Friday, November 09, 2007

Susan Faludi on Hillary Clinton


Male politicians have always cast themselves as rescuers to women. Clinton's also playing a rescuer -- but as a feminist!











Susan Faludi: Hillary Plays the Winning Gender Card:


No sooner had Hillary Clinton proceeded from the Democratic presidential debate to a speech at Wellesley College last week than the wailing began. Barack Obama hit the "Today" show accusing her of playing the gender card, and a chorus line of media pundits denounced her for having hurt the cause of feminism by acting the part of the injured girl.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd contended that Clinton was trying to show
she can break, just like a little girl. ... If she could become a senator by playing the victim after Monica, surely she can become president by playing the victim now.
Fox News' Mort Kondracke preached:
I think it is very unattractive for a general election candidate, who wants to be the commander in chief of the free world, to be saying, 'They're ganging up on me!' I mean, this is the NFL. This is not Wellesley versus Smith in field hockey.
Yet these indictments were conjured from the slimmest of evidence. What Clinton actually said at her alma mater before a whooping and roaring crowd of more than 1,000 young women was:
In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys' club of presidential politics. ... Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it, not now. So let's roll up our sleeves and get to work together. We're ready to shatter that highest glass ceiling.
What about that was so girl-with-her-finger-in-her-mouth frail?

The fact is, Clinton's opponents are mad because they feel robbed. Clinton hadn't acted the victim. The gender card she played was the one every successful recent male presidential candidate has played -- the rescuer card.

. . . .This year, as always, the presidential candidates must contend with the rescue formula, complicated by the fact that Bush has so devalued its currency. In this climate, Hillary Clinton can do what her male counterparts cannot. She is, indeed, reaching for the gender card, as her accusers claim. It's just different from the one they imagine. She is auditioning for the role of rescuer on a feminist frontier.

She returned to Wellesley to tell female undergraduates that she was there to free them; she was there to help them "roll up our sleeves" and "shatter that highest glass ceiling." As such, she latched onto a crucial element of presidential races past, and possibly to come -- that at the core of all American political rescue fantasies is a young woman in need.

In the general election, whoever the candidates may be, they will be tempted, perhaps required, to show just those bona fides. Clinton may be the only one who can do so without betraying the signature of a disgraced cowboy ethic.

12 Moderated Comments:

Blogger M.D. said...

She's going to do it! I don't agree with her approach to a lot of issues, but I want to see that glass ceiling smashed to pieces.

11/09/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

The press, led by Hillary-hater Tim Russert, is going to try their best to destroy her.

11/09/2007 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Vote For Hillary Online said...

Hillary Clinton is our only hope to take back America and get it under control. God help us all if someone else wins. I got $35 in the bank that says Hillary is the best candidate. You can count on it.

11/10/2007 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Back a week or so, I clipped this paragraph from
George Packer writing in the New Yorker on BHO & HRC:

Two months ago, I wrote that Obama, with his veneer of idealism and his pragmatic core, reminded me a bit of J.F.K. That might have been wrong. Since then, it’s become clear that Obama is not “a devious and, if necessary, ruthless man,” as Schlesinger called Kennedy. Democrats drawn to Obama's camp project onto him the sense of politics as a higher calling that Stevenson pioneered in the early nineteen-fifties (whether there’s much substance to it in Obama isn’t completely clear). In the American liberal tradition, this means almost certain defeat. Clinton, on the other hand, appeals to those liberals who want to sleep with power and its compromises and have made their peace with it. For this reason, she will always be despised by a significant minority of people on her side of the partisan line, in addition to everyone on the other side.

As an Obama partisan, of course, I don't agree that my candidate is a certain loser. And when we think of Adlai Stevenson walking among us in the contemporary scene, I think most people would think of (the old) Al Gore.

11/10/2007 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

m.d.:

Tim Russert doesn't like Obama very much either, based upon his hour of power with the Senator today.

On HRC, check out the endorsements Clinton has among Military/veterans circles.

11/11/2007 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

The knock on HRC is that she is ducking the hard questions. Well good. It's smart to do so. Especially in the longest, most over-exposed pre-primary season in history. All of her desperate pandering opponents are reaching for straws out on the ends of various limbs, it's good that one Democrat is playing it safe. The GOP is racking up one hell of a paper trail. You know the finals is going to rank among the dirtiest of the dirty.

11/12/2007 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger M.D. said...

You know the finals is going to rank among the dirtiest of the dirty.

It's going to be a nasty, vicious battle... I hope the Republican candidate gets completely reamed by whoever we nominate!

11/12/2007 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

The worst case (and most likely scenario): Clinton vs. Giuliani, and Giuliani trounces her. Another 4 years of the 'Pubs. More of the same.

Go Obama!!!

11/12/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Non-Partisàn said...

This Is Your Brain on Politics

11/13/2007 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

I see no qualitative difference between Clinton's candidacy and any other man. I expect no more or less of her because she is a woman, and I'm certainly repulsed at any idea that she or anyone else is going to "rescue" women in this country. We make our own beds, even when it comes to childbearing. Although I must admit that our general survival does depend more heavily on access to competent natal healthcare--and I just don't hear that Clinton's ready to fight for single-payer universal healthcare.

11/13/2007 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

I also think that reducing this election to "breaking the glass ceiling" or, of even less importance, having "Bill" back, is seriously a disservice to every person in this country.

11/13/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

I respectfully disagree, Urban, on your last point. Everything else being equal, this is an excellent election year with the party of retro-negativity (GOP) being rocked back on its heels, to break both the gender ceiling and the racial ceiling in presidential politics. By 'everything being equal', I mean to be saying that both senators Clinton and Obama are better qualified than any of the Republican stooges.

BTW, the new American Research Group poll is out. It reveals that Clinton is trending upwards into a lead of landslide proportions.

The poll also indicates, BTW, that impeachment is not a popular option at this point among voters. The percentages of those who feel Bush and Cheney haven't abused constitutional powers and those who feel that both/either should be impeached - both figures are around 35-40%.

11/14/2007 07:24:00 AM  

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