March 20, 2016

Hot of the trail of gender politics.

On "Meet the Press" today, Chuck Todd was talking to Molly Ball (The Atlantic) and Jose Diaz-Balart (Telemundo and NBC News)on the subject of whether some of the criticism Hillary Clinton is based on her gender.

Molly Ball said that the political science research shows that women don't get more comments about their looks than men do and that controlled experiments show people are more likely to trust the woman (mainly because women seem like outsiders). The unstated implication is that Hillary Clinton is a specific woman and the dislike for her isn't about women generally but her specifically.

But there's a difference between what's really true and what is useful. If women — notably older women — believe discrimination against women is a problem, that belief might be leveraged. Chuck Todd asked Jose Diaz-Balart if Hillary would be able to "galvanize women." (Putting the "gal" in "galvanize.")

Diaz-Balart just said: "When was the last time that we heard a criticism of a man screaming too much?" And Chuck Todd said "Howard Dean" (referring to this). I couldn't believe it! How did they suddenly forget the man they otherwise can't stop talking about — Donald Trump? Donald Trump's manner of speaking is continually criticized. He's yelling. It sounds mean. It incites violence! It's coming out of a mouth that looks like Mussolini's mouth!

Diaz-Balart said: "I don't understand why Hillary Clinton has to be said she's screaming, she has to smile more. I don't hear men being asked that in the same way." But the speech styles of male candidates are often the subject of criticism. For example, just a few days ago, Chris Matthews said:
"I find Cruz very hard to listen to. He’s relentless, and he whines... He’s got this same angry edge to his voice all the time... There’s no, there’s no lift in it. There’s no hope in it. It’s just this grinding negativity toward anyone he’s competing with."
Molly Ball said that Hillary Clinton is trying "very hard to turn herself into a sort of feminist-identity politics candidate... has really leaned into the woman thing this year, and it hasn't worked." But there's this idea that if/when she gets to a one-on-one fight with Trump, the gender politics will get "really intense."

Chuck Todd brought up that anti-Trump ad we were talking about yesterday — the one with various women reading out-of-context quotes from Donald Trump (e.g., "That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees"). Todd enthuses: "Can you imagine if they put money behind that ad and ran it for two weeks?"

There's no recognition of any incoherence and hypocrisy. I'm seeing — in Todd and the others on his show — a willingness to use overt gender politics against Republicans whenever it seems it will work, but Republicans are criticized for using gender politics even whenever it's just an argument that some criticism of Hillary could have something to do with her femaleness.

ADDED: Let me put that "dropping to your knees" quote in its proper context, which isn't a general statement about women, but a specific situation in which someone else had used the expression and he was cracking a mildly smutty joke:

22 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Are you saying that they lack self-awareness? Naah!

Michael K said...

I could see Trump reversing that "on your knees" bit with not only Monica but a Time magazine "correspondent" who was enamored of Bill.

tim in vermont said...

Lack of self -awareness is an ongoing theme of this blog.

mccullough said...

Hillary was a doormat for Bill and then an attack dog against the women who came out against him. Chelsea is a useless, spoiled whiner. Hillary is a poor example for women.

pm317 said...

FYI.. Chris Matthews wife Kathleen Matthews is running for Van Hollen's seat in the House while he runs for Makowski's senate seat. If you hear her radio ad, it sounds like war on women on steroids. How can Chris Matthews sit on these panels and run a show on MSNBC while his wife runs for the House seat? This is what is wrong in the media and the government.

cubanbob said...

pm317 said...
FYI.. Chris Matthews wife Kathleen Matthews is running for Van Hollen's seat in the House while he runs for Makowski's senate seat. If you hear her radio ad, it sounds like war on women on steroids. How can Chris Matthews sit on these panels and run a show on MSNBC while his wife runs for the House seat? This is what is wrong in the media and the government.

3/20/16, 5:58 PM

They are both Organs of The State.

MayBee said...

Hillary does yell. How in the world can it be sexist to say that?

pm317 said...

More like parasites of the State.

cubanbob said...

