It's fun to watch Hillary Clinton superfan Amanda Marcotte tie herself into enough knots to win a Boy Scout badge over the fact that the Clinton family foundation takes money from that paradise of feminism, Saudi Arabia.
Marcotte's latest contribution to Slate's XX Factor is titled "The Clinton Foundation Accepts Money From Countries That Mistreat Women. Is That Bad?"
And that answer to that question is: "What part of no don't you understand?"
Also: "That's Islamophobic!"
Anyone who writes about feminist issues has likely encountered what I like to call the “Islam gotcha.” “How can you be focused on equal pay or reproductive rights,” the line from conservative critics tends to go, “when women in Saudi Arabia aren't even allowed to drive cars?” Once the province of talk radio callers and Internet commenters, the Islam gotcha is now being rolled into a GOP talking point against Hillary Clinton, who is expected to spotlight feminist concerns in her 2016 campaign for president.
Amy Chozick of the New York Times reports that Republicans are highlighting that the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation “has accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria and Brunei — all of which the State Department has faulted over their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues.” Republicans are seizing on this issue in the hope of undermining Clinton's reputation as an advocate for women and girls both at home and abroad.
And we can't have anyone "undermining" Hillary!
So here's how Marcotte defends the dollars flooding into the Clinton charitable empire from sexist Gulf satrapies: Why the U.S. is just as bad!
[W]omen are oppressed, to varying degrees, in every nation on the planet. If you can't accept money from sexist nations, that would mean accepting no donations at all. Bill Clinton alluded to this struggle when defending the donations at a No Ceilings event on Saturday. “Do we agree with everything they do? No,” Mr. Clinton told reporters. “You’ve got to decide when you do this work whether it will do more good than harm if someone helps you from another country.” Accepting money from countries that ban women from driving is an easy call, and it is terrible that the Clinton Foundation didn't make it. But what about countries that restrict access to reproductive health care or have insufficient maternity leave policies? The reason to take the money is to put it toward fixing some of these problems all over the world. It's a compromise.
Riiight! Plus: Hillary Clinton is so all-around wonderful when it comes to women's issues:
Also important to note: Clinton's tenure as secretary of state was marked by her focus on women's issues, driven by the belief that the best way to improve the world is to focus on improving the lives of women and girls.
One thing is certain: The fact that Republicans are raising this foundation money issue now shows that they are worried that such a strategy—the first overtly feminist presidential campaign—will be very effective.
Or maybe the Republicans figure that focusing on taking money from a country whose idea of justice is blogger-flogging, coupled with Hillary Clinton's strangely un-feminist inabiity to carry two cell phones at the same time in her purse without getting all confused might prevent that "first overtly feminist presidential campaign" from actually materializing.