Monday, June 11, 2007

Hillary Clinton: Y Not?

HILLARY CLINTON’s sex threatens her presidential candidacy in the same way that Geraldine Ferraro’s gender issues torpedoed her aspirations to be vice-president in 1984. Hillary Clinton’s lack of a penis – the subject of subtle whispering and cause of persistent rumors of strife with her sometimes-faithful husband – continue to plague her campaign. None of her responses have so far stifled her skeptics, who continue to point out she dresses in a clearly feminine fashion.

Recent polls indicate that between 45 and 65% of registered voters would not consider voting for a woman for president if Hillary Clinton was that woman, and conventional wisdom among pundits suggests that her gender is a major reason. Everyone is eager to make her femininity a hurdle, from blue state closet misogynists to the typical red-state evangelicals who take a more primitive attitude towards women, viewing them as property or de facto chattel slaves.

All of which raises the question: are we sexists if we refuse to vote for a woman? Or is it perfectly sensible and responsible to be suspicious of a candidate from the weaker sex, who once per month will be rendered incapable of rational decision-making by her raging hormones?

Interestingly, Clinton herself refuses to discuss the obstacle that her gender imposes, preferring instead to speak about “performance” when discussing her chances to be president. The other candidates have not clearly stated that it would be acceptable to have a woman president and, indeed, have campaigned strongly against her, indicating that they agree with majority opinion that women are too frail to be able to manage the world’s last remaining superpower.

To understand the limitations of her gender, it is important to remember that men are physically stronger than women and generally purveyors of discipline in the home. There’s a reason that the mother always says “wait until your father gets home!” There is little anecdotal evidence to suggest that anyone is afraid of women, unless you count environmentalists being afraid of Mother Nature. But it is well established fact that environmentalists are afraid of everything, including their shadow, so this result can be discounted.

Other women continue to stay with men who abuse them and treat them badly, impugning the judgment of woman as a group. Can we trust a president Clinton not to rush back to Iran’s embrace after it nukes Israel? More importantly, can we afford to?

By all accounts, Clinton is hoping this discussion goes away. History suggests, however, that it will overshadow her campaign and lead to ignominious defeat. Such was the fate of Victoria Woodhull when she attempted to run for president in 1872. While most Americans only vaguely know the history of this event, most are surely aware that her candidacy went so poorly that she was left off the ballot in every state and received no votes.

In an ironic twist, Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill, who was president from 1992 to 2000, was wracked by scandal the last few years of his term for taking what some deemed inappropriate liberties with female employees. Mrs. Clinton chose to stay with her husband rather than leave him, making the image of a nuclear halo over our allies in the Middle East a much greater possibility.

When asked about what role his wife’s gender would play in the 2008 elections, Bill Clinton was quick to respond “I think the voters, like me, are ready for a woman.”

(Author: This satire inspired by the Sally Denton hit piece Romney’s Cross to Bear)