Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Woman Know-It-All Who Can't Keep House

That is Hillary Clinton. It is also me, of course, and it is one of the great primal fears of some male (and female) wingnuts: that women might actually rear up on their hindlegs and give speeches and stuff, rather than vacuum and change dust ruffles. And it is the new political campaign of the wingnuts in this country, to make sure that Hillary Clinton won't be the president in 2008. Not that she has said she is in the running, anyway, but the idea is to mash her into pulp in these early stages.

Here is Tom DeLay, our favorite bugman, in a video talking about Hillary with Tweety (Chris Matthews). The agreement seems to be that nobody likes a woman know-it-all. I don't like men know-it-alls, either, but I do feel for us know-it-alls. It's hard to know everything and then not to have any influence over such things as invading France when we were pissed at Germany and so on. Being a know-it-all is one of those sex-linked traits: good in men but bad in women. I'm not sure what women should do instead. Perhaps pretend that they never learned to read the instruction manual that came with the vacuum cleaner.

And here is a long segment on Scarborough Country about the presumed lack of Hillary's homemaking skills:

SCARBOROUGH: Did Hillary Clinton leave the White House in shambles? Well, according to a new book, first lady Laura Bush found worn and outdated furniture, frayed carpeting, and just absolutely tasteless decorations, from the Oval Office to the East Wing. Was Hillary too busy trying to play assistant president? Or is Laura too concerned with style, instead of substance?

We begin with somebody who has spent a fair share of time in the White House, MSNBC's chief Washington correspondent, Norah O'Donnell.

Norah, what you got?

O'DONNELL: Good evening, Joe.

Well, Laura Bush is very influential and immensely popular with the American public. But, unlike Hillary Clinton, she has always remained very quiet about the advice and power she wields in the White House. Well, this new book out by Ronald Kessler says that Laura Bush plays a much greater role in shaping White House policy and personnel than previously known.

But you mentioned it. The juiciest tidbit of all is that she was, quote, "quietly dismayed" by the decor that the Clintons left behind in the White House. This book reveals that Laura Bush thought that not only -- not only were the carpets and furnishings fraying and in disrepair, but that the Oval Office was done in loud colors, red, blue, and gold, also that the Lincoln Bedroom was outdated and needed updating.

But, despite her opinion of the decor, Laura Bush never said anything critical of Hillary Clinton. Still, the White House did get a huge makeover when the Bushes moved in.

See how quickly we get the correct message here, the now politically correct message? Hillary was too busy "playing" "assistant" president! And she was tasteless in her decor! But Laura didn't complain, not one tiny little whine, nope! She is a proper First Lady who knows what Americanpeeple expect from First Ladies.

But as we all know, repetition is crucial to get the wingnut message through, and here comes the repetition (after some gentle arguments from our side which I cut out because they are too gentle):

SCARBOROUGH: Cheri Jacobus, is this an example of Laura Bush choosing style over substance?

JACOBUS: Look, she knows what the job is. And Hillary Clinton probably knew and just didn't care. This is not a life-or-death situation. But the American people do care about this. And taking care of the White House and the decor and keeping it in order is basically what the first lady does.

Laura Bush wanted the job. Hillary Clinton didn't want the job. She wanted her husband's job. So, consequently, I don't think that the excuse that she was trying to do health care policy, when she was not elected to anything at that point to do that is really just sort of weak.

It just shows us a little bit more of the difference between the two first ladies. I also doubt very much that Laura Bush specifically sat down and made the criticism on Hillary about this. She merely was relaying, when she did a walk-through, what she noticed. She didn't hold a press conference --

Good women don't hold press conferences. Good women know that they were not elected to do health care policy but elected to do housekeeping in the White House. Which has much wider ramifications for the idea of women running for political offices, I guess.