Flashback: Laura Ingraham's Last Scrum on 'The View' Over Hillary
Laura Ingraham was in a groove on Monday's "The View," spurring protest from Barbara Walters by asking if the talk-show gang there really wanted America to win in Iraq. (Walters protested probably not only for her colleagues on the chat show, but her colleagues at flag-pins-are-verboten ABC News). Video of the exchange is available here. On what I'm guessing was Ingraham's last appearance on "The View," on January 22, 2003, our Jessica Anderson captured how the radio host handled a cast of putative feminists who defined feminism as offering women the choice to have a completely elastic and plastic marriage for political gain:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: I know that you wrote this book called The Hillary Trap, Laura, and in it you sort of blast Hillary – or not even sort of, you do – for the way she handled her husband's infidelities, and basically make the point that she is not a good role model.
LAURA INGRAHAM: Well, Hillary is sort of the liberal archetype for today. I mean, she really is this great symbol of today's liberalism, and I just think it's interesting for someone who is the smart, accomplished woman to sort of stand by her man as kind of a '50s throwback. I think when Hillary's the strong, independent person, a lot of women really can gravitate toward her, but I think when she plays the victim card, when she throws down the victim card, 'Oh, the vast right wing conspiracy is after me,' I think that's ridiculous.
JOY BEHAR: But you don't think it was a political position to stand by her man? She wanted to get into the Senate.
INGRAHAM: Oh, who knows, who knows. But the point is feminism was supposed to be about strong women standing up for themselves, you don't need a man to ride your political idea.
STAR JONES: No, not at all. Feminism was about having choices and being able to be the woman that you want to be without having, you know, four bitches on television telling you that this is feminism." [Applause]
BEHAR: That's true, that's true.
JONES: It was not, it was not about picking or choosing.
INGRAHAM: But how many mothers today would say, well you know, the path I'd like my daughter to follow is Hillary's path?
BEHAR: They'd say great, she'll be in the Senate. Are you kidding?
INGRAHAM: Most women end up in not such a great professional situation.
BEHAR: Whose position would you rather have: Hillary's in the Senate or Laura Bush as First Lady?
INGRAHAM: Laura Bush, absolutely.
BEHAR: Why? Why? Hillary has a little power now – well, so does Laura, in the bedroom, yeah.
INGRAHAM: Laura Bush has a great guy. She has a great guy, she's well respected, she is an amazingly gracious individual.
VIEIRA: Well, Hillary Clinton is well respected, too, by many people.
INGRAHAM: I think what's interesting about Hillary is she really is this dichotomy. She's a strong independent person on the one hand, and on the other hand, a lot of women I'm sure – you guys are all strong women. Would you stand by someone who was unfaithful to you one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine–
BEHAR: If I had an ulterior motive and I didn't really – if I had an ulterior motive and I had an ambition and that was the way to get there.
INGRAHAM: That's not what feminism is all about.
JONES: I want to have my marriage constitute what I want it to be.
VIEIRA: They may have their own deal on what their marriage–
JONES: That's right, but you don't get to decide what somebody's marriage is.
Here’s a snippet from Laura’s 2000 book "The Hillary Trap" on the magical mystery marriage of Bill and Hill:
Misty-eyed Clinton allies rhapsodize that their love is real, their respect mutual. Others take the more cynical view that Hillary has stayed in the marriage out of pure self-interest, for the power and the status. In other words, she’s a traditional wife who ignores her husband’s catting around because he’s a good provider. Bill’s more than a paycheck – he’s her ticket to political power. Either way, Hillary is no model for modern womanhood. She’s either a dupe who loves her man so much she’s willing to sacrifice all her dignity for his sake, or a Machiavellian who craves power so much she’ll do anything to keep it...
All of us, and particularly women, have refused to see Bill and Hillary for what they are. He is not an idealistic New Democrat building a bridge to the future, not the first egalitarian husband in the White House, but a relic from an exploitative past. She is not a model of liberated womanhood but an emblem of th worst of both worlds: The old-fashioned view that a husband is entitled to a little fun on the side (while the wise wife will be patient and blame the other woman) and the modern view that moral values are relative, sexual misconduct is trivial, and being "judgmental" is the worst sin of all.