Friday, February 1, 2008

It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and might take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush

I wasn't going to bring up or discuss Presidential politics on this blog, but this morning I felt compelled to do so. During last night's democratic debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Hillary Clinton why she had voted to move forward with the Iraq war. After she answered the question, Wolf Blitzer then said:

Would you say you were naive in trusting President Bush?

I absolutely couldn't BELIEVE that he said that! Not only because he was completely misappropriating her words, and showing a bias in his role as the "objective" facilitator, but MOST IMPORTANTLY he would NEVER have said that to a man. Ever. It was OUTRAGEOUS. And extremely offensive. Not just offensive to Hillary Clinton, but offensive to all women and really all men who believe that women should be treated with the same respect as men. As evidenced from the cacophony of BOOS that arose from the audience, it appears that some people agree with me. And Hillary Clinton will probably not be able to comment on Blitzer's idiotic question, because she would be accused of using the "...because I am a woman" card.

I'm curious about something. I read a fair number of blogs everyday written by women and I haven't seen even one that endorses Hillary. I see support for Barack. I saw support and then disappointment that John Edwards stepped out of the race. I haven't found one blog that I read regularly that says, Go, Hillary! I'm sure they're out there, but why are they so hard to find? And it could be that someone is privately endorsing Hillary, but not openly admitting it. And this bothers me. Is it, in part, the backlash from the women's movement? Are we as women, truly fulfilling what I have always hoped is a cliché? Do we not support strong women? Do we find them too threatening? By not making our voices heard, are we not really suppressing ourselves? We are lucky enough to live in a country in which we can speak our truth. The women's movement was more than just about burning bras and keeping your maiden name. Wasn't it?

I want to make it clear that I am not saying that we as women should vote for Hillary Clinton for that very reason - just because she is a woman. What I am saying is that Hillary Clinton is a very strong candidate, with proposed policies and convictions that those of us who are democrats can believe in, yet she's not getting our vote? Why?

I have had difficulty with the "toughness" that she cloaks herself in at times. And then I found myself questioning why I felt that way. And what my "beliefs" as to how women "should be" are. And I found fault within myself. We want women to be tough. To be strong. And women are incredibly strong and tough. Yet, we're not supposed to "look tough." What's wrong with this picture? I would guess, if it is a conscious choice and it may not be, that Hillary comes across as "tough" because she is overcompensating a bit -- she is a woman and is under a probing public eye that looks to see if she will be "more emotional" than a male candidate. When she got a bit teary in New Hampshire, I actually liked her better. But, she can't win. If she comes across as unemotional, she is "too hard" and if she has an emotional moment she is "too soft." It is an impossible task.

There are some people who can't get past the lurid headlines of President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. They blame Hilary. For staying with him. For sticking by him. And because of that they hate her. And then there are those people who hate Hillary, just for the sake of hating Hillary and have no reasonable explanation of why they hate her.

Personally I found the whole Monica Lewinsky debacle distasteful and reeking of bad judgment. But, my GOD, should he have been impeached? We impeach a President who has dalliances, yet we keep a President in office who continues to commit immoral acts on a daily basis. Men and women are dying EVERY DAY for this country, because of his fanaticism. But, as Hilary Clinton has said she is the one running for President. She should be judged on what she brings to the table. She is running as Hillary Clinton. Not ...Mrs. William Clinton.

I haven't truly made up my mind whom I will be voting for on Tuesday. I LOVE the passion and hope that Barack Obama has brought to this campaign. It is invigorating. I LOVE the fact that a STRONG woman is running for President of the United States. And that I can scoop up my 3 year old daughter, as she's running around the room, point to the television and say, "A woman could be our next President!" It is uplifting that the two democratic candidates we have running for President are an African American and a woman. If we look around, we are living in exciting times. There is an opportunity here for change. On Super Tuesday, I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I voted for the person whom I think is the best candidate to lead us forward. There shouldn't be any other agenda.

