The Widdershins

Activist Monday: Yes, Bernie, Unqualified is a Sexist Smear

Posted on: April 11, 2016

Well well well, it looks like Bernie Sanders has had a belated realization that it’s really not okay to call Hillary Clinton “unqualified.”

Bernie Sanders reversed himself Friday, tempering his vicious two-day attack line that Hillary Clinton is not “qualified” for the presidency.

“Of course” the former secretary of state is qualified for the White House, Sanders said during a town hall on NBC’s “Today.”

“On her worst day she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,” he said, heaping praise on his opponent in a similar fashion to what Clinton said the prior day in response to the Vermont senator doubling down on his sharp rhetoric.

I personally had a very strong reaction to Bernie’s unwarranted attacks on Our Girl’s qualifications. I said on Facebook on Friday,

This is what Bernie would be like as President…first make an unfounded accusation, then double down on it when proven wrong. Sorry…who is the unqualified one here?! Good luck winning New York after this BS, Senator Sanders.

I felt compelled to post about this kerfuffle, because instinctually, I “heard” Bernie’s words as a gendered attack. Turns out there are a couple of reasons why.

In a memo out this month from Lake Research Partners, Chesapeake Beach Consulting and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, entitled “Politics is Personal: Keys to Likeability and Electability for Women,” suggestions such as “Voters like informal photos of women candidates engaging with children” and “Voters like women officeholders who share credit with their teams, in addition to taking credit as an individual leader,” were on offer.

The memo, of the brass tacks strategy variety, says quite a bit about the line that female candidates must walk. “Women face a litmus test that men do not have to pass,” reads a passage in the document. “Women have to prove they are qualified. For men, their qualification is assumed.”

That’s why Sanders’ statement about Clinton’s qualifications cuts so deep — it seemed to send a volley at the fortress of qualification female candidates build up as proof of their worthiness to the public at large.

Yes…the idea that anyone could look at Hillary’s resume and, with a straight face, claim she is unqualified for office…well, that not only beggars belief, but it says something about the mindset of the person saying it, doesn’t it?

In another twist, it seems like women who are strong and assertive are automatically viewed as less qualified for whatever job they’re doing…significantly so.

A new study by New York Times bestselling authors, Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield revealed that gender bias in the workplace is real, finding that women’s perceived competency drops by 35% and their perceived worth falls by $15,088 when they are judged as being “forceful” or “assertive.” Compare this with the drops in competency and worth that men experience when being judged as forceful: their competency drops by 22% and their worth falls by $6,547. This significant difference reveals a true gender bias that prohibits women from succeeding fully in leadership and management roles where assertiveness is, of course, a crucial behavior.

I have personally experienced this when working with a man in my office, who told me I was “pushy” during a conversation in which we were disagreeing about something. I’m sure the women on this blog could give a lot of examples from their own professional lives. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to apply this bias to female politicians, do you?

My husband recently said to me that he wishes there were more of a forum for socialist ideas in this country. He said that we need a “Bull Moose”/Progressive Party again, like we had in the days of Theodore Roosevelt. My response was, “I don’t think so.” Why? Because I, too, used to think that, back in the days when I was a regular at Talk Left and Eschaton. I used to think that being a “progressive” meant that I was in the company of people who cared about women’s equality as much as I did. As we all found out in 2007-2008, that idea is nothing but a naive fantasy. “Progressives” are, more often than not, a boys’ club that is not only indifferent to women’s equality, but is actively hostile to prioritizing that goal over other policy goals. I won’t ever support a generic “lefty” organization or political party, unless it puts women’s equality first and foremost. And I won’t apologize for that position, either, no matter how “unqualified” or”incompetent” people think it makes me.

I remain mystified by Sanders’ persistence in the face of an obvious inability to gain the nomination. His idea of winning New York, or even coming close, is clearly based on nothing. Hillary is projected to win by a very large margin. Other hopes he has of beating her in large states like Pennsylvania and California, seem to be similarly fantastical. Maybe part of the reason he feels that he can still change the minds of the Party delegates and superdelegates, and overturn the will of the voters, is because Hillary is only a woman…an incompetent, unqualified woman. That’s the ugly truth I fear is hiding behind Sanders’ two days of obstinacy on this topic.

This is an open thread.








60 Responses to "Activist Monday: Yes, Bernie, Unqualified is a Sexist Smear"

Really well done, Madamab.
It hurts to contemplate these truths, but we have to do that.

Yes, it does, Sweet Sue. It’s bringing up all kinds of PTSD from 2008!

He’s now questioning her judgment. She’s not even dignifying it, which is a really great strategy. Let him be seen as the negative and “shrill” one.

Madamab – excellent post. Were you not in a meeting(NYC) with Hillary regarding single-payer insurance that Bernie was included many years ago(over 8 years ago) and he left it abruptly? My short term memory is shot from lethal doses of Pred which is why I don’t post much now.

MB, excellent post. Also, he is definitely the “negative and shrill one.” Love that!

Just as a personal note, after all the comments that were made by the chattering class about HRC being “too loud” and shouting, Ive tried to pay particular attention whenever a male politician is at the mic to hear how loud they get. They get loud…really loud.

