But the one thing that really pushes me towards Hillary more than anything else is the blind, frothing hatred that is directed at her. It viscerally offends me, and makes me want to stand in her corner on fairness grounds alone. People worry about whether Obama would be safe as President, but honestly I think that Clinton faces a bigger threat. For fifteen years now, an entire cesspool of hate has bubbled around Hillary Clinton, one that has been fanned (if not sanctioned) by "mainstream" conservative forces. And let's be clear: it openly fantasizes about violence against her. Is there any contemporary analogue to the "I Wish Hillary had Married O.J." t-shirts? It's sick.
That's why recently, I've been pleased to see a diverse array of bloggers who have been willing to call folks out on the misogynistic BS Hillary faces as a matter of course. The response to the tears at the New Hampshire rally (prompting ABC to question whether her emotions will "get the best of her"). The buzzing about her "too harsh" responses about change at the Democratic debate. She's a cold emasculating ball-buster, when she isn't a frail, emotional wimp.
Stephen Suh summarizes the absurd double standard:
Is Hillary ahead in the polls? Then she's too cold, too ambitious and calculating. She's a woman, after all, and women are all nurture-y and, um, I don't know, emotional and stuff. Has Hillary lost her composure at any point? Then she's too emotional, too unstable. She's a woman, after all, and they can't be trusted to keep their inner weaknesses in check. That's why women aren't good leaders, you know.
Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me to see this type of treatment. It's always there when a woman gets uppity. She's too mannish until people find a way to describe her as too typically "female." Then they'll go straight back to the original criticism without missing a beat.
Reformed conservative John Cole, who I know is no fan of Clinton, similarly is sick of it, and pegs the source of the problem right where it should be: Hillary's a woman, and folks can't stand the idea of a woman showing a spine:
Quite frankly, I hate to say this, but I think what we are actually seeing is a double-standard here, and the feminists may be right. This is all about Hillary being a woman. John Edwards has been 150 times as angry the whole campaign, and has built his entire campaign around it. Howard Dean was angry, and people lapped it up. Here, Hillary isn’t really angry, just matter-of-fact and frustrated, and people are giving her shit.
He's right about Edwards. Of course, if a woman shows any degree of softness, then the other foot drops: she's weak and emotional. Here Steve Benen rightfully hits Edwards for cheap-shotting Hillary on that very point.
These are not Hillary fans. But they're hitting back against the clear, persistent, and unmistakable sexism that has plagued Clinton's campaign from day one. If someone as powerful, educated, talented, and able as Clinton can fall prey to it, what makes us think other women will be spared?