Transcript:Well, at least someone on that panel has some sense.
MICHELLE BERNARD: Well, here's what -- here's the interesting point. In voting for the Iraq war policy, Mrs. Clinton almost ran -- she ran almost like a Republican, and she really ran like a man. And in the end, it could be said that that's what really did damage to this historic campaign by a woman.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She ran almost like a man?
BERNARD: She ran as a man. You would -- most people would expect a male candidate to be the person who was going to vote pro-war -- Iraq war policy and for a female candidate to vote against it. It was absolutely the reverse here, and that's what hurt her in this campaign.
MARGARET CARLSON: And any woman thinks she has to prove that she's as tough as a man –
CARLSON: -- and she did that early, and then it turned out to be to her detriment.
MATTHEWS: I'm not touching this. Phil Griffin [sic], you want to get in here? He can have a piece of this discussion about what's the appropriate gender role –
PHIL BRONSTEIN: I'm not -- I don't think I'm touching this.
A couple of interesting points here: One, yet again a perfect example of how sexism cuts both ways. By saying Clinton "ran like a man," it's a smear against women via its implication that there are limits to what are acceptable identities and behaviors for women—but it's also a smear against men via its presumption that men are innately more pro-war than women.
Two, it just continues to (bitterly) amuse me that, despite being extremely close on most issues, Obama has the reputation for being a liberal and Clinton has the reputation for being "almost like a Republican," despite the fact that when I saw her on the campaign trail, I found that she "spent over an hour talking about and answering questions about policy in amazing detail—and, throughout, she spoke the language of the labor movement specifically and progressives generally; there was no rightwing framing, no triangulation. She was impressively blunt about the Republicans playing class warfare and about her determination to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, and she was much more explicitly anti-corporate in some of her statements than I expected. At one point, I leaned over to KenBlogz to whisper, 'This woman is a communist!'"
None of that can be news to anyone on that panel. (At least, it certainly shouldn't be.) So going on about how she ran "almost like a Republican" is pure, unadulterated poppycock.
It's as wholly dependent on ignoring the content of Clinton's stump speech as saying she didn't run "as a woman" is. I don't think Clinton could have made the media—especially the one-celled organisms that populate Hardballz—forget that she was a woman even if she'd wanted to (see: this 106-part series), but a candidate who talks about being a mother, being a daughter, being a working woman, the importance of women's suffrage, the particular healthcare needs of women, et cetera is hardly running "like a man" by any reasonable definition.
I wonder what Bernard imagines Clinton having run "like a woman" might have looked like. Perhaps she should have served tea to reporters at every campaign stop, or worn a frilly frock. Or maybe running like a woman means not running at all.
Politics is a man's game, you know.