NCFM Mr. Manners, Are women discriminated against when running for political office?
While advocating for more women to run for elective office, feminists and much of the mainstream media, also claim that women are disadvantaged when seeking such positions. What could be more discouraging for women seeking elective office? In addition, what could be more detrimental to winning a primary, than voters’ belief that by nominating a woman, they are putting their political party at a disadvantage?
The principal way this idea is being presented is through post-analysis of Hillary Clinton ’s loss in the Presidential election. A January 31rst 2019 NPR program, hosted by politically correct host Joshua Johnson, was pretty typical. The show pretty much neglected even the idea that women could have an advantage when running for office.
One of the guests Michelle Hebl from Rice college made the arrogant observation that the election showed America is not ready for a female President since Clinton had a superior record. I voted for Clinton, so I concurred she was the better candidate, although still a mediocre one. Certainly, many of the male candidates that ran against Trump in the Republican party could argue they had a superior record to Trump’s. However, as in the primaries, enough voters believed Trump was their best choice, for him to win the election.
In fact, Hillary Clinton herself, disagreed with Hebl that sexism was enough to defeat her. She noted for instance, that she would have won if FBI Director James Comey had not reopened the email investigation. Regardless, Clinton received three million more votes than Trump.
Another clunker in the program, was the discussion of a recording played of former Republican Carley Fiorna declaring: “only a women’s appearance would be talked about never a man.” I think little Marco Rubio would differ. Trump did criticize Fiorna appearance but immediately pulled back on it. In regard to Rubio, Trump referred to his diminutive stature consistently as part of his campaign.
The typical slanted analysis that is standard, of course, persisted in the program. For instance, a lot was said about women being criticized for the way they dress. Never was it brought out the advantages of women being able to present different images by having a variety of ways to look. Remember Al Gore being criticized for wearing a different suit during his run for President?
Are women really at a disadvantage in elections against men? To take a current example, how about the election of Alexandra Ocazio-Cortez. It is difficult to parse her gender from her Hispanic background. But what if we reversed the facts? Suppose a woman who had served 10 terms in Congress, and had outspent her white male, waiter, intellectual lightweight opponent, by 18-1 and still lost the election by 15 points? Adding to that, what if he instantly became a major player in the Democratic party? Would anybody not claim anti-female bias?
But it is Clinton who is used as an example of bias against women. So let me present a little of the other side of the question. Clinton’s tenure as the first lady was certainly problematic. Her major project was her failed health plan. In addition, she was linked to numerous scandals. The Whitewater investigation which began as an investigation of her led to her husband’s impeachment. She claimed erroneously that the Monica Lewinsky investigation was part of a right-wing conspiracy. Hearing all this doesn’t one thing come to mind: This woman is Senate material! With this background, she went on to win the Senate seat in New York, the third largest electoral state in the country and a state she was not even from.
Shortly after being elected, there was already talk about her running for President. When she declared for President early in her second Senate term, she was considered a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. What accomplishments did she have to merit this?
Why did she lose? In retrospect, it is clear. Barack Obama received over 90% of the black vote. In her recent run for President running against a white opponent, Hillary received over 90% of the black vote
Eight years later came her next Presidential campaign. Once again, she was considered to be the front-runner from the start. This is despite the fact that the sitting Vice President is almost automatically to have the inside track to the Presidential nomination.
But aren’t I discounting her great strengths, such as her intellect and great emotional strength, which made her such a great candidate?
As far as I can discern, her main claim of intellect was her Yale law degree. Clarence Thomas had the same Yale degree yet was widely depicted as a buffoon. Hillary Clinton failed her first bar exam, although two-thirds of her fellow test takers passed. Clarence Thomas passed his bar the first time, although most likely an easier test. Are there any male politicians who finished in the bottom third in a bar exam and considered to be brilliant?
Clinton came on the scene touted not only for her high intelligence but as being mentally strong. What this belief based on? As far as I can determine, it was that she was a professional woman. If not, what was the reason?
The Clinton campaign proclaimed that by electing Bill, they were getting two for one, meaning Hillary’s skills in addition to her husband’s. The one they were running against was a man referred to as a wimp, George Hebert Bush. Besides serving as Vice President and President, he had been a war hero fighter pilot who flew 58 missions and survived being shot down. Among other jobs, he had been the Director of the C.I.A. imagine a woman having anything close to those credentials being characterized as weak.
During Bill Clinton’s time as President, the prostitute involved with his then strategist Dick Morris said she heard the President say: “Hillary is upset, my wife is not well, you know with all this Whitewater trial and everything (from The Washington Post, Howard Kurtz September 4th, 1996).” Clinton’s fragile state was confirmed in Bob Woodward’s book “Shadow”. Discussing the issues confronting the first lady, White House attorney Jane Sherburne said Clinton was at her wit’s end. She quoted Hillary as saying: “I can’t take this anymore, how can I go on. (Simon and Shuster 1999, p310).”
Her making it through two Presidential campaign is solid evidence that she is mentally strong. The question is, would a male candidate be ruined by information that did not derail Hillary? Read what is said about her in “Shadow” and imagine a man winning a party nomination, let alone being considered strong with the same baggage.
Before the first debate, the Washington Post ran an article titled: “How Sexism Could Hurt Clinton in the Debate. These Female High School Debaters Know.” (Anna Walters, The Washington Post, September 23, 2016).In all three debates, the polls showed she was a clear winner. Based on these results, shouldn’t the Post have revisited the claims of anti-female bias in debates?
After the election, a role reversal play titled “Her Opponent” was staged. The play had a woman say Trump’s words in their debates and a man Clinton’s. The belief was that aggressive behavior exhibited by Trump would not be tolerated if done by a woman. They found instead that Trump’s words made him more favorable when said by a woman, Clinton’s words viewed less positively when said by a man. ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/clinton-trump-gender-swap-play-her-opp).
What was the Post’s response? I could not find a single reference to the play on their website. With such bad journalism, not at all atypical in the mainstream press, is there any wonder that people feel Clinton was treated unfairly?
Another example of inept journalism was the criticism of Trump for calling Clinton nasty during their third debate. Few if anything was cited more as an example of anti-female bias. If most of the press took the minute or two to research the subject as I did, they would have found the truth. The Daily Wire has three film clips of Trump calling his opponent Ted Cruz “nasty”, one of them in the Republican debate aired on CBS ((//www.dailywire.com /news/10120/trump-has-called-numerous-men-nasty-guys-so-stop-frank-camp). Thus when Trump called Cruz nasty there was no outcry when he said the same to Hillary, it became a national issue which is still being discussed.
Nothing drew more contempt than Trump’s off-air off the cuff remarks from “Access Hollywood” in 2005, eleven years before the election. But nobody quoted him saying this. “Men have always been the primary victims of rape, because they experience their wives’, and daughters being raped. Of course, even Trump would never such a thing. Hillary Clinton did say the following in a planned speech, in front of a large audience six years before she ran against Obama: Women have always been the primary victims of war: “Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.” www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-victims-of-war.re
After writing this article, I came across this quote from the Washington Post article
“The Electability Trap” (Linda Hirschman Feb 12, 2019:) “Trump’s sexism was overt, with attacks on Clinton as a “nasty women, harsh criticism of female journalist’s (notably Megan Kelly) derisive comments about Republican candidate Cary Fiorina and, of course, the “Access Hollywood video.”
So apparently, except for the topic of female journalists, my piece took on the biggest anti-Hillary Clinton bias claims. I take exception to the bias against female journalist claim also, but an article of this length cannot do justice to either side of the argument. Perhaps, I will revisit the subject another time.