If a conservative politician called an exploited intern a “narcissistic loony toon,” his career would be over. But Hillary Clinton will pay almost no price for describing Monica Lewinsky in those terms. The left’s sympathy for Sandra Fluke and its lectures on the dangers of name-calling won’t resurface for Lewinsky. Liberal pols, both those who mistreat women and those who excuse the mistreatment, enjoy a standing exemption from feminism’s customary strictures. Hillary is free to war on Bill Clinton’s women to her heart’s content.
But perhaps the most telling revelation in the Washington Free Beacon’s story about Hillary’s candid conversations with her late friend Diane Blair is that this feminist absolution extends beyond the Bill Clintons and Ted Kennedys. It also extends to the Bob Packwoods. Even Republicans can earn it if they serve the political needs of the moment. According to Blair’s notes, Hillary described the women complaining about the Oregon Republican’s advances as “whiney,” a petulant description prompted by Packwood’s utility to her: “HC tired of all those whiney women, and she needs him on health care.”
Liberalism’s double standards turn on such simple political calculus: exploiters of women who serve the cause are to be overlooked; exploited women who threaten the careers of such men are to be dismissed as whiners and crazies.
For Hillary, the perceived greater ideological good necessitates these suspensions of feminism as does her personal need for power. Her husband’s fate and hers were entwined, and so she made the raw decision to destroy Lewinsky for the sake of the political partnership’s preservation.
Groups such as NOW and professors in feminist studies programs don’t object to this subjugation of feminism to Hillary’s pursuit of power for their own ends-justify-the-means reason: Hillary is a net benefit to them. But what must they really think of Hillary’s rationalizations for Clinton’s conduct? They normally complain about women brainwashed by a sexist culture. Yet Blair’s notes read almost like a parody of their fears. Blair summarizes Hillary’s attitude about the Lewinsky affair:
It was a lapse, but she says to his credit he tried to break it off, tried to pull away, tried to manage someone who was clearly a “narcissistic loony toon”; but it was beyond control…HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning (standup, liedown, oral, etc.) of the term.
Blair’s notes throw light on the depths of Hillary’s mendacity in the 60 Minutes interview that saved Bill’s chances in 1992. In that interview, she made a point of speaking sympathetically about his women. She said innocently, “I felt terrible about what was happening to them.” She didn’t call Gennifer Flowers a narcissistic loony toon. She allowed that she had said “wacky things,” but attributed that “to the fact that she was terrified.” According to Blair’s notes, staffers of Bill and Hillary saw Flowers as a “fraud, liar and possible criminal.”
To preserve the political partnership without which she could not one day become president, Hillary was willing to lie nonstop about women telling the truth. They were the villains; her husband was the victim.
The chattering class lauds Hillary as refreshingly blunt. But every critical moment in her ascent has been punctuated by duplicity of one kind or another: from lying about Gennifer Flowers to casting Lewinsky as a creation of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to blaming Benghazi on phantom spontaneous demonstrators.
The press dignifies this duplicity with gushing about Hillary’s willingness to be as “ruthless” as men. Evidently her mannish dismissal of “whiney” women falls into this new category of equality too. Cowering before this ruthlessness, feminist groups won’t say a word about Blair’s notes, which even reveal Hillary’s low estimate of their clout. At one point, Hillary told Blair (according to Blair’s paraphrase) while discussing a potential judicial nomination fight that “those groups didn’t count for much.”
In Hillary’s war on women, she is clearly winning. Just ask Senator Claire McCaskill. According to the new book, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, McCaskill once informed a friend, ““I really don’t want to be in an elevator alone with her,” after Hillary’s camp scorched her for daring to say of Bill Clinton: “I don’t want my daughter near him.” Now properly chastened and reeducated, McCaskill has already endorsed Hillary for president. Such are the advances of feminism.