Sen. Hillary Clinton, responding to Republican claims that she may be "too angry" to win national office, told an audience of black and Latina women supporters to wear such criticism as a "badge of honor," the Associated Press reports. Clinton, the right's favorite gal to hate, said that women who run for public office are "going to draw some unfriendly fire. People will be attacking you instead of your ideas, they may impugn your patriotism, they may even say you're angry. If they do that, wear it as a badge of honor, because you know what? There are lots of things that we should be angry and outraged about these days." Whoa, Senator, keep talking like this and you might start resembling the committed feminist we once thought you were. Things she's pissed about, to name a few: the federal budget deficit, lobbying scandals in Washington and the government's slow response in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
With the possibility of her 2008 bid for president, the GOP has been employing predictable, gendered smear tactics such as "Americans tend not to elect angry candidates" (RNC chairman Ken Mehlman), and Clinton may have trouble winning the White House because "there's a certain brittleness about her" (Karl Rove). Clinton has not been the only one to notice the gendered tone of the criticism. The AP quotes from a Maureen Dowd column saying that Republicans are casting Clinton "as an Angry Woman, a she-monster melding images of Medea, the Furies, harpies, a knife-wielding Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.'"
Should Clinton make a run in 2008, this is the kind of gender-baiting we will have to look forward to. And if Condi Rice joins the fray we can already imagine headlines like "Catfight for White House." Let's hope Clinton continues to call out the GOP for its empty attacks.