Since 1796, the year George Washington vacated his post as the nation’s first president, presidential elections have had winners and losers, (and now and then more one or more loser per cycle,) all of whom were left feeling depressed by the outcome, and many who felt it unfair. Until 2016, none had thought to make it an issue of gender, largely because one gender had been shared by all comers. But in 2016, that was changed by the serious entry of Hillary Clinton, who managed to lose to Donald Trump against all odds. Afterward, she blamed her female sex for the loss, after first blaming FBI Director James Comey.
Clinton claims in her memoir and has said in various forums that men have it easy. She seems never to have heard of the names Adams and Jefferson called one another; of the names Hamilton and Jefferson called one another; of James Callender, the scandalmonger for hire of the early Republic, who exposed Hamilton and Jefferson in their out-of-wedlock activities, or of the campaign of 1828, which was so nastily personal that Andrew Jackson blamed it for the death of his wife by a heart attack after his election, but before his inauguration took place.
Recent history is rife with examples of people whose very rough treatment (by Hillary’s allies) make her tribulations seem tame. In 2012, Mitt Romney, a Dudley Do-Right if ever there was one, was slammed by the press and the Democrats as a sadist (for transporting his dog on the roof of his car); as a bully (for cutting the hair of a classmate in prep school); as a murderer (for causing the wife of a worker to expire from cancer); as dismissive of females (for using the phrase “binders of women” to refer to resumes given to him by people as possible candidates for government jobs).
If any woman was pilloried for her gender alone it would have to have been Sarah Palin, John McCain’s surprise 2008 pick for vice president. She was eaten alive by the press and the comics (along with her daughters and Down syndrome baby), and after the loss was hounded by nuisance lawsuits that drove her from office. Hillary was never besieged by such a level of viciousness; never accused by a deranged Andrew Sullivan of not being the mother of one of her children; never did David Letterman in one of his monologues say that Chelsea had been “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez between innings at Yankee Stadium, where she and her family attended a game.
In her celebrated and self-proclaimed career as a defender of women, Hillary never complained of this at the time, and does not include this in her list of atrocities. Even the most vicious sexist attacks on Republicans are always in order, and pro-life and conservative GOP women can hardly be said to be “women” at all.
As a matter of fact, very rough treatment has been the lot of all who competed in politics, especially at the very high levels she sought. She may remember that her own husband was accused of drug-running and murder, along with the less dramatic things of which he really was guilty (also a fairly long list). He ended up being impeached, and it wasn't because he was a woman.
Men also are mocked for appearance and oddities. It didn’t help Michael Dukakis that he seemed a foot shorter than George Bush the elder; Nixon’s 5 o’clock shadow made him seem sinister; and Kennedy’s youthful appearance made him seem superficial, untested, or both.
Hillary might have done better had she shed 20 pounds, as she suggests, but her real problem was that she acquired a server.
If you want to be a great chef, Truman might have told her, don’t complain that the kitchen is hot.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives f Political Families.