Thursday, August 13, 2009

Note to Media: Leave Hillary Clinton Alone

I have spent the last two days watching this clip of a hot, tired, and out of sorts, Hillary Clinton snapping at a student during a "Q & A" in the Republic of Congo.

Now, I admit, it was not Hillary's finest hour, but please, talking TV heads, stop with the Cheshire Cat smiles and gleeful comments. You are taking entirely too much pleasure in painting Hillary as a hot tempered virago. It's making me and a lot of other women really angry.

The question really was insulting and I don't blame Hillary for being pissed and letting it show. She was absolutely right. Her husband is not the Secretary of State and this was an official, diplomatic visit. Yes, it would have been better if the hair and make up crew had done better by her, and if she had been wearing something other than a blue cotton pantsuit that looked like hospital scrubs. It would have been better yet if she hadn't been quite so tired, or perhaps suffering in the tropical heat.

All things being equal she could have framed a more diplomatic response, but that question pushed an emotional button that lies buried in the bosom of every married woman who has ever carved out a career outside the home. Even if she becomes a world famous brain surgeon or the CEO of a major corporation people will still ask her " what does your husband do" Rarely will they ask her husband, the same question. Working women still have to deal with the mommy track and the boys club every day and Hillary has had to put up with more than her share of it, since her husband is a charismatic ex President and larger than life personality-- not to mention a major league philanderer.

I didn't think Hillary was a great First Lady, but she was a smashing Senator, ran a great Presidential campaign, and has put her ego on hold to serve the current President brilliantly as Secretary of State. If she were male not female, nobody in Congo or anywhere else would have asked her about her spouse's opinion. I don't blame her for being defensive. I don't blame her for being angry. I'm a bit angry on her behalf myself.

If you are one of the few people on the planet who has not yet seen the clip, here it is. Have a look and then, please, leave Hillary Clinton alone and let her do her job.


Susan said...

I had heard about it, but hadn't seen it. Thanks for posting it. The context is far clearer and you bet that question could get a rise out of just about any woman.
She's no dummy and I'm sure she's kicking herself now, but I can understand how she could lose her cool.
Diplomacy is not easy.

JamaGenie said...

Sorry, but the way I heard it happened is she was asked "What does Mr. Clinton think?", but meaning **President OBAMA**. A slip of the questioner's tongue, but still...the media **shouldn't** have made such a big deal of it.

Wendy R said...

Dear PPR
I thought it was refreshing that Hillary Clinton reacted like that. It was honest, well merited, and actually served to draw attention to the deep roots of chauvinism in many people's taken for granted world view. More of that kind of honesty, not less is called for. Diplomacy is becoming interchangeable with hypocricy.
Enjoying your blog.

Sally's Trove said...

Just listened to your reading of this post on WAMC's 51% The Women's Perspective. Way to go, PPR!