aspirations, from John Kerry to Joe Biden, made that same vote. I respect that for a serious and thoughtful person, the Iraq vote might rule Clinton out; it ruled her out for me in 2008. But this is not 2008, and this year, her opponent’s lack of interest or expertise in foreign policy worries me more than her record. We got into Iraq—a quagmire that has lasted, literally, for my entire adult life—not only because of U.S. interventionism, but because the commander in chief didn’t understand the region well enough to know how profoundly we would destabilize it, or how that would trap us in a conflict that would last for generations. I may not always agree with Clinton, but at least I believe she knows her stuff.
I was not aware of this April 6th article until just the other day, and once I read it I realized that it needed to be shared.
There is more at the link and I think it you would be well served to read it all.
The points that Ms. Doyle makes are solid and she has data to back them up.
Things are only gong to get uglier from here, so it benefits us to have the correct information at our disposal.