Here's a thought: Donald Trump may be more of a feminist than Hillary Clinton.
He treats men and women equally when he's attacked. He punches with words and aims for the knockout, sometimes below the belt, even when his opponent is the lightweight at the block party and lacks a commander in chief's weapons to fight back.
The president is a street fighter who comes with a warning: "Don't mess with me." While it's unseemly and most ungentlemanly to most of us that he acts this way from the highest position of power, he never departed from his real estate-reality television jungle ways to win the presidency. It may not be admirable, but it is observable, and because he's the president, we must pay attention to where he's coming from and where he's going as the champion counterpuncher.
He called Stormy Daniels a "horseface" because her stock in the porn trade relies on her selling her looks, among other things. It's hard to hype the vulgarization of a porn star, but he manages to do it. Her sex (or "gender," in the current vernacular) is irrelevant to him when he's in a barroom brawl. The porn star exploited her alleged one-night stand with the president for public attention, and she got more publicity calling President Trump a bad lover than her porn show ever got for letting it all hang out.
When Donald Trump is insulted, he gets even, as he did against Daniels in her defamation suit. The judge not only said she had no case but also said she had to pay Trump's lawyers as well as her own. Whether dressed or undressed, she's no damsel in distress. Before the law, she's neutered to being an equal-opportunity antagonist, so we can hardly expect him to treat her like a lady. He deserves the bad press for not being "presidential," but he's consistent in his meanness, authentic in his offensiveness and consistent in not trying to hide behind the charm of a "good ol' boy," like Clinton's husband, who certainly was up to this president in the crude groping and gross assault of women when he was the governor of Arkansas with authentic Southern charm.
Hillary, who plays the woman card in blaming her presidential loss on misogyny and prejudice against women, was nevertheless willing to throw the #MeToo movement under the streetcar in defending her cruelly abusive husband. She contradicts all the tenets of #MeToo feminism as articulated by women who have been abused by men in power.
She was asked on "CBS Sunday Morning" whether, in looking back at the Monica Lewinsky scandal and her husband's behavior toward the White House intern, then 22, when he was 49, he should have resigned. She shot back: "Absolutely not."
Her interviewer, Tony Dokoupil told her: "There are people who look at the incidents of the '90s and they say, 'A president of the United States cannot have a consensual relationship with an intern. The power imbalance is too great.'" Clinton replied emphatically that Monica Lewinsky "was an adult."
It was a tough question, but Clinton's answer was in keeping with her inability to play politics to her advantage, particularly if she has any ambition toward running for president for the third time, as Capital gossips suggest. Her answer even failed to satisfy those who recognize the tough spot she was in then and is in today, constantly reminded that her husband has been accused by multiple women of sexual abuse, including a credible claim of rape, a fact that haunts her politically and has got to hurt her personally.
She could have said her husband's time in office has passed and a verdict has been rendered by history. She might have conceded that he caused her deep personal pain and thinks she should have earned enough empathy (if not sympathy) not to have to talk about it anymore. Hillary has always lacked any kind of sensitive finesse, preferring hardball politics, as she did in accusing "a vast right-wing conspiracy" to blame for the "bimbo eruptions" in her husband's life. That worked once, but now blaming the bimbo is as passe as "horseface" is current.
Camille Paglia once said Clinton's relationship with her husband was that of "naughty Huck Finn and the schoolmarm," but that's not quite right. Clinton's more a mother figure who always finds a rationalization to make the son's behavior look not as bad as it actually is. She's an anachronism in an age when toxic males are confronted, not explained away. Her defense of her husband's abuse of power and Donald Trump's hardball attack against Stormy Daniels reflect the current fighting in the war between the sexes. Feminism: It's a world a-changing. And men are, too. You've come a long way, baby, but you've got a long way yet to go.
Write to Suzanne Fields at [email protected] Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's "Paradise Lost." To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.