2018-02-03 00:30:36 UTC
Hillary Clinton and I are done
By Alyssa Rosenberg January 30 Email the author
Hillary Clinton sits on stage during a book-tour event in Vancouver,
B.C., on Dec. 13, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
It’s been the longest relationship of my life as a voter, and as a
writer on culture and politics. But after last week, and the revelation
that she failed to take her campaign manager’s advice and fire an aide
accused of sexual harassment in 2008, Hillary Clinton and I are done.
And to be honest, it’s probably overdue.
Rooting for Clinton has never been purely about her, of course. Breaking
that “highest, hardest glass ceiling” would have been a rebuke to the
idea that taking time to support her husband’s career is necessarily the
end of a woman’s dreams and ambitions. Seeing Clinton, the leading hate
figure of the past three decades of conservative politics, earn a
respected role in public life often felt like evidence that women don’t
need to let themselves be defined by their most venomous public
detractors. And when I defended Clinton from the charges that she should
have done something more to prevent her husband’s transgressions, I did
so out of a belief that women have the right to complicated reactions in
private as long as they behave with integrity in public.
I am absolutely convinced that wives shouldn’t be assigned to govern
their husbands’ behavior. That’s a kind of buck-passing that excuses
their spouses from having functional consciences and limited
self-control. And marriage is a special kind of relationship, one where
we make unusual commitments to love and support the other person that we
might not extend to others. That devotion inevitably interferes with
objectivity. If Hillary Clinton, or any other woman, is privately angry
at or blinkered about another woman who comes forward to say that she
had an affair with Bill Clinton, or that Bill Clinton sexually harassed
her, I’m willing to allow Hillary Clinton that private fallibility and
cruelty, that momentary lack of solidarity. We should all hope we find
such forgiveness in moments when we’re faced with astonishing personal
pain and respond in ways that demonstrate the limits of our strength.
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But if I’m being honest with myself, I also trusted that Clinton’s
marriage was a separate zone for her. I believed that when confronted
with allegations of sexual misconduct in her capacity as a senator,
secretary of state or candidate for president that she would handle
those accusations decisively and in a way that made clear that she was
on the side of other women. After all, she spoke eloquently about
guaranteeing women equal access to the workplace and keeping us free
from violence in her landmark speech in Beijing in 1995, and connected
the subjugation of women and the instability of nations during her
tenure as secretary of state. I’ve long followed the career of one
sexual assault survivor who went to work on Clinton’s 2016 presidential
campaign, and I took her presence there as a vote of confidence that
this was a workplace where she felt comfortable.
Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick’s reporting for the New York Times about
how Clinton handled sexual harassment allegations against Burns Strider,
her faith adviser, during her 2008 presidential campaign makes it
impossible for me to maintain that trust.
[Sarah Pulliam Bailey: Hillary Clinton addresses her decision not to
fire faith outreach adviser accused of sexual harassment]
To be clear: Clinton is not responsible for Strider’s conduct. He alone
is the person who is alleged to have rubbed his office-mate’s shoulders,
kissed her forehead and “sent her a string of suggestive emails.”
Clinton is also not responsible for the subsequent alleged sexual
misconduct that got Strider fired from an outside group supporting
Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
But Clinton is responsible for ignoring recommendations from Jess
O’Connell, her campaign’s national director of operations and the person
tapped to investigate the 2008 allegations against Strider, that Strider
be fired from the campaign. She made the choice to ignore the advice of
her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, who took that recommendation to
Clinton. Clinton is the person who made the call to withhold some of
Strider’s pay and to assign him to go to counseling sessions he never
attended. And it’s entirely reasonable to ask whether, in taking these
actions rather than terminating him from the campaign, Clinton made it
easier for Strider to find another job where he was accused of sexually
harassing another young woman.
I respect Clinton’s personal religious faith and the depth of her belief
in forgiveness. What I can’t accept is the idea that forgiving Strider
means minimizing the consequences he faced for his behavior, especially
when doing so put him in a position to offend again. Other women bore
the cost when Clinton tried to focus on redeeming a man who worked for
her rather than protecting the woman who did.
It’s true that during her decades in public life, Clinton has been
unfairly saddled with the weight of a lot of terrible decision-making by
men. But it does not balance the scales to say that Clinton shouldn’t be
held accountable for the choices she made and the advice she shrugged
off as the chief executive of her own presidential campaign. Trying to
protect her even from the consequences of her own actions is
condescension, not fairness.
Democrats should rethink their ties to Hollywood, not just Harvey Weinstein.
After Democrats are done giving back Harvey Weinstein's money, they
should reconsider the larger bargain they’ve struck with Hollywood.
(Gillian Brockell, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)
Hillary Clinton shows when #MeToo meets #SoWhat
--Opinion Imagine what a Hillary Clinton who was not allergic
to owning up to error would say. 6 days ago
Hillary Clinton’s speech at Wellesley tried to be hopeful. It just left
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