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.