Friday, May 23, 2008

Buck up, Buttercup

Sen. Clinton must finally have seen the handwriting on the wall. She's out and about placing the blame for her decline on sexism.

I find it hard to accept. In fact, I am offended, as a woman, by her insinuation of sexist bias by, I have to assume, the American people, the press, and politicians. Let's look at her political history to try to find where she might have suffered by prejudice.

Well, she's been elected Senator, twice. She's been the frontrunner for the Democrat nomination since, oh, 2004. In spite of her questionable qualifications and personal ethics, a large portion of the aristocracy of the Democrat party, Howard Dean, Terry McAuliffe, and others, have been in her corner since Day One and have paved the way for her campaign, giving her the leg up she needed. The liberal public has forgotten, forgiven or ignored all her baggage from her husband's administrations, in DC and in Arkansas. The mainstream media have hardly even hinted at the scandals, political boo-boos, and general unpleasantness of the Clintons' eight years in the White House, opting to grant her executive experience by osmosis.

Perhaps, the "sexism" she perceives was actually one in her favor. She was routinely, both in her senatorial and presidental campaigns, handed softball questions. She rarely had any pointed followup questions. She was allowed to duck the press in favor of her "listening tours". She was protected at all times from potential embarrassing situations, both by her handlers, and the Secret Service. Rarely were any of the Clinton indiscretions of the 80's and 90's mentioned by the MSM. One could assume that no one wanted to embarrass her. Put her on the spot. See her sweat.

The few instances mentioned to support her charge of sexism, were minor. The Hillary nutcrackers, the cartoons, the "Iron my shirt" radio publicity stunt, pale in comparison with the insults thrown at Condoleeza Rice, who never complained about sexism, or racism, as far as I can tell. Ms Rice knows that politics is hardball, and if you can't take your licks, get out of the game.

The press and the pundits as well as the public have never known how to treat Sen. Clinton. From the very beginning of their "co-presidency", she was somehow granted the spotlight, but spared the necessity of political accountability. She was treated with traditional First Lady deference, even as she stirred the political pudding in the War Room. There is no way to impeach the spouse of the President. No way for a recall to occur.

What really bothers me about her "sexist" claims is how she has always used her sex when it was convenient or even politically imperative for her to do so. Let us count the ways:

1. The name changes - Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton

2. The "Pretty in Pink" interview - sweet little wife in soft pink dress, pearls, soft light, etc.

3. Hanging onto the coattails of her husband (Does anyone really think we would even had heard of her if she wasn't the wife of a President?)

4. The famous glimpse of cleavage when Hillary wore the most revealing top (blouse, shirt, whatever is was that showed a little cleavage) for the first time. Does she not have final approval of her apparel? She had to know that there would be repercussions. She is normally so covered up, neck to toe, that the view of her bosom was surprising and therefore bandied about in blogs, on television, and the press. There were comments about the photos of Obama frolicking in the surf, if I remember correctly.

5. The tears.

The United States has women Senators, women in Congress. There have been women in presidential cabinets. Women run Fortune 500 companies. A woman is the Speaker of the House, for pity's sake, the third in line to the presidency. Hillary Clinton herself has been elected to the Senate and is, or was, the heir apparent to the Democrat nomination in 2008. When the postmortems are written, I doubt if much credence will be given to her whiny claims of sexism.

The nomination was hers to lose. She's losing it, maybe in more ways than one.


Anonymous said...

15% in Congress are women
85% are men
if this is not evidence of a sexist society I don't know what is

SML said...

100% of the players in the NFL are men. What does that prove? Women enter politics for the same reasons men do, and likewise, they choose to stay out of politics for the same reasons and then some. There are certain fields of endeavor where women have no interest. It is extremely hard to recruit women into IT, for example. Perhaps the rough and tumble, uncertain futures of politics doesn't coincide with some women's idea of family life. Don't read sexism into everything.
A sexist society wouldn't have women making up nearly half of US medical school graduates, for example. (The graduation numbers for 2006-2007 year were 8217 men and 7922 women.)
In fact women will be earning the majorities of college degrees this year, 59% bachelor, 61% masters, and 52% professional degrees, such as law and medicine.)