February 13, 2016

Madeleine Albright says you might think she knows better than "to tell a large number of women to go to hell."

"But last Saturday, in the excitement of a campaign event for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, that is essentially what I did, when I delivered a line I have uttered a thousand times to applause, nodding heads and laughter: 'There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.' It is a phrase I first used almost 25 years ago, when I was the United States ambassador to the United Nations and worked closely with the six other female U.N. ambassadors. But this time, to my surprise, it went viral."

What does "the excitement of a campaign event for Hillary Clinton" have to do with it? She didn't blurt out something unusual in a moment of excitement. She repeated an old line that had worked over and over before audiences where people have nodded, applauded, and laughed. It was tested and true.

The op-ed, in the NYT, is titled "My Undiplomatic Moment." But how is a line "uttered a thousand times" characterizable as a "moment"? How can Albright portray it as a momentary deviation within a long career, when she's been saying it consistently?
I absolutely believe what I said, that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line. 
But all those other times were appropriate, because the audience gave her a warm reception? She set the heads nodding, the ladies chuckling. Pivoting from her nonexplanation for her go-to-hell gaffe, Albright proceeds to get back to condescending to young women:
And while young women may not want to hear anything more from this aging feminist, I feel it is important to speak to women coming of age at a time when a viable female presidential candidate, once inconceivable, is a reality.
When was it inconceivable? It was certainly always conceivable to me. I was born in 1951 and grew up hearing that Margaret Chase Smith could be President. Maybe I'm not picking up the inconceivable/reality distinction.



[In the comments, rhhardin calls attention to the 2 abortion-related words in "a viable female presidential candidate, once inconceivable, is a reality." Within that metaphor, if Hillary is viable, then it's too late to abort her.]

Albright moves on to her concern about "the tone of the debate." Not her tone, telling women who don't support Hillary that there's a special place in Hell for them, but the tone those of other people. What's wrong with the tone? Here, she — absurdly — has nothing. She just muses that people are "complacent" about the gains women have made and that we need "an informed dialogue that crosses generations."

Albright badly embarrassed herself and lacks the skill and grace to talk her way into a good light.  It makes me want to go back and review what she achieved for us as Secretary of State (other than being the first female Secretary of State).
According to several accounts, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell repeatedly asked Washington for additional security at the embassy in Nairobi, including in an April 1998 letter directly to Albright. Bushnell was ignored. She later stated that when she spoke to Albright about the letter, she told her that it had not been shown to her. In Against All Enemies, Richard Clarke writes about an exchange with Albright several months after the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in August 1998. "What do you think will happen if you lose another embassy?" Clarke asked. "The Republicans in Congress will go after you." "First of all, I didn't lose these two embassies," Albright shot back. "I inherited them in the shape they were."
ADDED: Here's a NYT article from January 9, 1999: "UNHEEDED WARNINGS: A special report.; Before Bombings, Omens and Fears":
*The Central Intelligence Agency repeatedly told State Department officials in Washington and in the Kenya embassy that there was an active terrorist cell in Kenya connected to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile who is accused of masterminding the attack.

*The C.I.A. investigated at least three terrorist threats in Nairobi in the year before the bombing [that killed 12 American diplomats and more than 200 Africans] and took one seriously enough to send a counterterrorism team from C.I.A. headquarters. The agency ultimately concluded that the threat was unfounded, but some officials say the inquiry was botched, and the agency's inspector general is investigating how it was handled.

*State Department officials brushed aside Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, commander of the United States Central Command, who had visited Nairobi and warned that the embassy there was an easy and tempting target for terrorists. General Zinni's offer to send his own specialists to review security in Nairobi was turned down by the State Department.

*The State Department had all but abandoned the commitment it made after the 1983 bombing of the embassy in Beirut to improve embassy security. Department officials had long since stopped asking Congress for the money needed to meet its own standards, and had adopted a strategy of improving the handful of embassies it believed were at greatest risk. Nairobi was not one of them.

Ms. Bushnell, in a rare interview about the bombing, said by telephone from Nairobi yesterday: ''This is a tragedy in the real sense of the word, and it's a tragedy that has caused us to think differently. We no longer operate under the assumptions that we did in the past.''

A report made public yesterday by a commission appointed by Ms. Albright excoriated the State Department for failing to safeguard American missions against terrorist attacks, and particularly for giving vulnerable missions like the one in Nairobi lower priority when experience shows they make attractive targets for terrorists....

In memos sent in April and May, [Bushnell] asked Ms. Albright to cite Nairobi's vulnerability to Congress in seeking more funds for security. In addition, Ms. Bushnell was lobbying every senior American official and member of Congress who came to Nairobi. According to an American official, she would say: ''How do you like our building? I think it's terrible.'' Ms. Bushnell ''did not want to be in that building,'' the official said.
Much more at the link.

