Monday, May 08, 2006

Podhoretz: "Hillary is a Bitch"

Syndicated conservative columnist John Podhoretz thinks Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has what it takes to become the first woman president of the United States. But the right-wing pundit says its not her political skills, qualifications or charisma that could propel her into the White House, but rather that "she is a bitch." Podhoretz's contention is that Americans want in their president the overall qualities of a leader: tough, strong, resolute. In short, someone with male qualities.

"Just for vulgarity's sake," Podhoretz said, "let me put it this way: She's got to be a bitch. And Hillary is a bitch. Her challenge will be to play up her anti-feminine qualities without being completely without charm and appeal."

But Podhoretz asks, "If the public is looking for a tough guy, won't the public want a guy? Maybe. On the other hand, if there were ever an American woman politician who could pass for a tough guy, it's Hillary Clinton."

Podhoretz believes the ground rules are very different for male and female candidates. "Male pols these days have to show they have a touch of the classically feminine about them--compassion, caring, nurturing--in order to appeal to women. Female pols need to show they can be manly. In this way, Hillary's lack of femininity is the first, maybe the only, real political advantage her feminist toughness affords her. And it helps explain why she must be taken seriously as a powerful threat to Republicans and conservatives." That's the most back-handed compliment I've ever read.

A woman running for president, Podhoretz continued, "needs to be flat. She needs to be cold. She needs to have a hard, almost unbreakable shell...She has to be a little scary, a little intimidating, a little off-putting so that she gives the impression that she can handle the crisis and catastrophes that come a president's way."

Can you imagine if this sort of highly offensive personal attack was directed at a high-ranking conservative female? Could you imagine the fallout if some left-wing columnist called Laura Bush, Elizabeth Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchinson a bitch? The GOP'd raise holy hell. There's such a double-standard in American politics today. People expect the Repug's to engage in the politics of personal attack, and to play as dirty as possible. And they are all too happy to deliver on that expectation.


Anonymous said...

Andy - Personally I agree with Podhoretz. Hillary is going to have to be a bitch to win. She is going to have to be a hard-ass in debates and show people she's not soft and sensitive, but can take a direct verbal strike from her opponents.

Typical American thinking is if a women sleeps around she must be a slut; but if a guy sleeps around he's a stud. The same goes for being stern. If a guy is a hard-ass we call them tough; if a women is a hard-ass we call them a bitch.

I think Podhoretz's point is that she's going to have to be aggressive and he knows they'll call her a bitch.

Anonymous said...

I agree too.

Daithí said...

She is more of an enigma that anything else.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why the warmongering right hates her and why the liberals love her.

Anonymous said...

I think you're letting your visceral reaction get in the way here. I don't necessarily buy into his premise, but it's clearly not meant as a "personal attack." People of both sexes use the term "bitch" approvingly all the time.

(wakes up in a cold sweat)

What a horrible nightmare--I was defending John Podhoretz! And you were there, and you were there...

Anonymous said...

I don't care if she is or isn't a bitch, she is still a military industrial complex insider.

She is a big taker of lobbyist money, so does not truly represent her constituants.

She is inneffective at speaking out against the Republicans and their criminal, anti-american behavior.

The only reason why she is the so called Democratic presidential candidate front runner, is because the media says she is. But whenever a poll is taken with Democratic voters, she never comes close to first place.

For all those reasons given above, she does not deserve to be President.

Kevin Schmidt, Sterling VA

Anonymous said...

And we all thought she was just another Bush!

Anonymous said...

The commenatries thus far are misplaced.

The issue is not whether Hillary Clinton is or needs to be tough-minded/aggressive/wily or whatever to get elected.

It is rather that a rightwing commentator has carte blanche to you misogynist hate language in describing an opponent. If Keith Olberman or Katerina vanden Heuvel or Arianna Huffington called Bush an asshole (which I think he IS!), it's be considered by the other side as just another sign that Democrats and their fellow travelers are motivated primarily by HATE and isn't that just awful, boo-hoo.

I for one am opposed to Hillary for two reasons: her unwillingness to oppose the Iraqi adventure and her national electability.

But let's not confuse what Podhoretz is saying: it's not political commentary, but rather the gutter form of demeaning a strong woman.

Anonymous said...

This John Podhoretz??