Hillary has an honesty perception problem, and everyone knows it.

That problem surfaced at the CNN Democratic Town Hall the other night, when a young man in the audience questioned Hillary about it:

Hey, remember when speaking truth to power was a supposedly liberal ideal?

Not in 2016 America.

To Joan Walsh, well-known liberal writer and agitator formerly for Salon now for The Nation, the young man’s question was pretty impertinent. Particularly since he’s male and white. And young.

(Admirably, Walsh does disclose that her own daughter works for Clinton.)

In an ode to Hillary, Walsh writes, Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton, With Joy and Without Apologies (italics in original):

But one moment got me particularly excited, and not in a good way. It came when a young white man—entitled, pleased with himself, barely shaving yet—broke the news to Clinton that his generation is with Bernie Sanders. “I just don’t see the same enthusiasm from younger people for you. In fact, I’ve heard from quite a few people my age that they think you’re dishonest. But I’d like to hear from you on why you feel the enthusiasm isn’t there.”

“I’d like to hear from you on why you feel the enthusiasm isn’t there.” I’m not sure I can unpack all the condescension in that question. I heard a disturbing echo of the infamous 2008 New Hampshire debate moment when a moderator asked Clinton: “What can you say to the voters of New Hampshire on this stage tonight, who see a resume and like it, but are hesitating on the likability issue?” Yes, the “likability” issue. I found myself thinking: Not again. Why the hell does she have to put up with this again?

My problem wasn’t merely with the insulting personal tone of the question. It was also the way the young man anointed himself the voice of his generation, and declared it the Sanders generation. Now, I know Bernie is leading among millennials by a lot right now in the polls. Nonetheless, millions of millennials, including millions of young women, are supporting Hillary Clinton. And my daughter, as Nation readers know, is one of them. I find it increasingly galling to see her and her friends erased in this debate.

The sexism line of attack was repeated in more of a broadside later on in her article:

I’m tired of seeing [Hillary] confronted by entitled men weighing in on her personal honesty and likability, treating the most admired woman in the world like a woman who’s applying to be his secretary. I’m stunned anew by the misogyny behind the attacks on her, and her female supporters, including my daughter. I’m sick of the way so many Sanders supporters, most of them men, feel absolutely no compunction to see things through female Clinton supporters’ eyes, or to worry they might have to court us down the road, take special care not to alienate us lest we sit the race out in November, if our candidate loses.

Keyword index to the template for defending Hillary:

“white man”


“insulting personal tone”

“millions of young women”

“my daughter”

“entitled men”


None of those words were very surprising. What was surprising is that Walsh lashed out at the questioner’s youth:

“young white man”

“barely shaving yet”

“young man”

So Hillary is getting clobbered with younger people, and the response is to dismiss their concerns and berate them for being young.

The only thing Walsh didn’t demand is that the guy GET OFF HILLARY’S LAWN!


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