Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ladies Night for the Democrats

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?


Dr Zibbs said...

Hillary is on my top 10 list of people that sicken me.

Esther said...

Well I wouldn't go that far. I just don't regard her as a role model for what women can accomplish on our own.