@2: From the linked article:

citing former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger “as a model.”

Bernie lies or he’s just old-man confused. She never said anything like that. She said that Kissinger complimented her on how she ran the State Dept. when she was there. But y’all know that already don’t you?

Hey y’all, I got an email from chat’s granddaughter Samantha which had some info about the toy drive that chat worked with each year. As soon as I speak to someone with the church that sponsors the drive I’ll put that information up here on the blog.

Excellent post and most excellent point MB. Here’s where I come down, I wasn’t half as angry about the “unqualified” allegation, patently, outrageously false, as I am about the “lacking in judgment” comment. Lacking in judgment to me goes to morality, ethics, and harkens back to the 1920s when women couldn’t vote or serve on juries and were little more than chattels. Just as you say, putting on a toga doesn’t make you Greek and calling oneself a progressive doesn’t make you a right-minded liberal. These brogressives are confusing body odor with an air of enlightenment. Some deodorant would start them on the right path.

Hey Boo, great to see you! That wasn’t me with Hillary and Bernie in NYC…but I can believe Uncle Cranky walked out when things got too wonky. Sorry about your health, my dear. 😢

Fredster..thanks for the info about Chatblu’s toy drive!! And yes, the idea that Hillary is some warmongering monster is absurd, and is just an excuse for sexist brogressives not to support her.

Can you imagine if red-faced, finger wagging Bernie were a woman? He wouldn’t last three minutes with that shrill, negative, angry tone. 😀

Excellent points Prolix.

And mb, totally correct on Bernie and his “fingah”.

It’s astonishing that women’s perceived competency/worth drops if they are considered forceful/assertive. Are we living in opposite land? That’s like the polls that show Hillary not to be honest/trustworthy and those exact same people say she’s qualified to be President! Really people? I’m getting whiplash now. Has that ever been the case for any male presidential candidate? That’s straight up sexism.

When did Democrats start referring to themselves as progressives? I’ve never understood that. Is it because the Rush Limbaughs of the world made liberal a dirty word? More and more, progressives don’t seem to be Democrats at all.

Unqualified, bad judgement, and let’s not forget Weaver’s comment that Hillary’s ambition could destroy the Democratic party. (Notice even Cuomo chuckles here)

Have y’all read the transcript of Hill’s interview with the NY Daily News? Wow! Also, there’s a new NBC poll out that has Hillary up by 14 points over Bernie. 🙂

GAGal, that interview was great. Gawd she’s smart.

Prolix, couldn’t agree with you more. Had Bernie slammed her “judgment” before I wrote the post, I would have been even more angry.

Oh my, y’all have to go check out this article and the video with it. Yikes!

@16, that poor little girl! She was terrified.

@16, Burgos was almost gator burgoo. I would have reacted like the daughter only more so.

@15, MB, I heard a reporter say tonight that BerningBum had been questioning Hillary’s “judgment” for months. I haven’t heard it. This was the first I’d heard him question it as a replacement for the “qualification” criticism. He is such a putz!

@17 and 18: First I wouldn’t have been out there in that little rinky-dink paddle canoe or whatever and second, did you see how fast he was pushing those pedals? 😆

@15 and 19: So her judgement compared to who else? Him?? Really ❓

Yikes Fredster!! Maybe he will think twice next time, before pulling on something that’s moving by itself?!!!

Of course Hillary’s judgment is poor. She voted for the warrrrrrrrrr!!! And she was married to Billl who signed bad legislation!!! And she’s a wimminz besides1111!!!! Bernie has to mansplain to her just where she’s been going wrong. He’s only doing it for her own good, you know.

BTW, that clip about destroying the Democratic Party with her ambition to be President…I think Senator Sanders is the one trying to do that! That’s even more ridiculous.

The meltdown of Bernie has been pretty ugly lately. It seems he’s just flailing around throwing mud to see what sticks on Hillary.

@23 – agree. He should pull out after New York, really. I am hoping that happens so she can start attacking Republicans instead of dealing with Bernie’s BS. She seems to be in “whatever” mode at this point, which I like. She’s been smeared by far more vicious people than he, and her titanium pantsuit remains undented. 😇

@23 and 24, BerningBum will not withdraw. He is going to go to the convention and will make demands. I can even envision a demonstration at the convention. Perhaps maybe a walkout over some perceived slight like people insisting to take showers and comb their hair.

People like BerningBum get their self-worth from the way other people see them. He’s had a taste of the adulation. He won’t go quietly. After Hillary wins NY by a double digit margin and it is ridiculous for anyone to consider BerningBum a viable candidate, that will make him angrier and more vindictive. This will not end prettily. Thursday night is a dangerous night. He’s going to be vicious and unpredictable — probably a little delirious too.

Here’s Hillary at a gun violence discussion panel. Hillary starts a couple of minutes in. Every gun nut in the country should be mandated to watch what these women have to say.

MB@22: That guy must have never watched Swamp People the show about folks in La who catch alligators! And now that clip is going viral.

Ga6th: I agree totally with you. He is just getting really desperate now. And I’m enjoying watching every minute of it. Of course he’s really gonna go ape-sh!t after New York.

