How do you convince folks that a liberal white woman who has spent most of her adult life as the wife of a governor and a president, and then traded on that conjugal experience to become a senator, is tough enough to be the President of the United States?
During her first presidential campaign, Paul Gibson, president of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union, noted that leading our great country “is going to take an individual that has testicular fortitude, that’s exactly right, that’s what we got to have.”
As far as Gibson was concerned, while Hillary might have lacked anatomical balls, she nevertheless had what it took to act like a real man.
Is this a sexist comment, or am I being too sensitive? But Hillary didn’t call him out on it. Of course there was also Mike Easley, Governor of North Carolina, North Carolina, who in endorsing Hillary called her a fighter who “makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.” A “pansy”? Really? Isn’t that homophobic or something?
But Hillary Clinton had been busy trying to establish her masculine bona fides in a number of ways, and one of these was to identify herself with that most phallic of symbols—guns.
At one campaign event, she told folks, “You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton….” At this point I cringed. I feared she was about to tell me more than I needed to know. So I was relieved when she continued, “and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl.” Whew! She was trying to relate, you see. And then she went a little further: “I have gone hunting. I am not a hunter. But I have gone hunting.” Her husband might have said, “I have smoked pot. I am not a pot smoker. But I have smoked pot.” The Clintons like to have it both ways.
So she’d shot a gun. But what about actually killing something? Well, she did that too, as a matter of fact, back in Arkansas when she was the Governor’s wife. As she told the tale, “I remember standing in the cold water. It was so cold, you know, at first light. I was with a bunch of my friends, all men. And they all were playing a trick on me, and said, ‘We’re not going to shoot, you shoot,’ cause you know what they wanted to do. They wanted to embarrass me. So the pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck.”*
Yes, she’d killed, but she had been tricked by a bunch of men who were out to humiliate the little lady. And she had to show them the stuff of which she was made. So she shot. Under pressure. And down came the duck.
Did all of this actually show Hillary Clinton’s fitness to be the President of the United States? Barack Obama didn’t think so. Just “Annie Oakley” stuff, said the future President—dismissively, as was his wont. He apparently had the right anatomy.
There was also the Hillary Clinton the war hero who had (not) ducked bullets in Bosnia. And the Hillary Clinton who taunted Obama with not being ready to meet a middle-of-the-night emergency: “It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?”
And we all know how that turned out.
*Queary: Did Hillary give the banded duck to Bill for a photo op?
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