Why Does Hillary Clinton Think We Want Elizabeth Warren to Be Vulnerable?
Hillary Clinton says women are “held to a totally different standard” in politics — and that it’s been that way since she first ran for office.
“You’re expected to be both strong and vulnerable at the same time,” Clinton said in BuzzFeed’s “Another Round” podcast that was published online Sunday. “That’s not easy to do.”
The Democratic frontrunner said it’s “frustrating” for women in “any profession” to be criticized for being themselves.
“It’s just so hard to get people to realize that, you know, we’re all different,” Clinton said. “We may all be women, but we all have our strengths, we all have our weaknesses. We get up every morning and do the best we can. And eventually people either get you or they don’t.”
Clinton said she faced similar sexist questions when she first ran for Senate in 1999 and again during the 2008 presidential campaign — but, interestingly, not during her time as secretary of state.
“Because I wasn’t in politics, people were really nice,” Clinton said. “They said all kinds of nice things about me, which, you know, I appreciated.”
But that changed when she announced her 2016 presidential bid.
“How is a woman supposed to behave? Well, how about the way she is,” Clinton said. “And then people have to figure out her as opposed to her having to figure out everybody else.”
— Hillary Clinton: ‘How is a woman supposed to behave? Well, how about the way she is’, Dylan Stableford, Yahoo Politics, yesterday
Yup. We definitely expect Elizabeth Warren to be both strong and vulnerable. And since she’s only one of those things, we Democrats are darned lucky that she’s not running for the presidential nomination!
Heck, I’m not sure Warren will even be reelected to the Senate, unless she adopts Barbara Mikulski’s or Debbie Stabenow’s feigning-vulnerability thing. They did it so well that they have both had a cakewalk to reelection. Mikulski, repeatedly! And Stabenow, in a swing state!
What concerns me most about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is that she believes, obviously unshakably, that what really matters in this election is her. Her personality. Her gender. Her ongoing, decades-long war with the Republican Party, not about policy but instead about her. It permeates every single thing about her campaign. Because ultimately, yes, it does show, to use her words, the way she is.
One of the ways she is is a politician who is paying consultants exorbitant fees to advise her that she should be a guest on one after another comedy-skit show or women’s daytime interview show, and talk about herself and act silly. But who apparently don’t advise her that, maybe, her actual problem is that she never actually engages in a back-and-forth discussion publicly about policy specifics and their impact, and that her vaunted toughness toward Republicans has almost nothing to do with the specifics their economic and fiscal policy proposals but instead in defending herself against their allegations of misconduct.
See? She can go toe-to-toe with those Republicans! Just not in explaining that, contrary to their incessant claims, this country’s most successful and creative period was when income taxes were far more progressive, and far higher for higher-income individuals and for corporations, than they have been during periods of slow economic growth. And that it was during those decades that most of this country’s dramatic upward mobility occurred.
And that while, say, Marco Rubio makes patently ridiculous claims like that Uber couldn’t exist in any other country because only in the United States is it not banned by regulations instituted at the behest of taxicab drivers and taxicab company owners. And even here in the United States it didn’t exist in Miami when it did exist in New York City because of those of those regulations that taxicab drivers had managed to successfully lobby the city’s government to kill Uber’s plan to that city.
Mm-hmm. Only the likes of taxicab drivers lobby for favorable legislation and contracts. Not, say, private prison corporations. Although, of course, private corporations taking over government functions in exchange for payment to them of huge public funds and payment by them to, say, Marco Rubio’s campaign funds is capitalism! And democracy! Unlike taxicab driver and labor union lobbying.
And Uber operates not just in the United States but in cities all over the world. Even in Scandinavia. And also in Miami. But it didn’t start in Miami. Probably because of the strength of the taxicab driver lobby there.
For months and months after Clinton announced her candidacy, as it started to become clear that it wasn’t quite taking off as they’d expected, her campaign engaged in an intense attempt via political journalists to characterize her as a wonk. Repeatedly, sometimes several within a few days, there were articles describing her as a wonk. Which, it turns out, now means, simply, a claimed interest in policy. (Jeb Bush began to borrow the he’s-a-Wonk-campaign campaign strategy, also with some success. Jeb Bush is not a wonk, but he is a Wonk. Then again, he can explain why the left wants slow growth; it’s that it means people are more dependent upon government.” The thing is, though, that he can’t explain why his brother wanted slow growth. Or at least wanted much slower growth than lefty Obama has wanted. Or, if he’s wonkish enough to know why, he has so far kept it to himself.)
After reading yet another Hillary-Clinton’s-a-wonk article, circa July, shortly after she made political headlines with an addition to her website in which she assured small-business owners and people who aspire to be one that she fully understood that the biggest problem in starting and then in owning a small business is federal regulation, and that she planned to get right on that as soon as she’s inaugurated, I said to myself:
Yep. She’s a wonk. It’s just that she’s a wonk who thinks small businesses are regulated mainly by the federal government, and thinks that the locale and the nature of the business are irrelevant to the type of regulations required to start and then operat a small business.
It didn’t occur to her, apparently, to not condescend to small-business owners and aspirants, and state that most small-business regulation is not by the federal government but by states and municipalities. Much less did she think that maybe she should point out that, regarding small businesses, federal regulation usually supports them as against mega-businesses that control such things as credit/debit card payment methods and fees, and as against business-sector monopolies. That’s what the Durbin Amendment and the Sherman Antitrust Act respectively do.
