Hillary's Man Problem
Culture War Joan Swirsky, Featured Writer
February 25, 2008

Hillary’s top strategist, Mark Penn, recently told reporters that the New York senator would be a better Commander-in-Chief than either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain. This preposterous delusion explains Penn’s equally incredible misreading of public sentiment and why Hillary has lost 10 primaries in a row and will soon lose Texas and Ohio. Apparently Penn has caught the Clintons’ legendary amnesia problem.


It has not only escaped him that Obama did not call the mastermind behind our successful surge in Iraq, General David Petraeus, a liar, as Hillary did on September 11, 2007, when she told the military icon in a congressional hearing that his report of progress required "the willing suspension of disbelief,” but also that Sen. McCain put his entire career (and credibility) on the line in first suggesting a change in strategy in Iraq and then passionately supporting it in spite of relentless criticism. And that is not to omit his lengthy and esteemed career as a military combat veteran, prisoner-of-war (and torture victim for five-and-a-half-years), U.S. Senator (for 25 years), and national hero.


Here is another example of how clueless both Penn and Hillary are. According to Michael Grunwald of Time.com, Penn said that Hillary’s 10-in-a-row primary losses meant nothing, that Wisconsin had a lot of independent voters so it didn't really matter…and Hawaii was practically Obama's home state so it obviously didn't matter. "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election," Penn said.


Grunwald cites more of Penn’s self-deluded thinking. Nebraska, Idaho and Utah didn't matter because they were deep-red states. South Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia didn't matter because they had large percentages of black voters. Maine and Washington didn't matter because caucuses aren't truly representative. Maryland and Virginia didn't matter because Obama was expected to win there. Missouri might have mattered, but didn’t when Obama slam-dunked Hillary in the Show-Me State.


The Loathing Factor

Hillary, to my eyesight and ears, has never looked or sounded better. The folds in her sagging neck, her jowls, her laugh lines, the crow’s feet around her eyes, and the double chin she sported but a year ago – all have mysteriously vanished, probably because the extreme stress of campaigning, which ages most people, has had a Fountain-of-Youth effect on warrior Hillary. You go girl!


As for hearing her speak, she clearly has her riff down cold – socialized medicine, surrender in Iraq, guillotining the corporate powers who fuel our splendiferous economy, high taxes, government control of everyone’s life – although her vocal range is off-putting, going as it does from faux-muted to screech-owl strident in 10 seconds flat.


While (mostly older) female liberal voters support Hillary, poll after poll (for many years now) show that men loathe the woman. Why?


I suspect that men instinctively realize that a woman who chooses men like Bill Clinton and Mark Penn – and then sticks with them in spite of the embarrassment and humiliation they cause her – would make an equally poor choice in selecting, for instance, a Secretary of Defense. After the Iowa caucus, when she came in a mortifying third, you would have thought that she’d rein in her husband, who was already sabotaging her campaign, and fire Penn for his unerringly wrong predictions. Her failure to do so sent a loud-and-clear signal that the only thing she’d be ready for "on Day One” was even more reliance on such unreliable sources.


I also suspect that men more than women don’t buy Hillary’s claim of "experience.” It’s bad enough that in the one major project she undertook during her "first term” in the White House – to reform our nation’s healthcare system – she failed utterly. And now that she’s in charge of managing her campaign, a job significantly less demanding than being president, her own "surge” strategy has also failed. She can’t manage the internecine squabbling among her staff. She clearly has no coherent message. She has sent her good ole reliable base fleeing into the arms of her arch-rival Obama. And she has squandered millions in campaign cash (read taxpayer money) on, according to Newsmax.com, the following:


▪ $3.8 million for fees and expenses paid in January to the firm that includes Mark Penn. The firm has billed more than $10 million overall, an amount some strategists have called "stunning,” according to the NY Times.


▪ $730,000 both paid and owed to Howard Wolfson, a senior member of Hillary’s advertising team.


▪ $2.3 million to the ad company owned by Mandy Grunwald, a Clinton media strategist.


▪ $800,000 – including $11,000 for pizza – to a South Carolina company that was supposed to turn out black voters for Hillary (she lost).


