Do Women Deserve Better than Hillary Clinton?

by Heather Robinson

Many of my friends are professional New York City women who love Hillary Clinton. But I think it’s important to write about whether we professional women – and women in general – deserve a better standard bearer than Hillary.

Let’s say she’s elected the First Woman President. How are we going to teach her biography to impressionable, idealistic young girls who want to learn about the first woman President and her life? How, when at least some of her trajectory is attributable to her having chosen to stay married to a serial philanderer, are we supposed to gloss over that element of her biography when telling young girls we know about her early career and her aspirations? What kind of role model would she be to young women?

The other day I discussed Hillary with a woman I know, who remarked, “Why would you stay with someone who cheated on you?” Her simple, straightforward remark got me thinking. What I think she meant was, why would any self-respecting woman do that?

Some of Hillary’s supporters turn it around and say she was using Bill, and not the other way around, as if somehow that is better than being a doormat (Perhaps it is, but in my book, neither is admirable). Or that politics is a different world, and the Clintons struck a deal early on and have helped each other. That may be. There are all kinds of arrangements in this world, and the fact that what works for one may not work for another is crystal clear to anyone who is over 18 and not lobotomized. I have no problem staying out of people’s bedrooms and marriages. But what I find difficult to accept is the cult of Hillary that proclaims her the ultimate feminist, and envisions her potential rise to the White House as some kind of pure feminist triumph, and a source of pride to all women, when in fact it would owe much to her status as the wife of a successful man, and not just any successful man, but one who treated her with utter disrespect as a wife.

Is it just me, or is the sleaziness of how Hillary got to where she is – which at least partially rests on her having put up with all of her husband’s serial sexual infidelities and indiscretions – not only unpalatable, but anti-feminist?

No question, as I wrote in my recently published opinion piece in The New York Post, Hillary is strong and successful. When I described her that way (for which I’ve received some blowback from readers) what I meant was, in terms of her pure resilience, I think it would be very difficult to argue she is a weak woman. I stand by that assessment. I dislike the lack of integrity she displayed about Benghazi in particular and I feel strongly that anyone who cares about the role of the press in a free society, and about the import of protecting America’s interests and public servants, should hold her to account for it. (I also think anyone who maintains she was a terrific Secretary of State should have difficulty explaining why Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ many e-mail requests for more security were disregarded by Hillary and her staff prior to his murder by terrorists).

Back to Hillary as a feminist: is feminism purely about toughness, resilience, and personal drive? How about self-respect? And what role does integrity play?

More to come.