Caught in 'The Hillary Trap'
Geoff Metcalf interviews author, first lady-watcher, Laura Ingraham

By Geoff Metcalf
Is Hillary Clinton an outstanding role model for young women or a calculating politician bent on feminizing American society? In her recent book, "The Hillary Trap," MSNBC analyst and talk-show host Laura Ingraham declares the first lady to be a poor representative and champion for real women's issues. In blending biographical material and political commentary, Ingraham condemns Clinton's decision to stand by her philandering husband and questions the Senate candidate's belief that women need more government intervention in their lives. WorldNetDaily reporter Geoff Metcalf recently interviewed Ingraham about her analysis of the women's movement and the first lady.

Question: Tell us about the way the way you break the book down into seven "traps" that ultimately synthesize into "The Hillary Trap."

Answer: I thought it was important to take Hillary seriously as a political figure. When we think of Hillary, we think about cattle futures and about Whitewater, Travelgate and the "vast right-wing conspiracy." But it is time to look at what her worldview is and then ask ourselves if it measures up to her claims of "empowering" people and caring about children and caring about families and whether or not those policies really make sense.

Negative comments you hear from focus groups that talk about Hillary usually revolve around credibility. They usually have to do with whether or not, when Hillary speaks, people think she is telling the truth. And it goes back to the interview on "60 Minutes" where she denied that her husband was involved in these rumors of infidelity, and her saying she only learned about the Lewinsky affair when it appeared in the Post.

Q: I really think the Clintons think that if they tell the lie long enough and frequently enough, eventually people are going to believe it.

A: If you have no shame, then you have nothing to answer to.

Q: What about this whole thing about her being the smartest lawyer, and a role model and career woman?

A: That is the big Hillary trap. She is selling this reputation of accomplishment and serious professionalism when in fact the only endeavor she can chalk up to her credit and the administration is the Health Care Task Force, which was a disaster.

So this idea that Hillary has some major record of public service and accomplishment -- it just doesn't wash. It is part of the spin machine. And people do believe, because when she is on Rosie O'Donnell for an hour and on the cover of Vogue and she looks so good, people say, "Oh, she's so strong; she's been through so much," like she was working in the coal mines or something.

She puts forth this idea that "I'm a victim -- support me. I've put up with so much from a philandering husband and Ken Starr that I deserve the Senate seat." You get the impression her platform is "victimhood."

Q: One of Hillary's concepts is that working women are victims.

A: The victim mindset is really the saddest thing to come out of the Hillary Trap, which is this idea that society is posited against women because of their gender, that there needs to be this panoply of federal regulations and government bureaucrats to safeguard women, the poor damsels in distress. They need the government village to step in and help them.

Q: That's the weird duplicity between the public persona she tries to sell. "I am woman, hear me roar," but we are victims, so we need help.

A: It is Hillary wanting to have it both ways. She doesn't want to give up her first lady position, right? Because she gets a lot of mileage out of that. She wants to run for Senate so she has to sort of juggle both of them, neglecting her first lady duties often, but no matter. When the Clintons are involved, the rules are bent and laws don't matter. Their intentions are good, so it really doesn't matter how they get there as long as they have the right views and as long as they care about children.

Q: One example you point to in your book -- and Hillary uses it like a bludgeon -- is that women only make 76 cents for every dollar men make.

A: Right. This is in the Work Trap chapter. I talk about the myths that are propagated by feminists about how women are shortchanged in the workplace. And it turns out when you really look at how these comparable-worth statistics are used, it turns out that when women actually put in the exact same amount of time in the exact same profession and the same amount of effort, there is virtually no wage gap whatsoever. I think it goes down to nine cents, which is negligible. Women are supposed to believe there is a glass ceiling and that they can't become a partner at a law firm unless there are gender police around every corner, and that just doesn't resonate with what most women want today. Most women are just trying to balance work and family and making tough choices and don't really want the government making hard decisions for them.

