I am not keen on Hilary Clinton, and Pollitt recognizes that in her peers.
My women college classmates (Radcliffe ‘71) aren’t so excited about Hillary Clinton. An e-mail to our New York City potluck group elicited distinctly modified rapture. They’re bothered by her high-priced speeches and the aura of favor-trading and favor-banking around the Clinton Foundation. They don’t like her Wall Street connections, and they don’t like Bill (a k a the “ick” factor). Plus, she’s not progressive enough. “It’s all so old and tired,” wrote one; “she’s been running forever.” “I’m definitely excited about the prospect of a woman,” another chimed in. “I am weary, not excited, about her in particular, and find it sad that she’s our best hope.” I should mention that these women are demographically much like Hillary (Wellesley ‘69) herself: prosperous, white, highly educated, sixtysomething feminists and professional women. You would think these women, of all people, would be jumping for joy at the prospect of someone so like themselves winning the White House.
Some of us guys, like me (University of Washington, 1979) feel the same way about Clinton. That’s a really good summary of why I’m unenthused.
Then she gives three reasons we should be enthused.
First, I’m excited about beating the Republicans, and she’s the best candidate for that job.
OK, that is a big consideration. The Democrats are lackluster, but the Republicans have evolved into a great force for evil and ignorance, and must be crushed.
Second, Hillary will be the first woman president—and that is important. At this point in world history, it is embarrassing how backward the United States is.
What about Carly Fiorina? Oh, point taken. We should elect a woman who is not a joke.
Third, Hillary is a feminist and is running as one—as she made clear in an April speech: “It is hard to believe that in 2015, so many women still pay a price for being mothers. It is also hard to believe that so many women are also paid less than men for the same work, with even wider gaps for women of color. And if you don’t believe what I say, look to the World Economic Forum, hardly a hotbed of feminist thought. Their rankings show that the United States is 65th out of 142 nations and other territories on equal pay.” She might not have the language of intersectionality down pat, but on a range of issues that matter to women—reproductive rights, healthcare, childcare, pay equity—she will move the ball forward.
Intersectionality is damned important, but given that there aren’t even any close competitors on feminist issues, I guess Clinton wins.
So it’s a good summary of why I’ll punch a ballot for Hilary Clinton when the time comes, but I’m still not excited.