This profile of Hillary Clinton by Rebecca Traister in NYMag is as close as I’ve seen in 25 years to an honest report on Hillary Clinton. Some of it is more complimentary than I would have expected but for completely unexpected reasons.
It’s not that Traister gushes too much about the first female nominee, although both she and Hillary discuss what I call the “More Deserving Man” Syndrome.
It’s not because Traister doesn’t go on and on and on about Hillary’s email problem, which turns out, not to be much of a problem, provided you don’t cherry pick only a few phrases from the IG report.
No, it’s because of this:
When Clinton rolled out a progressive set of policies for families at her May events in Lexington and Louisville, her explanation went something like this: We need a national system of paid family leave because too many women don’t even get a paid day off to give birth; workers don’t have a federal requirement for paid sick days; meanwhile, many dads and parents of adopted children don’t get any time off at all, and sons and daughters don’t get time to take care of aging parents. We also need to establish voluntary home-visiting programs, where new parents, especially those facing economic adversity, can get assistance in learning how to care for their children and prepare them to succeed in school, thus taking aim at unequal outcomes in the earliest years. Relatedly, we need to raise wages, because two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women, which has an impact on single-parent and dual-earning homes and, when combined with high child-care costs, inhibits women’s ability to earn equal benefits, save for college, and put away for retirement. Minimum-wage workers currently spend between 20 and 40 percent of their income on child care; Clinton has a plan whereby no family would pay more than 10 percent on child care, but she also believes we need to increase pay for child-care providers and early educators, who in some places are paid less than dog trainers and who have their own families to take care of. All of this is tied to the need to strengthen unions and make health care more affordable through revisions to the Affordable Care Act as well.
Clinton’s holistic view of intersecting challenges and multi-tentacled solutions — tax incentives, subsidies, wage hikes, pay protections — is weirdly thrilling in its expansive perspicacity. But it does not fit on a T-shirt. It does not sound good at a rally. You cannot even really show it on the local news, because it is not as simple as, say, “Free college!”
I tried to explain this in 2008 but it’s hard to put into words. She sees the model. She understands what happens when you change parameters. And Traister is right, it doesn’t translate to bumperstickers or T-Shirts. You need to go hear Hillary in person and ask her about infrastructure right after a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed to see how that is connected to better broadband nationwide. YOU think you’re talking about rusting bridges and mass transit but she is way ahead of you.
Anyway, just go read the whole thing.
Let this be a lesson to the press that is having a miserable time following her around. If you stop asking her about stupid email servers that almost no one cares about so you can make her do a Cersei Lannister Walk of Shame that no other candidate will be forced to do, you might get to hear something worth writing about. No one wants to give an interview to people who are listening for “sins” for which they can force you to atone.
In other news, Jerry Brown endorses Clinton in California.