Lost in the uproar over the United State’s withdrawal from the Paris accords and the renewal of Islamic terrorists’ attacks in Great Britain is the pitiful story of former Secretary of State and once (well actually twice) and future Democrat presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ms. Clinton is a woman scorned.
No, I’m not referring to her nearly four decades of watching her Lothario husband, former President Bill Clinton, try to nail virtually every woman who fell within his orbit (some more aggressively than others – Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones, for instance). I’m not even talking about the embarrassment of having publicly stated:
“You know, I’m not sitting here — some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”
Except that she not only “stood by her man” amidst all of his sexual scandals and lies, she served as one of his principal attack dogs, denying the facts, and denigrating Mr. Clinton’s accusers.
Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozaic Nation and Bitch (odes to a muscular feminism) was a frequent observer of Ms. Clinton’s travails. In a Washington Post article, Alyssa Rosenberg referred often to Elizabeth Wurtzel comments in describing the relationship between the Clintons:
“. . . the horror story of every woman who has lived right…only to find it all wrecked by some man who lives to make bonfires out of other people’s to-do lists, who makes her forget to do the laundry until he asks her to do his.”
And Karen Lehrman (feminist, critic and author), again referencing Ms. Wurtzel, was quoted in a New York Times article:
“The difficult part is not being bad; it’s figuring out when to be bad and when to be good. It’s true that society still sees an authoritative woman and immediately thinks: bitch. But it’s also true that many women are bitches, not from too much strength but from the lack of it, just as arrogant men tend to be the weakest of the lot. Confident women don’t need to be controlling. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Wurtzel notes, is not only a faux feminist, she is also a faux bitch. Her cold self-righteousness stems not from liberation but from frustration; like Barbara Bush, Wurtzel writes, ‘’Hillary is just her husband’s wife.’”
Somewhere along the line, Ms. Clinton apparently decided that she would trade marital fealty for power and public humiliation for prominence. And therein lies her primary mistake in life.
And that leads us to the reason that Ms. Clinton is a woman scorned.
After Mr. Clinton left the presidency in 2000, Ms. Clinton assumed that it was her turn – after all they had once described their time in the White House as a “co-presidency” and campaigned on the theory of “getting two for the price of one.” With no practical political experience, Ms. Clinton decided that she needed a political position of prominence – senator – but from where. She settled on New York – not Illinois where she was born and raised, not Arkansas where she spent most of her adult life – no, New York where she had never lived, had no reasonable ties and no earned loyalties. But she knew that New York was overwhelmingly Democrat and that it would elect a “yellow dog” if that were the Democrat nominee. And she knew that as retiring President, her husband, Mr. Clinton remained the titular head of the Democrat Party and most certainly the voracious Clinton political machine. So they cleared out the primary leaving Ms. Clinton to run against a nobody named Mark McMahon and then a general election against Rick Lazio. And Ms. Clinton was off to the races – presumptively as a result of her own efforts but actually as the result of being her husband’s wife.
She served her one term as a senator with no definable achievements and promptly moved on to run for the presidency in 2008. She was assumed to be “unbeatable” and that it was her “destiny” to become the nominee. But then she was scorned by the public for the first time through a unknown freshman senator from Illinois – Barack Obama, a virtual nobody whose background was mostly a mystery and who had no definable achievement in either the Illinois legislature or the United States Senate. It would be the moral equivalent of Babe Ruth being struck out by a ten-year old Little League pitcher. He not only beat her, he embarrassed her. But Mr. Obama needed the Clinton political machine to win the general election and the Clinton’s traded their support to Mr. Obama for his nomination of Ms. Clinton as Secretary of State – a position from which she could maintain public exposure and “relevance” in her anticipated run for the presidency after Mr. Obama was done. An achievement that was once again the result of being her husband’s wife.
Ms. Clinton spent the next eight years preparing to run again, amassing both a campaign and a personal fortune, and organizing within the Democrat Party to ensure that there would be no serious challenge to her nomination – particularly by installing her own supporters in party leadership positions and ensuring that the party appointed “super delegates” who were loyal to her. And yet, despite an eight year running start, tons of cash, a robust political machine and a delegate selection process rigged to ensure her victory, Ms. Clinton was scorned again through Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist – VT) – not even a member of the Democrat Party. While Mr. Sanders was drawing crowds numbering in the thousands, Ms. Clinton was having trouble filling a water closet. In the end she won the primary but primarily because she had rigged the “super delegate” process. She was a terrible campaigner, appearing aloof, staged, and scripted. In spite of portraying herself as “every woman” she came off as a noblesse oblige elite “stooping to conquer.” But the public scorn was not over.
Ms. Clinton was met in the general election by the “anti-candidate” Donald Trump – a billionaire real estate magnate and reality star host with zero political experience. He was big, boisterous, and not bothered by the nuances of political niceties. He called out Ms. Clinton as a crook, a liar, and an abuser of women for denigrating the women who were victims of her husband’s sexual aggression. He stood right in her face on national television and told her she belonged in prison. He blamed her for Benghazi, for Syria, for Russia, for the collapse of Iraq and the rise of ISIS. He renounced many of her decisions as Secretary of State – particularly the sale of the country’s uranium reserves to Russian interests – as part of “the pay to play” corruption involving Ms. Clinton, her husband and her foundation. He called her physically weak and not up to the strenuous campaign and surely not the presidency. There was not a weakness – political or personal – that Mr. Trump did not exploit and in the process exposed her not as a leader but rather as“just her husband’s wife.”
In the end Ms. Clinton was abandoned by African-Americans, women, and the young – her presumed electoral base. Yes, she won the popular vote but that was due entirely to California – not something of which to be proud. She lost the electoral college vote by a wide margin. The inevitable Hillary Clinton was denied for a third time – everything but “the cock crowing” announced her failure.
And as with other tragedies, Ms. Clinton is running through the five stages of grief – denial, anger (dominated by a quest for revenge), bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the first stage, Ms. Clinton, while acknowledging her loss publicly, worked diligently to deny Mr. Trump inaugurations though attempting to nullify the results through the electoral college, the congressional process and the courts (denial). Now we are in the second stage which finds Ms. Clinton racing to the front of the line to claim leadership of “the resistance” in an effort to deny Mr. Trump any success as president (revenge). She has begun making public appearance in which she seeks to impose blame for her loss on everyone else (Mr. Trump, Russia, white men, Russia, the Washington Post, Russia, the Democrat National Committee, Russia and – oh, yes. Russia). She steadfastly refuses to accept responsibilities for her own actions, her campaign strategies, her difficulty with the truth, her email scandal, or the information from emails hacked from her campaign chairman, John Podesta’s files – yes, Russia is probably responsible for disclosing the emails but Ms. Clinton and her allies are solely responsible for their content.
It is doubtful whether Ms. Clinton will ever move past the early stages of grief because “acceptance” requires acknowledgment of the truth. And in Ms. Clinton’s case the truth is that despite her Faustian deal to trade fealty for power, the power always remained with Mr. Clinton – as Ms. Wurtzel noted: “Hillary is just her husband’s wife” and always will be. Even in a third run for the presidency in which she will again be scorned.