“I suppose it’s fair to say: don’t you someday want to see a woman president?” Thus asks Hillary Clinton, newly declared for the presidency. Or is that re-declared?
The problem? Hillary Clinton isn’t a woman. And any Republican who is running for president who thinks she is will deserve the loss coming their way.
What is Hillary Clinton? She is in fact… ready? A liberal. A plain, garden-variety left-wing liberal. I know, I know. She looks like a woman. But as conservatives have long since learned, looking like a woman doesn’t make you a woman.
I learned this myself years ago in a battle over the nomination of a friend of mine to a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He had a lot of supporters who happened to be women. They were professionals. Lawyers and serious lawyers at that, active in the legal profession with considerable professional reputations and accomplishments. But, alas.
In the course of the battle, the far-left National Organization for Women asked for a meeting with then-Senator Arlen Specter to make clear their opposition to the nominee. Specter couldn’t make the meeting, but had his chief of staff — a woman — hold the meeting in his office. In came the NOW representatives. The discussion was on. At some point the Senator’s chief of staff noted for the record that my friend the nominee had considerable support from women, and named one — a lawyer and head of the local bar association — by name. Snapped one of the NOW visitors? “She’s not a woman. She’s a lawyer.” The Specter chief of staff, as noted a professional woman herself, could only shake her head in disbelief. The nominee won — and the women lawyers helped him carry the day. But that they were looked down on by the left-wing NOW ladies there was no doubt.
By now this belief as to who is and who is not a woman is embedded in the liberal media. Look no further than bile dished on former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Who certainly looks like a woman to me. But, we learned in 2008 and ever after, Governor Palin really isn’t a woman. First of all, she opposes abortion. Worse, instead of aborting her own child when she learned she was carrying a developmentally challenged little boy, she -gasp! — had the baby anyway. How unwomanly!
Rest assured that if ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina makes progress in the GOP presidential primaries and winds up on the GOP ticket we will all learn that, yes, really, Fiorina isn’t a woman either. Alert the media!
Over there at the National Review the always astute Jim Geraghty has penned a spot-on observation titled: “The Skewed View of America Inside the Progressive Bubble.”In which Geraghty, in Nashville for the gathering of the NRA, points out the following:
The cultural gap between those who vote in the Republican presidential primaries and those who cover the candidates in those primaries is now a chasm.
… A lot of members of the media who are covering the GOP presidential candidates have exceptionally little in common with the voters who will select the Republican nominee. Thus, when the Republican candidates make their pitch to grassroots conservatives, the hot-take instant analysis from the big media voices usually concludes that the pitch was a belly flop. But the GOP candidates aren’t trying to win votes in the New York and D.C. newsrooms, and in a spectacular failure of empathy and understanding, a lot of reporters simply can’t grasp the hopes, fears, and priorities of GOP-leaning voters in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina… and Tennessee.
If you’re a particular kind of snot-nosed urban progressive, the NRA Convention — this year held in the country-music capital of the world, Nashville — is the perfect opportunity for smug eye-rolling, relished disdain, and incredulous scoffing that people actually live and think like this in the year 2015.
Geraghty is right. What he is describing is exactly the reaction of those NOW women in Arlen Specter’s office years ago. These leftist women were, Geraghty’s phrase but one that has particular resonance, “snot-nosed urban progressives” of exactly the type being described in the cyber-pages of National Review. They look at the NRA (not to mention the women of the NRA) as a visitor to the zoo would view the animals.
Culturally speaking, the NOW types and their female targets in that judicial fight would have appeared to have a lot in common. But in fact, the modern left, entirely dependent on identity politics for its sustenance, has strict standards as to who can claim group identity. And if — like those female Pennsylvania lawyers or Sarah Palin or, as she will soon learn, Carly Fiorina — you have deviated in some way from the approved group identity of far-left liberalism — you are toast. In this case — you are no longer a woman. Yes, you may look like a woman. But in fact, you really aren’t one because otherwise you could never leave the group.
In fact, this belief applies to all other “identities” in the identity group business. Justice Clarence Thomas or Dr. Ben Carson? They’re not really black. Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio — both Cuban Americans? They would be “LINO’s” — Latinos In Name Only.
What can Republicans learn from this? Stop treating Hillary Clinton like a woman and treat her as she really is: a left-leaning liberal. Mrs. Clinton is going to be portrayed by all those, as Geraghty calls them, “snot-nosed progressive” journalists whose lives center around New York and Washington, as What Only A Real Woman Can Be.
Approved views on abortion? Check. Gay marriage? Now that she’s (belatedly) on board — check. Then there’s that speech at Georgetown awhile back, a speech in a larger discussion of female leadership in which Clinton praised the ability of women to empathize with others. Said the Secretary of State who was so certain her “re-set” button presentation to her Russian counterpart would bring success:
“This is what we call smart power. Using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security. Leaving no one on the sidelines. Showing respect even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand, in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st century will change — change the prospects for peace.”
That’s a big one in the world of all these snooty progressives. Understanding the humanity of all those foreign bad guys? Check, check, and check again. Now that’s a real woman. (Which, of course, is why so many of these types and their leftist British counterparts hated Margaret Thatcher. The Iron Lady, but of course, was no woman!)
Mrs. Clinton’s very bus tour to Iowa is redolent of the liberal going to the zoo, venturing forth to see the local exotics who are so distasteful at those Upper East Side and Georgetown gatherings.
It’s time, more than time, for conservatives to stop going along with this particular trope of identity politics. Hillary Clinton is no more a woman than a lot of those men and women covering her are “journalists.” They are, like Hillary, liberals. They think like liberals. They associate with liberals. They swim in the liberal culture. All of which is exactly why they have spent the advent of Barack Obama giving him a pass for his considerable failures.
One of the most vivid aspects of the Obama era is the group-think that rushed to celebrate then-Senator Obama not because of his views or his background but his race. His left-wing associations with everybody from Jeremiah Wright to Bill Ayers to ACORN were ignored by a McCain campaign that was terrified of serious political discussion because they didn’t want to be called racists. In 2012 Mitt Romney made the same mistake, saying “I wish Obama would have succeeded because I want America to succeed.” The statement was an appalling example of the timidity of the GOP, refusing to acknowledge the hard-left views of Mr. Obama — otherwise why wish him success? Answer? Fear of the “R word”.
Now it will be fear of the “W word.” And one can just hear the solemn GOP consultants (some of them the same ones who gave such horrendous advice to McCain and Romney) sagely advising that Mrs. Clinton’s womanhood must be respected. If in fact respectful treatment had been given Sarah Palin and any other woman who is a conservative (recall MSNBC’s Ed Schultz calling conservative talk radio show host Laura Ingraham a “a right-wing slut”) there might be something to the advice. But that isn’t what happens.
In a recent appearance on Fox and Friends Carly Fiorina said what should be, but hasn’t been, obvious to the GOP Establishment. It was two words: “Push back.” In other words, stop dealing with Hillary Clinton as a woman — and treat her for what she is. A professional, career-long left-wing liberal. Whose liberal policies as Secretary of State failed — and failed badly, leaving behind a world in chaos.
Not only is this good strategy. Treating Hillary Clinton not as a woman but a liberal also happens to have the added advantage of being the truth.