Is the sisterhood of the travelling pantsuits crowd packing up and leaving the Hilary Clinton camp?
Of all the death knells sounding the presidential hopes of Hillary Clinton (“Hillary Hobbling! Dems have backups in the wings! Hillary losing steam!”), one particular poll struck home.
A Washington Post/ABC poll reported that the front-runner’s numbers among Democratic female supporters have declined sharply — from 71 per cent in July to 42 per cent eight weeks later.
That’s a huge chunk of the sisterhood of the travelling pantsuits packing their bags, destination unknown. They are saying, in effect, the historical opportunity of electing the first female U.S. president is not resonating as strongly as it used to, if that female is Hillary Clinton.
Why? I can’t believe it’s all about the email “scandal” in which Clinton as secretary of state ill-advisedly used her own private server to send and receive emails. She has finally offered a limp apology after turning over hundreds of thousands of emails for scrutiny to the government.
No, it’s about trust and how, as several surveys have reported, when people were asked the first word that came to their minds about Hillary, the bleak response was “liar.” Ouch.
And it’s even more about authenticity, which has always been Clinton’s weakness. How can you believe a woman is the real deal if she constantly markets herself as someone new — here comes a looser, funnier Hillary, now we have a sentiment-driven public figure releasing poignant photos from her past, oh and don’t forget Grandma, not to mention that Chipotle-going good ol’ girl.
Enough! The truth — and it is out there — is that Clinton, as former first lady, senator, secretary of state and 2008 presidential hopeful, is all of the above and more.
She may privately be warm and folksy, but she’s also one tough cookie, and she should just do a Popeye and say “I yam what I yam.” In fact, she promised to do just that the last time I heard her speak in person, indicating she was through with hair do-overs and snarky comments about her clothes and she just was going to be herself.
Herself is a strong, prickly, overly secretive, many times too defensive, but highly knowledgeable and experienced leader who could make a very good president except for the fact that she may not be able to win a campaign. And in a democracy, sister, you gotta bring it to win it.
If you doubt Clinton’s strength, a speech she made last week to the Brookings Institution think-tank about how she would handle the controversial Iran nuclear deal was tough enough to satisfy some of the deal’s many critics (“distrust and verify” is her mantra, with an almost arrogant codicil of “Iran is not our partner, it is the subject of the deal.” )
Clinton was criticized for sounding too militaristic but she sent some very necessary and strong signals and the timing was spot on, as that same week, the Ayatollah released a repugnant statement saying Israel “the Zionist state” would not exist 25 years from now.
I think for women to throw over Hillary now is, as Julia Roberts as an ambitious and finally well-dressed hooker said to the snotty Beverly Hills sales clerks who wouldn’t serve her in Pretty
Woman: “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.” Or as a triumphant Hillary might eventually say to the women who deserted her: “I have to run the country now.”
Of course she may never get there. I know American women in her age demographic who think — sadly — she will withdraw pretty soon in the face of one or another scandal or setback. And younger women, who no longer focus at all on the “first female” anything, might well be turned off by the fact that Hillary is their mother’s candidate.
But here’s a thought: The odious Donald Trump, who insults women for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is not going away. His numbers are spectacular and his brand of angry blow-hardism is wooing even female voters.
The truth is that Hillary has always soared in popularity when she is being, well, screwed over by a man. When it was revealed that her husband, the Big Dawg, former president Bill Clinton, had sleazily distorted the Rudyard Kipling maxim “A woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke” by doing something with young intern Monica Lewinsky and a cigar tube, Hillary’s numbers started to soar. Millions of fans flocked to support Hillary as a wronged wife and good woman.
Imagine the support she’d get with Trump inevitably saying something incredibly slimy about her looks, her marriage or her ability.
This may seem like a dirty way to win the White House, but who cares. It’s already way too dirty out there, and some days I want to wear surgical gloves when I even just click on the latest “straight from Trump’s piehole” news.
No, this is where Hillary Clinton’s obstinance, and her dogged determination, come in handy. She’s in loser hell and she needs to keep going straight through it.
On the other side might not be paradise but vindication — those iffy female supporters taking another hard look and thinking Hillary may not be anywhere near perfect. But she sure trumps the other real loser.
A chance to elect the first female president is not resonating as strongly as it used to, if that female is Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton may be seen as overly secretive and sometimes too defensive. She’s also an experienced leader who would make a very good U.S. president, Judith Timson writes.