After helping make the Clintons into a Democratic super-brand she wanted her turn at power
A woman who has been cheated on has a complex social role to play she must be devastated, dignified and instantly unforgiving (banishing the sexual miscreant), as though shes been given Gloria Gaynors I Will Survive to act out in some ghastly, very public round of emotional charades. No one knows this more than Hillary Clinton, who, in some eyes, committed a heinous feminist faux pas by forgiving her husband, Bill, for his multiple infidelities.
Instead of the Go on now, go walk out the door! narrative that is practically the cheatee-national anthem, Hillary stood by her man, even as she denied becoming a Tammy Wynette caricature. She has been relentlessly questioned, mocked and distrusted on account of this decision, arguably suffering more for her husbands betrayals than he ever did. Now, interviewed with her daughter, Chelsea, about their new The Book of Gutsy Women, she cited the decision to stay in my marriage as the gutsiest personal thing she ever did. Just the gutsiest, Hillary or also the smartest, the only outcome that made any kind of sense?
Over the years, there has been a lot of musing on the scorching humiliation that Hillary must have felt, the strength she needed to stay. All of which sounds true. Then theres why she stayed: love, respect, their daughter, their shared history all great reasons. However, in common with her many detractors, I always thought that she also stayed (big time!) for her career because, why would that be such a bad thing?
Hillary wouldnt just have been leaving Bill, shed have been leaving a political super-brand, a brand that shed worked tirelessly to build, that was supposed to turn into a dynasty, culminating in her becoming the first female president of the US. If youre going to suck up global degradation, then it might as well be for that, right? However much Bill put it about, she wasnt going to allow it to wreck what theyd built together. Certainly not at the point when hed had his turn, but her turn was still to come. This was the plan, anyway.
If all this sounds cold and clinical, what of it? As with many relationships, it was complicated. Hillarys critics tend to point to this as evidence of a sinister business arrangement between the Clintons, when in truth it was only what theyd presented as all along a marriage of equals on every level. Detractors also point to it as proof of everything thats wrong with robotic, over-ambitious Hillary. Personally, it made me like and trust this strong, cool-headed, preternaturally rational woman even more. Hillary never made any bones about being a high-functioning political alpha and there she was staying true to type. Hard as it must have been, as much as it ripped her heart out, her decision to stay was partly a focused career move. Staying with her cheating husband wasnt Hillary Clintons tragedy though not getting the result she wanted might be ours.
Please dont let Meghans strong spirit be extinguished