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Hindsight is 20/20, and Monday morning quarterbacks are never wrong. But back when democrats and republicans agreed that Hillary Clinton’s election was a foregone conclusion, the few voices predicting Trumpian triumph were drowned out in a chorus of Clintonian inevitability.
Of course everything looked different on the first Wednesday in November, and it came as no surprise that as soon as the shock wore off pundits began reverse engineering the former first lady’s defeat .
It’s a bit embarrassing how, a year after the election, Mrs. Clinton is still casting about to blame others for her cataclysmic upset. Perhaps she should read, “Shattered,” in which Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes attribute Mrs. Clinton’s undoing primarily on what was obvious to everyone from beginning to end —
Too many voters held their noses yesterday as they entered the polling booth to vote for the candidate they considered least toxic. A smaller number could only make peace with their conscience by voting for some unexceptional third-party candidate. Then there were those who couldn’t bring themselves to vote at all.
Will the country survive this winter of our discontent? Only time will tell. But the question that lingers in the aftermath of electoral acrimony is this: are we going to start this all over again in two more years?
Sadly, we just might. Back in January, David Gelertner proposed in the Weekly Standard that the problem with the political left is that liberalism has become their new religion. For most people, religion is not a rational but an emotional commitment that emerges from some amorphous inner voice or feeling. And when people cannot defend their religious beliefs intellectually, they lash out with disproportionate ferocity at anyone who challenges those beliefs. Mr. Gelertner argues that the irrational dogmatism of many liberals bears less resemblance to political discourse and more to the religious fervor of blind faith.
He’s right, of course. But he’s wrong when he contends that this is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of the left.
Such is the gospel according to Barack Obama, who went on to defend his verdict by citing “the repeated denunciations of his statements by leading Republicans.”
He’s right, of course. But his critique might carry more weight if it were not a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
(OMG, did I just write that?)
Before his very public embrace and endorsement of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention, Mr. Obama might have taken a look at the recent incendiary assessment of Ms. Clinton by NYT columnist Maureen Dowd, who’s about as far to the left as one can get without falling off the edge of the earth.
Here are a few choice quotes:
[The Clintons’] vast carelessness drags down everyone around them…
In a mere 11 days, arrogant, selfish actions by the Clintons contaminated three of the purest brands in Washington…
Hillary willfully put herself above the rules — again — and a president, campaign and party are all left twisting themselves into pretzels defending her.
The Clintons work hard but don’t play by the rules. Imagine them in the White House with the benefit of low expectations.
If even the most ardent defenders of liberal ideology give Ms. Clinton a failing grade in character, surely that must call into question her credibility as an aspirant for the country’s highest office.
So answer us this, President Obama: how can you, with a straight face and in all earnest, chide Republicans for not rejecting an unfit candidate when you so brazenly refuse to do so yourself?
Less obviously, expectations.
In an interview with NPR’s Shankar Vedantam, Mary-Hunter McDonnell of the Wharton school of business explained the difference between how men and women are judged by their peers for ethical infractions.
Professor McDonnell and her colleagues asked volunteers to recommend a jail sentence for a hospital administrator who filed a false Medicare claim. When the volunteers believed that the administrator was a woman, the average suggested sentence increased by over 60%.
The researchers also analyzed over 500 disciplinary proceedings in 33 states by the American Bar Association. They discovered that women were disbarred more than twice as often for similar types of misconduct.
The assumption here is that, since women are expected to be more ethical, they are punished more severely when they violate ethical standards.
This may be unfair in practice, but in principle is makes perfect sense. Moral people are expected to behave better than immoral people; consequently, we find their moral lapses less tolerable.
Which brings us back to the Clintons.
In fact, it was Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U. S. Secretary of State, who declared, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”
Apparently, Ms. Albright believes that Hillary Clinton is either unworthy or incapable of winning the office of the president on her own merit. One has to wonder whether Ms. Albright also believes that she herself was appointed Secretary of State because of her sex rather than her abilities.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem was close at hand to weigh in on the issue — predictably on the wrong side. “When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” sneered the crusader for women’s rights and dignity.
Just imagine if a man had said that. But so it goes in our age of unabashed double-standards.
In then, in classically Clintonesque style, the fearless former revolution tried to revise her message: “I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently,” Ms. Steinem posted on Facebook, “and apologize for what’s been misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious in their politics.”
“Misspoke”? “Interpreted”? So what exactly was Ms. Steinem trying to say?
It’s heartening that at least some women are seeing through the smoke and mirrors.
“Shame on Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright for implying that we as women should be voting for a candidate based solely on gender,” said Zoe Trimboli, a 23-year-old self-described feminist from Vermont.
Indeed, that would be like suggesting that people voted for Barack Obama only because he’s black.
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama patted himself on the back for making peace with Iran while, at that very moment, Iran held 10 American sailors in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention. The next day, Secretary John Kerry thanked the Iranians for not keeping the servicemen as hostages.
In the same speech, the president also lamented his failure to create an atmosphere of bipartisanship and cooperation, while passing up no opportunity to snipe at everyone who disagrees with him.
After South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley responded to the president’s address, the angriest voices loudly condemned her for condemning the angriest voices.
Hillary Clinton, who can boast the lowest national rating on trustworthiness since Richard Nixon, dismissed a new FBI investigation into her mishandling of classified information by declaring “that’s just not the way I treated classified information.” Transparency, at last.
However, none of this made much of an impression on an American public entranced by the dream of winning a 1.5 billion dollar lottery, even though about half of multimillion-dollar lottery winners eventually admit that sudden wealth proved more of a curse than a blessing.
Now that three winners are going to share the unprecedented payoff, they might want to take a page from the book of a middle-aged man in Atlanta who, back in the 1990s, won a $4 million dollar lottery – what was an exceptional amount for the time.
The winner had been working a double shift as a garbage collector. When asked what he intended to do after winning so much money, the man replied, “I’m going to quit one of my shifts.”
“Only one?” asked the incredulous reporter.
“A man has to have work,” replied the new millionaire.