Thursday, February 8, 2007

This And That

* Erica C. Barnett has a great post up on the "schizophrenic" coverage of women in politics, especially Clinton. Barnett is an Edwards supporter, but less so in the last few days. And worth reading anyway (although from the date stamp you can see she is not a daily read for me, except on Slog).

* I think this story overplays the differences in styles between Obama and Clinton. After all, Obama hit back pretty well with the Islamic school nonsense. But I do want someone who's willing to give back as hard as the Republicans are going to throw and then some:

“When you’re attacked, you have to deck your opponents,” she said to cheers from Iowa Democrats. “I want to run a positive, issue-oriented, visionary campaign. But you can count on me to stand my ground and fight back.”

No stranger to bare-knuckle politics, Clinton knows how to win, and her style would perpetuate the kind of politics the country has enjoyed - or endured - for more than a decade.

* I'm not sure exactly what to make of this article, but I am happy with how it ended:

Still, in all fairness to Hillary, her voting record on traditionally Democratic issues like civil rights and public education is undoubtedly liberal - it's on 'Republican' issues like foreign policy that she's more centrist. And though I may not like it, it's a politically realistic way to deal with a major challenge of being a female candidate for President - how to appear tough enough to be Commander in Chief without sacrificing one's womanliness. It's not easy, especially in today's machismo-driven political climate.

And Hillary of all people knows the power of presentation; after all the time she spent on irreproachably worthy causes, her highest approval ratings resulted not from her years of work at the Children's Defense Fund but from the sympathy that accrued in the wake of her husband's affair. For much of her term as first lady, the oft-changing hair covering her head got more attention than the unfaltering brain inside it. The impact of the years of personal scrutiny is reflected in her campaign website, which features pictures of baby Hillary and Mom Hillary alongside articles entitled 'Senator Soothing: Hillary Clinton can be Warm, Casual.'

When a 21-year-old Hillary Rodham made her commencement address to the Wellesley Class of '69, she said 'we found, as all of us have found, that there was a gap between expectation and realities. But it wasn't a discouraging gap and it didn't turn us into cynical, bitter old women at the age of 18. It just inspired us to do something about that gap.' I may not be thrilled about some of her more blatant political maneuvering, but I do believe that the idealistic Hillary - the Hillary who did her thesis on children's rights and criticized the Taliban's treatment of Afghani women before anyone else cared about Afghanistan - is still alive and kicking. She's just got to prove it to the rest of the country.

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