The Truth About Hillary : A Critique

HillaryAs an individual of the same gender as Hillary Clinton and more so as a student of political Science, I would like to analyze the book, The Truth About Hillary authored by Mr. Edward Klein in four major aspects: blame game ‘theory’, insecurity in the mind of the author, conservative ideology and gender politics.

Klein brings out a number of instances to project Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton as a power hungry woman who would go to any extent to reach her goal. The author’s constant attempt to blame Hillary Clinton for her husband’s sex scandals is a less acceptable fact. Klein writes about the possible knowledge of Hillary Clinton about her husband’s extra marital affairs and how she employed her old counterparts to keep a watch on her husband in the White House. But the author clearly doesn’t have a reliable source to support this thought. The author has the audacity to add that Hillary would have remained an unpopular figure without a promising political future had it not been for Monica Lewinsky’s affair with the former president Clinton (pg. 6).

It seems beyond the author’s understanding to believe that Hillary Clinton could have achieved something of her own, and in all likelihood to believe that any woman could achieve something of her own without the support of a man. Klein mentions that Mr. Clinton gave Hillary a chance to transcend her gender to reach the mountaintop and that she knew she couldn’t achieve power on her own (pg. 73). This is contradicted by the author himself when he describes her childhood. She is known to have been treated as a boy at her home itself and to have been a ‘tomboy’ during her school days.

The book also reveals the mindset and ideology of Klein more than that of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The author is doubtful about a wife’s love for her husband when she is surrounded by friends who are lesbians. This is immature and too conservative in a modernist society. His conservatism and gender bias go over the top when he blames Hillary for her husband’s loss in the re-election to the post of Governor in Arkansas. For any sensible individual, irrespective of whether the person is a conservative patriarch, it is hard to understand the essence behind the blatant accusation of a governor’s wife being a cause for his defeat. The author points that the major issue was the official name of Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton at that point of time. She was just Ms. Hillary Rodham. She was also accused of not being a home maker. According to the author Mr. Clinton “couldn’t control his wife”, which is considered a sin in the southern state of Arkansas. It is not just an insult on Hillary Clinton but on the people of Arkansas, their democratic knowledge and social outlook. Klein struggles to liberate himself from the inbound beliefs of patriarchy.

In the course of establishing Hillary Clinton as a selfish, power hungry cheat, Klein has insulted a number of women, by casting aspersions on alternate sexuality which essentially does not fall within the purview of a political analyst.

An individual’s political life being framed out of that person’s beliefs in gender feminism couldn’t be a mistake; rather it shapes a different political ideology. This is true with Hillary Clinton. Hillary’s life as a strong woman with feminist ideology and a successful political career is certainly a threat to patriarchal, gender biased male chauvinists and it adds on to their insecurity when they imagine her to be a likely future president of one of the world’s most powerful states.

The most shocking of all allegations is that her candidature to the post of America’s first citizen is questioned not on the basis of her ability, but on the basis of her feminity. As a woman, she has to prove her wifely instincts, her success as a mother (even maternal love is quantified), her loyalty as a woman but interestingly, a male contestant is never assessed on the basis of his masculinity. It is easy to imagine a man as a president but not a woman. Klein writes that though Hillary campaigned for John Kerry in the previous American election for the post of president, her speeches were promoting herself as future candidate to the post. He also feels that Hillary didn’t contest the 2004 election as she was sure that America would never vote against a war time president. Hence, she is being accused of undertaking a very tactical political move based on purely selfish motives. Again Klein fails to bring in solid arguments to support his accusations.

Hillary’s election campaign to the post of senator from New York has been widely criticized by the author. It is an issue of concern for Klein when she raised $ 25 million for funds to campaign but overlooks the male candidate who has raised more than $ 25 million. Moreover her victory as a senator is seen as an inability of Rick Lazio (man who contested against Hillary) to campaign in a short period of time after the former candidate had withdrawn from contesting due to an illness. Ms. Hillary Clinton is not credited for her success.

As a senator, Ms. Hillary Clinton is not noted for her oratory skills and her deep involvement in debates and discussions and these credits have been conveniently modified by the author to accuse her of being a manipulator. Has anyone ever come to power or remained in power without manipulating? But her manipulations become objectionable because the manipulator in this case is a woman whose gender bears the stamp “cannot think sensibly”.

There is a doubt regarding the thorough research conducted by Klein, that is if at all it has been researched. I would confidently say that the author has subverted a whole lot of information on various incidents pointed out in the book to conveniently suit his ideas and thoughts. Without any substantial evidence or source, the author seems to have fabricated views to project Ms. Hillary Clinton in a negative light. The author argues that Hillary tried to bring radical leftist policy under her husband’s presidential term and later during her election period she moved to more centrist position to increase her chances of becoming a powerful woman. Towards the end of his book, the Klein quotes Nixon who mentions that Hillary “inspires fear” with a satirical undertone. This directs to a possible future of America under the rule of fear imposed by a woman.

Though the author attempts to put emphasis on the superiority and inferiority complexes in the character of Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton, it is Klein’s bias in nature which has eventually become evident and has certainly made the author’s thinking inferior.

Annapoorna Karthika