▪ More than $25,000 for rooms at the posh Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, and another $5,000 at the Four Seasons.


According to political strategist Joe Trippi, "The problem is she ran a campaign like they were staying at the Ritz-Carlton. Everything was the best – the most expensive draping at events, the biggest charter. It was like, `We’re going to show you how presidential we are by making our events look presidential.’”


This is the woman who wants to run our economy!


Then there’s the all-too-credible suspicion that Hillary just plain doesn’t like the male of the species. As Camille Paglia writes:


"It's no coincidence that Hillary's staff has always consisted mostly of adoring women, with nerdy or geeky guys forming an adjunct brain trust. Hillary's rumored hostility to uniformed military men and some Secret Service agents early in the first Clinton presidency probably belongs to this pattern.”


[This] disdain for masculinity...is why Hillary acts on Gloria Steinem like catnip. Steinem's fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary...speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century. History will judge Steinem and company very severely for their ethically obtuse indifference to the stream of working-class women and female subordinates whom Bill Clinton sexually harassed and abused, enabled by look-the-other-way and trash-the-victims Hillary.


Contemptuous condescension seems to be Hillary's default mode with any male who criticizes her or stands in her way. It's a Nixonian reflex steeped in toxic gender bias.


The Political Factor

The ideas that Hillary has been advocating during her past "35 years of experience” have alienated, infuriated and disgusted most men. In a 2001 article, "The White Male Problem,” Professor William A. Galston, a former deputy assistant for domestic policy under Bill Clinton, wrote:


Nearly every major development of the past generation worked to push white men away from the Democratic Party. For some, the civil rights revolution was the trigger; for others, it was the rise of feminism and its institutionalization in the party's official structure that drove them away. The rhetoric employed by high-profile extremists in these movements, who denounced white men as racist and patriarchal oppressors, exacerbated these effects. Conflict within the Democratic Party sparked by the events of 1968 led to rules changes that diminished the power of labor unions, for decades centers of white male political influence and social standing.


Developments in foreign and defense policy also played a role. The Democratic Party became the epicenter of opposition to the Vietnam War, a stance that spilled over into a broader critique of the Cold War, the defense budget, the foreign policy establishment, our assertive internationalism, and of the United States itself. These developments offended many white men who were traditional patriots and favored a strong national defense.


Gun control, which many white men saw as the translation of defense dovishness into domestic policy, made matters worse and helped cement the Democrats' image as the party of weakness.


Great Society programs largely aided women and minorities. And for two decades (1973-1993), the federal government failed to address the problem of wage stagnation, which hit less well-educated white men especially hard. By the 2000 presidential election, the majority of upscale white men came to believe that they needed nothing from government except to be left alone, while many downscale white men concluded that government either did not understand how to help them or did not care enough to do so.


It is clear from the evidence that white men have a distinctive cultural outlook. Even more than most Americans, they prize independence, individual choice, and personal integrity and strength. Men gravitate toward candidates they see as having the courage to stand up against the odds, even against the majority...


So there you have it. It is Hillary’s very core beliefs that make men sick. Confirming this, NRO columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez writes in "Turning Off Men,” exit polls show that "men are going for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton [because of her] explicit play for women, her tendency to rely on government rather than personal freedom, and her insistence that the first thing she’s going to do as president is start to move U.S. troops out of Iraq...”


Not one to conceal his dislike of Hillary, Rush Limbaugh has railed about her "testicle lockbox...which reminds men of the worst characteristics of women they've encountered over their life: totally controlling, not soft and cuddly, not sympathetic, not patient, not understanding, demanding, domineering..."


One political analyst expands a bit: "If Barack Obama goes on to sew up the Democratic nomination, which seems more likely every day, his triumph will be a testament to the hubris and folly of Hillary Clinton, who once believed she could ignore the white male voter.”


Yes, Hillary has a man problem. So what else is new?

Joan Swirsky, is a Featured Writer for The New Media Journal. A New York-based author and journalist, she was formerly a longtime health-and-science and feature writer for The New York Times Long Island section. She is the recipient of seven Long Island Press Awards...

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