Q: Probably the most startling thing is how she "stuck by her man," notwithstanding her protestations to the contrary, in view of this long litany of infidelity. How can a strong woman do that?

A: Women do it every day. Hillary didn't invent that. Hillary didn't invent a lot of these problems. But she is a great symbol of this flawed way of thinking. The interesting thing about Hillary standing by Bill is Hillary introduces herself as a "family feminist." She likes to play off this image and reputation of the strong, self-reliant woman under pressure but always poised and professional. She benefits from that, but when you look at her real life choices, she is a throwback to the '50s. She sublimated her own professional endeavors for a philandering husband -- for status. And finally, she wants a Senate seat out of it.

But we tell women and young girls today, "You have to be out there and competing in order to make it in the world." You're not supposed to ask for handouts. You're not supposed to get where you are because of your looks. You're supposed to get there because you are talented and you have a record of achievement. That's the message we should be giving young girls today, not this false image of a role model in Hillary.

When she is held up as a role model, we really have to examine that and we really have to start asking ourselves the hard question. Namely, "Is this the best we can do?" Is this what we really want to tell young girls today? That this is what your marriage should be like? These are what your political choices should be? I just think we can do a lot better.

Q: Let's briefly run through the seven different traps you delineate in the book.

A: The Sisterhood Trap is this idea that all women, because of their gender, should subscribe to a panoply of big government programs, be pro-abortion, be pro-gay rights, and basically ascribe to what the National Organization of Women does. And you find that this is a trap because most women have varying views on all these subjects.

Q: But to be a good sister, you have to subordinate your own thoughts and beliefs for whatever the overall agenda is. Right?

A: Right. Kay Bailey Hutchison was called a "female impersonator" by Gloria Steinem a few years back. In the early '80s, you saw all the signs at Reagan rallies: "If you're a woman, don't vote for Reagan" and "Real women don't vote for Reagan." It's this idea that you are betraying your gender if you are in disagreement with the feminist left, and that's just backward thinking, and it is a trap that women just have to reject completely.

That's the first trap. Hillary made her name talking at the Beijing Woman's conference five years ago in 1995. She gave a really passionate speech about wife-burning in India and all these atrocities. Of course, she threw in references to problems in America, too -- this idea we are all victims.

Q: The Education Trap?

A: The Education Trap is what's happened to our public schools. Real learning, real fact-based learning has gone out the window and politically correct gender-based education has replaced it. Standards are down the drain, and self-awareness and self-esteem-building classes are all the rage. Hillary's supporters in the teachers unions have not done anything except encourage the current status quo in public education that has removed standards. Their biggest battle is to get rid of prayer in the classroom. To them, that's the biggest threat to education in the classroom today, that someone might say a voluntary prayer. Meanwhile, our kids are not learning.

Outcome-based education says that you should feel good about yourself; whatever works for you. Except that's not how the real world works. We actually need people who are well-rounded and who know the history of the United States and who have a general base of knowledge. Unfortunately, the current education system, which is a total monopoly of the public schools, is in bad shape. And Hillary's friends in the teachers unions do not want it to change, to allow school choice, and it is really unfortunate for the people who are less fortunate than Hillary's own daughter, who went to a fancy private school.

Q: Let's talk about the Anti-Gun Trap.

A: This is my favorite trap, because women are the most vulnerable to gun myths that are propagated by the anti-gun lobby. Remember when you heard that you are 44-times more likely to shoot someone in your own family than you are to shoot an intruder? That's completely untrue. I list the whole series of myths the gun-control lobby uses.

Obviously, Hillary is a gun-control advocate. She doesn't believe women should have the right to choose to have a handgun to defend themselves. It turns out you are not 44-times more likely to shoot a member of your own family. The man who came up with that original statistic has since recanted. It is 2.7 times, and it is a false statistic anyway, because when you defend yourself with a handgun, in 90 percent of the cases, you don't even fire it. You don't shoot the intruder; you just brandish the gun. Those are the kinds of phony statistics that are used to scare mothers and scare women away from having real choices.

