HAVING WRITTEN the book on the sexism leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton in her historic 20-year rise in politics, I’m never surprised when another shot crosses her bow, including when it comes from men of the left. But Michael Kinsley really out does himself on his latest anti-Clinton screed for Bloomberg titled “Hillary Clinton’s Ego Trips.”
And, of course, proving men on the left can be as insulting as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Kinsley tees off on Secretary Clinton by starting off on her appearance.
Clinton looks awful and has looked worse and worse for years, since long before her recent hospitalization for a blood clot resulting from a fall. I don’t mean to be ungallant. It’s just that she clearly has been working herself to death in her current job as well as in her past two, as senator and first lady.
And what for? Despite all the admiration she deserves for her dedication and long hours, there is also a vanity of long hours and (in her current job) long miles of travel. You must be very, very important if your work requires you to be constantly flying through time zones to midnight meetings that last for hours. Of course our secretary of state is very important — so why does she have to prove it?
Why “prove it” by being the first Secretary of State to visit the Congo war zone where gang rape rampages are common? Better to phone it in via a teleconferencing event.
And what’s the point of continual visits to Afghanistan as she helps the women of that country climb out of the dark ages?
There was nothing really to be gained when way back in 1995 First Lady Hillary Clinton went to China to begin her rallying cry to the world, women’s right are human rights. She might has well written an op-ed instead.
But, of course, it’s that travel to China that began the change that revealed the intent of what’s become her life’s work that finally manifested in making this policy part of President Obama’s foreign policy legacy. That women in every country around the world must be empowered if stability is to be created and peace a possibility in developing nations.
That Michael Kinsley believes a woman in the depths of the Congo, or in the barren landscape of Afghanistan, would be as impacted if Secretary Hillary Clinton hadn’t shown up in person to encourage and put her personal stamp on the change desperately needed in these cultures proves the antiquated, crass misogyny at the pulsating center of his gross insult.
As for teleconferencing in the modern era, there is no reason this cannot be brought into the daily reality of the State Department and the secretary of state’s priorities, but Kinsley doesn’t make that case honestly. Instead he uses it as another way to insult Clinton on how she chose to engage the world on President Obama’s behalf. Same goes for evaluating the criteria to judge Secretary Clinton’s accomplishments, which will and should be done, but again, honestly weighing what’s been accomplished in diplomacy during Clinton’s tenure and through President Obama’s first term choices is clearly not Kinsley’s motive either.
The nakedly sexist charge that Clinton’s so-called “conspicuous travel” was simply to prove she’s important, to fluff her ego, because she doesn’t want to have to answer the phone in her office, is nothing less than a virulent assault on a woman, because of who she is.
As bad as the right wingers who accused Clinton of “Benghazi flu” after a concussion that revealed a blood clot, Michael Kinsley proves that when it comes to Secretary Clinton, sexism is alive and well and on the launching pad waiting for 2016.
If you’re wondering why more women aren’t jumping into politics or putting themselves forward to take high level offices in government, Kinsley proves that being a woman and doing your job well will still bring out sexist accusations. That traveling as secretary of state isn’t about actually doing your job at all, but instead is trying to feed your own ego by traveling like some ditsy socialite to fill your passport. That while you do important work as secretary of state, you’d better have your blush, mascara and hairdresser by your side, because if you dare dip below the American male standards while changing the world one country at a time, empowering women who have never been encouraged by their own country, there will always be some hack watching from his privileged national media perch to opine.
In the end, Hillary Rodham Clinton is not a professional going full out as she sees fit to do as Obama’s Secretary of State. According to Kinsley, what she’s really all about is making everyone think she’s doing your job, because looking important and staying primped at all costs is the actual goal.
A woman is nothing if not her looks. Screw her passion for making the world more just; changing the lives of women and improving the cultures of developing countries in order to raise the world up, if only a notch. Traveling and showing up in person has nothing to do with Clinton’s passion to make a mark for America and represent President Obama’s view of the world, which includes raising the hopes of women everywhere through policies that change lives, which begins with reproductive health, fighting HIV/AIDS and so many other issues.
Nothing reveals why America doesn’t have a female president more clearly than Michael Kinsley’s high school analysis, especially after the right’s insulting charges against Clinton’s very real blood clot health issue.
That Bloomberg actually thought Kinsley’s piece was worth publishing, because another sexist insult flung at Secretary Clinton was something that needed to be said as she prepares to leave her position, gives you a view into the bankrupt state of the national media in this country, which is still run by men.