The postmortems are rolling in to explain the long-drawn-out and spectacular failure of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-promising presidential campaign. She and her supporters are sure they know how and why she was rejected: She was the victim of sexism.
Feminist ideology teaches that American women are victims of an oppressive patriarchal society. No matter how rich or prominent or smart or advantaged a woman might be, success and happiness are still beyond her grasp because institutional sexism holds her down.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem opined on CNN that it is "clear that there is profound sexism." She whined that Clinton couldn't crack the "glass ceiling" (an architectural figment of feminist imagination) because there are "still barriers and biases out there."
Oh, the unfairness of it all! Steinem bemoaned that women find it so "difficult to be competent and successful and be liked." Au contraire, women are not disliked because they are competent and successful, but because they are chip-on-the-shoulder feminists.
Feminists live in an unhappy world of their own making. In truth, 92 percent of Americans say they would vote in a presidential election for a qualified female candidate from their own party, and 55 percent say yes when asked if the United States is ready for a woman president.
Clinton lost because she simply is not likeable and voters, especially Democrats, suffer from Clinton fatigue. The Clintons, Hillary and Bill, offer of two-for-the-price-of-one didn't play particularly well in 1992, and it was even less attractive in 2008.
The bad attitude of victimhood is indoctrinated in students by bitter feminist faculty in university women's studies courses and even in some law schools. Victimhood is nurtured and exaggerated by feminist organizations using a tactic they call "consciousness raising," i.e., retelling horror stories about how badly some women have been treated until little personal annoyances grow into grievances against society.
Consider how Katie Couric of CBS Evening News, a woman promoted and paid above her suitability for the job, solemnly promotes feminist mythology about discrimination against women. She breathlessly reported that "90 percent of teen girls say they have been harassed at least once."
And what does this "harassment" consist of? "Unwanted romantic attention, demeaning gender-related comments based on their appearance, and unwanted physical contact."
Where did the authors of this nonsense find females to claim that lighthearted banter at which no boy would take offense can now be defined as sexual harassment? Predictably, "girls who had a better understanding of feminism ... were more likely to recognize sexual harassment."
This silly report came from feminists who believe there are no differences between males and females, and that anyone who suggests otherwise should be cast into exterior darkness. Remember Harvard's former president, Larry Summers.
Another reason Clinton lost was that people resented her sense of entitlement. She believed that the presidency was hers, and that all the people whom the Clintons had appointed or helped, like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, should fall in line.
Clinton kept repeating that she was the candidate most ready (on Day 1) to be America's CEO and commander-in-chief. That's hard to believe when she couldn't run her own campaign staff.
The New York Times reported that her employees, working with a "war room mentality," "hurled expletives at one another, stormed out of meetings and schemed to get one another fired." They engaged in "profanity-laden shouting matches" and used unprintable expletives.
Clinton promotes victimhood on her Web site by touting the long-discredited falsehood that women are paid "only 77 cents for every dollar men earn" and the worry that there might be any restriction on abortion. She is still pushing the Equal Rights Amendment even though it was rejected after 10 years of national debate; the Supreme Court declared it dead in 1982.
Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, is another feminist who, despite her bloated salary from a Chicago hospital, oozes the aura of victimhood. Although she was privileged to attend Princeton University, she wrote that she felt "as if I really don't belong."
Clinton's allies blame the national news media for unfairly terminating her campaign because they are "suffering from sexism" and "Obama mania." Ellen Malcolm of Emily's List and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood emoted for an hour on C-SPAN about how sexism spoiled Clinton's chances.
Contrary to the image Clinton has carefully cultivated, she is not a self-made woman like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or for former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher. Clinton got her career the old-fashioned way; she married it.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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