Jennifer Palmieri book - pearls of wisdom and sexism, too

Jennifer Palmieri has written a book, Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World and no doubt you will see her on cable television if you haven’t yet. She is promoting it heavily and even going on some conservative shows on Fox News Channel.  It is a remarkably thin book of only 192 pages. Palmieri, the former Clinton campaign Communications Director and before that the Obama White House Communications Director offers the reader her pearls of wisdom for future women in leadership positions.  

Naturally, she claims that Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential campaign is due to sexism. Yes, the easy answer. In the interview with Megyn Kelly Monday, she says people are suspicious of women looking to succeed. This is where I note the irony in Palmieri making this excuse to NBC’s $18 million dollar woman.

Hillary Clinton’s former communications director Jennifer Palmieri on Monday cited sexism as a key factor in why the 2016 Democratic nominee for president lost the election.

“Fundamentally, I think there’s just something they find suspicious in a woman looking to succeed,” Palmieri told NBC “Today” host Megyn Kelly in a conversation about Clinton’s loss.

“Nod less and cry more”, she says in that interview.  She means women should embrace all of their emotions or something. It seems a bit odd to me that she encourages crying, though, in the context of a professional setting. I can tell you from personal experience that crying is a huge no-no and if I ever felt the urge to do so I would head to the nearest women’s restroom. Campaigns are a different environment than, say, a traditional office setting, because campaigns are emotional experiences and less restrictive. I don’t think Palmieri is relating to the average woman’s career with that kind of answer.

She blames the old way of doing things, too, which I take to be running a traditional campaign.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal to elect a woman president. I didn’t really think it mattered that she was a woman — I just thought she was the best person for the job. And then not only that she lost and that she lost to a misogynist who seemed to be against all the rules of what we were taught that America was going to behave, but just how repressed people reacted to her throughout the campaign. I was like ‘Wow, we are still using an outdated model for how we think about leadership and how we think about women in the workplace.’ The exciting thing about that is that now we can imagine a new world.”

It seems to me that some of her answers are a look into how the Clinton campaign never really had a chance. In retrospect, she should be able to recognize that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate and their campaign strategy of devoting so much time to the large urban areas on both coasts instead of courting middle America – flyover country –  was completely tone deaf for the time.  Voters were looking for a real change from traditional politics, not business as usual. How silly to deny that electing a woman president was a big deal. Of course, it was a big deal. Any time there is a first of anything, it’s a big deal. Remember when Barack Obama was elected and the endless stories of our first African-American president?

Hillary Clinton spoke frequently of the glass ceiling. It’s still there for the first woman president to claim when she breaks it. It’ll happen. I think American voters are ready for a woman as president. I know I am. I just didn’t want that woman. It had nothing to do with forcing her into being a traditional candidate.