Hillary Clinton: Anti-Feminist?

In a dialogue with one of his readers, Andrew Sullivan argues that if Clinton manages to win the Presidency, it will hardly be a victory for feminism.

Hillary Clinton had a chance to pioneer feminism. But she preferred her own ambition to her alleged principles, and when it really came down to it, she deferred to a man. Bill came first, however brutally he humiliated and used her. But she knew her place – and coped by trying to leverage it for more power. A profile in feminist courage she has never been. Too risky.

I find myself agreeing with this sentiment. While there is certainly no doubt that Hillary Clinton is very intelligent and is a capable politician and campaigner, it’s just as clear that she is, in large part, riding on her husband’s coattails. There would definitely be some extraordinary mixed messages should she become the first female President. On the one hand, her victory is a testament to the ongoing process of progressively better attitudes towards women in the United States. On the other hand, the fact that she owes a significant debt to her husband for her political success does diminish that accomplishment.

Personally, what I find most disturbing about a potential Clinton victory isn’t any qualms about her politics or personality (although I do have many, many qualms on those scores), but rather the fact that a Clinton victory means that for over 20 years–and potentially close to 30–the Office of the President will be occupied by a representative from one of two families. That’s simply not healthy for a democratic society.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. ken says:

    … a Clinton victory means that for over 20 years—and potentially close to 30—the Office of the President will be occupied by a representative from one of two families. That’s simply not healthy for a democratic society.

    James you were warned about this before with the Shrub. And now all of a sudden we are to believe you are sincerely concerned?

    Anyway, Clinton is certainly better for America than any Republican so what choice does any patriot have but to vote for her?

  2. ken says:

    oops, I see James is not responsible for the post.

    Alex, I am not sure if you supported the shrub or not but if you did then you too are open to the charge of hypocrisy.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Ken, your obvious BDS is showing again. Go figure. I just wonder what Hillary will charge for the sleepover in the Lincoln bedroom if she were to gain the Presidency? I read somewhere Bill charged about $50K, in dontations ofcourse. Hillary is not a feminist, she is a communist. After all, it takes a village.

  4. James Joyner says:

    a Clinton victory means that for over 20 years—and potentially close to 30—the Office of the President will be occupied by a representative from one of two families.

    Indeed, GHWB took office January 21, 1989 and GWB will leave on January 21, 2009. That’s twenty years already. Rather remarkable, really.

    Given that the elections are free and open, though, I’m not sure that it’s per se unhealthy.

  5. Bithead says:

    This is not as Sullivan indicates, Hillary Clinton deferring to a man. Rather, this is, simply put, the acknowledgment that without Bill Clinton Hillary would have been a waitress at a Chicago diner. True, she seems able to maneuver within political circles, but many, who never had those chances that Hillary Clinton has had, show those qualities. Becoming, perhaps, shift supervisors at the diner.

    I am not sure, that someone else in her position, would find her accomplishments so dimmed as Hillary Clinton has. After all, we have each of us in our own lives made accomplishments that we would not have been able to make without someones help. On that basis, it might be fairly said, that we would not be where we are today, without their help. Statistically speaking there’s about a 5050 chance of that someone, being a man.

    But…What kind of man? Think about this: The reason that Hillary Clinton owes her current situation to her husband, is such a negative, is because Bill Clinton himself was such a spectacular failure. This, apparently, is something that even Sullivan tacitly, and perhaps unknowingly, admits.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    Alex, I am not sure if you supported the shrub or not but if you did then you too are open to the charge of hypocrisy.

    In 2000, I voted for Harry Browne, and in 2004 I voted “None of the Above”, but would have voted Kerry had I not resided in a no-question red state (Kansas).

  7. sakthi says:

    Your last two lines seems to be very interesting.But from my view,she is the right choice for the situation like this and it is nothing wrong in utilizing her husband fame for her victory…
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  8. davod says:

    What is your reference point for Hillary being a good Senator.

  9. Sheldon says:

    I agree with your concern about Hillary Clinton winning in 2008 brings about hereditary rule in America. Thirty years of Clinton and Bush rule is not democracy.

  10. Rick DeMent says:

    …without Bill Clinton, Hillary would have been a waitress at a Chicago diner.

    Well so what, you can say that about almost any prominent person. If his last name were not Bush, W. would be any trailer trash drunk.