Politico recently published another one of its puff-piece articles in their series of rising Democratic Party stars, who are, in the opinion of Politico, viable contenders for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination because they are all women. Why you might ask, are no men on the list? Because, according to Politico, 2020 is going to be the year of the woman (no Republican women need apply). The Democratic Party will then enjoy the, ” karmic justice of defeating Trump with shards from a glass ceiling.” The latest in this identity politics prognostication, is a glowing hagiography of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, by David Freedlander, that praises her past “leadership” on issues of sexual harassment in the workplace.
The first question raised by any article that contends Gillibrand is going to be a 21st century Joan of Arc against sexual harassment in the workplace is, where has she been for the past twenty years concerning the depravities and sexual misconduct of Bill Clinton? David Freedlander addresses those who questioned Gillibrand’s johnny-come-lately- newfound concern for moral turpitude among one of the icons of the Democratic Party and he then peremptorily dismisses the issue as if it were insignificant,
The answer is that Gillibarnd the blowback was immediate. “Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons endorsement, money and seat. Hypocrite,” wrote Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton confidant, on Twitter. “Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck.”
The first half of the tweet was predictable, a Clinton loyalist biting back at a perceived threat to the family. But the second half was telling.
Does Freedlander believe that Gillibrand would be vulnerable or pay any political price for her double standard and hypocrisy? Hardly,
The world is paying attention to Gillibrand in a new way. At least since the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, when Gillibrand thrilled the crowd at the Women’s March, jabbing the air with her finger and telling them, “This is the moment of the beginning of the revival of the women’s movement. This is the moment you will remember when women stood strong and stood firm and said never again. This is the moment that you are going to be heard!” The 51-year-old Gillibrand has come to represent a rising generation of Democratic leaders, one who came of age in an era when equality of the sexes was something almost taken for granted. And the buzz about her presidential ambitions has only grown.
For years, the issues that Gillibrand has made her name on—aid for 9/11 workers, ending “don’t ask don’t tell” in the military, transgender rights—were important but distinct, touching on segments of American life that most people never interact with. And now, at a moment when the cover has been ripped off toxic workplaces from Hollywood to Wall Street, Gillibrand is finding that the rest of the world has caught up with her crusades.
The problem for Gillibrand is that her cynical posture concerning Bill Clinton is so galling, that it will not be easily shed.
As I note in my book Election 2016: How Donald Trump and the Deplorables Won and Made Political History, it was Trump who deftly hoisted Hillary on her own war on women petard in the election and forced the Democrats and the media to have their reckoning with Bill Clinton,
The fatal flaw in Hillary’s war on women strategy was its tenuous assumption that somehow voters would be either too stupid, or simply too disinterested (perhaps due to her historic candidacy) to hold the Clintons to the same standards of conduct that she was attempting to apply exclusively to Trump.
The idea that Hillary could make Trump alone the object of obloquy when the subject was mistreatment of women was breathtakingly audacious and hypocritical. Only one assured that the media was in her pocket would dare to be so presumptuous.
Gillibrand’s position during the election was no different than Hillary’s,
The reality was that while occupying the highest office in the land, Hillary’s husband defiled the sanctity of the Oval Office by having sex with a 22 year old intern. Yet, here she was, without shame, earnestly pleading to voters that Trump should be disqualified from the presidency because he had made boorish comments captured on tape. Did Clinton truly believe voters were that stupid or forgetful?
Similarly, does Gillibrand seriously believe her party’s primary voters will not pierce her veil of insincerity and ultimately find her sudden change of heart was motivated by nothing other than naked political ambition? Any opponent of Gillibrand’s in the democratic primaries would be able to make mincemeat out of her rapid conversion after Hillary’s loss. Glowing praise from journalists such as Freedlander isn’t going to change this fact.