Podhoretz on Hillary Clinton's "virtues": "I use the B-word to describe her" because she "has qualities that we commonly associate with being unfeminine"May 10, 2006 3:23 PM EDT ››› SIMON MALOY
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On the May 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor John Podhoretz discussed his new book about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Can She Be Stopped? Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless ... (Crown Forum, May 2006), and acknowledged that he used the "B-word" to describe Clinton. Podhoretz commented that "the first woman president has to be somebody who has qualities that we commonly associate with being unfeminine," adding: "And those are all qualities, I think, Hillary Clinton holds."
Podhoretz refers to Clinton as "a bitch" on page 67 of Can She Be Stopped?:
Just for vulgarity's sake, let me put it this way: She's got to be a bitch. And Hillary is a bitch. Her challenge will be to play up her antifeminine qualities without being completely without charm and appeal.
Republicans and conservatives are sure she has neither charm nor appeal. And, indeed, she doesn't have much. But she probably has enough.
When later confronted by co-host Alan Colmes with some of the nastier epithets he directed at Clinton -- calling her, in Colmes's words, "flat and unwomanly" -- Podhoretz suggested these insults were intended as backhanded compliments, calling them part of his "tribute" to Clinton: "Hey, I'm saying she's the first -- she's going to be the first woman president of the United States. I don't think that's very degrading. I am paying her the tribute in this book of taking her seriously as a political figure."
Notably, Podhoretz was one of many conservatives in the media to denounce journalist Edward Klein's poorly sourced and widely debunked Clinton attack book, The Truth About Hillary (Sentinel, June 2005), calling it a "hate-eography" and writing in his June 22, 2005, Post column:
This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word.
From the May 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
SEAN HANNITY (co-host): It is a great admonition. It is a great warning, and I fully agree with you: They better not, to quote a phrase, "misunderestimate her." You say -- you describe for example -- you use the B-word to describe her.
PODHORETZ: I do, but I use the B-word to describe her and say that that is a virtue as the first woman presidential, you know, possibility.
HANNITY: Explain that, because you know what? A lot of people are going to get -- look, I know you, and you're a tell-it-like-it-is guy, but some people may misunderstand that.
PODHORETZ: OK, I'll put it to you very simply: The first woman president has to be somebody who has qualities that will convey to people that she can stand up before [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Il, [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, all the worst men in the world, that she can pull the trigger when she has to, that she can negotiate, that she can stand tough and stand tall. Therefore, the first woman president has to be somebody who has qualities that we commonly associate with being unfeminine. She's got to be tough, she's got to be steely, she's got to be adversarial, and she's got to be difficult.
HANNITY: You use a lot of ...
PODHORETZ: And those are all qualities I think Hillary Clinton holds.
COLMES: You say in this book, "You and everyone you know," you write, "probably despise Hillary Clinton. There's almost nothing that appeals to you."
PODHORETZ: That's right.
COLMES: That's pretty harsh language and pretty hateful language, I would think. And then you say -- you call her flat and unwomanly. Why would you degrade another human being like this?
PODHORETZ: Hey, I'm saying she's the first -- she's going to be the first woman president of the United States. I don't think that's very degrading. I am paying her the tribute in this book of taking her seriously as a political figure, of saying that the qualities that made her a problematic first lady are precisely the qualities that make her a plausible first woman president.