I welcome your thoughts on this subject...

Note: For those interested in politics, I found an interesting blog this morning called: The Political Voices of Women. And Robin Gerber wrote a great post called Fox Fantasies (November 14, 2007) about the vitriol that Fox news is putting up for news these days, specifically in their "take" on women who are front and center.

Added note: The Political Voices of Women just picked up my post and put it on their site! Who woulda thunkit?

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  1. If Hillary gets the nomination, I'll vote for her, but one reason I don't actively and openly support her is that I actually would place her within the "old boys club." She's too...cunning.

  2. Okay, Jck, first off, I love that you were brave enough to tackle the subject. I would have, but here is the problem - I don't follow politics. I hate that about myself, and I try to change, but I just can't believe anything they say. It just seems to me that they all say what they think the most people want to hear at that time. I love the fact that a woman and African american are running, but don't know enough about either. When I try to figure out where they stand on the issues, they seem to be talking in circles and I lose interest. Now you have lost all respect for me, haven't you?
    I must admit, I can't understand why any woman would stay with a guy who cheated. I also think that some people feel that if Hillary is president, it will be like Bill is really running things. He just can't seem to shut up and stand there quietly offering support.

  3. The next sound you hear will be my chair scraping back as I give a standing ovation! This is a very thought provoking post. I admit that I'm STILL, with only 4 days to go, torn between Obama and Clinton. I've gone back and forth many times. Their stance and views are so similar it really comes down to who you like best. I just don't know yet but plan to bone up over the weekend.

    Great post, JCK!

  4. Ladies! Thanks so much for your thoughts. This is exactly what I'm looking honest discussion. I'll be interested to see if people felt as outraged as I did by the "naive" comment. I'm still rattling around with that one!


  5. We do live in exciting times. Even though I support Obama, I am just so thrilled that our nominee will be either a woman or a black. I'm not anti-Hillary, I just really like the charisma and hope that Obama exudes.

    About the impeachment thing: what you said! Too true.

    Someone on the radio this morning was talking about a Clinton/Obama ticket with Bill as Secretary of State and Al Gore as Secretary of the Interior. Now that would be a dream team!

  6. My daughter's eyes light up at the prospect of having a woman president. Lord knows, I want it to happen. It needs to happen.
    But Hillary comes with baggage, and I was turned off by Bill Clinton's remarks last week, acting so defensive on her behalf. I don't know why, but I think it is because it felt like she was letting him fight her battles for her. Maybe that's unfair to her, holding her accountable for his actions, but she was duly condemned over remarks she made during his campaign, so maybe it is par for the course.

    Yammer. Yammer. Where was I going with this? I've been surprised too. I think Obama comes across as more hopeful, more visionary.

    I guess I have no answers, just more questions.

  7. Edwards was my man, and I am still sad that he is out of the race. I don't think the silence of Hilary Clinton support has to do with fear of taking a stand or the fact that she is a woman. In my case, I am so hugely conflicted that I honestly change my mind every 8 to 10 hours. I'm telling you, for me, this will be the toughest presidential election of my voting life. And yet the choices are thrilling. I think many of us just simply haven't made up our minds. The crux of my dilemna is Obama seems a bit too green and Clinton seems a bit too ripe.

  8. I have impassioned opinions about all of this, too, but I have to admit that I could make a case for either Clinton or Obama. Still, I am able to more easily envision Clinton holding her own with other heads of state. I see a great spirit in Obama, but I see her backbone and knowledge and experience. Edwards was my guy (since Biden couldn't gain any traction).

    In a comment on another blog today, I said that I favored Hillary's decision to stay with her husband after he cheated. I think she came at that decision in an objective way, not out of emotion, and I think that bodes well for the decisions she might make in the future. (I think she made the right one, not because I think every woman should stay with a man who cheats, but because it seemed like the right thing for her.)