Then again, in order for her to do that she’d have to have the ability to do that, as well as the willingness to do it. Bernie Sanders has the ability to do that. And does do it. So does Clinton’s husband, even now; he did it, extemporaneously, on some complex subject—I can’t remember what, but I read about it—when he appeared recently on some interview show. Granted, they’re both men. But Elizabeth Warren is a woman, and she can, and does, do it too.
Hillary Clinton speaks only in soundbites because, apparently, she thinks only in soundbites. And because, maybe after all, and for all her feminism talk, she believes that complex discussion of such things as the Sherman Antitrust Act and the level of its enforcement (or lack of it), and of Keynesian economics, and of the actual history of federal taxation, spending, and regulation—and the actual nature of federal regulation—are subjects only for male politicians to discuss with journalists for the enlightenment of the hoi polloi.
Clinton doesn’t have to show she’s vulnerable. But, oh, she does.
And she doesn’t realize that it is she who is really the one with the gender bias. Or at least for whom it will forever be the 1990s.
Hillary Clinton may be full of herself and snotty or whatever. But she really is a genuine wonk like her hubby. When he was president, she was smarter than him or any of his cabinet members. I do not agree with all her positions and have problems with aspects of her personality, but she very much knows her stuff and is very very smart.
BTW, you complain that she is all about her, but you seem to want her to bre all about Elizabeth Warren. Why? I think your post is ridiculous, even if Elizabeth Warren doe not need to be vulnerable. HRC is talking about her own experience, and it is clear that indeed she has been given a hard time about not being this and not being that. It is completely and totally legitmate for her to talk about that wihtout this kind of totally inane and inapproprieate commentary. She cannot talk about herself and must talk about Elizabeth Warren? Excuse me, but she is running for president and Elizabeth Warren is not, for better or worse.
One more point. She may speak in soundbites because that is what is required to run for president. But if you think that she thinks in soundbites then you are sadly mistaken. She is extremely knowledgeable about the depths and details of many issues, even if one does not agree with what she thinks. Your comment that she thinks in sound bites is astoundingly ignorant.
Are you saying, Barkley, that Clinton was saying that it is only she that is expected to be both strong and vulnerable? Only she that is held to a totally different standard in politics?
Because I read her comments to mean that women politicians are expected to be both strong and vulnerable. And, last I read, Warren is a woman politician. So are Mikulski and Stabenow.
My objection is not that Clinton doesn’t talk about Warren but that her statement is clearly false; women politicians are not expected to be both strong and vulnerable. Apparently she is being told by her consultants that women politicians must be both strong and vulnerable, and funny, and … well, several other things, I guess, none of which concerns the ability to actually discuss nuances and specific facts that, say, refute Republican claims about the effects of various fiscal and regulatory (or deregulatory) policies.
I believe that Bill Clinton and, say, Robert Reich (a member of Clinton’s cabinet) can do these things, and have done them. I believe that Hillary Clinton cannot do these things, which is why she does not do them.
And if soundbites are what are called for in presidential campaigning, she should be beating Sanders handily in the states in which both spent most of the summer campaigning. Have you checked out the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire? And looked at campaign-event attendance?
I’m not the one whose post or comment is ridiculous.
PS: I also believe that Bill Clinton and Robert Reich know that most small-business regulations and licensing requirements are state and local ones, not federal ones, and that many federal regulations enacted under Commerce Clause authority protect small businesses as against mega-ones. Including competitors, suppliers, and banks.
I’d bet that several Clinton adminstration cabinet members in addition to Reich knew that, too. All the way back in the ’90s.
Putting Robert Reich forward as some great expert is a joke. I know very smart people who have interacted with the entire Clinton cabinet and who say she was smarter and more knowledgeable than all of them. Reich is well meaning, but not a heavy weight.
Barkley, I will agree that Hillary is smart; that is all she has going for her.
Her entire political career has been one scandal after another, failing even as an aide in Washington; read she was fired for lying.
“read she was fired for lying.”
“A pair of articles published during Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency in 2008, one by Northstar Writers Group founder Dan Calabrese and one by Jerry Zeifman himself, asserted that Zeifman was Hillary’s supervisor during the Watergate investigation and that he eventually fired her from the investigation for “unethical, dishonest” conduct. However, whatever Zeifman may have thought of Hillary and her work during the investigation, he was not her supervisor, neither he nor anyone else fired her from her position on the Impeachment Inquiry staff (Zeifman in fact didn’t have the power to fire her, even had he wanted to do so), his description of her conduct as “unethical” and “dishonest” is his personal, highly subjective characterization, and the “facts” on which he bases that characterization are ones that he has contradicted himself about on multiple occasions.”
I don’t care one whit about what Clinton did or didn’t do as a staff attorney for the Watergate Committee. But I sure would like to know, especially since she herself raised the issue last night, what exactly her accomplishments were as a senator for eight years.
I don’t mean just bills she sponsored that we enacted. That’s a silly measurement, since she was after all only one of 50 senators. I mean, what did she propose? What did she fight for? What bills did she vote for?
All I know about are that she voted for the Iraq invasion and for a really awful bankruptcy-law overhaul. If she wants to continue to claim that she did something special as senator, she should identify that special thing. Or things. Really.
We get it that you really do not like HRC and will repeat any piece of plain out wrong and stupid garbage about her. You do not think it matters what bills she sponsored that were passed? Are you totally and completely out of it?
OK, so this “vulnerability” stuff is not to be taken too seriously, and clearly other women politicians, including Warren, have not had to deal with it. But, Masachusetts is more progressive than most of the country (as are MD and MI), with Hillary having gotten beaten up o nthis initially back in 92 when Bill was running for prez and they were having to pay attention to people in Arkansas and such places. Making a big dea about this is just silly.