You can guarantee it.
When Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee next year, she and her team will frame the election as “historically significant”. In doing so, they will ignite a great social movement to elect the first Madame President.
In the last twelve months, Secretary Clinton’s public speeches and commentary have discernibly shifted in focus and content, to female empowerment, pay equity and her “grandmother glow”.
Never far away with a ready and helping hand, the media are showing their intent to advance the Clinton 2016 narrative. Just last month, following the conclusion of her prepared remarks at her own press conference addressing the email scandal, her first exchange with the media began like this:
"It's wonderful to see you here again. Why did you opt out of using two devices at the time?" the Turkish reporter asked, after Clinton spoke at the United Nations in New York. "My second follow up question — if you were a man today, would all the fuss being made, be made?"
The question prompted Bill O’Reilly to tell Factor viewers that night: “Now, I truly hope this bogus sexism business is not going to be part of Hillary Clinton's campaign. I mean, that would just be awful.”
But I know it will, as I suspect O’Reilly probably does.
As I hear the chatter about an impending Clinton announcement and see the signs, it feels like déjà vu.
I’ve been there. I’ve experienced it. So has my country. And I’m here to tell you: it is awful.
In 2010, Julia Gillard knifed an elected prime minister in his first term to take on the job of Prime Minister of Australia. A few months later, she went on to form a minority government after an election.
Gillard was possibly the worst Prime Minister Australia ever had: dishonest, incompetent and unworthy of the job. But the greatest damage she wrought was on the national culture with her poisonous war on men.
Her deliberate divisiveness was on full display when she gave what became known as the “Misogyny Speech” in the Australian parliament in October 2012, the video of which went viral attracting international media attention, accusing the then Opposition Leader (now Prime Minister) Tony Abbott of baseless sexism and misogyny.
But it didn’t end there. She persistently misrepresented criticism of her performance and the performance of her government as examples of sexism and misogyny. She set up a fundraising group called “Women for Gillard”. At its launch in 2013, she cautioned against “a government led by men in blue ties”:
''On that day, 14 September, we are going to make a big decision as a nation,'' she said. ''It's a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women's voices from our political life.''
After listing a series of Labor policy advances she claimed would be ''slashed'' by an Abbott government, including childcare rebates and superannuation for low-income women, she said: ''We don't want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better…. A prime minister - a man in a blue tie - who goes on holidays to be replaced by a man in a blue tie. A treasurer, who delivers a budget wearing a blue tie, to be supported by a finance minister - another man in a blue tie. Women once again banished from the center of Australia's political life.''
It will surprise few that Gillard and Clinton are friends, coming from the same political tribe- liberal feminism. In fact, Gillard has recently pledged to “barrack (root) loudly from the sidelines for Hillary,” and last year in her memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton referenced Gillard: “Nonetheless, it’s an unfortunate reality that women in public life still face an unfair double standard. Even leaders like former Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia have faced outrageous sexism, which shouldn’t be tolerated in any country.”
Detractors will be quick to accuse me of misogyny, and unwilling to accept female leadership. Not true. If Condoleezza Rice was running for president, I would vote for her. So, too, former Hewlett-Packard head, Carly Fiorina. I would have happily voted for Margaret Thatcher. After all, it was her that repeatedly observed: “I owe nothing to women’s lib.”
Therein lies the point.
Feminist leadership is different to female leadership, in that it seeks to settle scores with male counterparts by rectifying perceived injustice and imbalance. Australia learned through Julia Gillard that such leadership is cultural poison for a nation, unpleasant, dangerous and destructive, causing long-term fear, uncertainty and division within the electorate. Its agenda is pervasive, producing a general tightness in the community, serving as the elephant in the room. It is impossible to counteract, rendering men impotent. The damage done in terms of the cultural expectations this agenda set unnecessarily changed the way conservative political figures conduct themselves forever.
So, the next time you are told by Hollywood, pop culture and the media you will be “voting to make history,” and you hear that your vote will be used as a “hammer to break through the glass ceiling of the Oval Office,” you would do well to recall the Australian example.
Remember Julia Gillard, and her “sister from another mister,” Hillary Clinton.
Consider yourself warned.