illary's hissy fit over David Geffen's Clinton slam got me thinking about women in politics. (No disrespect to Incredible Wife who very rarely hisses.) Here's the latest on the fit:
The rival presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama traded accusations of nasty politics Wednesday over Hollywood donor David Geffen, who once backed Bill Clinton but now supports his wife's top rival.
The Clinton campaign demanded that Obama denounce comments made by the DreamWorks movie studio founder, who told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in Wednesday's editions that while "everybody in politics lies," the former president and his wife "do it with such ease, it's troubling."
The Clinton camp also called on Obama to give back Geffen's $2,300 contribution.
Campaigning in Iowa, Obama refused. ...
"It's not clear to me why I'd be apologizing for someone else's remark," the Illinois senator said.
For her part, New York Sen. Clinton sidestepped questions, leaving the issue to her aides to discuss. "I'm just going to stay focused on my campaign and I'm going to run a positive campaign about the issues that affect the people in our country," she told The Associated Press in an interview in Nevada. (AP)
Hillary obviously was in charge of the entire process, determining on her own who would respond and what they would say, then claiming she's running a positive campaign -- unequivocal proof that Geffen was right in saying the Clintons are completely untroubled by their lies.
Is she behaving like a Clinton, a politician ... or just a woman?
Normally I wouldn't pose this question (part out of fear, part out of respect), but I've been mulling over an NYT story
for a week or so now. The headline is a bit, well ... hysterical, which isn't a good way to start of an article about women in politics:
In State Legislatures, Democrats Are Pushing
Toward Parity Between the Sexes
The story's basically not true. Plod through the chatter to paragraph 20 and you find the nuts and bolts (eye shadow and Midol?) of the female surge in state politics:
Republican women lost ground and saw their numbers slide everywhere but in parts of the South. There are now only 534 of them out of more than 7,300 party-affiliated state legislators nationwide, compared with 1,187 Democratic women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group.
Assuming the 7,300 seats are fairly evenly split at 3,650 per party, the GOP gals have about 15% of the seats, while the Demwomen make up about a third of that party's state electeds. (Does it seem to you that the structure of the paragraph was deliberately made obtuse, so people would think only 534 of 7,300 elected GOP seats were filled by women? Maybe.)
But that's not the point of this post. Women are gaining seats, at least in the Dem party. Suppose they keep coming, filling the low seats on the political bleachers, then climbing up until parity -- true parity, as opposed to NYT headline parity -- is achieved in Congress. Would that be good for America?
Part of the increase in elected women is very much good for America, because most of these women won because are not the feminists that previously ran, alienating most men and many women; rather, they are moderate, mainstream and palatable to broader audiences.
The NYT makes another positive speculation: Women, we're told, bring more reasonableness to American politics because of their roles as women, they are used to finding solutions that work, and are unburdened by that pesky testosterone driven strutting of men. (And I thought feminism taught us men and women are the same!)
Left unsaid are other differences between men and women, one I'd like to focus on primarily: the womanly way of remembering conversations and relationship issues long, long after men have moved on. I remember an expert saying that studies show that when they have time on their hands, men tend to think in short segments about work strategies, sports, sex, whatever, but women play lengthy mental tapes of conversations over and over in their heads, analyzing them.
I can't imagine, but Incredible Wife confirms it's true for her at least. Sometimes the result is good -- a hug out of nowhere -- sometimes it is very bad, as things that should have been forgotten or forgiven long ago (to my bumbling male mind, anyway) gets revisited. Again. And again.
That's bad enough in domestic relationships, but imagine a floor-full of Congresspersons, the majority playing old conversations through their minds, remembering old relational pluses and minuses, and basing votes, at least in part, on that instead of more immediate concerns.
I'm not so sure that's a good thing.
Back to Hillary. When Bill heard Geffen's comment, he was probably angry. He almost certainly remembered how much money Geffen had given his campaign (Geffen raised millions for Bill) and he most likely got steamed thinking about Obama getting money he (oh, yeah, and Hillary) didn't.
Hillary, on the other hand, probably remembered every time she's met Geffen and was able to listen in her head to old conversations in which he said nice things to her and made her feel as if she had her support.
Bill's reaction would be political; Hillary's was personal, played out politically. That may explain why she made the grievous tactical error she made today -- one that may just be the turning point of her campaign.
The wannabe future world leader came off as a vindictive, lying woman today. She won't be able to do that too many more times and still be In To Win.
Labels: 2008, Hilary, Obama, Politics, Women