Long a target of frenzied right-wing smear campaigns, Hillary Clinton faced attacks during her tenure as secretary of state from activists and pundits who claimed she was trying destroy the U.S., impose Sharia law and shut down churches across America. And that doesn’t even include the Benghazi truthers who have tried to exploit the deadly 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound in Libya by coming up with bizarre, easily debunked, conspiracy theories about Clinton’s handling of the incident.
Now that Clinton has officially announced her second presidential run, the right-wing media has kicked off its latest round of Clinton-bashing. Here are just five of the lowlights from the last five days of right-wing anti-Clinton hysteria.
5. Maybe She’s A Lesbian…
While Family Research Council President Tony Perkins argues that Clinton’s inclusion of two gay couples in her campaign launch video shows that she ultimately seeks “the complete demotion of the natural family,” the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios has a different explanation. Rios said on her radio show yesterday that “rumors swirl” about Clinton’s own sexual orientation, claiming that the former first lady and senator has a long history of “embracing homosexuality” and promoting “lesbianism.”
4. ‘Permanent Darkness’
Shortly after the news of Clinton’s impending announcement broke on Friday, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre kicked off his group’s annual summit — attended by several GOP presidential hopefuls — by rolling out a list of purported “scandals” that he blamed on Clinton, including the 1993 death of White House aide Vince Foster.
Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s father and close adviser, delivered a similarly bleak message in a speech to a Georgia Tea Party group, asserting that “if we have someone like Hillary Clinton elected in 2016, you might as well kiss this country goodbye, this country’s gone.”
3. Chipotle? Scandal!
In another sign that Clinton will be criticized no matter what she does, one Fox News panel slighted her for visiting an Iowa Chipotle with her aide Huma Abedin, whom host Andrea Tantaros suggested was hungover. Tantaros even speculated that Clinton only ordered food from Chipotle because she is afraid that Sen. Marco Rubio may be consolidating the Latino vote.
2. Persecuted White Men
Bill O’Reilly, a staunch defender of the persecuted white Christian man, said that Clinton’s candidacy has potential because “traditional American values” are under assault. Reacting to the announcement of Clinton’s presidential bid, the Fox News host said that she has an “advantage” in a climate like today’s where “if you’re a Christian or a white man in America, it’s open season on you.”
1. Too Ugly To Be President
Surprising nobody, sexist attacks on Clinton’s age and looks began as soon as the news broke about her announcement. Fox News pundit Sean Hannity laid out his compelling case against Clinton like so: “She’s aging, out of ideas, often shrill, apparently, according to oral reports, angry and clearly not inspiring.” Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman called her the “Wicked Witch of the Left,” saying she is only “technically a woman.”
Don Feder, a Religious Right activist with the World Congress of Families, took it even further, writing that Clinton’s “hideousness factor” should preclude her from the presidency.
“Lyndon Baines Johnson was the last profoundly ugly candidate to be elected president, and he was a legacy of the martyred JFK,” Feder wrote. “Voters don't want a leader who looks frazzled or frumpy. We're told that Lincoln was too homely to be elected president in an age of television and paparazzi. But Lincoln's homely face had a dignity, a gravitas. If nothing else, we want a face that reassures us, not one that scares us, a la Night of the Living Alinskyites.”