Katherine Timpf on She Who Will Not Go Away:
All of the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s comments during her speech in India has left me feeling nothing — because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing shocking about them.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Clinton spoke in India and describedTrump voters as people who “didn’t like black people getting rights” and “don’t like women getting jobs,” before stating that white women voted for Trump not because they wanted to, but because they were pressured by their husbands.
Yes, she basically called half the country racist. Yes, she basically characterized women who voted for Trump as thoughtless vacuums for their husband’s opinions rather than as actual human beings. But I’m still kind of shocked that the comments made the news. Why? Because she has said these things before; we already know that she thinks this way.
During the election, Clinton said that “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters belonged to a “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic . . . basket of deplorables.” In an interview with NPR last year, she talked about women being “under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for ‘the girl.’” Despite the breathless news coverage, these comments weren’t really news so much as they were what we already know.
After the comments received backlash, Clinton insisted that she “meant no disrespect” by her comments — but she’s lying. Disrespect is exactly what she meant. In fact, I couldn’t think of a better word to describe her intention. Think about it: If you’re insinuating that you think an entire segment of the population is racist, then you obviously intend to signal that you don’t have any respect for those people. She insists that these things can be “misinterpreted,” and that that’s what happened — but honestly, in what other possible way could she have intended them to be interpreted? (Seriously, if you can think of another way, let me know. I’m waiting.)
As for her comments on the women who voted for Trump: Telling a woman that she’s incapable of thinking for herself — that she’s not an autonomous, opinion-having human, but a mere vessel for her husband’s opinions — is essentially calling her a brainless moron, and that absolutely is disrespectful. She intended to disrespect these people, the same segment of the population that she’s been very open about disrespecting, and there’s nothing surprising about seeing it.
There are plenty of reasons why Americans voted for Donald Trump. Some voters were turned off by the idea of the presidency becoming a political dynasty, and wanted to see things get shaken up. Some were pro-life, and would always have voted for whichever candidate pledged to govern as a pro-life leader. Some had probably just seen Trump on The Apprentice and decided that they kind of liked him. That’s the truth — but it isn’t what Hillary Clinton thinks. She thinks that the Trump voting bloc is made up of racists and women who are too scared to indulge their conscience even when they’re in a voting booth alone. She’s made that clear, and honestly, what bothers me the most is the fact that she shrinks away from just saying so. Anyone who’s paying even the slightest bit of attention realizes that we’re talking about a consistent perspective, not a gaffe — and I’d appreciate it if she didn’t insult my intelligence by saying that I just “misinterpreted” what absolutely could not be interpreted any other way.