In honor of the 88th anniversary of women's suffrage, it's Ladies Night at the Democratic National Convention. (The official theme is Renewing America's Promise).
First, we heard from a parade of female elected officials. There's a lot of talk about economic issues, unemployment. In a few hours, unsuccessful presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton will have her turn at the podium. I feel slightly pandered to, but I like it!
Let me just say a few words about Hillary.
If I still lived in New York state when she first ran for the Senate, I'm not sure I would have voted for her - on principle. I just don't believe a person should be able to move to a state solely for the purpose of running for public office. I think you should know something about a state and its people and issues first, then run for office. Then, miraculously, we learn about her long-lost Jewish stepgrandfather. Coincidence? I think not!
By all accounts, she's been a good senator for New York, she's well-liked across the state, and I probably would have voted for her for reelection. And as a political reporter friend of mine once said in a shrugging, who cares kind of way, she has the carpetbagger's seat. Still, the way she got there just rubs me the wrong way.
Secondly, I don't buy the idea that she's such a great role model for women. I don't believe Hillary Clinton would be a senator from New York or a presidential candidate if she hadn't been first lady. If anything, the lesson of her life is a pretty traditional one for women: marry well and look the other way at your husband's infidelities.
I realize that she's got a large base of supporters and a lot of women do admire her. Hey, I'm not immune to the pull of group solidarity. I was excited when Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in 1984. I even went to hear her speak, and it was inspiring. I was excited in 2000, when Al Gore picked Joe Lieberman. (Although I'm not quite so excited about either one today).
So I understand. Really, I do. But it's time to move on.
Update 11:09 p.m. I thought Hillary Clinton gave a very gracious speech. In a nod to her supporters, she alluded to the historic nature of her campaign. But she also was unstinting in her praise for Barack Obama and made a forceful case for him. She's a great speaker, and she really fired up the crowd. Do you think her striking orange pants suit was a shoutout to Syracuse University?