In her first interview since her crushing election loss on Nov. 8, Hillary Clinton spoke toNew York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof for approximately 45 minutes about a myriad of topics last week, but the one issue that has taken root and is being assailed or ignored by white male talking heads is that she blamed her loss, in part, on misogyny.
Clinton appeared with Kristof last week at Tina Brown's Women in the World Summit in New York City, where Kristof asked her what she thought about the role of misogyny in the election outcome. While she wholeheartedly agreed that it was a factor, she delivered a thoughtful response that was completely lost on several TV pundits.
"There is a constant struggle, and not just women, women and men, in a time of rapid change, like the one we are living through, between something that is different, that may hold out even possible positive consequences, and something that is familiar and something that really is first and foremost about security of what you have right now," Clinton told Kristof. "I think, in this election, there was a very real struggle between what is viewed as change that is welcomed and exciting to so many Americans and change which is worrisome and threatening to so many others. And you layer on the first woman president over all of that and I think some people, women included, had very real problems."
Despite Clinton's nuanced response to the question, men from across party lines, including MSNBC host Steve Kornacki, former press secretary for the Democratic National Committee Michael Czin, and Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner, were gravely obtuse when it came to addressing the issue of misogyny in the election.
Kornacki played a clip of Clinton's interview with Kristof in which she also addressed the idea of likeability when it comes to women in power. Citing research on the subject, Clinton said, "With men, success and ambition are correlated with likability. So the more successful a man is, the more likable he becomes. With a woman -- guess what? It's the exact opposite."
Immediately following the clip, Kornacki asked the men to comment on what they'd just heard before implying that the Democratic party, and Clinton, specifically, prefer to be the victim rather than to take responsibility for the loss -- an implication that feeds into the kind of misogynistic thinking that treats women as victims even as it accuses them of playing the victim card, the irony of which was completely lost on Kornacki and his guests.
"Listening to Hillary Clinton at that event, and listening to a lot of what Democrats have been saying the last few months, is it fair to say [that] the feeling among Democrats is not that Hillary Clinton really did anything that lost the election, it was more things that were done to her?" Kornacki asked after playing the clip of Clinton commenting on misogyny.
Czin was the first to speak, attempting to gaslight viewers by pretending that the elephant in every room, misogyny, doesn't exist. He completely sidestepped Clinton's remarks and moved on to his own apparent agenda.
"It was a perfect storm..." Czin said. "I think it's hard to put your finger on one thing, but there was this cacophony of issues, whether it was Comey, WikiLeaks, people being complacent because they just didn't think Donald Trump would win..."
And that was the more coherent piece of his answer before he dissembled entirely, as if uttering the word "misogyny" might unleash an irreversible curse.
"Donald Trump wants a better health care bill, right? He's never said what that is in the same way he doesn't say what he wants to get out of Syria," Czin blathered before Kornacki interrupted but failed to turn the conversation back to sexism and the election.
Next up, Carney, from the conservative Washington Examiner went in for the kill, painting Clinton in full victimhood and failing to mention the "M" word.
"I think trying to blame other people is not good politics." Carney said before sidestepping the issue further. "Some of the reaction the left, if you go to a place like Salon or Slate, they're saying 'No, We shouldn't have any sympathy for Trump voters who are suffering. There's no such thing as a good Trump voter.'"
While the refusal of these men to acknowledge -- whether they supported, believed in, or abhorred Clinton and her policies or not -- that misogyny exists is painful and infuriating, the unbridled hatred and fear of one of the most qualified people to ever run for the office of the presiden has deep roots that have not gone unnoticed by those paying attention. Feminist and author Susan Faludi addressed the issue Specific to Clinton in a New York Timesopinion piece a week before the election.
"The 1990s produced a generation of men who felt (and still feel) left behind by a society redefining power and success in terms of ornament and celebrity and demoting the value of industry and brawn, while simultaneously challenging men's value as family providers," Faludi wrote. "Though women weren't the source of men's pain, the antagonist conjured up by aggrieved men I talked with in those years had a feminine face, and very often that face was Hillary's."
While Konracki's panel of white men denying misogyny exists is gaslighting at its best, a segment on Sunday's Meet the Press was equally as mindblowing in its tone-deaf analysis of Clinton's remarks at the women's summit.
Panelist Danielle Pletka of the Enterprise Institute offered the conservative modern woman "I am not a feminist" answer a la Kellyanne Conway by arguing that misogyny did not play a role in Clinton's loss and that she should stop complaining about it.
"Okay, first of all, Hillary Clinton doesn't want to take responsibility for anything. She lost the election because she's Hillary Clinton, not because she's a woman," Pletka said.
While Pletka failed to recognize that Clinton can not be separated from being a woman and all of the slings and arrows she's deflected because of it for 30 years, the role of Clinton's gender in the election outcome was not lost on columnist David Brooks.
"Gender politics clearly played a role in this election," Brooks said. "Donald Trump is a cliche of old-fashioned masculinity and a lot of people long for that kind of masculinity which is never coming back, but they long for it. And so, to say that his hyper-macho stereotype is not part of why he got elected, I mean, it wasn't his knowledge."
While Brooks' validation of misogyny was refreshing, The National Review's Rich Lowry then demonstrated complete ignorance of how misogyny works, even as his comments reeked of it.
First, Lowry sang the tired old refrain that the former New York senator and Secretary of State was just bad at politics before unwittingly affirming what Clinton herself had said about likability and women in power. When Todd asked if another woman could have beaten Trump Lowry replied, "A likable woman could have, yes."