    Tuesday promises to be interesting. But it may not tell us much, if the numbers are too even. I do hope that all of us get out and vote in the primaries.

    Good for you JCK, for opening up a discussion.

  9. One more thing...I guess I need to learn more about this, but what's next if the two candidates have something close to a tie, in terms of delegates? Is that likely? How much of a sweep does one candidate need? Guess I have some reading to do.

  10. The Canadian chimes in...
    first of all, y'all's politics is soooo much more interesting than ours.

    Secondly, he called her naive? Seriously? It's 2008 for pity's sakes. What a throwback.

    As for the whole staying with Bill thing, what on earth does that have to do with her ability to run a country? Who really cares? Wasn't the whole point of the women's movement to give us access to bigger and better choices? She choose to stay for whatever reason but it was her choice.

    As for who to vote for, whomever you choose, it will be better than what you have currently. (Did I say that?)

  11. hats off, jck. this is the perfect forum for a political discussion.

    i was also surprised by the "naive" comment that was made at the debate. out of line.

    year after year we have seen hillary clinton triangulating to position herself for this very moment in time, the campaign for the presidency of the united states of america. seldom, however, have we seen hillary clinton take a good solid firm stance on any one topic, with the exception of universal health care. though she has become more clear and direct with her initiatives as the campaign has developed, i still believe hillary is a slippery politician - more slippery than most. i've many times wondered, "...will the real Ms. Clinton please stand up?" and this is why i do not want to see her leading our country. i'm confident that she possesses the intelligence and the diplomacy and the hutspa to be the nation's leader, however i believe she lacks the integrity to lead with truthful authenticity. our country is in need of healer, someone we can trust, someone that other nations will trust and believe. i think that someone is more barack than hillary. however i haven't completely closed the door on this yet, there's still a little crack open, so let's keep talking!

    again, thanks for initiating the great comments and thanks to everyone for sharing!

  12. More thoughts: Could it be another strong woman, flexing her influence? I'm thinking Oprah...


  13. JKC, that post was truly inspiring. I just left a comment on another blog stating that Hillary is being judged far more on her demenor and appearance than intelligence and ability.

    I too have been waffling. But I think now, Hillary's got me.

    I think she's smarter than the rest of them. And maybe just a little wily - and I don't know that's such a terrible characteristic in a woman or a president.

  14. Regarding "letting hubby fight her battles" - this sounds gender-biased to me. Haven't past potential first ladies stood by their men - and said the things and fought some fights that their candidates could not get away with (Hillary, Laura, Barbara and Nancy all included)? Now a potential first gentleman is standing by his woman.

    I can't hold the infidelity issue against Hillary. Some (maybe even most) marriages that have faced this challenge have and should have ended, but I think there are exceptions.

    Has the spouse of a president or vice-president ever held an official post in the same administration? This sounds like nepotism. The first spouse already has considerable influence - and leeway to act - if less access to the information a Secretary of ___ would have. Otherwise, the dream team sounds good to me!

  15. THIS is why I love you. This and many other things, of course.

    Your take on the impeachment thing is something I've been ARGUING forever. For. EVER.

    I think I feel another politically charged post coming on.

  16. Hey J - I love this discussion and can't even express how excited I am that this country is not only going to vote either a woman or an African American man as our next President (because the Democratic vote will win this time around) - but that our country is going to finally make a change - things are going to turn and it is TIME!!

    I have not decided who it is that I will vote for, but I am happy to say that I would be just as happy with either of these candidates and that is amazing to me! Usually, there is either one that obviously stands out and is "the choice" or there is no one at all! This is amazing that they both have just as good a chance because they hold equal potential and offer so much to the table. That is why I am having a hard time choosing at this stage. I wish I didn't like one more than the other - that their personality rubbed me funny - that would help. But, so far, even like them equally. I guess I am just waiting for one of them to say something or do something that will sway me one way or the other.

