Hillary Clinton and the “Whiny Women”

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 13 2014 1:34 PM

Hillary Clinton and the “Whiny Women”

466835963-former-united-states-secretary-of-state-hillary-clinton
No whining!

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

I haven't paid too much attention to "The Hillary Papers," the trove of memos and musings by the late Clinton ally Diane Blair that was scooped by Washington Free Beacon reporter Alana Goodman. Mostly I've just marveled at the somersaults some news organizations did to avoid crediting Goodman, a reporter who's caught the media napping before, with the story. (My colleague John Dickerson credited the WFB in the lede of his own story.)

But now the rest of the media has scrambled to follow up the series*, and Zachary Roth has pulled out this tidbit. It seems relevant to the attack currently (as in, this week) flying at Clinton, that no woman who put up with the Lewinsky scandal could possible be a champion of women.

In 1993, Hillary Clinton derided a group of women who made claims of sexual harassment against Republican senator Bob Packwood, according to Blair. “HC tired of all those whiney women, and she needs him on health care,” wrote Blair of her conversation with Hillary Clinton, who was heading up her husband’s ultimately unsuccessful effort to reshape the U.S. health care system.
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See? It wasn't just her husband. Clinton wanted to forgive the dalliances of a moderate Republican because he was politically useful. (Packwood ended up replaced in the Senate by Democrat Ron Wyden, but it's a no-brainer that an ally in the other party is more useful than one in your own.) We've known for quite a while that Clinton worked to silence or discredit the women who accused her husband in sex scandals. But if she felt the same about the accusers of all of her allies? Well, that elevates this to a sort of moral standard.

*That story is behind a paywall, so you might be prevented from reading it in its full hilarity.

The records, donated to the school, have been open to the public - without great notice - since 2010. On Tuesday, after the story was published by the conservative news site, journalists from The Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC and ABC swarmed into the Special Collections section in the basement of the UA library.

Joshua Youngblood, research and outreach services librarian, said that before this week, a researcher would ask to see the Blair papers about once a month.
And in the past three years, there have been at most 20 requests from journalists for access to the Blair papers, said Youngblood. That was before this week.

It's the funniest piece about the media's refusal to credit Goodman, though a CNN piece that took pains to tell readers the network had "confirmed the accuracy" of the papers—as though the WFB would forge them?—runs second.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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