Now, It Seems, It’s Sexist for Progressives to Oppose Hillary


I managed to get myself labeled sexist twice within 24 hours for Facebook posts about Hillary Clinton. By her supporters, of course. In one post, I brought up a quote of hers praising Walmart from when she served on Walmart’s board. In the other, I actually said that Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of her had less to do with Hillary than it did with Planned Parenthood being in the pocket of the Dem party establishment.

This really has nothing to do with sexism, or even Hillary. What we’re seeing is what happens when those in power, in this case the Democratic Party establishment, feel threatened. They’ll do whatever they think will keep them in power. In this case, it means tilting the playing field in favor of their candidate. And they’ll seek to intimidate, by attacking those who support the anti-establishment candidate and demanding pledges of loyalty should the anti-establishment candidate lose. We actually may see that backfire on the Republican side, where those who pledged to support Trump if he’s the nominee, pledges made solely to extract a reciprocal pledge from Trump, might be called to live up to those pledges.

Will the “sexist” crap backfire on the Dem establishment?

I can’t see how it won’t, for several reasons.

I don’t doubt that sexism underlies some Democratic opposition to Clinton. We’ve not eliminated sexism from our society any more than we’ve eliminated racism.

But sexism is a pretty minor factor in the Clinton-Sanders contest. The two have a starkly different worldview. Many, many Sanders supporters actually preferred Elizabeth Warren. I’m among those. I thought Warren’s persona was more appealing than Sanders’, and didn’t see huge differences in their core principles. Simply put, the appeal of Sanders over Clinton has little to do with gender. It just doesn’t.

Painting Sanders’ supporters as sexist with a broad brush has clear costs. First, doing so will entirely undercut and dilute the entirely valid point that the Republican candidates and their supporters are largely sexist to the core. And racist. And homophobic. Wrongful charging bigotry really, really hinders your ability to rightfully charge bigotry. The cost of charging Sanders’ supporters with sexism could be to let conservatives off the hook. From that perspective, it’s a pretty foolish move.

Second, calling people sexist (or racist, or homophobic) tends to piss them off. In my case, someone somehow invoked my criticism of Hillary’s support of Walmart as evidence I was sexist. Another suggested my view that Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of Hillary was not gender-based indicated I was sexist. Thus, neither allegation of sexism was logic-based. That obviously causes me to lose respect for those who made the allegation. Does that infect my view of their candidate, Hillary? It actually shouldn’t, unless I (and others) feel it is part of a strategy coming from the campaign itself. At some point, however, that feeling becomes inescapable.

Third, the Clinton campaign should be soft-pedaling the gender card, not hard-peddling it. Hillary herself has real problems on this front. Here’s Maureen Dowd of the NY Times, in Leo, Hillary and Their Bears:

Ignoring our more gender-fluid society, the skyscraper-obsessed Trump has hectored male rivals for being girlie men. But he knows Hillary is tough. So he’s wielding his knife on her most sensitive pressure point: her hypocrisy in running as a feminist icon when she was part of political operations that smeared women who told the truth about Bill’s transgressions. Hillary told friends that Monica was a “troubled young person” getting ministered to by Bill and a “narcissistic loony toon.” Hillary’s henchman Sidney Blumenthal spread around the story that Monica was a stalker and Charlie Rangel publicly slandered the intern as a fantasist who wasn’t playing with “a full deck.”

Trump may be a politically incorrect Frank Sinatra ring-a-ding type with cascading marriages to hot babes, but he knows that a retrospective of the Clintons’ cynical campaigns against “bimbo eruptions” will not play well in a politically correct society sensitized by epidemics of rape in colleges and the military and by the Cosby effect.

Bill hid behind the skirts of feminists — including his wife and esteemed women in his cabinet — when he got caught playing around. And feminists, eager to protect his progressive agenda on women, allowed the women swirling around Bill to become collateral damage, torched as trailer trash or erotomaniacs.

In Iowa last fall, Hillary promised to fight sexual assault on campuses, saying that survivors had “the right to be heard” and “the right to be believed.” But when a woman last month asked if the women who claimed they were sexually harassed by Bill Clinton should be believed, Hillary faltered, replying lamely: “I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.” She’s in a dicey spot on this, as Trump well knows.

A dicey spot indeed.

