Normally Clinton and her toadies would be the first people to tell you that shattering the glass ceiling in any profession is an incalculably positive development for women. The example of a woman overcoming sexism through will and talent to prove that she can compete with — and beat — the boys demonstrates like few other things can that little girls needn’t limit their ambition. When that profession is as visible as politics, where leadership is traditionally thought of as distinctly male, it’s all the more valuable.
And although praising Thatcher for her “guts” would have made Hillary fans uncomfortable for ideological reasons, Clinton could have flattered their prejudices in Thatcher’s defense. “If you think it’s hard for a woman to succeed in a party dominated by enlightened progressive men, imagine how much harder it is to challenge the leadership in a party of right-wing troglodytes.” Etc etc.
But there’s consistency here, if nothing else. Liberal feminists believe that a woman isn’t to be credited unless she has the correct politics. Hillary’s just following the rules.
Hillary and Chelsea Clinton haven’t included Margaret Thatcher in their book of “gutsy” women@HillaryClinton tells @EmmaBarnett that Thatcher didn’t try to “make a positive difference” for other women
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 12, 2019
“[G]ive some credit to Thatcher if for no other reason than she didn’t ride her more talented husband’s coattails to power and then blow it in two national elections where she started out heavily favored,” sniffs Mark Hemingway. Tiana Lowe adds, “Last I checked, Margaret Thatcher didn’t spend her career silencing the rape victims of her husband and then of her Hollywood donor pal, but I guess that is a pretty low bar to clear of human decency.”
There’s a certain “gutsiness,” I suppose, in destroying your predator spouse’s accusers and then positioning yourself as queen of all feminism. “Balls,” I believe, is the word.
Meh, whatever. Issuing book-length pronouncements on the courage or lack thereof of other women icons is a dreary consolation prize for someone who’s going to have to sit by and watch another politician achieve her dream of becoming the first woman president. Maybe it’ll be Elizabeth Warren. Or maybe it’ll be Nikki Haley, another figure with the wrong politics who’ll need to be denigrated as lacking “guts” or otherwise not qualifying as a “real woman” for her crime of right-wingery.
Either way, do note that she can’t get through her critique of Thatcher here without botching a fact, as Madeline Fry correctly notes in a piece today at the Examiner. Clinton claims that Thatcher once said there’s no such thing as “community,” which is both incorrect and mangles the meaning of what Thatcher actually did say. “There is no such thing as society,” said the Iron Lady, and in context it’s clear that she didn’t mean that as a byword for “community.” Rather the opposite: Thatcher’s point was that it’s easy for people to be callous to members of their actual community by assuming that “society,” i.e. the state, will care for their basic needs. “There is a living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate,” she said in that speech, adding elsewhere, “It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbors.” It’s one thing to cut her out of your self-promotional coffee table book but there’s no need to put words in her mouth to justify it.
I don’t know, maybe she’s just more easily confused as she gets older. In the same BBC interview as the one embedded above, she claimed that “many, many, many people” were encouraging her to run for president again. Those are Republicans, Hillary.