As I predicted earlier this week, the sneering, sexist dismissals of Hillary Clinton are back, baby. And just like in 2007 and 2008, it’s not right-wingers leading the charge–it’s people on the so-called “progressive” side of things. Meghan Daum writes in the Chicago Tribune today:
Clinton’s finale could hardly have been more dramatic. After falling ill with a stomach virus in early December, she fainted, suffered a concussion and landed in a hospital with a blood clot between her brain and skull. Meanwhile, her detractors drummed up conspiracy theories about “Benghazi fever,” and her supporters had a moment of genuine fear that Clinton might not be around to follow the script that so many have been writing for her over the last several years.
Really? Getting a tummy bug and a bump on the head is “more dramatic” than, for example, having a chronic heart condition (eventually requiring a heart transplant) and shooting a guy in the face? I thought that was a lot more dramatic, especially for someone considered perfectly fit to be a mechanical heartbeat away from the U.S. Presidency! And wait–what about choking on pretzel while watching a football game? Maybe that was more ridiculous than dramatic, but I’d hardly call Norovirus high drama. On to the comments about Clinton’s looks:
[After some rest and relaxation] “Her hair will finally find the sweet spot between the Stepford-esque helmet head of the campaign trail and the current granny-cum-Eileen-Fisher-model look. She might even, heaven forfend, indulge in some surgically assisted “freshening up.”
And then in late 2014, a more vibrant, less jowly Clinton will return to the spotlight and announce her candidacy for president.
Since when is “less jowly” a requirement for the U.S. Presidency? Jowls were never held up as something that should tamp Richard Nixon’s ambitions, and he served as Vice President for eight years and ran for president three times! (And he was jowly in his 30s!)
Of course, there’s the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t insinuation about plastic surgery. Does anyone else remember the 1980s, and the fact that most reporters maintained the White House line that Ronald Regan never, ever colored his hair? Why was that? Why would the national press contribute images and reporting on the supposed fitness and vitality of the oldest president in U.S. history by portraying him chopping wood or on horseback at his ranch, and never mocking the obvious lies about his hair? Why would they rarely, if ever, make an issue of his age or fitness, when we know in retrospect that signs of his eventual Alzheimer’s diagnosis were evident shortly after his second inauguration?
The article goes on to make a worthwhile point about the psychology of some Democratic voters, and their perhaps naive belief that Clinton would indeed be a good girl and wait patiently for her turn, and how they should prepare for disappointment when they realize that “2008 was their one and only chance, and they missed it.” But Daum can’t resist making cracks about Clinton’s supposed absence of fruitfulness, vitality, and freshness:
When it comes to historic elections, 2008 was just what most Democrats wanted. First the exciting young black guy, then the somewhat less exciting but eminently reliable old white lady. It was as if liberal voters promised to eat their vegetables if they could just have dessert first.
But as Clinton’s health scare reminded us, vegetables are perishable. Clinton is 65 and presumably healthy, but she cannot be presumed to maintain her past and current energy levels into her 70s. Moreover, as she has said numerous times, she has no plans to seek the presidency in 2016. She has instead joked that maybe she’ll host a decorating show.
Here’s a fun fact: Clinton isn’t even the oldest prospective Dem nominee! John Kerry is four years older than her, and we never hear warnings about how a man his age (now 69) might weather the grueling schedule required of secretaries of state. Furthermore, Joe Biden turned 70 last November. He’s nearly five years older than Clinton, and yet I’ve seen recent articles proclaiming that Biden is a contender for 2016!