48 comments:

rhhardin said...

a viable female presidential candidate, once inconceivable

Dogmatists go by first heartbeat.

Michael K said...

She is also author of the statement, "Of course we took terrorism seriously ! We had meetings on it almost every week !"

Idiot. Also lied about her Jewish origins. I guess she was embarrassed.

MaxedOutMama said...

OMG, you are on a lethal truth crusade today.

So in defending Clinton, Albright is really defending her own errors of judgment? That would explain why suddenly she has become so publicly clumsy, which is otherwise odd for a person with her background.

Ken B said...

'I've been calling you a stupid twat for years, and now you object? What a fickle bit of snatch you are!'

rhhardin said...

A romcom DVD I ordered came instead as a WWII airplane video game, ordered by a lady in Kansas.

She's either presidential material or ordering for her son's birthday.

YoungHegelian said...

The saddest thing about this article is that it's Exhibit A in just how clueless Our Betters really are. As the professor's analysis shows, there are gaping holes in Secretary Albright's logic. Did none of her people sit down with her before this was published & say "Uhhhhmmm, Maddie,...."? Did she not learn as a good Catholic girl how to apologize, like, you know, for real?

I guess I'm all on-board with Insty's frequent tagline of Worst Ruling Class. Ever.

SOJO said...

Also she spoke it to a group that, for the most part, doesn't believe in hell, so doesn't truly get the old, harsh humor of ex-Catholics. Or rather their parents don't believe in hell, and they've been taught that it was the pivotal belief of an abusive system.

Bob said...

Last season's fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.

traditionalguy said...

This must be National Democrat Old-timers Walking it Back Day. John Lewis also pretended he did not mean a word he said yesterday about Sanders in the Civil Rights days. He stumbled, seeing as how he is so new to playing the race card for the last 50 years.

Once more the news is making Trump into the truth teller about all of the Democrat political appointees being talkers that never do a single thing about what they talk about.

And how about the Carrier Air Conditioner Manufaturere is leaving Indianapolis high and dry for Mexico too. Meade might notice that one. They must be going in between to Ford and Nabisco.

AllenS said...

when I delivered a line I have uttered a thousand times to applause, nodding heads and laughter -- Albright

I don't believe that at all. I think she's said that line once, and only once. Google search feels the same way.

F said...

You don't have to go back and see how she did as Secretary of State. I was in the Foreign Service then (and before and after). She was a terrible S/S.

coupe said...

Who better, but a Slav Jewish Princess, to tell people to go to hell?

It's like Zsa Zsa, only more craggy.

Bob Boyd said...

"a viable female presidential candidate"

I find it's less painful to think of Hillary as an un-viable issue mass.

Michael in ArchDen said...

"I inherited them in the shape they were."

IOW...It's all Bush's fault!!!(HW in this case). This is why Professor Althouse's explanation that she wanted the Democrats to take responsibility for foreign affairs never connected with me...they have a history of owning successes and blaming others for every failure.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

if Hillary is viable, then it's too late to abort her.

Not if we claim mental health exception. A Hillary presidency would be a inconvenience for me and cause me depression. So go get the scissors and foreceps!

Michael K said...

"Meade might notice that one. They must be going in between to Ford and Nabisco."

I posted a link to the video in another thread.

Skeptical Voter said...

Jeez Louise! Our female Secretaries of State seem to have a problem with keeping embassies and consulates safe; and then when the natives get restless and go all Mau Mau on the embassies and consulates it's always somebody else's fault.

Reminds me of the line that either Admiral Beatty or Admiral Jellicoe uttered at the Battle of Jutland. The British cruisers were taking a terrible beating from German shells and blowing up etc. The Admiral muttered, "There seems to be something wrong with our cruisers today." Ms. Albright and Ms. Clinton might well say that about embassies on their watch.

But getting back to the special place in Hell and all that; Ms. Albright seems to believe that she was once a competent diplomat---that as the NBA players might say, she had "game". Well if Maddie ever had game, she's lost it now. And as for helping women, there is a long string of women who William Jefferson Clinton has abused in one way or another--rape, fellatio, cigars, sexual assault, "look at my junk up close and personal" [Paula Jones]. And neither Maddie or Hillary helped those women one danged bit. I don't recall Albright or Clinton coming to the defense of Condi Rice or Sarah Palin.

So Ms. Albright--put a sock in it and just go away.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

Hillary. Albright. Steinem.

The Clinton campaign is like a rehash of "The Golden Girls."

Without any humor.

Or charisma.