Returning to my original point, this is not really about sexism on the part of Sanders’ supporters. This is about a clumsy Democratic Party establishment, not unlike the clumsy Republican Party establishment we’ve marveled at for the last several months. When the power of entrenched, clumsy establishment types is threatened, they react ruthlessly, corruptly and clumsily. And sliming those who threaten them is a key ingredient in the process. From that perspective, I suppose I should feel honored.


  1. Also, MoDo? Seriously? She’s had an irrational hatred of the Clintons since forever, and got her Pulitzer (!) from a series of panty sniffing gossip columns about the Lewinsky affair. She’s got chutzpah pretending to be Monica’s champion now.

  2. “I actually said that Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of her had less to do with Hillary than it did with Planned Parenthood being in the pocket of the Dem party establishment.”

    Bob, I know you are a good, pro-choice liberal but I promise you that I pay (conservative estimate) 25,000 times as much attention as you do to reproductive rights and politics and I can assure you that Planned Parenthood is not now, nor has it ever been “in the pocket of the Dem party establishment”. It is a nonprofit health care organization that happens to have a political arm. Up until fairly recently they endorsed and supported politicians of both parties because there used to be pro-choice Republicans. That often caused annoyance with Democrats who felt that, as a party, they had been better on reproductive issues. Now, it’s pretty much 100% Democrats but that’s because of the radical shift of the GOP on abortion and contraception, not because of loyalty to the “Dem establishment”.

    They decided to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 because she has been a more forceful advocate for women’s health than Bernie Sanders has been. Because, you know, a lot of shit has happened since 2008, such as hundreds of state laws restricting abortion and closing clinics and a sustained smear campaign against Planned Parenthood involving charlatans with hidden cameras. It is now basically Defcon 1 for abortion rights with SCOTUS nominations in the balance and a Congress that is likely to be GOP majority into the future.

    And though I don’t know this for a fact, it is likely that a preponderance of big donors to Planned Parenthood are Clinton supporters. In which case they would be fools not to endorse her.

    It’s not that I think you’re being sexist, Bob, but I do think on the Planned Parenthood thing that you’re swooping in with assumptions about it. It would be like me telling you how tax policy works.

    • Donna, you’re either missing my point in the piece, or just using it as a jumping off point to lecture. You and I can disagree about what motivated Planned Parenthood to endorse Hillary, but if I was saying the decision was not driven by Hillary’s gender, isn’t it counterintuitive and just a tad moronic to turn that around to charge me with being sexist? I can understand entirely if I said the endorsement was driven by gender I could be seen as sexist. That’s at least logical. What happened here was entirely illogical.

      I understand you disagree with my theory on the endorsement, but did you not get that the correctness of my theory had absolutely zero to do with the post? The purpose for the sentence you quoted wasn’t to argue the correctness of what I had said, but to show that my statement, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT WAS CORRECT, did not support an allegation of sexism.

      Lastly, as far as the real reason for the endorsement, we might both be wrong, or it could be a combination of reasons. It also could be that we’re both right. Yes, it’s not likely PP would endorse against the candidate who’d been far more supportive (although environmental groups and unions did precisely that). At the same time, Do you think PP would endorse an outsider over an establishment candidate who, although not quite as supportive as the outsider, was clearly on PP’s side? Remember also, that those PP types who support Hillary (and I think you’re correct on that point) don’t necessarily support her because of her work protecting the right to choose. So, there might be a different issue driving the endorsement. Those New York bankers who favor Hillary and also write checks to Planned Parenthood, do you think they pushed for the endorsement because of her work for choice? If you want to be dead certain about this, have at it. I’ll acknowledge that what I said was speculation, which, again, wasn’t the point of my post.

  3. Bob, did you actually think that any allegations of sexism in this case would be logical?

    By the way, having just viewed The Big Short for the first time this weekend, this sentence, “When the power of entrenched, clumsy establishment types is threatened, they react ruthlessly, corruptly and clumsily.” Rings especially true in the movie. The plutocratic establishment, including the young person with experience at the SEC, who flauntingly courted Wall Street jobs in the movie, was a minor but very poignant part of the story.

    The angry denial and refusal to even recognize the problem — by Mike Burry’s co-investors — was even more clumsy.

    Bottom line? Hillary is owned by Wall Street. Bernie can’t be bought.

    That has nothing to do with sex.

  4. Comment Deleted. It was at least the 25th time the same comment had been made on this site, in response to posts of mine and others.

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