The Many Attacks on the Hillary Clinton Candidacy
Former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton may be running for president. If so, the Republican party wants you to know that their messaging machine is already on it, and they have the buttons to prove it.
According to Huffington Post, a California Republican Party convention featured a table of buttons comparing the politician and potential presidential candidate to a KFC chicken special, sort of. “KFC Hillary Special: 2 Fat Thighs 2 small breasts…left wing,” the buttons read.
The buttons quickly disappeared from the table, but the sentiments have been simmering for a long time. As PhillyMag reported, back in 2007 when Clinton was running for president, it was her ankles everyone was obsessed with. “Yes, ankles. In Carl Bernstein’s controversial 2007 Hillary biography, A Woman in Charge, hers were described as ‘thick,’” writes Gail Shister. “A conservative columnist likened them to those of ‘a rogue elephant’–an insult more appropriately directed at Palin, if you ask me. We’re talking ankles here, people. They’re like opinions–everybody’s got two.”
So we’ve covered the ankles, the thighs and the breasts. Surely that’s enough at this point, right? Wrong.
Joining in on the bandwagon to preemptively attack Clinton based solely on her physical appearance is right wing columnist Erik Rush. His mature debating tactic? Name calling, saying the former Secretary of State looks like Miss Piggy. “It’s pretty apparent to anyone paying attention that unless Barack Obama declares himself emperor prior to 2016, Hillary Clinton (whom I affectionately call ‘Miss Piggy’ due to resemblance rather than personal habits) is more or less a lock for the Democratic nomination,” writes Rush in a recent column, where he bemoans the lack of credible GOP candidates to run for the presidency.
If pundits like Rush truly represent the party, it’s no wonder they have so few popular options for higher office.
The attacks on her aren’t just goading about physical looks, either. A recent talking point among the far right wing “traditional values” arm of the party is that Clinton is actually a lesbian. Even better? She’s involved with Huma Abedin, longtime aid and wife of the scandal-ridden former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. While the mainstream press offers subtle “how close are they?” headlines, conservative press and websites go straight to full blown rumor-mongering.
The claim was most recently repeated by Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who spent one of his radio shows discussing the alleged secret lesbian affair. “So, the bottom line is that if Hillary Clinton becomes president in 2016, she will not only be our first female president, she could be our first lesbian president,” said Fischer.
Then again, Bryan Fischer is constantly on the watch for America’s “first gay” president, so that sort of speculation from him is to be expected.
Tearing down candidates based on their physical appearances does occasionally happen to men (such as the “I wouldn’t like to see Chris Christie frolicking down the beach” quote from New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Sen. Barbara Bono.) But on the whole, the ceaseless and vitriolic attack on a candidate’s physical appearance and potential sexual orientation is a tactic that hits female candidates far more often than their male counterparts.
If this is where we are before Clinton announces a run, just think of what it will look like if she really does campaign for president.
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