An IWF Speaker Series featuring Laura Ingraham discussing her new book
The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Wrong Places

On June 1 we celebrated the most recent accomplishment of one of our own: NBC special correspondent and IWF National Advisory Board member, Laura Ingraham, has written her first book, The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Wrong Places, critiquing the career of the woman-formerly-known-as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic senatorial candidate and First Victim, Hillary.

The following is an excerpt from her book:

The following is an excerpt from her book:

The following is an excerpt from her book:

The following is an excerpt from her book:

It was her 52nd birthday, and finally Hillary Rodham Clinton seemed to be stepping out of her husband’s long shadow. For three decades the good political wife, at last it would be Hillary’s chance to stand front and center. Tonight, she would begin speaking in her own voice-not as the First Lady, not as a wronged wife, not even as a woman-as a prospective candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Yet amidst all the hoopla, Hillary Rodham Clinton, even in her new pursuit of elected office, was walking straight into a trap-one of her own making. On this night, Hillary’s dependence on her husband-on his political organization and his friends and contributors-to define her and deliver to her the power she has always craved, was complete.

Bill Clinton mounted the dais. Biting his lip, voice choked with emotion, he described Hillary as an independent and self-reliant woman, an ideal candidate. A scent of legacy filled the air. [President Clinton] extolled his wife’s lifelong commitment to health care, child welfare, education, and women’s rights.

“The best gift that I can give the American people now is the person I love most in the world, the most visionary public servant I have ever known,” he said, beaming. The First Couple tenderly embraced and the audience roared.

It was a touching display-but one requiring a near total willing suspension of disbelief. To compartmentalize with this crowd, you had to be able to pretend that the events of the past several years never happened.

This man had publicly humiliated his wife with his rampant philandering. Anyone rooting for Hillary might have wished that her husband would just get off the stage so that she might take the microphone and finally tell us who she really was and what she believed in-not as his political wife but as a candidate. But of course that was precisely what she couldn’t do. She owes everything to Bill. For all her feminism, Hillary has never learned to stand on her own.

What a story of irony and of tragedy-a woman, once so promising, now finally trying to collect her just reward, one she clearly expects to be as grand as the humiliation she has been forced to endure. Was this the promise of feminism? Were women now to submit to any indignity, even a sham marriage, for access to power and fame?

Once the Lewinsky story broke, politically Bill needed her more than she needed him. If Hillary had walked out instead of taking to the airwaves to denounce the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” what little there was of the Clinton legacy would have been obliterated. She would have forced him and the country to reckon with reality. Instead, she defended him and attacked his political enemies, allowing him to regroup.

The spin worked. Only 14 months later, Hillary was a Senate candidate, basking in the adoring glow of an A-list crowd.

From the moment Hillary debuted on the national stage, her sisters in the Woodstock generation identified. “To many women, and especially to professional women, Hillary Clinton is the first First Lady who is one of them,” wrote columnist Laura Berman. Lavish media profiles made Hillary over into our role model in chief.

Her husband, however, in retrospect, is less like the enlightened, egalitarian New Man perfectly paired with his feminist mate than the old-fashioned pig to whom philandering is a male prerogative. His behavior isn’t just something Hillary tolerated. She encouraged it by doing public damage control.

The First Feminist had morphed into the First Victim. Hillary is the ultimate “feminist of convenience”-demanding equal treatment or special treatment, whichever suits her at the moment.

This would seem to make Hillary Rodham Clinton a dubious candidate for First Feminist. Yet prominent women of the left continue to cheerlead for her. Criticism is quickly declared to be thinly disguised sexism. When scrutiny of Hillary’s role in Whitewater intensified, Ann Lewis told USA Today that the male Washington establishment was taking out its “repressed resentment” of women in politics on Hillary. Her colleague Lynn Cutler said: “This is what happens to women who stand up, step forward, and speak out.” Even Glamour magazine took time out from “Makeup Dos and Don’ts” to bemoan attacks on Hillary Clinton as part of an “agenda to move us all backwards.”

Yet if women really modeled their lives after Hillary’s, they’d think that the path to personal strength and security is through their husbands, or government. Somehow the inspiring message of early feminists-that women can do anything-has a big caveat attached to it. Women can do anything IF a powerful husband or institution makes it possible.

Politically, the policies Hillary advocates would also keep women as dependent-on lawmakers, unions, the police, even the United Nations-as she is on Bill. Hillary’s actual policy prescriptions depend on liberal big government solutions that have a 30-year record of failure.

So if we are admiring Hillary, what are we admiring her for?

The ultimate Hillary trap is believing that we can have it all, and that someone or something else can help us get there. Her personal and political choices are a series of shortcuts to nowhere.

[The traps] are hidden in policies that promise female advancement and protection, or rationalizations that condone a man’s adulterous behavior for the sake of keeping the relationship together. But we cannot take the bait. For no woman wants to end up as Hillary did on that stage-listening to a liar and cheat define who she is.

The scene at Hillary’s “formal” announcement in 2000 was very different from that of her unofficial kickoff/birthday gala five months earlier: Bill was not at the microphone. The large banner that hung behind the podium read simply “Hillary for Senate.” The message she wanted all of us to take away was clear — she had finally come into her own as a woman and a political force. She’d be Hillary Unplugged, without the trappings of the White House and her position as First Lady.

[But] has Hillary really escaped the traps and broken the cycle of dependence? Is she finally on her way to becoming a true role model for women? My answer is no. That would take more than changing residence and purging her husband’s last name from her campaign paraphernalia. In fact, a Hillary fundraising letter echoed the same old “I’m a victim” theme: “They can launch anti-Hillary websites. They can run negative television ads. But they can never stop me from standing up for what I believe in.”

Hillary tells friends she hates to be seen as the victim. Well then, she should stop acting like one. There’s a sense that Hillary Clinton is Everywoman. Her life symbolizes the tug-of-war between our desire to seize new opportunities and our old habits of dependence on men and ideas that limit us. Hillary’s problem isn’t that she’s made mistakes-we all do that-it’s that instead of recognizing them for what they are, she’s turned them into a life philosophy and a political platform.

Hillary’s answers are really a series of traps. The returns are in: Hillary’s ideas about marriage, education, the workplace, and family politics have set women back rather than forward. Her liberal feminism has created a culture that rewards dependency, encourages fragmentation, undermines families, and celebrates victimhood.

Hillary is a figure of the past. The future belongs to the new feminist pioneers, not to Hillary and her tired ideas. These women are starting their own companies, battling bureaucrats to regain control of their schools, taking responsibility for their own safety, and making tough choices about careers and families without looking to the government for help. By taking responsibility for ourselves, we start to look for power in all the right places.