@25 – Completely agree. I am hoping somewhere there is an adult involved with his campaign, although there hasn’t been evidence of one yet.

BTW – Happy Equal Pay Day! Wimminz, your paychecks have caught up with your male colleagues’ paychecks today.

Prolix@25: Yes he’s going to make an @sshole out of himself at the convention and so will his two flunkies Weaver and Tad Deviant.

And speaking of Thurs, is anyone interested in live-blogging this debate? As you inferred Prolix there’s no telling what he’s going to do.

mb@29 said: although there hasn’t been evidence of one yet.

I haven’t seen any signs of that either.

@30: when you go to that link at CNN now they have a clip of Obama speaking at the site of a new monument, the Belmont-Paul National Women’s Equality National Monument.

Madamab, good point about “unqualified” being more than a sexist comment but also an indicator of his opinion of women.

On the topic of the Daily News interviews, I hope someone writes a piece comparing the candidates’ responses. It could be called “A Tale of Two Interviews; Or, Guess Which Candidate Did Her Homework?”

jules@34: jules imagine just having the transcripts of the two interviews side-by-side in a columnar layout. 😆

Ha, Fredster. Something like this?

blah blah BANKS blah fact fact accomplishment plan
blah blah BANKS blah fact fact accomplishment plan
blah blah BANKS blah fact fact accomplishment plan
blah blah BANKS blah fact fact accomplishment plan

(Imagine a break between the two columns…)

@36: Yes, something like that. I know it’s probably doable in wp but I wouldn’t have the foggiest on how to do it and WP support is not that great.

@25, also agree. Bernie is loving all the worship and drama from his nasty supporters. At the convention, they’ll have to drag him offstage with a hook.

I’ll be so glad when NY is over.

Fredster, someone did a side-by-side on Twitter:

Thanks for that jules!

@34, Jules said: It could be called “A Tale of Two Interviews; Or, Guess Which Candidate Did Her Homework?”

I love it! If Hillary only had someone giving her advice that was that creative old BerningBum would be looking for Preparation H.

@39, Annie, I fear a hook might not do it. A tranq/taser might have to be used.

@43: They might get someone for elder abuse if they did that.

@44, not if you use the KY defense. It is a two step defense. Did you shoot him? Yes. Did he need to be shot? Yes. Not guilty.

@40, jules, that’s perfect! I hope that goes far and wide! Makes me wish I was on Twitter… almost.

LMAO okay, now I’ve heard it all. Roger Stone new book: the Clinton’s murdered JFK, JR because he was “in their way”

@42, Prolix: It is high praise to hear “creative” from the witty Prolix, so thank you. That Preparation H visual is just wicked!

@40, GAgal: I’m not on Twitter either but I like to read Nate Cohn’s public tweets. Interesting data and some funny stuff.

@47, GAgal, that link shows what a responsible researcher Roger Stone is. Where some people say the Clintons have assassinated 83 people, Stone says its only about 40 people. That makes him trustworthy.

Several years ago, I read a Vanity Fair article about JFK Jr. that interviewed people who were very close to him. They asked one of them “If JFK Jr. were still alive, what would he think of Obama’s presidential win”. The guy said “If JFK Jr. was alive, Obama wouldn’t be president right now. He would”. That’s probably true, but we’ll never know.

Can someone check for a disappeared comment from me? Thanks!

@52, GAgal, just checked, and there’s nothing in the pending, trash, or spam. I noticed on some of the other blogs today that WP was suspending comments in the ether for a time before they would appear. Have no idea if that is what happened, but it has been happening.

Still won’t post, maybe because it has a link. It’s to a Politico article about progressives targeting Julian Castro about HUD. But it’s really because of rumors about possibly being Hill’s VP.

Did everyone read the Daily Mail editorial endorsing Hillary? Its awesome!

@47, how can these assholes get away this bullshit? Led Zeppelin gets dragged into court for four measures of a chromatic descending Am bass line in an 8 minute song, but its legal for every rethug dirtbag to write books accusing people of murder for political reasons? Why can’t they sue over this?

@55 yes prolix, thanks. I see what they’re saying about non-profits vs. “Wall Street” firms. The thing is non-profits can not possibly have the leverage to deal with this at a large level. I wish it were so. Maybe Castro, as the head of HUD, could have made it so – if congress would allocate the funds to help non-profits.

The point is – they’re targeting him because of the VP rumors. If Sanders had 2.4 million more votes and 200+ more delegates than Hillary right now – would they even be talking about it? No they wouldn’t.

Hilariously, they include MoveOn as a part of their group who hasn’t “officially” endorsed Bernie. Puhleeez.

annie, yes! I read the NYDN endorsement! They could have not EVEN bothered with Bernie’s interview. What a waste of time. 🙂

Hey Jules, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Keep it up! 🙂

The Daily News’ endorsement is truly impressive. A LOT of people read that paper on the way to work on mass transit. It’s pretty influential.

Did you see that Bernie slammed Israel and got his facts wrong (again!)? Geezus Bernie, there are a LOT of Jews in New York – and over 90% of them (last time I checked) are Democrats. Could he f*ck up any more?

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