RUSH: I have a fascinating story here by Melinda Henneberger. Now, Melinda Henneberger used to write for Newsweek. She’s now at Slate.com, does columns and so forth. She has a story in the Dallas Morning News from Sunday, a column, actually: ‘More women feeling skeptical about Clinton’s authenticity – though they wish they weren’t.’ The gals are conflicted out there about Hillary. They really don’t like her, but it’s just not right to say so or to think so. Let me read you some excerpts of this. ‘The most appealing thing about Hillary Rodham Clinton has always been her enemies, who often seem not in their right mind, screaming that she is a murderer and calling her names like ‘Her Thighness.’ They make you want to like her. Yet in…’ Have you ever heard of that, Her Thighness? I’ve never heard of that term for Hillary, and I don’t know who’s accusing her of murdering anybody. Anyway… ‘Yet in interviews across the country with women of all ages, races, income brackets and points of view, one of the rare patches of common ground was skepticism about the first female presidential contender with a serious shot at the White House.
‘Over 18 months, I traveled to 20 states listening to women speak at length about what they care about and what drives them crazy as they look toward the presidential election in ’08. I ought to like her, many of the strongest Democrats among them said. But on no other matter did left, right and center converge as on the view best summed up as ‘Anybody but Hillary’ — to the point that I began to dread the mention of her name, because it meant we would probably not get around to talking about anything else that day. All of which runs contrary to the accepted narrative of this election cycle, which is that it is women who are leading the charge for Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. Polling, which at this point still mainly measures name ID, certainly shows a far more mixed picture for Mrs. Clinton where female voters are concerned…’ This is no mystery. Look at the female candidate in France, Ségolène. It’s not an automatic. This is one of these characterizations. The Drive-By Media always thinks that women are monolithic and that they’re all feminist-related and feminist-oriented. It’s like I was saying last week, the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time was that feature on C-SPAN with 20 women in the audience.
The head of Planned Parenthood was conducting the seminar for 20 people. The history of the women’s movement. How is something like covered? Twenty people! Yet the C-SPAN cameras were there as though this was representative of female group thought. If I were a woman, this whole notion that you all think alike and you’re all going to support a candidate just because she’s a woman, that’s a myth. That’s something the Drive-Bys hope for. That’s something the Democrats hope for but they look at everybody as sheep without minds of their own. If Mrs. Clinton ‘won the nomination, however, polls also suggest she’d have trouble winning over the independent female voters any Democrat needs to win the presidency. … The open-ended interviews I did were just the opposite of a poll – I asked very few specific questions, in sessions that typically went on for hours – so the ‘no’ vote was almost certainly over-represented. ‘Yet the least that can be said is that Mrs. Clinton’s negatives are both deep and diffuse. And I’m not sure if polling can be expected to capture the guilt that many women expressed over their lack of enthusiasm for her.’ Oh, no. We have tapped into something new, a new malady in America: White Gal Guilt. Oh, no! It’s the guilt of white women who feel guilty because they don’t want to support Hillary. Forget why. Reasons will be abundant.
‘At this point,’ writes Henneberger, ‘it would be hard to say whether it is conservatives or liberals’ who mind her more. She then quotes a Washington Post story on the great strides she’s supposedly made with opponents of the war. ‘It can’t be a good sign of her candidacy, though, some of these modest…’ Oh. Let me read this. This is key. It’s the Washington Post story. ”Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton drew only modest boos at a gathering of liberal activists yesterday, a sign of how well her changing position on Iraq is playing in the anti-war wing of her party.” Now, how absurd! She got booed but it was not as often as the previous time so it’s a sign of success, and how well her changing position on Iraq is playing. ‘It can’t be a good sign,’ writes Ms. Henneberger, ‘for her candidacy, though, that some of these ‘modest boos’ are coming from women who ought to be among her biggest fans:’ Why? Why should women automatically be among Hillary’s biggest fans? Why? ”If I don’t know the person, I always vote for the woman’ in any given race, says Paula Hughes, a Boston Democrat whose three over-the-moon-for-Obama daughters, ages 16, 20 and 22, helped convince her to support him.’
So here’s a woman who always votes for the woman, who’s going to vote for Obama. ”Hillary’s stands on the war I find troubling, and as much as I love the idea of Clinton squared, I can’t trust her – even though I don’t like myself for that.” My God! Women are wringing their hands over their White Gal Guilt over not liking Hillary. ”What turns me off about Hillary is, I don’t feel the realness from her,’ is how Kristen Aston, a thirtysomething real estate agent in Florida, put it. For the record, I heard very few complaints about Mrs. Clinton’s decision to stay in her marriage. To the extent that her husband is a factor, he seems to be an asset; many women, centrists in particular, said they wished they could vote for him a third time. Nor did gender seem to be an obstacle – as on the contrary, women across the political spectrum declared themselves beyond ready for a woman in the White House. Instead, it was the issue of authenticity that they returned to again and again,’ with Mrs. Clinton. But I think the golden nugget in that last paragraph is, ‘Clinton seems to be an asset. Many women said they wished they could vote for him a third time,’ and she’s going to get a lot of votes because of that. She’s going to get a lot of votes from a lot of people — men, women, doesn’t matter — who simply going to salivate over the fact that Slick Willie is back in the White House again. That’ll will be enough, folks. It will.