aside Michael Arnovitz’s Defense Of Hillary Clinton

clinton-graph-1-0y4fnfy2jzz361iqwil0fwOn June 13, 2016, Michael Arnovitz of the Policy bog, posted the article, “Thinking About Hillary — A Plea for Reason.” This is a lengthy discourse to bolster his belief that misogyny is the primary  reason, why Mrs. Clinton’s polls are high while she is working but takes a dive whenever she is running for an elected position or asking for power.  Here are some excerpts:

“In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person.” — Henry Louis Gates

clinton-great-outstanding-early-candor“The quote above comes from a fascinating article called “Hating Hillary”, written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published it’s a fascinating and impressive piece.”

“I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her.  I can’t help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as “a cultural inventory of villainy” rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.”

“And this claim of unabated mendacity is particularly interesting, because while it is not the oldest defamation aimed at Hillary, it is the one that most effortlessly glides across partisan lines. Indeed, for a surprisingly large percentage of the electorate, the claim that Hillary is innately dishonest is simply accepted as a given. It is an accusation and conviction so ingrained in the conversation about her that any attempt to even question it is often met with shock. And yet here’s the thing: it’s not actually true. PolitiFact, the Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking project, determined for example that Hillary was actually the most truthful candidate (of either Party) in the 2016 election season. And in general PolitiFact has determined that Hillary is more honest than most (but not all) politicians they have tracked over the years.”

clinton-on-glass-ceiling-hrc“Also instructive is Jill Abramson’s recent piece in the Guardian. Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal as well as former Executive Editor of the New York Times, had this to say about Hillary’s honesty: “As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”

Back to Whitewater

William Safire
William Safire

“In January of 1996, while Whitewater investigations were underway but unfinished, conservative writer William Safire wrote a scathing and now-famous essay about Hillary Clinton entitled, “Blizzard of Lies.” In the piece he called her a “congenital liar”, and accused her of forcing her friends and subordinates into a “web of deceit”. He insisted (without any apparent evidence) that she took bribes, evaded taxes, forced her own attorneys to perjure themselves, “bamboozled” bank regulators, and was actively involved in criminal enterprises that defrauded the government of millions of dollars. He ended the piece by stating that, “She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.”

 “I am no political historian, but as far as I can tell this short essay was the birth of the “Hillary is a Liar” meme. Now to be clear, most conservatives already strongly disliked her. They had been upset with her for some time because she had refused to play the traditional First Lady role. And they were horrified by her attempt to champion Universal Health coverage…(Before 1996), the most common opinion seemed to be that she was a self-righteous leftist who considered anyone with other views to be morally inferior… she was just intolerably smug.”

“After the Safire piece however, this all changed. Republicans, who learned from Nixon never to let a good propaganda opportunity pass if they could help it, repeated the accusations of mendacity non-stop to anyone who would broadcast or print them. And if you doubt the staying power of Safire’s piece, type the phrase “congenital liar” into a Google search along with “Hillary Clinton” and see what happens. This, even though Safire was eventually proven wrong about everything he had written. Safire never apologized.”

clinton-hrc-womens-rights-are-human-rights“But while conservative propaganda and lies are a constant in “Hillaryland”, if we look at Hillary’s career, and the negative attacks so often aimed at her, it seems clear that more than just political machinations are at play. My current conviction is that the main fuel that powers the anti-Hillary crowd is sexism. And yes I’m serious. But I think the evidence supports my view, and I’ve seen no other plausible explanation. And just to be clear, I don’t think it’s ONLY sexism. But I do think that this is the primary force that has generated and maintained most of the negative narratives about Hillary.”

1) “We have formed a sort of collective blindness to sexism that allows us to pretend that we are on top of the issue while simultaneously ignoring the many ways in which it actually permeates our society. (There’s a reason it’s called a “glass” ceiling.)”
2) “Unlike men, women who make demands are still often seen as unfeminine and inappropriately aggressive, bordering on deviant. And if the people most aggressively pushing against the glass ceiling are “broken” or “deviant”, it’s easier to justify dismissing both them and their concerns.”

clinton-photo-w-quote-on-gay-rights-65“So I’ve made a claim. Let’s look at some numbers. Take a look at the image above. On the right side you’ll see a chart. This is a chart of Hillary’s popularity over time. It was put together by Nate Silver, who based it on over 500 high-quality phone surveys dating back to the early 90’s. If we take a look at the polling data, very obvious patterns emerge.”

