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Hillary’s way is not the feminist way

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Hillary.
Don’t let ’em say she is feminism’s way.
Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such.

— With apologies to Willie and Waylon

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Photo by Richard Phibbs
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Such” definitely includes running for president, but not Hillary Rodham Clinton’s way.

Because Hillary’s way is definitely not feminism’s way.

But for the fact that her husband was the governor of Arkansas, Hillary would never have been able to turn a $1,000 investment into $100,000 in 10 months by trading cattle futures.

But for the fact that her husband was governor, a year after he was elected, Hillary would never have been named the first female partner at the prestigious Rose Law Firm. (Her previous legal experience included several years as one of thousands of U.S. House staff attorneys and as a staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund.)

But for the fact that her husband was president, he would never have appointed Hillary to chair a national health care task force that emerged from secret negotiations with a spectacularly economically implausible plan for universal health care. “HillaryCare” was so disastrous it couldn’t even muster enough Democratic votes in the U.S. Senate to pass.

But for the fact that her husband was president, Hillary would never have been able to raise $30 million to buy a U.S. Senate seat in New York, where she had lived for only one year.

Every career move Hillary made since the 1970s when she left Washington for Arkansas to marry Bill, was because of the status of her man. She never busted her own move.

Feminism it ain’t
The antithesis of feminism is professional achievement entirely dependent on a husband.

Besides accomplishing real work sua sponte, a real feminist icon should also demonstrate good judgment and solid character.

As first-lady-elect in the early 1990s, Hillary infamously said on “60 Minutes”: “I am not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette. I’m sitting here because I love him and I respect him and I honor what he has been through and what we’ve been through together.” That interview was about Gennifer Flowers, a woman Bill ultimately admitted to having an affair with.

Eight years later, as first lady, Hillary did stand by her man when allegations were made that Bill had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. On “The Today Show,” Hillary also infamously said, “This is — the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.” Bill, of course, did have sexual relations with Lewinsky.

Where were the other feminists?
Where were the other feminist icons then, when the 50-year-old president of the United States was having a sexual relationship with a 22-year-old intern in the White House? Maybe the answer depends on what the definition of is, is.

If the conventional wisdom is that electing Hillary as president is the culmination of feminism, Mamas, tell your daughters to quit.

Just kidding. Quitting is also the antithesis of feminism.

Mamas, tell your daughters to listen to Willie and Waylon, but not Tammy. And tell your daughters to listen to another tune — albeit a simple, sappy one — from another “Mama”:

“You gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind music
Even if nobody else sings along.”

Mama Cass Elliot’s song hit the charts in 1969, the year Hillary graduated from college.

Make your own kind of music. That’s feminism.

Hillary must not have owned the album.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Urbanek on 01/16/2008 - 09:49 am.

    So you make the giant assumption that because she has made the most of her opportunities since being married to Clinton that she is not a feminist?

    Because she didn’t out her husband and divorce him she doesn’t do her own thing?

    Because she married a man that shares her interest — that’s not feminism?

    I guess she could be real daring and stay home and make cakes. That would be real feminism in your logic.

    You are also making the assumptions that she had nothing to do with his successes.

    Your logic has about as much consistency as a Kathryn Kersten column. Which I realize to you is a compliment.

  2. Submitted by John Olson on 01/17/2008 - 05:48 pm.

    I’m not convinced about Sen. Clinton one way or the other yet, but I don’t think a column would be written that dared to question the masculinity of any of the other presidential hopefuls–in either party.

    Leveraging a position of power for future financial and/or political gain is nothing new in world history. The actual (or alleged) sexual misadventures of many powerful people also span both political parties.

    The lapses in “good judgment and solid character” do not discriminate between men or women, Republican or Democrat and the road of political history is littered with plenty of people who have failed both tests miserably from both political parties. Fortunately, there are also many honorable people on both sides of the aisle who do their best to serve their constituents amidst the swill and thrill of modern-day politics.

  3. Submitted by Al Reasin on 01/18/2008 - 07:52 am.

    As a male, I’m not one who is would necessarily understand feminist beliefs, so I just assume that feminism means that one is strong, independent and stands on their own feet to become successful. Background support, as I’m sure Mr. Thatcher provided, would be welcome, but not the type of obvious support that Mr. Wallace provided for his wife when she ran for governor in his stead. If that is so, then I agree with your characterizations of Mrs. Clinton.

    My judgment of Mrs. Clinton, though, is more along the lines of, if she is a strong, independent and stands on their own feet type person, why didn’t she ditch Mr. Clinton long ago. One can forgive a mistake by a spouse, but to remain with a serial adulterer, I don’t think so. I have seen too many women stick with such a man because they loved him so much or were afraid to lose his financial support. I did not then and would not now view such as person as being strong and independent minded. I suspect that Mrs. Clinton suck with him because she needed his support, his name and prestige for her attempt at elective office; what was needed to fulfill her own ambitions and something that she felt she could not do on her own. If that is feminism, then I really, really don’t understand the concept.

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