    Have a great weekend and thanks for the discussion - Kellan

  17. I guess it always should come down to which person shares your vision and would do what you would do if you were matter the sex or color. Good luck with you decision!

  18. I would like to support Hillary BECAUSE she is a woman.

    But I find her strategic, manipulative, and less than straightforward. She's clearly bright and knowledgeable.

    But I am bothered by her character.

  19. i second what slouchy says. i don't care for how she has treated her opponents in the race, and I think the ads she put up against Obama in S. Carolina were wretched, and it is said that her campaign is behind the Obama as a secret muslim rumors. (I'm an Obama fan, can you tell?) It's a shame, because I would like to like her more, but the way she has behaved really bothers me. Slouchy summed it up perfectly "I am bothered by her character."

  20. Fantastic post JCK! I just watched the debate last night on the internet - Wolf totally wanted to provoke Hillary, but it failed. She handled it quite nicely.

    I think that it is interesting that most young people are for Barack (at least that's what I keep hearing on the news and from friends/colleagues.) Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't believe that the lack of support on the internet is a backlash from the women's movement. I think that the younger generation, and others, see her as part of the political establishment, whereas Barack is seen as young and inspiring / more so the candidate for change, a possible JFK.

    It is really such an exciting time - I would be happy with both nominees...I am just so fearful of all of those red states from the last election...

  21. I am so glad to see someone blog about this and I am also glad that you thought that the "naive" question was sexist. He would have never said that to a man, I don't think. I am really torn, really torn between Obama and Clinton. I am so proud that they are our two candidates but worry the presidency might be like the vote and women will again be second. I love Obama's message, it lifts my heart, and I think Hilary is efficient and effective. Like I said, I am very, very torn.

  22. I like Hillary. I like Barack. I'm not sure who to choose yet.


  23. Most people are missing the jist of Wolf's question. On July 24, 2007, Hillary Clinton stated that Barack Obama's comments during the July debate regarding meeting with rogue nations were "irresponsible and frankly naive". Wolf was using Hillary's own words that she used to deprecate Obama. If Wolf was being sexist, then Hillary was being racist.

  24. I haven't decided whom I am voting for but I couldn't agree with you more. Some of those questions are downright inappropriate. I have seen blogs sporting the WOMEN FOR HILLARY button recently too actually.

  25. Your title is actually very backwards, in my opinion. Bush has cleaned up a lot of messes that Clinton made. I can't see anyone else handling 911 better. It's real easy to bash someone but I think we should respect the president.

  26. I'm very much a moderate, and I've voted for left-leaning Republicans and right-leaning Democrats. I'm puzzled by all the people torn between Obama and Clinton, b/c it seems pretty clear to me: if you're way liberal, way lefty vote Obama. If you're more middle of the road, vote Clinton.

  27. I totally agree with you on the impeachment thing. That irked me from the beginning. That whole business was just so Ken Starr could get his prurient kicks off. An affair has nothing to do with anything (does NO ONE remember JFK?). It was a huge waste of taxpayer money. And yet when we find out that the Shrub LIED THROUGH HIS TEETH about WMD, what happens? Nada. Zilch.

    I am torn between Hillary and Obama. I was going for Hillary because I think she has more experience and I think Obama needs to be in the Senate longer. However, I, too, am not happy about the way either of them talk about each other. Not that it matters. Our primary is one of the last ones, so I'm trying not to get too attached to anyone.

  28. Clinton's impeachment wasn't about him having an affair, it was about him lying to Congress about it. I too think it was stupid both for him to lie about it and for Congress to hound him into lying about it. His fidelity or lack thereof was between him and Hillary.

    As for Hillary and her demeanor - being tough, unemotional - She is acting just as any male politician would. Why is it that Hillary gained popularity when she teared up? Remember Howard Dean - he was the leading Democratic candidate until he yelled (almost screamed) in excitement at a campaign rally. Boy his popularity - and his candidacy - dropped like a stone, being accused of being overly emotional.


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