“In the early 90’s her polling was great, which was typical for an incoming First Lady. But Hillary had no interest in being a typical First Lady, and soon took charge of one of the most important policy initiatives of the Clinton Presidency: Universal Health Care. If you look at the first large red arrow I have on the graphic, you’ll see that as soon as she did that her negatives skyrocketed (asking for power).”

“Now take a look at the second arrow. This is where she declared that she was going to run for the Senate. See what happened? She was at one of the most popular periods of her life, but as soon as she declared a run for the Senate her favorables plummeted while her unfavorables rose sharply. Then once she was elected, her scores stabilized and even improved. Now look at the third arrow. Nearly exactly at the same time she withdrew from the Presidential race her favorables took off again, rising to levels that many considered remarkable. (Or are we pretending not to remember that until very recently Hillary was one of the most popular politicians in the country?) In fact the image on the left of the graph is part of the “bad-ass Hillary” meme that started during this time. And her polling stayed high right up until she decided to run for President again.”

“What I see (from data) is that the public view of Hillary Clinton does not seem to be correlated to “scandals” or issues of character or whether she murdered Vince Foster. No, the one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover.”

“And in fact I started thinking more about this after reading an article that Sady Doyle wrote for Quartz back in February. The title of the piece was, “America loves women like Hillary Clinton — as long as they’re not asking for a promotion.” In the article Ms. Doyle asserted that, “The wild difference between the way we talk about Clinton when she campaigns and the way we talk about her when she’s in office can’t be explained as ordinary political mud-slinging.”

“And yes this is the kind of statement that many people will find reflexively annoying. But that doesn’t make it any less true, and the data certainly seems to support it. Even NBC news, looking back over decades of their own polls, stated that, “she’s struggled to stay popular when she’s on the campaign trail.” If this has nothing to do with gender, then wouldn’t the same thing happen to men when they campaign? But it doesn’t.”

clinton-hrc-good-photo-w-quote-bigger-than-oneself789“So let’s look at the issues people are currently using to disparage Clinton. Let’s consider the issues of dishonesty, scandals, money and Wall Street.”

“1) Honesty — In terms of honesty, I’ve already addressed that. Hillary is a politician, and like all politicians she is no stranger to “massaging” and/or exaggerating the truth. And yes on occasion she will let loose a whopper. But is she worse than other politicians? As I’ve already discussed, the evidence suggests that she is no worse, and actually better, than most other politicians…According to PolitiFact he is in fact the least honest candidate they’ve ever analyzed! So if the issue of honesty is really that important, why are so many people (on the right and left) holding Hillary to such an obviously different standard than Trump?” 

2) “Scandals — Webster’s dictionary defines a scandal as, “an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong.” But here’s a question: Are scandals still scandals if nobody actually did anything wrong? And I think that’s a fair question, because Hillary’s political foes love to point out all the times she has been implicated (directly or indirectly) in scandals. Not surprisingly, however, they fail to point out that she has always been cleared of any wrongdoing.”

clnton-quote-use-when-you-are-stumbled-knocked-down-keep-faith-hillary-clinton-quotes-656x492

“So if she’s always innocent, why then does she find herself caught up in so many scandals? For that answer, perhaps we should look at the Wikipedia definition of scandal, which states, “A scandal can be broadly defined as an accusation or accusations that receive wide exposure. Generally there is a negative effect on the credibility of the person or organization involved.” Notice the important difference? Perhaps the “negative effect on credibility” is not so much the RESULT of these scandals as it is the INTENT of those who create them.”

“Did you know that Republicans once spent 10 days and 140 hours investigating the Clintons’ use of the White House Christmas Card list? Because that is a real thing that actually happened. As the Atlantic recently pointed out, “No other American politicians — even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush — have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.” (And for an impressive presentation of this issue I highly recommend Hanna Rosin’s piece “Among the Hillary Haters”, in the Atlantic.)”

elections-dnc-655802163aa00575-democratic

3) “Money — OK let’s talk about her money. Hillary has a lot of it. And she has earned most of it through well-paid speaking fees. And the idea of getting paid $200,000 or more for a single speech seems so ludicrous to many people that they assume that it simply must be some form of bribery. But the truth is that there is a large, well-established and extremely lucrative industry for speaking and appearance fees. And within that industry many celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and former politicians get paid very well. At her most popular for example, Paris Hilton was being paid as much as $750,000 just to make an appearance. Kylie Jenner was once paid over $100,000 to go to her own birthday party, and to this day Vanilla Ice gets $15,000 simply to show up with his hat turned sideways.”