Q: Dr. John Lott has all this wonderful statistical documentation about how much safer you are with guns, but nobody gets to hear that.

A: An armed populace is not a vulnerable populace. The idea is that women -- who are the most vulnerable in our society to crime -- should be forced to rely on calling 911 when someone comes into their home, or to hold a heavy shotgun, that women shouldn't have that choice (to own a handgun). The only choice that Hillary supporters care about is the right to abort a child. That's the only choice they care about.

Q: There was recently a story of a woman who was confronted by two knife-wielding assailants who held her child and actually cut him and announced their intention to rape her. She went into the bathroom to take off her clothes, but when she came out, she was clothed and armed. She shot and dropped one of them, and the other fled, only to be caught later. That's reality.

A: The reality is you are better off if you are trained in handgun use, are proficient and comfortable with it, and you are ready. You are ready for someone intruding your space. We should tell women not to be afraid. Instead, we scare them with all these ridiculous statistics, and most mothers who don't follow this stuff feel "maybe I shouldn't have a gun in my home."

Q: We really need to talk about the Sex Trap.

A: There was a time when feminism was about this idea that women didn't need men anymore to have power, that women could actually go out and make it on their own, that men weren't needed to define their existence or who they are. We weren't supposed to be on earth just to clean up the messes of men.

That's what the message of feminism was, in addition to equal opportunity. So here we are 30 years later and we have Hillary Clinton, the paragon of modern feminism who calls herself a "family feminist," a woman who, for whatever reason, decided to stand by Bill through persistent infidelity, dozens of occasions, and we're supposed to believe this is some sort of person to emulate? This is the person to lift up in the public discourse and call strong?

It is an amazing thing we have Hillary Clinton, who is supposed to be the model feminist, basically acting like some kind of '50s throwback, emerging from it all not the way most women would -- destitute or abandoned -- but emerging with a Senate candidacy. So that's why I wanted to write this book. How did we get here? How did we get to this place where Hillary Clinton is this symbol of modern day feminism and strength?

Americans today are so focused on the fact that they are doing so well economically, they are willing to be more patient with Clinton's ethical problems and infidelities than they would be otherwise. Most Americans don't care about other people's marriages. But the Clintons made it a matter of public discourse for all of us. They manipulated us when they wanted us to think their marriage was solid and all together. And they manipulated us when they wanted us to think that Hillary was being chilly towards him in Martha's Vineyard when Bill admitted the Monica affair.

Q: Gail Sheehy called Hillary an "enabler." You talk about a study in codependency.

A: I'm not a psychologist, and I try to stay away from armchair psychologizing. What I think is more important is, what is this doing to young people in this country? What is this image of power and how to get power say to young women today? Is it short-circuiting female progress or is it giving women a real model to follow? I think not.

Q: Did you get any feeling for how active Hillary was in the day-to-day operation of the White House?

A: I think in the beginning, the Clintons didn't realize that the American public really doesn't like this idea of unelected power. We are very uncomfortable with it. We believe that people who exercise authority should actually be elected and be accountable. So when they first announced the co-presidency idea, people started bristling at it. The Clintons had to modify what their strategy was going to be. Hillary's Health Care Task Force crumbled in the fall of '93, and suddenly she really receded into the background as a much more traditional first lady. Suddenly she was picking out Christmas ornaments and picking out what cookie recipe to choose.

Q: When you take on a $900 billion industry and do everything in secret executive session, somebody is going to raise a question or two.

A: Yes, but these are the Clintons, and they don't have to abide by the rules. That's another trap. Rules are meant to be broken in Hillary's world.

Q: Unless they are rules they are making for other people!

A: Exactly. Do as I say, not as I do. We know what's best for you, so you had just better listen. Just because we don't do that, just because I send my daughter to private school, doesn't mean you have the right to do the same thing. We're different; we're the anointed ones.