Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hillary, Hillary: Who was that bitch?

UPDATE: Click here for the Chicago Sun-Times' version of the speech and tell me I got the quotes wrong.

Sounding shrill and unhappy, Hillary Clinton delivered a disjointed, unfocused, forced, and mostly boring keynote address to the American Democracy Institute's 2005 Midwest Regional Summit at the Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University in Chicago today. I went to the summit, invited as member of the student media (ha!), thinking this was the person I was going to vote for in the next presidential election. I left thinking there's no fucking way I can ever vote for her and hoping that the Democrats don't make the mistake of nominating her. Because, believe me, if she's nominated, she will NOT beat any Republican they throw up against her. Not if she continues making speeches like the one today.

Her 30 minutes at the podium was probably the most disorganized speech by a public official I have ever heard. She jumped from topic to topic, from genocide in Sweden (er, Sudan) to young voters in the U.S. to electronic voting in India to her trip to the Arctic with John McCain to MTV, mixing in random anecdotes of young people making a difference, such as some girl who got her school to reduce some fee by 25 percent. The whole time she spoke, she sounded almost angry, never smiling, never relaxing. She sounded like she was lecturing 4,000 naughty audience members, many of whom were under-35 activists.

Maybe she was rattled by the groups of protesters who shouted her down. Right at the start of her speech, a group of seven or eight protesters holding anti-war signs got up in the balcony, yelling, "Hillary supports the war!" A few minutes after that group was escorted out, four guys on the main floor in the 16 or 17th row stood up shouting, "Troops home now!" It took security a solid minute to get to the guys. In that minute, which must rank as one of the longer minutes of her life, Hillary tried talking over them, couldn't, said something about respecting their opinions and could they please let people hear another point of view. The guys kept shouting. But it took ushers so long to decide to do anything that the four guys for a few moments just stood there as the whole crowd stared at them. They must have expected to have been gone by then because, really, it was quite embarrassing to watch them and Hillary with nothing to say, waiting for something to happen.

About Iraq, Hillary took the weakest, lamest stand I've ever heard. "I don't agree with the people who say we need to get out," she said. "I don't agree with the people who say we should stay without end." She never did say who or what she agreed with, merely repeating the same old line about carefully looking at the December 15 election. If this is a tune-up for a presidential bid, someone needs to tell her that she needs to take some kind of stand.

The only other memorable quote was something about her political upbringing, trying to convice the world that she's as middle America as they come. "I grew up a Republican. My father was a conservative man," she said, adding that he wouldn't recognize the conservatives that are around today. Then she launched into some memory of seeing MLK speak in Chicago, how he said something about change. But she never connected that to how she has changed, or when, or what she'd like to change. Nothing.

Looking around the audience, I saw several young people asleep. Two were playing some video game. Many, it seemed, weren't paying attention, few looked like they cared. As she finally finished speaking, an announcer got on the P.A. and asked everyone to clear the auditorium to make way for a matinee. People quickly obliged, and few if any people said anything to each other about Hillary or her speech. As soon as it was over it was gone, her words forgotten.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

-Andy Plonka
I was just wondering why you called Hillary a "bitch?" Isn't there a better way of calling her out? Granted she is a war supporter and a horrible candidate for president, but I believe that you should still have some respect. How does it look if you call a woman a "bitch" and then send impressionable minds to read this?

8:28 PM  
Blogger ap said...

Good point.
In retrospect, bitch might have been a bit harsh. But sometimes, like other jerks, I have to resort to shock to get people's attention. More people, I think, are apt to read a harsh critique of a political speech if the heading is something as strong as this. Still, I will say that I really WANTED to like her and was horribly disappointed with her speech. Her tone of voice throughout the speech made me think she was a bitch. I admit she's NOT a bitch. And I also admit I can be a jerk. Sorry.

4:19 PM  
Blogger ap said...

Oh, and by the way, this site is not for kids. If they want to read and maybe learn a little about politics, maybe get interested because of the sometimes-harsh language, then that's cool with me. They use worse language.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say I am quite surprised and disappointed by your headline “…Hillary, who was that bitch?” I am surprised that who I have always thought of as a well-educated, open-minded, tolerant and intelligent man, would choose to use the word “bitch” to describe a woman. I found it cheap, sexist and small-minded. For starters, equating any woman with an animal is wrong, just as it is wrong to do that for a man. Be clear here, I am not so much defending Hillary, but women in general. We are living in a male dominated society; one in which women continue to be objectified and less valued than men. The last thing we need are our young male teachers, particularly those whose students idolize them and look up to as inspirational role models, using language that we encourage our youth not to use.

What kind of example is that setting? That it’s acceptable for our young people to be referring to women, in particular those in positions of power, as bitches? How are women, who speak out for what they believe, ever going to advance in this sexist society as long as they are thought of as bitches? When a man is compared to a sub-human creature it doesn’t carry the same weight when that comparison is made with a woman because in a patriarchal society, women are, in fact, treated as “less than.” This is called inequality. I am frankly disturbed that someone like you would perpetuate this form of prejudice. I found it to be very irresponsible. Furthermore, I believe there is a need for you to address this more – for no other reason than to teach our youth, our future, that it is NOT okay to use the word “bitch” when describing a woman. Can’t you think of another word that is not sexist and would be more descriptive anyway? It’s up to you.

Respectfully submitted,
Your friend and colleague, S.Leven

12:18 PM  
Blogger AP said...

Sorry, you probably wrote this days and days ago but I just spotted it, so I'll respond now (and in person the next time I see you). Two things:
1. I did not mean she was literally a bitch. Of course I know Hillary is not a dog. I meant that she was harsh, unhappy, and unpleasant. A man can just as easily be a bitch (though you're right, I'd probably choose a different word). I saw Hillary speak, and she basically bitched, so I called her a bitch. I apologize if this offends you. I'm trying to think of a better word for her right now and can't. But it has nothing to do with her being a woman, and everything to do with the fact that she made a horrible speech and sounded like a horrible politician.
2. Nowhere on this blog do I identify my profession (in my profile, I say I'm a "mosquito," which may not be as strong as bitch, but basically I mean that I'm trying to bug the crap out of people). Anyway, I DON'T appreciate you--or anyone else--outing me. While it's true that maybe a dozen teenagers might have seen the post, they are not my primary audience. So far, the readers are meant to be friends and family, and hopefully, eventually, a larger audience of people interested in humor and/or Chicago politics. Every single time I see someone identify my job or place of employment in a comment, I cringe and consider deleting that comment. (However I don't because I don't condone censorship.) I in NO WAY am speaking as a teacher on this blog. I AM NOT asking or telling anyone to read this. (Of course they CAN if they want to.) Even though I do use my real name, that's for the benefit of friends and future readers ... plus, I want to make sure I get full credit for anything that appears here. Here I want to be identified as a blogger, that's it. So, call me a sexist blogger if you want. Call me an irresponsible blogger. But understand that that has NOTHING to do with my day job.

8:17 PM  
Blogger uptown said...

i read the argument btwn u and that lady. lolz. i am soo in ur corner. very well argued on ur part. this is ur blog and it is completely ur opinion and doesnt need to be censored by any1.

9:21 AM  

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