Under the banner of “#INCLUSION NOW” at a conference for professional business women in San Francisco on Tuesday, a “defiant” Hillary Clinton announced that she was officially “out of the woods” and committed to “never stop speaking out.”
The former secretary of state and first lady was greeted by what Time describes as an “enamored crowd of about 3,500” business women (other reports put the number at around 6,000). Clearly feeling at home in deep blue San Francisco among an audience in which she could really flex her identity politics, Clinton hit all of her hot button feminist talking points and, of course, worked in several jabs at her mortal enemy, that dastardly man who stole the election from her with his “dark vision of carnage.”
“I am thrilled to be out of the woods, in the company of so many inspiring women,” she declared, adding jokingly, “And there’s no place I’d rather be than here with you — other than the White House.”
“The last few months haven’t been exactly what I envisioned,” she admitted, “although I do know what I’m fighting for: I’m fighting for a fairer, big-hearted, inclusive America. And the unfinished business of the 21st century can’t wait any longer. Now is the time to demand the progress we want to see.”
She underscored that in that fight, “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.”
Clinton urged her audience “not to grow tired” or be “discouraged and disappointed” because “change is not happening fast enough.” The way to see true progress, she suggested, was “more women at any table, at any conference call or email chain where decisions are made.”
Clinton made clear who stood in the way of that progress: those (like a certain man occupying the White House) who look at America and “see a dark vision of carnage.” Instead, she said, she sees “a light shining.” From the focus of her speech, that light is apparently shining on all the ways America is unfair to women, who according to her are not allowed to fully participate in the economy and constantly suffer sexism in the work place.
“Stereotypes and bias run rampant even at companies that pride themselves in forward thinking,” said Clinton.
And then, of course, there’s Washington, where she suggested “groups of men” are trying to strip women of their constitutional rights to make decisions about their “health” (the Democrats’ standard euphemism for access to abortion, particularly through Planned Parenthood). In her rebuke of man-filled Washington, she cheered, again, the failure of Trumpcare, which she slammed as something that would’ve hurt millions of Americans.
“When Congress and the administration tried to jam through a bill that would have kicked 24 million people off their health insurance, defunded Planned Parenthood, jeopardized access to affordable birth control, deprived people with disabilities and the elderly and nursing homes of essential care, they were met with a wave of resistance,” she said. “And when this disastrous bill failed, it was a victory for all Americans.”
Her audience loved that line.
One of the more curious statements she made seemed to reference a study that showed her campaign woefully under-emphasized policy while overemphasizing identity politics. In her comment, she tried to shift the blame for her campaign’s messaging failure.
“As a candidate for president, I put out a comprehensive plan. I don’t expect you to remember that,” she joked. “In fact, there was a recent study showing that none of my plans were really publicized or talked about, so that gives me something for speeches for at least a decade.”
So is this the beginning of a long campaign to try to get back into the White House? Or is she going to be running for a lesser office, like mayor of New York? She didn’t say, but she did vow to “never stop speaking out.”