“A shove in the wrong direction”

May 8, 2008 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Democratic Party Presidential Primary, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Politics | Leave a comment

A frank and fair assessment of a campaign that’s driven a wedge within the feminist movement and disappointed even some of Senator Clinton’s admirers with how eager she’s been to sow division for the sake of victory. The whole thing‘s worth a read, but it’s worth remembering some of the vicious misogyny she experienced a the start of the campaign which won her a considerable amount of good will.

In the course of Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the White House–in which she became the first woman ever to prevail in a state-level presidential primary contest–she has been likened to Lorena Bobbitt (by Tucker Carlson); a “hellish housewife” (Leon Wieseltier); and described as “witchy,” a “she-devil,” “anti-male” and “a stripteaser” (Chris Matthews). Her loud and hearty laugh has been labeled “the cackle,” her voice compared to “fingernails on a blackboard” and her posture said to look “like everyone’s first wife standing outside a probate court.” As one Fox News commentator put it, “When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, Take out the garbage.” Rush Limbaugh, who has no qualms about subjecting audiences to the spectacle of his own bloated physique, asked his listeners, “Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” Perhaps most damaging of all to her electoral prospects, very early on Clinton was deemed “unlikable.” Although other factors also account for that dislike, much of the venom she elicits (“Iron my shirt,” “How do we beat the bitch?”) is clearly gender-specific.

She’s done a fair amount of the mud-slinging in this primary, but when you’ve had so much mud thrown at you in your life, it’s understandable if attack and counter-attack are pretty default defence mechanisms.

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