Friday, March 16, 2007

Snide is not a presidential quality

"the most defining moment of her public life has been as a victim of her husband's infidelities," GOP strategist Nelson Warfield said. "She prospered as the poor wronged wife, and maybe she thinks she'll prosper again that way."

This has got to be one of the most sexist statements I have ever read in a political campaign. Can you imagine anyone saying that about a male Senator? Would anyone describe the late President Gerald Ford as the long suffering husband of an alcoholic?

What a way to to try to minimize someone. Never mind that she's a popular Senator, a lawyer, and an Ivy League graduate besides being a wife. (I was tempted to use the phrase wronged wife, but what married person hasn't been wronged in one form or other by their spouse?) Let's just see if we can turn her into nothing but a little woman. Those accomplishments won't mean diddly if people can be convinced that she's nothing but a victim trying to sweep into the Oval Office on a sympathy vote. After all, who wants a victim as the leader of their country?

This is one strategy that isn't going to work. Anybody can take one look at Sen. Clinton and know that she is no victim, no meek little thing who just put up with a bad deal or couldn't see a way out. Whatever else she's done, she had the guts to make her marriage stick under circumstances that would have crushed most people and then continue to build a successful career in her own right.

Clinton's role as a very public wife has to be acknowledged, and that means taking the ugly along with the good. It doesn't need to be a key point of her campaign, but it can't be ignored either. There was too much notoriety. If joking about it becomes too big a part of her campaign strategy, she's setting herself up for failure. Whether you're in her camp or the most conservative Republican's in the race, it's time to just acknowledge that this issue is there but not focus on it.

Part of American politics is making your opponent look weak and stupid. It can be done countless ways, and that's just how the game has come to be played. I can handle that. Sometimes it even makes for great enjoyable theater. If a candidate wants to fight mean though, show me in detail why your opponent's plans won't work. Think it through. Don't just give me a catch phrase. If mockery of one incident in your opponent's past is your best campaign tool for election, don't bother running. Are you just planning on teasing Iran into submission during nuclear power negotiations? Show me if a candidate is powerful or lacking on the issues that really count, and I won't care if you wear a skirt or trousers with your suit coat. It's time to acknowledge that Presidents and Presidential candidates are People of Power, and that makes gender a moot point.

I want to see who's got the best exit strategy for the Iraq mistake, increasing stability in the Middle East and for making sure our veterans get the care they deserve. I want to see who can rebuild international alliances and loyalty to the U.S. I want to see who has a viable plan to manage the budget deficit, Social Security, improving access to medical care, and yet another looming recession. Show me some ideas on handling global warming and improving national security without compromising our nation's stated principles. Show me something real the country can do about Darfur. Tell me your thoughts on torture as a tool against terrorism and on how our country should handle immigration. As our planet becomes more unstable, I want to know your plans for natural emergency management.

These challenges and more are what our country and its future leader will face as either victim, bully or true leader. If a candidate will stand tall and strong or fudge and rationalize, let the issues show it, not some sensational news from years ago. Conversely, candidates, let more than your past speak for you as a candidate. I'm more concerned with where we're going than where you've been. For all of our country's challenges, we're still the most powerful country in the world with the greatest form of government. This time around, I'd like to see our politicians respect that and act with more maturity and more gravitas than high schoolers.

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3 Comments:

Blogger more cows than people said...

I've been reading, Cyn. Faitfhully. Always will.

You have good hopes for the next election.

Did you read Jack Hitt's article in Mother Jones an issue back "Hillarating"? it's worth a read, i think. I linked to it from a post of the same title some time ago.

March 16, 2007 7:49 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Edwards has the clearest exit strategy. :-)

March 16, 2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

The office of President of the United States has been a joke since the Clinton years. The endless investigations of Mr. Clinton by forces searching for a way--any way--to tear him down, made Mr. Clinton a joke. And we all know about the Bush Administration. A joke, yes...but a grossly unfunny one at best.

I fully expect the 2008 campaign to be a complete circus. I fully expect to learn nothing about the candidates from any debate, any public statement made by the candidate him/herself,or anything dug up by opponents. Makes it very hard to vote, doesn't it?

All I know is I wouldn't vote Republican if Jesus Christ himself headed the ticket...

March 17, 2007 12:29 AM  

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