Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest 1 Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   2 comments, In Series: Elections

OpEdNews Op Eds

Hillary's Hide-and-Seek

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jim Kavanagh     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 4   Supported 3   Must Read 1  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 10/17/16

Author 83077
Become a Fan
  (14 fans)
- Advertisement -

(image by Reuters)   License   DMCA

This Sunday's New York Times ( NYT ) article by Amy Chozic ko , headlined "Issues in Hillary Clinton's Past Leave Her Muted in Furor Over Donald Trump" ("Clinton Treads Lightly Amid Furor Over Trump" in the print edition) provides a fine example of how the mainstream press covers up Hillary Clinton's problems, even when they claim to be reporting on them.

The article introduces itself as explaining Hillary's "virtual silence" regarding the issues of Donald Trump's piggish treatment of women--issues that she herself raised in this campaign. The article mentions, in the most non-specific way possible, that she's an "imperfect messenger" for these issues because of her "missteps" in dealing with her own "husband's history" of piggish behavior. It alludes to her "role in countering the women who accused him of sexual misconduct" as part of a "painful past" that "haunted Mrs. Clinton last Sunday" when Trump brought some of her husband's accusers to the debate.

The article goes on at length to quote from Michelle Obama's speech, to elucidate how Hillary slyly changes the subject to cat videos when asked, and to talk about how she struggles to overcome the electorate's lingering resistance to a woman president. It mentions how, "without mentioning the accusations against Mr. Trump," she says things like: "This election is incredibly painful. I take absolutely no satisfaction in what is happening on the other side with my opponent."

What the article does not do is mention a single specific "misstep" or "imperfection" in the way she "countered" her husband's "accusers" and verified mistresses. In an article of some 1300 words, there is not one that clearly describes any of the things that Hillary Clinton did and said in that regard--the precise things that cause Hillary to "tread lightly" about Donald Trump's abusiveness, and cause her the discomfort the article purports to explain.

Despite what Ms. Chozicko does take many words to mention, what puts Hillary in a "complicated place" now is not that she "stayed as a devoted wife to her husband through infidelities and humiliation." As Melinda Henneberger and Dahlia Lithwick remarked back in 2008: "Sure, her husband's behavior has humiliated her. But she has also helped him humiliate the women he's been involved with."

It was Hillary Clinton who called Gennifer Flowers "trailer trash" and a "failed cabaret singer who doesn't even have much of a re'sume'," and who got on national television with her husband to ridicule Flowers, who was telling the truth. It was Hillary who called Monica Lewinsky, who was telling the truth, a "narcissistic loony toon." It was Hillary who described Bill's mistresses as "bimbos." Carl Bernstein also told how Hillary not only "thr[e]w herself into efforts to discredit Flowers," she tried to "persuade horrified campaign aides to bring out rumors that Poppy Bush had not always been faithful to Barbara."

Hillary could have stood by her man, and said nothing about the women Bill was screwing. Instead, she chose to publicly and aggressively slut-shame and ridicule those women in order to actively support her husband's lies about them. Hillary Clinton did to those women what Clarence Thomas and Alan Simpson did to Anita Hill. To quote Henneberger and Lithwick again: "If her biggest fans knew who she really blamed--other women--they might not still be fans."

- Advertisement -

That's what's causing Hillary to "tread lightly" now, and that's what you'd never know from reading this NYT article, even though it's exactly what the article purports to explain. Furthermore, the NYT and the author know these facts and have deliberately chosen to hide them within vague terms like "imperfections" and, you know, "It's complicated." For the Times, what occurred between Hillary and these women has all been so "painful" and "haunting"--for Hillary. That's a kind of rhetorical protection that the NYT would never offer one of its/the Democratic establishment's political opponents.

In other words, the NYT article is not a good-faith attempt to inform us about, and analyze, Hillary's problem. It's an effort to hide it. Rather than explain Hillary's avoidance, Ms. Chozicko mimics it.

This whole rigmarole reflects a fundamental problem: Does anybody really contend, in a principled and consistent way, that a candidate's (man or woman) personal nasty sexual behavior in itself disqualifies that person for the presidency? Or doesn't everyone actually use that issue only opportunistically--to attack the candidate they don't like for other political reasons?

