Hillary Clinton apparently gave a sub-par performance in a debate earlier this week. Since then, her campaign has been complaining about Tim Russert, who asked tough questions, and her all-male rival candidates, who “piled on.”
Conservative commentators have justifiably ridiculed the Clinton campaign’s attempt to (in Kathryn Lopez’s words) invoke “a feminist women’s prerogative [to] cry foul at whatever she wants because she’s a woman.” Some commentators add that this approach reflects poor instincts or judgment on the part of her campaign.
I’m not so sure. Feminists and the other disaffected women who swell the ranks of Democratic primary voters represent Clinton’s “get-out-of-jail card” when it comes to winning the nomination. My hunch is that, in using that card now the Clinton campaign is betting that, as ridiculous as whining about Tim Russert and Clinton’s male competitors seems to moderates and conservatives, such whining will resonate with many female Democatic primary voters.
I can’t say that this is a bad bet.
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