Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Vilification of Hillary

At this point--and who knows what the national political situation will be by November 8--it looks quite certain that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. In spite of her probable election, however, Hillary is the target of considerable condemnation by most conservative Republicans as well as by some liberal Democrats.
Unconscious Misogyny?
Deprecation of political opponents is nothing new in presidential elections, of course. But as a (male) psychoanalyst wrote back in May (see here), there seems to be “extreme intensity” in the vilification of Hillary.
Peter Wolson, the author of the Huffington Post article just referenced, claims that there is “deep-seated misogyny” that is “manifested in the cultural discrimination against women worldwide.” The stronger the woman, the stronger that misogynistic discrimination becomes.
That seems to be a major reason Hillary is being vilified so much, and the same would possibly be true for any other woman strong enough to be the nominee for President by one of the major political parties.
(For another article along in same vein, I recommend “The Era of ‘The Bitch’ is Coming: A Hillary Clinton presidential victory promises to usher in a new age of public misogyny”; that August 17 article in The Atlantic is well worth reading.)
Misogyny is probably real and significant; however, it doesn’t adequately explain the extent of Hillary’s vilification.
"Hillary’s America"
Earlier this month I went to a theater (which I seldom do) to see the movie titled “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.” The vilification of Hillary is strongly evident in that full-length movie by Dinesh D’Souza, whose previous film, “2016: Obama’s America,” was the vilification of Barack Obama.
Both of D’Souza’s movies were based on books he had previously published. His book Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party was published In November 2015. It is highly acclaimed by conservative Republican: there are more than 525 “customer reviews” on, and 85% of those reviewers gave the book five stars, the maximum.
D’Souza’s book with the same title as his new movie was published the same week the movie debuted about a month ago. Already there are more than 400 customer reviews, and 81% of them are five-stars.
I have not read the book, but since it is basically the same as the movie, I heartily agree with the 10% who gave it only one star. I also agree with the review of the movie that appeared on (Check that out here.) Even the conservative Christian Post has a rather negative article about D’Souza’s highly questionable film (see here). 
Guilt by Association
D’Souza’s attack on Hillary was partly through making her guilty by association. Much is made of her approval of Margaret Sanger’s activities and her being the recipient of the Sanger Award. (Early next month I plan to post a blog article about Sanger.)
There is also strong criticism of Hillary because of her association with Saul Alinsky. Just as the article “Hillary Haters’ Fixation on Saul Alinsky” says, “Forty-seven years after she graduated from Wellesley College, Hillary Clinton is still having to defend her senior thesis.”
If you think she should be criticized for her interest in and contact with Alinsky, please read the article linked above.
Hillary has been attacked on many matters that could be expected in a presidential campaign. But the persistent vilification of her seems unprecedented and extreme—and very unfair to the one who is most likely going to be the next POTUS.


  1. One of the most questionable parts of the D'Souza movie is his insistence that the Democratic Party of today is the same Democratic Party as that of the two Presidents named Andrew (Jackson and A. Johnson, two of the worst Presidents in U.S. history) and that the Republican Party today is the same as that of President Lincoln.

    The movie blatantly declares that the idea of the "big switch" of the political parties is a lie. That is manifestly not so, and D'Souza's saying it is is another indication of the untruthfulness of much of what is portrayed in the movie.

  2. Here are pertinent comments by local Thinking Friend Sue Wright:

    "I so agree with your assessment, Leroy. What the good old boys call networking, they call rigging or cheating when it comes to Hillary. Her vitality and health is questioned--totally sexist in nature.

    "She has been accused of a variety of affairs and gets no kudos for staying with her unfaithful husband like you would think the ultra-conservative, Bible-quoting Christians would appreciate, not vilify. She laughs and they call her a witch. She cries and is called weak. Her experience isn't an asset, it's the origins of all the troubles of our country in the past 20 years. She's caused all the wars, all the everything.

