She’s unqualified. She’s a policy lightweight. She worked as a typist. She’s not a thinker. She’s been raising kids since the ’80s … and at 65, does she even have the stamina for the office?
If the president-elect were Hillary Clinton and journalistic breadcrumbs like these were written about one of her female appointees, the howling accusations of ageism and sexism would be deafening.
But while the mainstream media and what passes today for the women’s movement wasted no time lobbing such accusations at Donald Trump when he called Clinton’s stamina into question, there has been only silence this week after Politico published a story by Michael Crowley about incoming Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland, entitled “Flynn deputy raises more doubts about Trump team.”
It seems virtuous indignation is reserved for women of the liberal order exclusively.
If we are to accept the article’s “deck” — Former Fox analyst K.T. McFarland, out of government for three decades, is the unlikely choice for the pressure-filled job of No. 2 at the National Security Council — as the overarching hypothesis, one would expect to read personal vignettes or quotes that highlight and lend credence to the assertion that McFarland is indeed incapable of handling such a “pressure-filled” job.
Instead, the focus of the article is that McFarland has been out of government service for 30 years, working as a Fox News analyst and a homemaker who “invokes her child-raising hiatus as a source of special wisdom.” It cites a number of anonymous sources and anonymous experts who detail how vigorous the job of deputy will be and say it “would test the stamina even of someone a decade younger.”
And while the article does mention McFarland’s national security experience, there is always an accompanying jab toward her age:
· “McFarland, 65, last worked in government three decades ago, as a public affairs official in Ronald Reagan’s Pentagon”
· “Skeptics say McFarland will find government and foreign policy radically changed since the 1980s.”
· “McFarland will return to the NSC nearly 50 years after her first arrival there, as a George Washington University student who worked nights as a typist for the Nixon White House, where Kissinger was national security adviser.”
Perhaps it’s time we all just agree that, outside the NFL draft, neither age nor sex has any relevance to one’s competence.
Rather than disparage McFarland for the life choices she made to enter, leave and re-enter government service, we should celebrate what the women's movement was all about: the freedom to choose. Especially when that woman chooses to advise the president of the United States.
Crowley himself signaled he understood this just three years ago, when he wrote an article for Time discussing President Obama’s appointments of Lisa Monaco and Julia Pierson, entitled “National Security’s Alpha Women: Crashing barriers, three women are getting top national security jobs,” and astutely observed that these women were inheriting “some mighty gender-neutral challenges.”
Apparently, the ability to handle such challenges and pressures is gender-neutral only if your political ideology is not.
Questioning and critiquing McFarland’s relevant experience is fair game, however.
One has to wonder if the nameless “Republican foreign policy insider” who claimed “she is not a thinker” had his or her intellectual fingerprints on the goat rodeos that were and still are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Perhaps if that “foreign policy insider” and the last two administrations had dusted off The Weinberger Doctrine, which established clear guidelines for using force, we might not have lost 15 years, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives fighting two wars with no clear end.
As one who fought and whose friends are still fighting in those wars, I can state unequivocally that a return to The Weinberger Doctrine’s third point is long past due:
· “If committed, U.S. forces must be given clearly defined political and military objectives.”
KT McFarland wrote The Weinberger Doctrine.
I care less about where she has been over the last 30 years and more about where she’ll go over the next four.
Benjamin Collins is a decorated U.S. Army Special Forces veteran (Green Beret) who completed multiple combat rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism. As an expert on national security and foreign policy matters Collins is a regular guest on Fox News as well as a frequent radio show expert on US radio stations from Arizona to NYC and the BBC World Service.