Or talent.

I am Laslo.

buwaya puti said...

Albright served during the high point of the Pax Americana, when foreign policy was coasting, because there really wasn't anything difficult to do. GHW Bush, James Baker, Maggie Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, John Paul II had done the difficult work of ending the Cold War. The Clinton administration enjoyed the subsequent global Peace.
It was difficult to make a truly major error as the stakes were low, and unlike most of her predecessors who were movers and shakers, Albright was more of a figurehead.
Since her time it's been the unfortunate custom to treat the position of Secretary of State as a figurehead. GW Bush made a big error in appointing Colin Powell, because intended or not he was a figurehead more than as player.
Rice was a return to a person on the inside, on the team.
Obama, with Clinton, went to full figurehead mode, as with most of his cabinet.

MadisonMan said...

The Dowager Countess would say: "Never Complain. Never Explain"

Madeline Albright fails at both. If you're explaining, you're losing.

(I'm positive Albright watches Downton Abbey)

dwick said...

AllenS said...
I think she's said that line once, and only once. Google search feels the same way.

Now now... During the Thu PM debate this past week, Hillary said she'd heard Albright say that many times. And we all know Hillary doesn't lie...

I actually do believe Albright has said it before - but only in the select company of those 'in the know' folks who nod, laugh, and applaud knowingly. Not audiences made up of us great unwashed 'other people'-type rubes...

Just Mike said...

She doesn't seem all that bright to me.

YoungHegelian said...

It seems to be a time for "walking back" public utterances. If you think Secretary Albright's attempt at "walking back" was feeble, take a gander at Rep. John Lewis' walking back of his comments on never having known Bernie Sanders from the 1960s civil rights struggle.

Of course, among the low-info Democrat voters, the damage is now done. In their minds it's now "civil rights icon calls bullshit on Bernie Sanders activist claims", & the Sanders campaign will have to struggle mightily to undo it.

The world gives John Lewis far too much indulgence. Hell, I've seen it myself even on Fox News. This is twice now (the first being when he refused to substantiate or reject the claim made by another black rep that a crowd of Tea Party protesters had screamed the N-word at them, even though he was standing right next to the Rep. in question during the melee) that Lewis has folded like a house of cards under political pressure. His statement on Sanders & Clinton is full deliberate attempts to mislead the public. They are, in political terms, "lies".

Rep. Lewis has reached his sell-by date. It's time to go.

n.n said...

The first female Secretary-General of the United Nations.

It's an inside joke. No one laughed.

Barry Dauphin said...

Does Bernie consider Madeleine a friend? We already know how he feels about Henry.

glenn said...

When you already have your pile and had nothing to do with earning it you can be stupid. See the current generation of Kennedys.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Why does Albright get an entire editorial in the NYT to walk back her comments? You're welcome, Hillary, lol.

steve uhr said...

If she told it thousands of times presumably Hillary heard it at least several times. So her over-the-top reaction was phony per usual.

buwaya puti said...

In any case, this is stupid, trivial stuff for an ex-Secretary of State to be concerned with. Every day the Syrian troubles get worse. Now the Turks are bombarding US-Allied Kurds; Kurds are negotiating with the Russians (switching patrons), Saudi coalition (including Pakistanis) is getting ready to invade Syria, against which act the Russians are making threats. The Turks are mobilizing and moving armored brigades to the Syrian border. That's the last two days.

William said...

So, can we now all agree that there is a special place in hell for women who consign other women to a special place in hell.

Bill said...

if Hillary is viable, then it's too late to abort her

I don't want to abort her (or anyone else; even Kanye West). I just want her to retire.

Sebastian said...

"I delivered a line I have uttered a thousand times to applause, nodding heads and laughter: 'There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.' It is a phrase I first used almost 25 years ago" That's about how long it takes for Progs to call BS.

"What does "the excitement of a campaign event for Hillary Clinton" have to do with it? She didn't blurt out something unusual in a moment of excitement. She repeated an old line that had worked over and over before audiences where people have nodded, applauded, and laughed. It was tested and true." "True"? Useful, maybe. But obviously uttered in bad faith all along. See Palin, Sarah. Thatcher, Maggie.

"How can Albright portray it as a momentary deviation within a long career, when she's been saying it consistently?" How can she not? When the Prog line changes, it's time to rewrite history.

"Pivoting from her nonexplanation for her go-to-hell gaffe" Semi-gaffe, maybe. Reveals what old Hillaryites really think, but not obviously true in the sense that young Sanders acolytes don't actually go to hell.

Paul said...

I stopped paying attention to Madeleine Halfbright when she was Secretary of State.stopped about the same time Janet 'baby killer' Reno got her fame.

traditionalguy said...

