Zoë Heller on My Turn

It’s always a delight to read Zoë Heller, especially so when she says this about My Turn: “a solid and persuasive guide to what has been characterized as shady or shabby or unprincipled in Clinton’s political career.”

Other, less personally relevant, highlights from the piece:

…[her memoir Hard Choices] fairly brims with “aren’t women amazing?” sentiments of the sort one finds cross-stitched on decorative cushions.

…her much-vaunted “women’s rights are human rights” declaration in Beijing in 1995 (a speech that her supporters characterize somewhat implausibly as a watershed moment in feminist history)…

Just as in 2008, Clinton has found herself rejected by her “natural constituency” as a less inspirational candidate, a less plausible agent of change than her male opponent—and this time, it’s rather more galling, because the opponent in question is not an elegant, younger black man who can sing Al Green songs, but a seventy-four-year-old white man with the oratory style of a staff sergeant.

Notwithstanding these rather cynical appeals to feminist sympathy, her trials as a female public figure have always inspired considerable fellow feeling in American women, particularly college-educated, white women.

It would be a fine thing to have a woman in the White House. But, really—let’s not put her there because someone once said she had “cankles.”

But she does get one thing wrong. She quotes me saying “If by some miracle Sanders were to be elected, the establishment would crush him,” and concludes from that that I’m “not a Sanders fan.” But I am! I love the way Bernie has made it clear that there is an excitable constituency for social democracy; I love the way Bernie has exposed the class fissures within the Democratic party, forcing Hillary and her surrogates to run against social democracy. Even though Hillary will almost certainly get her damned nomination, Bernie has opened up American politics and given us a lot to work with beyond July.


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