This morning on MTP the execrable Alex Castellanos casually affirmed what some HRC supporters have known for many months: older women in America are rendered invisible. Their “nagging” dismissible, opinions unimportant, shrill voices annoying when they speak up. Certainly not needed or wanted in the halls of power. Tolerated, barely. Hell, not even really welcome at the table (unless serving dinner).
Meet the Press ALEX CASTELLANOS:
Well, Trump's voters are excited. They are, you know, Reagan democrats. The excitement is there in the Trump campaign. Where is the excitement in the Clinton campaign? Usually it's in young voters, black voters in a Democratic Presidential Campaign. It's not there. The democratic establishment candidate is Hillary Clinton. If Obama was a love affair, this is "nana Clinton." Nobody's excited about more of the same continuity in the democratic party. And by the way, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Obama even can campaign all they want for her, and they're pouring enthusiasm into a leaky bucket.
Oh yes, he really said “nana Clinton” with a smarmy, self-satisfied snicker—just a dismissible old woman. A dog whistle for fellow sexists. Oh yes, more below.
We’ve learned a lot about sexism this year. Women are judged to be “dishonest” for that same pause before speaking for which men are judged “thoughtful.”
Male candidates can shout, wave their arms, pound the podium, and are judged “passionate” “powerful” “strong leader.” Women are judged very harshly for raising our voices at all. “Doesn’t she know what the mic is for?” Not passionate, it’s “why is mom shouting at me, am I in trouble?” She's scolding, hectoring, shrill like a fishwife.
Dana Milbank addressed it back in February The sexist double standards hurting Hillary Clinton
Much of Hillary Clinton’s difficulty in this campaign stems from a single, unalterable fact: She is a woman.
I’m not referring primarily to the Bernie Bros, those Bernie Sanders supporters who fill the Internet with misogynistic filth about Clinton. What drags down her candidacy is more pervasive and far subtler — unconscious, even.
The criticism is the same as in 2008: She doesn’t connect. She isn’t likeable. She doesn’t inspire. She seems shrill. “She shouts,” Bob Woodward said on MSNBC this month, also suggesting she “get off this screaming stuff.”
Joe Scarborough, the host, agreed: “Has nobody told her that the microphone works?”
Hillary’s been criticized for laughing too loud, not smiling enough, smiling too much, or smiling the wrong kind of smile. Jimmy Kimmel tried to address that with humor:
She’s been saddled with this for decades. Look at the snears as those questions are asked. Questions that established and furthered a negative press “narrative” about Hillary.
Her policies and decades of public service and body of expertise in multiple areas ignored as vapid journalists, secure in the “narrative” they established, ask “why are you not trusted, why don’t people like you” without a shred of irony or recognition. She’s leading, the first woman in history to run, and the question is “why is it even close? What are you doing wrong?”
I have to say, this is all very depressing. Can a woman never hope to be evaluated fairly for abilities and contributions when she’s older, as a man of any age is? This is making me very angry, when I’m not disheartened, discouraged or depressed. It hurts. You know?
What set me off tonight? To the point where Mr. C took a walk because I was yelling—even though not at him.
A guy I have known for 20 years and like, I guess, just posted this reply on FB, to this comment:
“Mike:” Your candidate stinks. Get a better one if you want my vote.
My friend: I couldn't agree more with your first sentence. Hillary's performance as a candidate has been mediocre, at best. Her default setting is to obfuscate and dissemble in the face of crisis. The management of the Clinton Foundation in the 8 years since she lost to Barack Obama in the primaries feels like confirmation of everything people say about Clinton arrogance. I dislike her more with every passing day, and four years of her presidency will feel to me very much like being locked in a small room with my ex-wife.
To which I replied: Bye now.
Stung perhaps by my response, because we have been very good friends and political confidants, he quickly edited this continuation
Yet when I get in the voting booth I will vote for her without hesitation.
History already judges George W. Bush's presidency as one of the worst in recent times. It also tells us that Al Gore would have won that election easily had it not been for Ralph Nader's candidacy. I feel like we are facing a similar situation in this election.
What I will say for Hillary is that I suspect she will, by and large, be a perfectly competent president, and possibly a very good one. She'll advance a left-of-center Democratic position both legislatively and judicially and, with a few reservations, I'll probably agree with most of what she does, and I think the country will be better for it. And even if she makes a hash of it, the Republic will survive to vote four years later.
Alternatively, a Trump presidency has, to my mind, zero upside and an unlimited downside. A decade later we live in a world that has been profoundly effected by the decisions made by the Bush administration (let's not argue here about the merits of President Obama's foreign policy). I shudder to think the damage a Trump presidency could have.
And in the end, either Clinton or Trump is going to end up as president. That's just a fact. And Johnson appears to be pulling votes from Hillary, not Trump.
It seems to me there are times when one should vote with one's heart. There are other times when one should be ruthlessly pragmatic. I think this is one of those times. We are conditioned to assume a rough equivalency between our presidential candidates. The media, God bless them, helps us with that. But in this case it is simply not the case. A Clinton presidency will be one that the country can live with (albeit with a lot of bitching and moaning from the Republicans). A Trump presidency will be a disaster of global proportion. Clearly this is what Bernie was getting at as well.
I am, therefore, without hesitation With Her. Just so we're clear.
Not even addressing the 25 years of false media “narrative” and double standard in the first part of that statement. In fact, it was to this friend—who reduced Hillary to his detested ex-wife—and Mr. Catskill, that I explained this.
The older I get, the more I realize this offensive, casual, ubiquitous misogyny in our culture affects older women in spades. When women are no longer “useful” to men, in the most basic, reproductive sense, they become an annoyance, taking up space. The opposite of “eye candy.” Bothering more important members of the community when they should just gracefully disappear into a corner. Maybe babysit. Because “male” attitudes still prevail as “normal,” this disregard is carried out generally. Not only by men personally, but in our media, ads, stories, movies. And in our politics.
In our culture, older women enter into a campaign, discussion or competition with a very real handicap: invisibility, dismissibility. Younger women, do take note. This has a great deal to do with age. Beautiful young women, treated as brilliant wunderkind while they’re still ovulating, learn to their chagrin that, as accomplished, bright, capable as they now are, even more than they were, there was apparently another reason for a lot of that admiration and regard. That seems to be passing away as they age.
The most experienced, qualified candidate of our lifetime is running for President. She is also giving us a master class in double standards, sexism and just how appreciated older women are in our culture. Not very.
End of rant.
Oh my. Rec list for my rant? Thank you, thank you, and please keep working. We cannot lose this election.
There is a great discussion in the comments. I have to be away from the keyboard for a while today. Please continue!