There is also a special place in Hell for anyone who says bad things about our John Lewis. He is our living souvenir from the days of Martin, and he has always been pro Atlanta. The problem he has is with a strain of black antisemitism just under the surface. No one knows why it is there.

Mary Beth said...

AllenS said...

when I delivered a line I have uttered a thousand times to applause, nodding heads and laughter -- Albright

I don't believe that at all. I think she's said that line once, and only once. Google search feels the same way.
2/13/16, 12:03 PM


Google tells me otherwise.

In 2013 at the CIA Women's History Month Celebration - "Finally, I have one message that I always insist on sharing with professional women, and that is to look around the room at the faces of your colleagues and remember that there is a special place in hell reserved for women who refuse to help one another."

TED TAlk in 2011 - "Now I have a saying that I feel very strongly about, because I am of a certain age where, when I started in my career, believe it or not, there were other women who criticized me: "Why aren't you in the carpool line?" or "Aren't your children suffering because you're not there all the time?" And I think we have a tendency to make each other feel guilty. In fact, I think "guilt" is every woman's middle name. And so I think what needs to happen is we need to help each other. And my motto is that there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

In 2006 at the Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA's All-Decade Team, 2006 - "I have a saying, I think there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

It was also printed on a Starbucks cup under "The Way I See It #287"

Rhythm and Balls said...

Can she be de-conceived? Unconceived?

Too bad her stupid moment can't be, not that it was an isolated moment in any event.

I guess it just goes to show how unremarkable Albright or UN Secretaries or SOS's are in general. No one paid attention to those moments before. I remember them, and I didn't think they were in good taste even then. And now, just like Helen Thomas, she found out why. There are other demographics than just your own and, lo and behold, they might actually have a different reality to contend with than you do or did. Get the fuck over it.

What a fossil.

Rhythm and Balls said...

YH - Check out this comment at the site you linked to on John Lewis' faulty understanding of how to judge civil rights leaders:

The unintended consequence of Lewis' remark is that we now know of Bernie's involvement in the movement, pictures of his activism have surfaced and those who were involved with him as he fought against segregation in Chicago were given a national forum to tell their story.

And we also now know of Hillary's conspicuous absence from the entire civil rights movement. No pictures, no testimony, nothing.

Interesting that he would choose Hillary as a vanguard for minorities today. Once again, who you know is more important than what you have done. I am sick of this type of politics and these types of politicians.

Fernandinande said...

"There’s a special place in hell for X" is a false statement for all X, as is her claim that she uttered the false statement thousands of times. So it's in the NYT.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
Why does Albright get an entire editorial in the NYT to walk back her comments? You're welcome, Hillary, lol.


No kidding.

AllenS said...

Very good, Mary Beth, now can you name the other 997 times?

traditionalguy said...

Wondering why the Embassy security has been ignored reminds us that the Guards at all American Embassies (and at the White House) are uniformed and armed USMC.

I suspect that the anti-American World Hegemony cliques from Albright to Clinton,to Kerrey since Viet Nam days have viscerally hated those Marines who are their #1 enemy. Marines are guilty of having been 90% responsible for the continued existence of the terrible United States in its wars over the last 100 years.

robother said...

Ann obviously has never experienced the pure excitement of a Hillary campaign event: really, its like a feminist version of a 19th Century tent revival meeting. Dozens of Boomer women falling over themselves to answer Hillary's altar call when she pulls up on her chrome horse. Even her diplomat is overcome... How does it feel? Go to her, she calls ya, you can't refuse. When you ain't got nothing...

Skeptical Voter said...

Rhythm and Balls makes a cogent point. Many of our recent Secretaries of State don't amount to all that much. When you think about the trifecta of Albright, Clinton and Kerry--well you are thinking bout the dumb kids in class. And you can throw Colin Powell in there as well.

Compare and contrast that sorry crew with someone like George Marshall or John Foster Dulles who managed to navigate a very dangerous world with minimal casualties and much good to the world.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It is sexist to ask what female leaders have accomplished in their past leadership positions.
The concept of accountability is sexist.
The problem with having embassies destroyed and our people killed is that mean Republicans might make a big deal out of it.
Liberals are just better than you, OK? Stop asking so many questions.

Gahrie said...

The Clinton candidacy might be (hopefully is ) the moment that spells the death of third wave feminism.

SukieTawdry said...

I did one of my very first book reports in junior high on a biography of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president (1872). I was fascinated by the fact, that while Ms. Woodhull couldn't vote for president, she could in fact run for the office.

ken in tx said...

I think Albright just got careless because no one has paid any attention to anything she said for a long time. She didn't think anyone would notice.