One universal truth in American politics is that Hillary Clinton will always be criticized. No matter what she does, someone — conservative radio talk show hosts, tobacco-chomping tycoons, seemingly everyone's dad — will tear her apart. Rival politicians are, of course, quick to fill this role, too: for example, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst criticized Clinton's history with women's issues on CNN Sunday. Specifically, Ernst said, "It's not enough to be a woman. You have to be committed to expand rights and opportunities for all women."
Clinton has been accused of not being tough enough on women's rights issues before, even though Clinton campaigned for women's right to fight in the military or has argued for equal pay. It doesn't matter that issues of rape and sex trafficking, access to contraception and abortion, and global female empowerment fall onto the list of things Clinton has tackled. According to her opponents, it's not quite enough.
Like some of the criticism that Clinton faces from her opposing party, Ernst's comment should receive a low rating — maybe a C minus because she technically was arguing for more pro-women legislation (good), but she lost points for accuracy (bad). So, maybe politicians should have a grading system for the comments they make. Rated for your convenience (an A plus being a solid comment based on facts, and an F minus containing offensive slurs), here are eight comments other politicians have made about Clinton:
Claire McCaskill: A-
I think she assumed that what was supposed to be public would be public and what was her own personal stuff wasn’t going to be public, and I think she might have been too focused on the latter part of that.
McCaskill said that about Clinton's public emails, according to Politico. She sounded sympathetic, and went on to say that she would never want personal emails about her children released to the public. A supporter of Clinton's, the Democratic Missouri senator was able to respectfully share her opinion without being unnecessarily negative, and she gets an A minus.
Mitt Romney: D
You've seen in polls and in discussions across the country a feeling that Hillary Clinton is just not trustworthy. This whole story about her having erased all of her e-mails even though they were subject to recall and review by Congress, I think that's made people remember that with the Clinton's it's always something.
If only the rest of the American public could have a concrete view of this "feeling" that Romney has. If Romney had some sort of substantial evidence for Clinton being untrustworthy rather than what his gut feeling says, he'd be head of the class. That's like if a student said he had a feeling that the quadratic formula doesn't really line up. His comments on Fox News make us wonder if Romney had a feeling he would become president.
Kirsten Gillibrand: A
I will never forget when I heard then-First Lady Clinton speak about the need to improve the lives of women and children around the globe. Her clarion call that women's rights are human rights was heard around the world and inspired me to choose public service. I cannot wait to help her in the Senate make her vision for a better world a reality.
Marco Rubio: D
Another Clinton presidency would be a death blow to the American Dream.
Rubio gets his grade for shoddy workmanship. Pulling out vague concepts like "the American Dream" is meant to play on emotions, not actual facts. This comment from his book is no better than if he'd written a literary essay that contained no textual support.
Martin O'Malley: B-
What we need new leadership to accomplish is to actually rein in excesses on Wall Street. And when you have somebody that’s the CEO of one of the biggest repeat-offending investment banks in the country telling his employees that he’d be fine with either Bush or Clinton, that should tell all of us something.
O'Malley made this comment, according to Politico, as a way to comment on Bush's and Clinton's possible close association with the Wall Street Crowd. This comment isn't nasty or completely random, but isn't very specific. For all we know, this supposed CEO likes Clinton for her voting record and Bush for his... choice in suits.
Lindsey Graham: F
Well, it’s easier to talk to the North Korean guy than it is her. ... I think it’s the lack of confidence in her ability to distinguish herself from Barack Obama.
There are so many things to pick apart in this comment, which Politico quoted Graham as saying. For a start, yes, Graham really did just compare Clinton to Kim Jong Un. It's even more perfect that he referred to the North Korean dictator as "the North Korean guy." The foreign policy wizard continues on to make a sexist claim that Clinton is not confident compared to President Obama — but no one who has ever seen Clinton can say she's not confident. This comment begs us to imagine what kinds of long phone conversations Graham and his North Korean friend have, since he's so easy to talk to.
Condoleezza Rice: B+
Hillary Clinton is someone I've known for a long, long time. She's a patriot. I think she's doing a lot of the right things. She's very tough. ... and she’s got the right instincts.
It's nice to see one former secretary of state praising another. Politico reports that Rice made these remarks while Clinton was still secretary of state.
Carly Fiorina: F
Like Hillary Clinton, I too have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.