Ah, the art of the non-apology apology. What would politics be without it? Today’s example comes from Hillary Clinton, whose remarks in India explaining how married women and people in the sticks are easily manipulated idiots created a firestorm back home.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday night, Hillary offers an “explanation” of her remarks. People “misinterpreted” her remarks to think that she meant that white women are influenced by their husbands rather than think for themselves. What she really meant was, er …
I also mentioned something in passing that’s gotten a lot of negative attention: that there is anecdotal evidence and some research to suggest that women are unfortunately more swayed by men than the other way around. As much as I hate the possibility, and hate saying it, it’s not that crazy when you think about our ongoing struggle to reach gender balance – even within the same household. I did not realize how hard it would hit many who heard it. I was out there having a conversation, and this was one piece of a larger point about how Democrats need to do better with white women, because I know in my heart that Democrats have much more to offer them. Do I believe that some women look at a powerful woman and question whether she can lead, maybe voting for the man their husband is voting for instead? It may not be universally true or easy to hear, but yes, it’s a dynamic still at play in our society.
That will be a surprise to a lot of women in America who have been accustomed to making up their own minds for their entire lives. Remarkably, there isn’t even a hint at a walkback here, not even a grudging allowance that two people who are married to each other might have developed political and cultural views in common or had them to begin with, let alone that she might have had some flaws as a candidate that turned off a lot of voters of both sexes. Instead, Hillary doubles down on the idea that any woman who voted for Trump is brainwashed against the idea of female leadership.
In other words, just as in the campaign, Hillary still believes that all women owed her their votes, and that a failure to provide them is a betrayal. Hillary can’t quite accuse women of being traitors to their gender, so instead she casts them as benighted and captive idiots. Great “explanation,” eh?
And when she talked about the areas of the country that Trump won being backward and racist, well, that was misinterpreted too. Hillary didn’t mean entire states — just the parts of every state where she didn’t win:
My first instinct was to defend Americans and explain how Donald Trump could have been elected. I said that places doing better economically typically lean Democratic, and places where there is less optimism about the future lean Republican. That doesn’t mean the coasts versus the heartland, it doesn’t even mean entire states. In fact, it more often captures the divisions between more dynamic urban areas and less prosperous small towns within states.
The deplorables are everywhere, dang it! But Hillary says she doesn’t think that the entire Midwest and South are backwards and racist. You have some lovely cities where Democrats actually win elections, I hear! Once again, Hillary Clinton uses Hillary Clinton as her base comparison value for assessing the virtue of voters, and finds every area outside of Democratic power centers as less worthy.
So to those upset or offended by what I said last week, I hope this explanation helps to explain the point I was trying to make.
If anything, this “explanation” reinforces the message that everyone got the first time. It also validates the reaction of other Democrats who can’t wait for Hillary Clinton to shut up about 2016:
Even after her apology was posted to the web, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, called what Clinton had previously asserted ‘wrong.’
‘Thirty per cent of the people that voted for Donald Trump had voted for President Obama. Why? Durbin asked on Fox News Sunday. ‘The same people who looked for change with President Obama thought there wasn’t enough, as far as their personal lives were concerned, and they supported Donald Trump.’
‘That is a reality the Democrats acknowledge,’ Durbin added.
Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, also called Clinton’s comments ‘not helpful at all’ going into this year’s midterm election cycle.
Former Ohio state Rep. Nina Turner, who supported Clinton’s rival Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary in 2016, said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that it was ‘very hurtful’ for the former secretary of state to talk about Ohioans like that.
‘In politics, we should not criticize the voters,’ Turner acknowledged.
One might even call that impulse deplorable.