U.S. Politics

In Brilliant Op-Ed, Hillary Clinton Opens Up About Her Flaws

HAMPTON, IL - SEPTEMBER 05:  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton looks on at the 49th annual Salute to Labor on September 5, 2016 in Hampton, Illinois. Clinton is kicking off a Labor Day campaign swing to Ohio and Iowa on a new campaign plane.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

SALON

Hillary Clinton is far from the perfect politician. She sometimes comes across as cold, as unemotional. She, unlike her opponent, though, is perfectly aware of her flaws and in a deeply moving op-ed in the Humans of New York blog, Clinton opens up about her flaws and about being a woman in what’s still a man’s world.

If anyone is demonstrating the double standard between women and men, it’s Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, who just this week said that Clinton doesn’t have “a presidential look.” Yeah, we know what that means. Or how about the people who are criticizing Clinton for not smiling enough? Could you imagine that happening with a man?

By this time, Clinton is used to the double standard, but it does make it tougher for the most qualified presidential candidate in decades to compete. In the article in Humans of New York, Clinton talked about her history and about how hard she works at not appearing too feminine.

She relayed a story about law school, and how hard she worked to learn to control her emotions. She also recognizes that she comes across as cold and unemotional because of that.

“I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”

As for the inevitable comparisons with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, well, she knows she doesn’t have their charisma. She also sees how hard they work on it.

“I’m not Barack Obama. I’m not Bill Clinton. Both of them carry themselves with a naturalness that is very appealing to audiences. But I’m married to one and I’ve worked for the other, so I know how hard they work at being natural. It’s not something they just dial in. They work and they practice what they’re going to say. It’s not that they’re trying to be somebody else. But it’s hard work to present yourself in the best possible way.”

She also notes that there are very few role models for women in politics and that Obama’s and her husband’s type of charisma doesn’t work for women.

It’s a double-edged sword. Clinton is accused of being stiff, but if she’s animated, things get even worse.

“But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.”

If Clinton wins, some of these double standards might start drifting away, but it’s still a misogynistic world. A woman president won’t solve misogyny any more than an African-American president solved racism. It’s a societal problem, but for those who don’t consider themselves sexist, perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look at your criticisms of Clinton. Would the criticisms be the same if she was a man?

Wendy Gittleson

4 thoughts on “In Brilliant Op-Ed, Hillary Clinton Opens Up About Her Flaws

  1. I love this article. For some time, I was buying into the kool aid that she is a self serving politician who believes she is entitled and that the rules which apply to the average person have no relevance in her life, etc., etc . My attitude was that at least, she is competent. I do not have to like someone if I am sure they are capable of doing a decent job. After all, a lot of politicians are self serving who are used to deflecting and not really answering questions.

    But then, I started to do my homework. I looked at her job as a NY senator from 2001 -2009. Number one, she was re-elected to a second term and won by 67% while she had stiff competition. The press has reiterated the garbage that has been leaked to them, like she only sponsored 3 bills which were passed into law. The truth is that she co sponsored 74 bills and lots of amendments which became law. In short, she was not afraid to work across the aisle. Senators do more than pass legislation. They have to work with lots of constituents in helping them to get essential services by cutting through the cumbersome federal bureaucracy. They work at helping others to negotiate deals, serving on committees, wording legislation just right, etc. A couple years into her service as a senator, a conservative reporter, Mark Halperin was looking to write a story as to how republican senators viewed her work. He asked several sources but he could not find one republican senator who would say anything negative. He found out that she was highly regarded by her fellow colleagues.

    You hear similar falsehoods about her work as U.S. secretary of state. Just remember that when she left this post, she had a 69% approval rating.

    PolitiFact has consistently rated Mrs. Clinton as being the most truthful (even with the email scandal) out of all the candidates who have been running for their party’s presidential nomination.

    It has become a republican cottage industry to hold numerous investigations to find any decent oppositional research on Mrs. Clinton while we , the taxpayers pay for this waste of our monies.

    It is no coincidence that her favorability ratings seem to plummet whenever she is in the running for an elected position.

    Frankly, I am old enough to remember the “Clinton Chronicles” which were videos widely disseminated by Rev. Jerry Falwell. Here the couple were accused of murder, dealing in drugs etc.

    Yes, she does act in a way that is politically to her advantage. Guess what? She is a politician. Yes, she did defend her cheating husband. Join the real world where too many women have found themselves in this difficult position..

    Then picture anyone having every move scrutinized, at a level that borders on stalking while having numerous investigations v you conducted by opposing party, few could survive this intact.(I couldn’t.) Yes, the disease of misogyny is pervasive in our culture.

    After a lot of reflection, I have become a supporter of Hillary Clinton. She has earned my vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Washington Post 9/8/16 Editorial quote:”Imagine how history would judge today’s Americans if, looking back at this election, the record showed that voters empowered a dangerous man because of . . . a minor email scandal. There is no equivalence between Ms. Clinton’s wrongs and Mr. Trump’s manifest unfitness for office.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well said. People tend to forget (or don’t WANT to remember) that while in the US Senate Clinton was almost always in the minority party, and always with a GOP POTUS. The members of the minority party simply can’t pass any bills they want.
      In her re-election she not only won big, but she won in many traditional GOP strongholds. Like the counties out here in western New York and the southern Tier. Unlike D’Amato before her and even Schumer today, she actually reached out and held town meetings and found out what people in the more rural areas needed. Then she tried to work with the GOP to help those areas.

      Liked by 1 person

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