“And let’s talk about the more cerebral cousin of the appearance agreement, which is the speaking engagement. Is $200k really that unusual? In fact “All American Speakers”, the agency that represents Clinton, currently represents 135 people whose MINIMUM speaking fee is $200,000.”

clinton-great-photo-love-and-kindness-longform-original-24600-1453764096-18

“Hillary didn’t invent the speaking engagement industry, and she isn’t anywhere near the first person to make a lot of money from it. And while her fees are in the upper range of what speakers make, neither they nor the total amount of money she has made are unusual. It’s just unusual FOR A WOMAN…So if this discussion is really about money in politics that’s fine. But I’m going to need someone to explain to me why we only seem to focus on it when the person making the money has a vagina.. “

4) “Wall Street — First things first. No, the majority of the money Clinton has made from speaking fees did not come from Wall Street. In fact it’s not even close. She has given nearly 100 paid speeches since leaving the State Dept., and only 8 were to “Wall Street” banks. Nearly all of her speeches were to organizations like American Camping Association, Ebay, Cisco, Xerox, Cardiovascular Research Foundation, United Fresh Produce Association, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, California Medical Association, A&E Television Networks, Massachusetts Conference for Women, U.S. Green Building Council, National Association of Realtors, American Society of Travel Agents, Gap, National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, etc.”

clinton-good-quote-use-da068ed02e2157ccd52a03e1c30692af

“Corporations and Associations pay large fees for important speakers all of the time. And Hillary got booked fairly often because she is interesting and popular, and because there’s a great deal of status attached to having her speak at an event…A large contingent of anti-Hillary people continue to insist that all speaker’s fees from Wall Street banks were bribes, and that because of this they “own” her. But by that logic shouldn’t we all be asking what the fuck the American Camping Association is up to?”

“What the actual fuck is going on here? What’s going on is what we all know, but mostly don’t want to admit: presidential campaigns favor men, and the men who campaign in them are rewarded for those traits perceived as being “manly” — physical size, charisma, forceful personality, assertiveness, boldness and volume. Women who evince those same traits however are usually punished rather than rewarded, and a lot of the negativity aimed at Hillary over the years, especially when she is seeking office, has been due to these underlying biases. There is simply no question that Hillary has for years been on the business end of an unrelenting double standard. And her battle with societal sexism isn’t going to stop because of her success anymore than Obama’s battle with racism stopped once he was elected. These are generational issues, and we are who we are.”

10 comments

    • Dear Keith, Thanks for the feedback. On my next blog, I am going to blog on HRC years from 1973 to 1996.

      I came of age and started working in 1972. I remember interviewing in 1972 when I was considered a babe. I did not accept job offers that I suspected were offered because of my looks. Finally, I was interviewing for a job where I could tell that the manager did not want to offer me a position because of my appearance. That was the job I went for and of, course I did really well. Within 4 years I was sales operations manager for 180 franchise stores.

      There came a time where I moved because my husband was promoted in 1976 to another city where my company did not have an office. I had such a difficult time finding a job. Employers had a hard time believing that I actually did everything that I claimed. A former pay stub and letter of reference meant nothing.

      I eventually did ok but these millennials don’t understand what a lot of women went through to open doors for them. HRC was ahead of her time.

      I got out of the rat race which I miss in 1991 after being in a terrible auto accident. My ex was not very supportive during this time and so, this is when I divorced. I have worked for years but just not at the executive levels, I used to enjoy.

      But I still remember those Mad Men days. Gronda

  1. Great post, Gronda! I am so glad I discovered your blog! I have long said that just as President Obama’s biggest hurdle is his race, Hillary’s is her gender. I still believe that today. I think the lemmings in the Trump camp are truly afraid of a woman leader. Thanks again for this post!

    • Dear Jill Dennison,

      Welcome!! After a lot of research I am convinced that a lot of what she has been dealing with has to do with sexism. Yes, Hillary Clinton is not just any woman. She is accomplished, smart, powerful and she goes after what she wants. Even today, that scares a lot of the misogynists. How dare she? I am in awe of her for not giving up.
      ,
      Thanks for your generous feedback, Gronda

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