Sorry, Hillary: Women care more about their president than his (or her) gender

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Hillary Clinton speaks in Washington. Photo: Getty Images

 

Hillary Clinton was counting on voters — particularly American women — to salivate at the prospect of shattering the highest glass ceiling by electing a woman president. She’ll need a backup plan. It turns out women aren’t nearly as gender-obsessed as Hillary thinks they are, or wants them to be.

Clinton’s strategy does make some sense. After all, President Obama was buoyed by the widespread sense that his election wasn’t just his personal triumph, but all of ours, in burying the vestiges of America’s racist past. Given that women were also once treated as second-class citizens, why shouldn’t Hillary expect a similar wave of excitement and sense of history?

Perhaps the string of female secretaries of state and Supreme Court justices, as well as presidential candidates like Carly Fiorina and Clinton herself, has made the idea of a female president seem less than revolutionary. The feminist movement — which appears unwilling to acknowledge women’s gains — may also have overplayed its victim status. Young men with few job prospects and a lifetime of being bested by female schoolmates may not be overjoyed to applaud yet another sign of women’s ascendance.

The person of Hillary Clinton herself undoubtedly helps dampen enthusiasm about the prospect of a female president, and not just among Republicans who disagree with her political philosophy. The media is currently pondering how the re-emergence of her husband’s brutal treatment of ex-lovers impacts voters’ opinion of Hillary.

But Mrs. Clinton’s role as the long-suffering first lady to a roguish leading man is just one of her problems; her reputation as a scandal-drenched, corporate-backed and largely failed public servant has always made her an awkward feminist heroine.

Regardless of the explanation, the simple fact is most voters aren’t particularly anxious to see a woman — let alone Hillary Clinton — in the Oval Office.

Pew Research Center’s new report explored attitudes about women in leadership, and found that most Americans see women as just as capable political leaders as men. Women scored about equally on some key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, and received higher marks on attributes such as honesty, ability to compromise, compassion and organization.

Pew found big differences between how Democrats and Republicans viewed the sexes as potential political leaders. But before liberals start lamenting sexist conservatives’ “war on women,” Republicans didn’t see women as less capable, rather Republicans “are more inclined to say there isn’t any difference between men and women,” while “Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to say that women do a better job than men.” In other words, Republicans were more likely to truly see women and men as equals, while Democrats see one sex — men — as inferior.

But just because Americans see women as just as qualified and capable political leaders doesn’t mean they’re eagerly awaiting a female president. Just four in 10 (38 percent) of all adults “say they hope the US will elect a female president in their lifetime,” while a majority (57 percent) “say it doesn’t matter to them.”

Women are more likely to want to see a female president, but even that doesn’t translate into big support for Hillary. Take New Hampshire, where the latest poll shows just 38 percent of Democratic women voters plan to vote for Hillary compared to 52 who favor Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton is losing women’s support not just in Iowa and New Hampshire: A nationwide poll just released by Monmouth University found that Clinton’s edge among women has fallen from plus-45 percentage points in December to just 19 now.

Feminists may take the lack of excitement as more evidence that the deck is stacked against women. But this phenomenon can also be seen as progress: Women have come so far that it’s no longer big news for women to advance to a higher level of power. People really are judging others based on the content of their character and the skills they bring to the position rather than as a representative of any particular demographic group.

This makes it more likely that when we get a woman president (and three out of four surveyed by Pew expect to see it during their lifetime) she’ll have reached that position based on her qualifications, not out of a sense of obligation among voters. Now that’s something to be excited about.

Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women’s Forum and vice president for policy of the Independent Women’s Voice.

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Clinton’s megabucks tied to foreign donors – BOOK

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How foreign cash made Bill and Hillary ‘filthy rich’

Hillary Rodham Clinton used her clout as secretary of state to do favors for foreign donors who gave millions to her family foundation — and who paid millions more to her husband, Bill, in speaking fees, a new book charges.

Records show that of the $105 million the former president raked in from speeches over 12 years, about half came during his wife’s four-year tenure at the State Department.

The claims in “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” come just a week after she launched her presidential campaign.

They raise questions about shady foreign money flowing into the Clinton Foundation — and what actions Hillary took in her official capacity in exchange for the cash.

“During Hillary’s years of public service, the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions,” writes author Peter Schweizer, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.

“Some of these transactions have put millions in their own pockets.”

Schweizer — a former speech-writing consultant for President George W. Bush — said he found a clear “pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable US policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds.”

Modal Trigger One example of an alleged quid pro quo cited by the Times and other sources involved the State Department’s backing of a free-trade agreement with Colombia that benefited a company founded by a big donor to the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary opposed the trade deal when running for president in 2008 because of the South American country’s poor record on workers’ rights.

But then the company, Canadian-based Pacific Rubiales, and its founder, Clinton Foundation board member Frank Giustra, donated “millions” to the foundation, The International Business Times reported.

In 2010, the State Department under Hillary lauded Colombia’s human rights record, allowing Giustra’s company to reap huge profits.

The book also examines lucrative development contracts awarded to foundation donors following the devastating Haitian earthquake in 2010. And it reports that Hillary’s brother, Tony Rodham, sat on the board of a small North Carolina mining company that in 2012 got one of only two coveted “gold exploitation permits” from the government of Haiti — the first issued in more than 50 years, according to the website Breitbart.

Bill Clinton himself was paid $1 million by a Canadian bank and major shareholder in the Keystone XL oil pipeline as the State Department was considering the project, Schweizer charges.

Records show that Bill’s earnings from appearance fees — both foreign and domestic — spiked at $17 million in 2012, Hillary’s last year at State.

During Hillary’s four-year stint as secretary of state, the ex-president earned about $48 million of a $105 million speaking haul amassed between 2001 and 2013.

More than half of the $48 million was paid by companies in China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Cayman Islands, among others.

The author writes that “of the 13 Clinton speeches that fetched $500,000 or more, only two occurred during the years his wife was not secretary of state.”

Bill Clinton is believed to be the richest living ex-president and one of the 10 wealthiest ever.

Most estimates put the power couple’s combined net worth at $100 million to $200 million.

Some of the fees were paid at the Clintons’ request to their foundation — netting domestic donors a fat tax break. But most went directly to Bill, and the fees make up the family’s main source of income, The Washington Post reported.

Following Hillary’s decision to run for president, the foundation itself announced last week it would accept donations only from Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Norway.

The 186-page book will go on sale May 5, but Hillary wasted no time dismissing it.

“We’re back into the political season and, therefore, we will be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks and I’m ready for that. I know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory,” she said Monday in Keene, NH.

“It is, I think, worth noting that the Republicans seem to only be talking about me. I don’t know what they’d talk about if I wasn’t in the race, but I am in the race and hopefully we’ll get on to the issues,” she added.

Allison Moore, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, responded by bringing up Hillary’s use of a private email account for official business and her deletion of thousands of emails.