Lyndon Johnson used to wave around his dick--which he called Jumbo--and once forced himself on a White House secretary, showing up at her bed and ordering her to "Move over. This is your president." Is any Democratic Party liberal going to say we should denounce his presidency solely on that behavior (straight-up rape!), or will they insist on prioritizing things like the Civil Rights Act and Medicare? (For that matter, will his opponents not prioritize things like the Vietnam War?) Will any of them judge Richard Nixon to be a better president or political persona because he was more "correct" in his sexual behavior?

This is not just about how things went in the past, either: If Corey Booker runs against Marco Rubio eight years from now, and someone unearths incidents about Corey like those now being unearthed about Trump, will Chris Hayes, or Rachel, or Michelle say that Booker is then disqualified? Or will they say--as many of the same people attacking Trump today said about Bill Clinton yesterday--that's "just about sex" and shouldn't disqualify him to be president? And besides, it's the most important election ever!

- Advertisement -

Sure, it's harder to get away with now, as it should be, but, when making a political judgement, a person's loutish sexual behavior is always going to be relativized and judged as less decisive than their policy positions--by his or her supporters, at least. Like it or not, people's sexual and political personae are frequently in contradiction, and there's no cure. Even those for whom women's issues are of paramount importance will find it hard not to prefer a personally sexist candidate who supports abortion rights, contraceptive availability, maternity leave, etc., over a personally impeccable candidate who doesn't. Many did exactly that with Bill Clinton, and will do so again.

Those who did not, do not, and would not reject Johnson or Kennedy or Bill Clinton or the next Democratic iteration thereof, despite his piggish sexism, because other politics outweigh that fault, can't really look down on supporters of other candidates who make exactly the same kind of calculation. Whether you vote for a piggish genital-grabber because s/he won't criminalize abortion, or because s/he won't start WWIII, you're prioritizing policy over personal behavior. What's annoying are those who sanctimoniously insist that everyone must reject a candidate because of his/her personal sexual behavior, when it's obvious that they really don't believe that at all.

In the present case, there are a thousand reasons to reject Donald Trump, and his piggishness makes for a nice part of the mix. Still, one might think it's important to get seriously into those other political issues, to compare positions on things like the economy, war, etc. We're not so much on that terrain anymore, are we?

We're not so much on that terrain anymore, are we? The United States just launched a military attack on the poorest country in the Arab world? Obama is considering starting WWIII in defense of al-Qaeda? Hey, let's interview this woman who sat next to Donald Trump on an airplane thirty years ago. Diversion, anyone?

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

Valuable 4   Supported 3   Must Read 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Former college professor, native and denizen of New York City. Blogging at, aiming to be intellectually rigorous and politically challenging from a left-socialist perspective. Also publishing on CounterPunch and Z.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Israel's "Human Shield" Hypocrisy

The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights

Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection

Edward Snowden, Lawrence O'Donnell, and the Failure of Fuzzy Land Thinking

Flight Club: The No-Fly List and the Authoritarian Theater of the Absurd

The New Privateers: Civil Forfeiture, Police Piracy, and the Third-Worldization of America

Comments Image Post Article Comment

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
Connect with Facebook     Connect with Twitter            Register with Facebook     Register with Twitter


You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.

Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments  Post Comment

James Carlisle

Become a Fan
Author 19930

(Member since Aug 10, 2008), 57 comments

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

  New Content

"The net result is that Hillary did not just go "virtually silent" about Trump, she virtually stopped campaigning at all." It may be that another reason Hillary has long periods when she doesn't campaign is that she and her team are hiding a serious health problem which is looking increasingly like Parkinsons disease.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 11:22:05 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)

Jim Kavanagh

Become a Fan
Author 83077
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Oct 29, 2012), 14 fans, 66 articles, 4 quicklinks, 123 comments, 4 diaries

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Reply to James Carlisle:   New Content

Yes, this could be a factor. I have a previous post about this, at: Waiting To Exhale: Hillary, In Sickness And In Health.

If it's there, it's been well-hidden since the 9/11 incident. She looks strong and healthy in the debates. And she's now getting away with a Rose-Garden strategy. Unless she collapses during the next debate, this won't be a factor. Of course, it may come up after she's president, a la Wilson, but they'll keep it hidden as long as they can. IF it's a problem. We have to admit we're only educated-guessing.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 11:36:58 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)

Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment