On Wednesday, #HillaryClintonBookTitles was trending on the social media site after Hillary joked about her possible book title during a speech to the Association of American Publishers. In turn, thousands of people were tweeting funny, feminist and, sadly, insulting comments about the former first lady and Secretary of State.
One tweet simply said “Badass” with the trending hashtag. A couple more pro-Hillary tweets included “45: America’s First Female President” and “I’m The Next President: Deal With It.” But far more tweets conjured up the right’s ongoing hatred of Hillary than sang her glass-ceiling successes. Some of those tweets harkened back to long-ago Clinton myths and scandals — “How To Assassinate Friends And Influence Voters,” “It Takes a Village of Interns” and “Cigars and Secrets.”
Still other tweets insulted the way Hillary looks, from her face to her body shape, with mentions of “cankles” and Botox. One tweet went as far as to suggest she had undergone a sex change.
I’ve written about the Clintons for years, and I’ve never quite understood this deep, obsessive hatred of Hillary. Is it jealousy? Does half of America really hate feminists? Is Hillary that much of a threat? I dare say, yes, to all of those questions.
After all, many pundits have called her “the biggest front-runner the Democratic Party has ever seen.” A USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll recently found that she is in a better position to run for president in 2016 than she was in 2008. That same poll also cited that 67 percent of Americans approve of the job she did as secretary of state, 69 percent say she is tough and 56 percent think she is honest
Dr. Lara Brown, associate professor of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University says that this front-runner status brings nasty attacks.
“There’s nothing that brings on the attacks (fair, unfair, personal and political) like being the front-runner,” she says. “Clinton knows this and that’s also why she hasn’t much bothered to try to counteract them. I’d rather be where she is — in the front of the pack and taking the brunt of the criticism — than in the back and being ignored.”
With such high poll numbers, her critics, of course, have to keep the war against Hillary going and that includes making her a joke on Twitter or painting her as weak. Take The Wall Street Journal, for example. The conservative newspaper reported Wednesday that a Hillary candidacy “looks like a sure thing” although many close friends wonder if she should run for president in 2016. The WSJ blog also o took a swipe at Hillary’s age asking the question: “Is 69 Too Old To Win?”
“While it’s also likely that some portion of the ugly onslaughts come from her: (a) being a powerful woman, which is still not the norm in our world, and (b) being associated with the most successful Democratic politician (Bill) in the last thirty years, it needs to be understood that few would come at her so hard, if she weren’t such a political threat,” Brown says. That’s because the Hillary fixation is not going to end any time soon.
Expect the number 69 soon trending on Twitter with a Monica blue-dress joke.
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt” and “1000 Best Bartender’s Recipes.” She writes frequently for Reuters, TakePart, and numerous other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker.