Never surrender
Posted by aogSunday, 15 June 2003 at 19:35 TrackBack Ping URL
What always amazes me about the defenders of Hillary Clinton is that she's reviled not because of what she does but because she is a woman who does them. A case in point is Anna Quindlen (admittedly, not the sharpest billiard ball in the rack). Her column in the 16 June issue of Newsweek lays this canard on in a big way. What interesting is that HRC is married to an excellent counter-example. Apparently the Bill Clinton haters feel that way because of his policies, but the Hillary Clinton haters feel that way because she's a woman. To quote:
she [HRC] couldn't hide the fact that she was smarter and more ambitious than most people. If she were male, both those qualities might have been seen as commonplace.
I guess that's why people are so filled with venom about Condaleeza Rice. But the logical implications of Quindlen's statement are more interesting.

Quindlen seems to think that it's common place for a man to be “smarter … than most people”. But being anything more than most can't be common place by definition. It's just a milder form of the Lake Woebegone “all the children are above average”. There's only one way for Quindlen's quote to be accurate – if men are in general smarter than women. Kind of an odd axiom for an alledgedly feminist to be basing her world view on.

Quindlen of course only manages to defend Hillary by eliding key facts, just as Hillary did in her book (Travelgate, what's that?). For instance, Quindlen asked what Quindlen considered a tough question:

I asked her [HRC] skeptically about a much publicized trip she'd made to Safeway. [… HRC] asked what I had done that morning. […] wasn't that domestic behavior merely a cover up for the liberal feminist columnist lurking beneath?
Well, yeah. But note the key difference that doesn't occur to Quindlen: “well publicized”. If Quindlen made her domestic chores in to media events then there'd be a legitimate comparison.

Then there's the issue of Monica Lewinsky. Quindlen excuses HRC by claiming that it was a no-win situation – discussing would be consider tacky and political and not discussing it would be consider dishonest and cynical. But that's a false dichotomy. What HRC did was discuss it in a transparently bogus way. No relation to previous adventures by Bill Clinton contaminates HRC's view of the situation. Both Quindlen and HRC simply erase those pesky facts to present the issue in a false light. I consider that highly cynical on the part of HRC because, as Quindlen notes, HRC is far too smart to drop that context unknowingly.