It looks like Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has another televised interview lined up, this time with Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres tweeted Monday that Clinton, along with Caitlyn Jenner and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, are to be among the host’s guests during the premiere week for her day-time talk show beginning Sept. 8.
Clinton also appeared on the show in 2007 when she was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. During that interview with DeGeneres, who is gay, Clinton discussed her support for civil unions for same-sex couples, but not marriage rights, which she said should be left to states. In the years since, Clinton has become a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Clinton clearly intends to make gender a pillar of her campaign strategy. Last night in Vegas, she appealed to the vast numbers of unenthusiastic women—including many Democrats—who, unlike the majority of African-Americans in 2008, just can’t seem to get wholeheartedly behind one of their own.
In the first 15 seconds of her first remarks, she framed herself as “the granddaughter of a factory worker and the grandmother of a wonderful 1-year-old child.” She added, “And every day, I think about what we need to do to make sure that opportunity is available not just for her, but for all of our children.” She concluded, “and, yes, finally, fathers will be able to say to their daughters, you, too, can grow up to be president.”
But she kept returning to her gender, thrice reminding people that she is poised to become the first women in the Oval Office. When CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked why her term wouldn’t be Obama’s third, she replied, “Well, I think that's pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had up until this point, including President Obama.” Asked whether she wasn’t an insider, she parried: “Well, I can’t think of anything more of an outsider than electing the first woman president, but I’m not just running because I would be the first woman president.”
Katy Perry has recently announced plans to campaign for Hillary Clinton. Given that we're in the midst of one of the most openly feminist eras of the past three decades, this news isn't so hard to parse. After all, outspoken superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna and Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift dominate our stages and screens, offering their assorted flavors of pop empowerment and complicated personal narratives to the masses. In fact, if aliens were tuning in to Spotify right now, they'd probably get the impression that our world is ruled by unapologetic lady outlaws, aggressive, wriggling seductresses, and brash she-creatures emboldened by their zip-up pleather body armor.
But when you pan from these reinvented, super-empowered lady superheroes to Katy Perry, the picture becomes far less threatening and explosive. Because Katy Perry never changes. Her brand is the very essence of reassuring, non-threatening stagnancy. She encapsulates that remaining, silent majority (It never goes away! Don't fool yourselves!) that doesn't like to be challenged at all, ever, for any reason — not by women, not by music, not by the weather, not by anything. Where Beyoncé pushes us to accept feminism and strong, assertive women (with a faintly wicked twist), and Taylor Swift pushes us to embrace vulnerability and femininity (with some emotionally volatile undercurrents), Katy Perry pushes such avant-garde, high concepts as teenagers, horny; California girls, awesome; aliens, weird; and kissing girls, actually kinda nice.
In all likelihood, then, Katy Perry's intention to campaign for Hillary Clinton suggests nothing more than the fact that Katy Perry would prefer to sound like someone who stands for something, even though she isn't that person and never has been. It's a nice try. But against a backdrop of female pop stars who push the boundaries of what a woman can do and say and get away with, Katy Perry remains a comforting, nonthreatening attachment object. She is a giant woobie in a time of great change. She is a blank slate, a soothing emotional day spa for those who prefer easy answers. She's a void with swappable wigs, a tasty nothingburger.
Hillary Rodham Clinton firmly defended her record before, during and after the Benghazi attacks as she came face-to-face Thursday with the Republican-led special investigation of the 2012 violence in Libya, hoping to put to rest the worst episode of her tenure as secretary of state and clear an obstacle to her presidential campaign.
Clinton, the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination, kicked off a long day of questioning with a plea that the United States maintain its global leadership role despite the threat posed to U.S. diplomats. She hailed the efforts of the four Americans who died in the attacks, including the first ambassador in more than three decades, but told the House Benghazi Committee that the deadly events already have been exhaustively scrutinized.
Republicans pressed for answers on her record in the lead-up to the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and a nearby CIA compound, and how engaged she was on the deteriorating security situation in eastern Libya. The atmosphere remained mostly civil until a fiery back-and-forth with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who accused Clinton of deliberately misleading the public by linking the violence to an Internet video insulting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
Hillary Clinton, leveraging her foreign policy experience to portray Bernie Sanders as a one-note neophyte, riveted an audience here Tuesday with a cinematic account of the Osama bin Laden raid, placing herself at the center of the action. Clinton, a day after delivering a meandering one-hour performance in Waterloo, seemed adrenalized — and more focused on directly challenging the wild-haired upstart who on Monday claimed her campaign was in “serious trouble.”
The Democratic frontrunner, trailing Sanders in Iowa by five points in a new poll, has adopted a closing argument that closely mirrored her 2008 experience-and-grit pitch — with the booster shot of her four-year stint as President Obama’s secretary of state. “I’m grateful I’ve been in the Situation Room making really tough decisions — they don’t get there if they’re not tough decisions,” she told an audience of about 500 at Iowa State University who braved one–degree temperatures to see her. “[Decisions] like the bin Laden raid… there was nothing at all preordained about what the outcome would be… I was asked to be among the very small group of advisers asked to weigh in…”
The argument is a core one for Clinton in her race against Sanders, who has generated much more grassroots enthusiasm in a state where voter fervor is coin of the realm: Her mastery of foreign policy is a major selling point against the Vermont senator who she painted as an impractical dreamer with policies that are pie-in-the-sky “we shall do this and we shall do that.”