    "My eight year old granddaughter got to spend a couple of hours with Hillary last year at a Mother-Daughter event. She came away, totally enamored with Secretary Clinton and loves to imitate with you the firm, friendly, handshake they shared. My granddaughter Sophie is quite the discerning young girl, and not easily impressed. She was totally impressed in the most genuine ways by Hillary Clinton."

  3. Leroy, I appreciate your blog. While not a lover of our political structure and the wealth spent and gained within politics and campaigns. I agree that Mrs. Clinton has and will continue to be vilified. The nature of our country is to demonize another in order to present the other as a super hero. The super hero will be the end all of our deep national problems. The more one is vilified the more the super hero is seen as a savior.

    It is tragic that being a woman carries with it an unrelenting misogyny. I believe the misogyny is intentional and an attempt to oppress women. The Republican Party, Christian Fundamentalist, (dare I say it) bigoted Republican presidential candidate, all live in fear that they may be exposed as being inept bullies. So they have only one approach to Mrs. Clinton, vilify!

  4. As a Bernie fan I was frustrated with Clinton's primary claim that she would seek lesser goals because she knew how to work with Congress to get doable things done. What I expected for any Democratic candidate was exactly what is happening now, namely, an all-out festival of the politics of personal destruction. It would have happened to Sanders. It would have happened to Lincoln Chaffee. It did not matter who was nominated. So Clinton has the nomination, and now she gets the vicious attacks. At least she was right about one thing, she has been dodging the kitchen sinks for a quarter of a century, and had a pretty good idea of what was coming.

    During some recent travel I listened to an NPR discussion by and about millennials concerning the political climate in Washington. I was frustrated by the discussion, because they treated it as if Republicans and Democrats were cranky old Uncles who clashed at Thanksgiving dinner. This has nothing to do with being cranky. This is war. Republicans and Democrats are fighting over the future of the United States. There are cross-currents in the war, such as the struggle between the one percent that largely runs both parties and the 99 percent who don't, but the gentleman's debate of my childhood between Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower has become a chasm between libertarian billionaires and confused do-gooders who have largely forgotten the legacy of giants like FDR who once set state policy in a way that benefits most of the people most of the time. Today the neoliberal death cult has a near stranglehold on economic discussion. Government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich has increasingly become the law of the land.

    Not to be total gloom and doom, let me mention that today is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the law establishing the National Parks System. One thing I learned from the recent Ken Burns special on the parks is that many prominent National Parks were born in political battle, from Yellowstone and Grand Teton to Yosemite and Great Smoky Mountains. Extraction industries like coal and lumber never saw a park they liked. National Parks are flying under the radar, underfunded and ignored in this year's election debate, but after 100 years the system is going strong, visited by 292.8 million people in 2014. Over ten million went to that lumbermen's nightmare, Great Smoky Mountains. That midwest favorite, Rocky Mountain, got 3,434,751--and I can believe it, because it was crowded this summer when I was there! See link:

  5. Everything Hillary has said or written in her life—going back to college days and perhaps beyond—has been scrutinized by her critics with the intention of making a mountain out of a molehill at every possible finding. None of us are beyond criticism if subjected to such scrutiny. If all of Trump's emails and letters were in the public domain, I wonder how they would stand up to examination?

  6. Here are comments from Thinking Friend Truett Baker in Arizona. (Many years ago he was pastor of my home church and was much loved by my parents.)

    "Always enjoy your blogs . . . . This one particularly caught my attention because I am reading the book. It is the most repulsive piece of trash I have ever read and probably won't finish it. Not surprised that D'Souza has spent time in jail. That's where he belongs. Sounds like the Republicans and getting desperate. Thanks for your comments."

  7. I always appreciate the brief but worthwhile comments by my esteemed Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson. This time he wrote,

    "I find the animosity toward Hillary quite shocking, but you give some good insight into what lies behind it. It seems to parallel the hostility toward Obama. A lot of people were jealous that he, an African American, succeeded. They now direct the same toward this incredibly able and successful woman. Argh!"