I'm sure Hillary can gal-vanize the criminal vote. They have so much in common. Maybe the Federal Bureau Of Prisons can outfit her with a bespoke Orange Is The New Black jumpsuit.

MayBee said...

They can't really hit the history of Hillary being the first woman right now, because then they'd have to talk about Ted Cruz making history, Before that, we would have had to talk about the Republican field being made up of a woman, an Indian-American, a black man, and two hispanics as well as the white guys.

If Hillary runs against Trump, it will once again be about History v the Party of White Men.

Birkel said...

Isn't it funny that these talking heads could pass for internet trolls without effort? I would like to know cause and effect but at this point, what does it matter?

n.n said...

I don't trust a woman who would, on principle, choose or advocate to sacrifice a human baby for wealth, pleasure, leisure, leverage... and planned parenthood.

Curious George said...

I'm withholding comment until I hear from Amanda what upscale Republicans think.

aritai said...

On my planet, women are the stronger sex. They have a complete set of Chromosomes, they live longer, are healthier, don't have their reproductive organs hanging out where they can be damaged or cut off. Our women are smarter than us, are better strategists and clever enough to pick a competent partner and leave the rest in the Antoniadi, and share the best donors of the few that can crawl out of the crater. Strength differs, but few males could feed and carry around two souls for 18 months, yes we have souls, ti'll be wonderful when y'all differentiate yourselves from apes and other species that eat their young. Your Asian women and matriarchs come pretty close. Then again we still use the extended matriarchal family as our basic unit of governance, our bank and safety net, plus the grandmothers kick the ugly males back into the crater. You are still evolving backwards. Our geneticists are amused. Be a pity when we lose you as our petri dish given your Yellowstone will cook off in 2056 when an asteroid we were going to move hits it square, but our ethicists decided euthanasia was best in your case since not only do you eat your young, you've started to worship your planet. Time to start over and try again.

Bob Boyd said...

"When was the last time that we heard a criticism of a man screaming too much?"

If Hillary becomes President you'll hear it a lot more.

EDH said...

Hillary doesn't "scream".

Her speaking style on the stump is a pretentious "speaking truth to power" bellicosity, so mired in contradiction as to be ridiculous.

MayBee said...

She doesn't scream. She yells.

Nichevo said...

Althouse doesn't like yelly, and she's yelly and hammy and hokey; and wry, which I like in small doses comma in large doses. I rather think she uses it as a device. I wonder what she's hiding. I wonder what it would be like to hand her a tire iron and turn your back on her for a minute . Very fake, very very plastic. is the real Hillary Clinton? Rodham if you prefer?

Brando said...

Typical of Hillarydom to never consider criticism for what it is but instead to conflate it to either partisanship or sexism. See, it's not possible that people react poorly to disingenuous shouters like Hillary (or another male example? Al Gore). No, must be sexism!

A good public speaker can enunciate and sound passionate without actually yelling--watch your favorite public speakers and you'll notice this. Martin Luther King was able to speak forcefully without shouting; Reagan could do.

When an obvious fake like Al Gore or Hillary Clinton are speaking, it's as though their handlers said "try and sound more passionate! People think you're robotic!" and Gore would say "affirmative!" and Hillary would say "exterminate!" and both would then just raise the volume of what they were saying, which has the strange ability to both bore and unnerve. Both would be better served embracing a "conversational" tone (don't worry--they have microphones for this!).

Constantly hiding behind charges of sexism has kept Hillary from using constructive criticism and improving as a politician, despite 25 years in the national spotlight.

Mike Sylwester said...

Molly Ball published an article that mocked a Trump supporter for having yellow teeth.

Brando said...

"Molly Ball published an article that mocked a Trump supporter for having yellow teeth."

Actually yellow (or at least "off white) is the natural color for teeth. Somehow we got it in our head that bright white was the healthy color for teeth, but it's really unnatural.

JamesB.BKK said...

It is completely the content of what Hillary says that is objectionable to the non-grifting, non-free riding, and non-envying type. The stuff she says is what scolds say. The mode of delivery is thus just that of a scold. Scolds come in both (all?) genders.