Last night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN that she takes responsibility for the attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. Predictably, people who don't like President Obama have taken this opportunity to accuse Hillary Clinton of playing patsy to the boys, another victim of THE REAL WAR ON WOMEN that the Obama Administration declared while we were all distracted by legitimate rape and being compared to pregnant farm animals. Hillary Clinton was pressured to take the fall for the Obama administration, goes the story, because Hillary Clinton, the favored bitch-villain of the right wing for the last two decades, has now suddenly been magically transformed into a floppy doormat. Hillary just can't win.
Since the Libya attacks — which were first framed as though they were carried out by a mob of people mad about that terribly silly film Innocence of Muslims and now appear to have been a coordinated terrorist attack carried out by a group of armed men — accusations have been flying over who is to blame, since nothing fuels reactionary American political campaigns like the blood of white people killed by brown non-Christians. The Romney campaign insists that the Obama administration knew about embassy requests for more security but ignored them; the Obama campaign helpfully points out that it was Paul Ryan and Romneyesque Republicans who cut the diplomatic security budget by $300 million in the first place. Meanwhile, slain ambassador Christopher Stevens' father wants both camps (and especially the Romney camp) to stop using his dead son's corpse as a campaign talking point. God, SHUT UP, grieving father. You're not Mitt Romney's real dad.
So yesterday Hillary decided to do what she could to put a stop to the political footballing of an international tragedy and admitted that it was her responsibility, as head of the State Department, to protect the diplomats, that Joe Biden wouldn't have known about requests for more security because they're handled by her, the boss of the State Department and not by the President and Vice President. The failing was hers. She told CNN,
I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.
This put the right wing in an odd position — the best way for them to spin the Libya attacks in their favor was to paint them as a failing of the President, which means that the same people who probably laughed at email forwards of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin bikini wrestling were now stuck having to defend Hillary Clinton. The castrating power hungry dragoness herself!
Following the admission, former Mitt Romney security spokesman Richard Grenell Tweeted, "Highest ranking woman in the Obama Administration forced to take the fall for the men. #WarOnWomen." And Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's pathologically uncool, yet confusingly smug conservative political blogger, immediately Tweeted, "First Bill humiliates her and now Obama does.. Hillary no feminist, more like doormat." She then said that moving to Arkansas with a Yale Law degree was career suicide (OMG Hillary, you fucking STEPFORD WIFE!) and that Obama was going to "hide behind her skirt" during the debate, all statements that are made even more rich by the fact that during the 2008 primaries, the Post opinion pages hosted a blogger who recommended Hillary Clinton drink Mad Bitch Beer. RNC Chair Wince Penis has also condemned Hillary's actions as somehow indicative that she's just doing what the boys are telling her to do. A coven of Republican Senators (that's what they're called when they're in a group, right? A coven? Oh, wait, never mind. I think they're actually called a murder) have joined in, accusing Hillary of taking one for the team, and The Team of being a bunch of strong-arming thugs. Hillary is a damsel in distress!
So their new narrative goes something like this: Clinton took the fall in order to protect the President, because she's being pushed around by the boys. Once again, the conservative media can't help but heap the ugliest of sexist garbage on one of the most powerful and formidable women in the world.
What we're seeing now is Hillary Clinton once again being made into the female caricatured that best fits the bullshit narrative conservatives ar trying to push. When Hillary Clinton disagrees with men around her, she's a bitch, a harpie, a Lady MacBeth overstepping her bounds. But when she agrees, she's a doormat, a patsy, a fall girl. Which is it? Barring a severe undiagnosed personality disorder, she can't be all of these things at once. There is no such thing as a pushy bitch doormat. There's no such thing as a power-hungry sacrificial lamb. Accusations of being a ball-busting termagant can't be followed by accusations of being too submissive. These things are mutually exclusive.
Hillary Clinton, shrewd, sharp-eyed, virtuoso politician, one half of one of the most Teflon and battle-worn political duos in the last 50 years, is suddenly a doughy, floppy taker? Like hell she is.