Hillary Clinton has had a bad summer. Not nearly as bad as President Obama’s but what once looked like a full-proof Democratic ascension, (from one history-making first to another) now seems a bit of a stretch. What’s worse is Democrats can’t even verbalize the reason why.
It ain’t because she said she was “dead broke” when Bill Clinton and her left the White House. It’s got nothing to do with Monica Lewinsky resurfacing after nearly 20 years. It certainly will not have anything to do with Benghazi or Obama fatigue or fears of a Clinton Dynasty. However, when they read her political obituary all of the above will be discussed thoroughly. Truth is, Clinton’s got a “bitch” problem.
I realize that statement is as loaded as the recent New York city tabloid headline describing Obama as the “N@#$@! in the White House.” But hear me out….
Back up nearly 20 years ago when Clinton’s infamous “bitchdom” began. Her husband was in the White House and as First Lady she was called everything from “bitch” to Hitlery” to the “Hildebeast.” She was accused of doing all kinds of things from keeping a traitors list to being behind Vince Foster’s suicide. She claimed it was part of a right-wing conspiracy and with time those words, mocked at the time, were somewhat validated.
Personally, I never found myself equating Clinton with the “B-Word” until this summer after hearing an interview between Clinton and NPR’s Teri Gross. During that interview, Gross questioned Clinton’s change in heart over supporting gay marriage and questioned whether that particular evolution might be “political.”
“I think you are playing with my words… And playing with what is such a very important issue,” Clinton said when Gross tried to get her to clarify whether she changed her mind on gay marriage or if America had changed its mind allowing her to openly support gay marriage.
“I think I am just trying to clarify,” said Gross.
“No I don’t think you are trying to clarify. I think you are trying to say that I was opposed and now I am in support and I did it for political reasons. And that is not what happened.” Audio segment (the whole interview is good but the testy interchange happens at the very end)
Then, about a month ago, another old interview surfaced. In this one Clinton is taped joking about how she helped get a man off on a rape charge in which she clearly thinks he was guilty. Audio segment. Obviously, everyone has the right to a competent defense. But this particular case involved the rape of a 12-year-old girl, a girl who Clinton allegedly smeared during the trial, and the tape shows Clinton laughing about the man’s guilt. And to make things worse, the victim is now speaking out.
“Hillary Clinton took me through Hell,” the victim said. “It’s proven fact, with all the tapes [now revealed], she lied like a dog on me. I think she was trying to do whatever she could do to make herself look good at the time…. She wanted it to look good, she didn’t care if those guys did it or not… Them two guys should have got a lot longer time. I do not think justice was served at all.”
It’s also obvious that dredging up these old tapes is a concerted effort to smear Clinton. Once again, Clinton was right. But it’s just like the infamous “47 % Romney tape back in 2012.” Who was behind it is not nearly as important as the fact that it reinforces something many have suspected all along. Romney came off as being an out-of-touch millionaire oblivious to the lives of average Americans. And Clinton comes off as being a “bitch” who will destroy anyone who gets in her way.
“Bitch” doesn’t look particularly good on a bumper sticker and that tape of her snickering about getting a rapist off makes my stomach churn, but to be brutally honest so what?
When you think of what it takes to hold the most powerful political position in the free world, I would prefer a “bitch” over a pushover. To be even more brutally honest, and crude, when I look at the Obama presidency, I think he may have been more effective if he had Hillary Clinton’s “balls”.
“Bitches” and “balls,” I know. But this is the language we are given, and for the sake of economy, hear me out. We all understand the term is a lazy, unfair and completely illogical way of dismissing or disqualifying any strong and confident woman who has ever dared enter the arena with a man. It is also a fascinating word, its equal if found in just about every language in civilization and it nearly pre-dates civilization itself. It’s even been traced back to the Greek Goddess Artemis, the hunter and the protector of the woods.
Artemis hated her skills as a hunter questioned and spent a lot of time exacting revenge on those who doubted her. In one story, she kills the Aloadae twins, who were very aggressive hunters and incapable of being killed unless by each other. So she turned herself into a dog, and jumped between them. They killed each other attempting to kill her.
Then, there is the “bitch in heat” reference, which has evolved from describing a panting and sex-deprived woman groveling at the heels of men to being ruthless, back-stabbing and merciless.
From Greek Mythology to the Bible to William Shakespeare and the prophet Rick James, men and to some extent women, have used the “B-Word” to silence women and keep them “in their place.” As the first real woman presidential hopeful, Clinton is destined to be the “Bitch.” She is going to have to either embrace it or challenge it.
She certainly can’t run away from it.
Just as the election of Obama forced America to come to terms with its racist past and presence, Clinton is in the unique position to do the same when it comes to gender equality, sexism, and the absolutely unrealistic expectation that any woman can ever become a real player in the world, regardless of her chosen profession, without being a bit of a “bitch.” Now, ain’t that a bitch?
Devona Walker is the politics editor for The Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @DevonaWalker.