Thursday, January 10, 2008

Don’t Cry For Me America

In what is sure to be condemned as a “why I hate Hillary” essay I feel compelled to discuss the last few days of New Hampshire and what I think the consequences of Hillary’s performance will be in the long term. While it is true that for many voters, especially women Hillary’s emotional melt-down was a final deal maker for her eventual win in New Hampshire. The problem is that just like most things in America men and women can see the very same event and interpret it differently, I guess that whole Venus and Mars thing.

Before I begin, I would just like to say that I admire Hillary tremendously. I think that she was probably the more talented of the two Clintons, but due to the country’s unwillingness to elect a woman we got Bill instead. I think Hillary will do a credible job as President if elected, but she would not be my first choice. To me Hillary represents the past. Even though I enjoyed some of my best year’s income wise with Bill Clinton I have no desire to see the country go backwards for any reason. I also have issues with Hillary’s foreign policy positions and I believe that she supports the American empire which I will discuss later.

In many of the interviews I have heard from women after New Hampshire, a lot of the women (which Hillary carried 46% to Obama’s 34%)stated that the turning point for them in selecting Hillary was her tearful response when asked how she was handling the campaign pressure. For many women it was a defining moment in that it presented Hillary as human for the first-time in the campaign. More women seemed to have identified with her more following the outburst than previously according to the interviews. I for one find this hard to believe in that one of Hillary’s strong suits from the outset was going to be women identifying with her. If these interviews are true are we to assume that she had them and then lost them and then got them back? I think for a lot of women it will be difficult to cast a vote for anyone but Hillary as long as she is in the race. This is not to say that all women will support her, but because of her attempt to make history and her shared history with many women who feel frustrated with the “good old boy” network she will garner a lot of female support.

This is the upside of the outburst; the downside is that while many women saw it as a strength to be vulnerable and emotional, many men will take the opposite tack. This scene will reinforce their belief that women are not emotionally stable enough to handle the pressure of governing or making tough decisions, so while it was a benefit to one group it can be a hindrance to another. The real question now becomes who will be most affected by it. Will it draw more women to Hillary than she already had like it did in New Hampshire or will it push away men who would have supported her? Will the Republicans use it in the fall?

While there are many who will dispute my conclusions the truth of the matter is that there are a substantial number of men who will use this as an excuse to not vote for Hillary. Would these men have ever voted for Hillary? We don’t know, but what we do know is that there is a long history of misogyny in America. There is a reason that we have not had a woman as President. And despite popular belief there are a large number of women who will not support Hillary, just as there are a large number of blacks who will not support Obama.

I read that the woman whose question elicited the emotional outburst from Hillary did not vote for her in the primary. After doing some blog crawling I have also found that there are women who viewed the incident as a sign of weakness. We are living in crazy times where every move a candidate makes is scrutinized and used for political fodder by both sides. I personally do not believe that Hillary showing emotions disqualifies her or anyone else from being President. I for one am tired of the phony “cowboy” persona that has been perpetrated the last eight years. I would hope that we as a nation have evolved beyond the day when a candidate crying would be a disqualifying factor for office, but stranger things have happened.

Hillary stated in an interview that there is a double-standard being applied to male and female candidates. I agree but crying isn’t one of them. In what is affectionately referred to as a Muskie any man that cries on the campaign trail is as good as history regardless of the circumstances. I’m sorry Hillary but that dog ain’t gonna hunt. While it is true you receive more scrutiny in some areas, so do the other candidates in others. I don’t think any candidate gets more grief for their appearance than John Edwards. I have never heard of a man being too handsome to be President. So let’s be fair, there is enough meaningless reporting to go around and so there is no need to get sensitive.

“I actually have emotions,” she told CNN’s John Roberts on a damage-control tour. “I know that there are some people who doubt that.” She went on “Access Hollywood” to talk about, as the show put it, “the double standards that a woman running for president faces.” “If you get too emotional, that undercuts you,” Hillary said. “A man can cry; we know that. Lots of our leaders have cried. But a woman, it’s a different kind of dynamic.”[1]

As we continue this nominating process I am sure much will be made of the “boo-hoo” bump, but again it shows that we have a strange way of nominating people in this country. Will this be the moment that rights the Clinton ship and propels her to the nomination? It’s anybody’s guess, but for a lot of women it did solidify their solidarity with Hillary and for some it reminded them of why we need a woman in the White House. Maybe at some point before the convention we can get back to the important issues that are facing this country. Hillary Clinton crying in my opinion is not one of them.



Anonymous said...

I will vote for a QUALIFIED woman to be President in a heart beat. However I would NEVER vote for Hillary because she is not qualified, not because she is a woman. I have lot of questions about her so called "experiences", her honesty, and her political scandals (White Water...etc..). Furthermore I don't want to have a 90's retro. People who voted for Hillary just because they liked Bill Clinton's era are people who lack the vision, stuck in the past. I want a new era, new vision, new future. If a person is so fearful of the future by citing the so called "lack of past experiences" then he/she should never step out of his/her house. There would never be anything revolutionary. We would have to ride a horse instead of driving a car or the computer would still be the size of the house.

Things always changes, the future always represent different problems, different challenges, different solution. That is the reason why JUDGEMENT should be more critical than experience. Experience can be gained very fast, but judgment can not be learn.

Marxsis said...

I agree that Hillary Clinton isn't the greatest canadite for presidancey. Especially when our nation is going through a crissis like the one it is currently facing. Eeven with this mutual agreement I don't agree with your reasons for not wanting her as presidant. Of course it's completely fine for you to have the oppinions that you have. I feel that Hilliary has weak ideas on health-care. Also as a New York native I feel it is appropriate to be uneasy with the fact that as a New York State Senator Hillary uses my state as a launch pad for her presidancy campaigns. She lived most her life in Arkansas and really knows nothing of New Yorks problems. She could just as well have pulled a piece of paper saying New York on it out of a hat and then decided she was from their.Also I'm not sure that a militant feminist would make such a good leader. Bill Clinton on the other hand would be my first choice during this coming election, to bad he can't run again! That is why I believe as a Democrat that we should vote for Barack (who doesn't cry for votes) and consider a jewish leader in the future as a strange yet plausable possibility.

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