It’s quite possible that Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post is putting the cart just a bit before the horse when worrying about President Hillary Clinton. (We just had another poll yesterday showing her losing to every major Republican contender.) Still, it’s worth examining this running theme on the Left this morning because of the clever way which much of the liberal media tries to weave charges of both sexism and racism into a complicated shawl which somehow covers both Clinton and Barack Obama.
Rosenberg begins by establishing the argument, describing all the “racist” attacks on Barack Obama when he first ran for the presidency.
When Obama was running for president in 2008, his political opponents spread all sorts of racist memes to prevent him from gaining the presidency, from suggesting that his birth certificate had been falsified, to trying to tie him to former radical underground figures like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn, to insisting that he was an intellectual clone of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Those attacks failed to keep Obama out of the highest office in the land. But if his inauguration was a moment of national self-congratulation, seeming proof that we had overcome the biases that have defined the United States since its inception, the subsequent reaction to Obama’s presidency proved that optimism wrong.
To be sure, Obama came under plenty of criticism during his first run for the Oval Office, though Rosenberg conveniently seems to forget that a massive amount of it came from Hillary Clinton and her supporters right up until the convention. But even then, we’re led to believe that the attacks were somehow based on race. His birth certificate being falsified? Is that somehow exclusive to black candidates? It seems to me that Obama’s opponent had to go get an endorsement from Congress stating that his birth certificate was up to snuff, having been signed in Panama and all. Ted Cruz isn’t exactly African-American and he faces the same questions. (And if you ask the New York Times, he’s not even Hispanic.)
Obama is also tied “by racists” to washed up Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and his associate Ms. Dorhn. Have you ever seen a picture of those two? They’re white enough for a default invitation to a Klan rally. And we’re also supposed to accept that it’s “racist” to link Obama to Jeremiah Wright, the preacher he prayed with for all those years. True, Wright is an African-American, but do you suppose it’s just possible that people were a bit more upset about God Damn America than the color of his skin?
But enough of the appetizer. Let’s get to the entrée. Hillary Clinton will surely face the same abusive experience.
The first woman to be elected president of the United States seems likely to face a similar experience. Her victory at the polls and her inauguration would undeniably be symbolically significant. But that triumph and her tenure in office would also provoke a nasty wave of sexist response. As much as I will be proud to see a woman serve as president, I’ve also come to dread that time and the ugliness that will inevitably accompany it. I can’t wait to for those four or eight years to have come and gone.
For all the debates about Clinton’s qualifications for the presidency, which are considerable, there is a part of her résumé that is particularly relevant to this dilemma. More than any other woman in the United States, Clinton has experience absorbing tides of sexist trash and getting along with her work, whether she’s representing New York in the U.S. Senate, serving as secretary of state, or stumping on the campaign trail.
Okay, I’ll grant you that she’s been on the receiving end of some very x-x chromosome specific comments this cycle. In fact I seem to recall somebody invoking the word uterus about her presidential bid recently. Of course, since that was the rapper Killer Mike stumping for Bernie Sanders, liberals might want to remove the log from their own eye before giving an ophthalmological exam to conservatives. But other than that, what are the major knocks against Hillary? The fact that she’s considered a liar by the vast majority of the country? That she’s under investigation by the FBI? That she’s hugging all of Barack Obama’s policies tighter than a sloth on a tree? None of those sound terribly gender specific to me.
What we’re seeing here is an effort to lay the very early (and potentially premature) groundwork to prepare the nation for any public criticism of Hillary Clinton should she somehow be elected president. No matter what the critique, it will be ascribed to sexism, just as any complaints about Barack Obama’s failed policies are blamed on racism. This has led Alyssa Rosenberg to say she “dreads” the election of Hillary Clinton. Well… at least we can all agree on one thing, though perhaps for different reasons.