I really had no intention of getting wound up over the ongoing race for the 2016 (read: next year) presidential nomination, but Patricia Murphy over at The Daily Beast has pushed one of my buttons. “Why Are Women Ditching Hillary?” asks the headline. “Earlier this year Hillary Clinton seemed to have the female vote locked down, so why is she now having to work so hard to convince them to support with [sic] her campaign?”
Once again I have to object to this … this wrong-headed notion … this idea that women, like a bunch of sheep, will just naturally support Hillary because she’s a woman. No, no, no! Do not keep insulting women by assuming we only know or care enough to vote M or F.
Come on, Ms. Murphy. Where did you or anyone ever get the idea that Hillary “seemed to have the female vote locked down”? And if Hillary’s camp has been working on that assumption, they’ve got much bigger problems than an email server.
I addressed this issue back in 2007 and other than a subsequent stint as Secretary of State, some sticky questions about foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and that nagging little email thing, not much has changed:
I’m beyond fed up with hearing about women being Hillary Clinton’s “natural constituency.” She’s a woman; I’m a woman. So what? Why would any reporter or analyst, or even the candidate herself, assume women will support her simply because she’s a woman?
Being a woman doesn’t make Hillary more qualified or in any way a better choice than her male opponents. Her gender might even work against her on the world stage (dealing with Muslim leaders, for example). She certainly lacks the gravitas of Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher. Or Jeane Kirkpatrick or Madeleine Albright, for that matter.
Instead of assuming women’s allegiance to Hillary, the analysts should consider that women tend to be more critical of women than men would be. Women talk among themselves about other women, judging and assessing one another far more than men do. Women can be very “catty” about other women. Quite simply, women know women better than men do.
And yours truly, speaking as a woman and a voter, does not think much of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. She’s a lawyer… and that helped her back in Arkansas with the White Water scandal, back when she and husband Bill were making plans to get each other elected president someday.
When Bill was elected president, Hillary became First Lady. That allowed her to pick out the curtains and dishes, host lavish parties with big-name guests, and travel widely on the taxpayer’s nickel. Bill did let her take a crack at universal health care, but as it turned out, tricky national political issues weren’t her forte.
When Bill was caught philandering in the White House, Hillary assessed her plans to be president someday and promptly forgave him. Most wives, after enduring such public humiliation, would have thrown the bum out or, since he was president, would have left him, taken him for every cent he had, and lived happily ever after. The noble Hillary, however, took it on the chin for her country and stood by her man.
Eventually Bill left the White House and the Clintons moved to New York. New York, you see, had a Democratic Senate seat opening up. No dummy, that Hillary. “U.S. Senator (D-NY)” would look a lot better on her résumé than “Cookie Baker, D-AR.” Never mind that it made her a very transparent and still-not-very-stylish carpetbagger.
Now, finally, after all her sacrifice and years of preparation, Hillary is, according to most national polls, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. I don’t know if that’s because of or in spite of her careful calculations, waffling on issues, cackles, fashion sense, gender, or “thirty years of political experience.”
Hillary, I’m a woman voter. I’ve assessed your qualifications for president. And, Hillary, you’re no president.
*Related on Pied Type: