Much has been, and continues to be, said regarding Hillary Clinton’s presumptive run for President. The ostensible inevitability of her candidacy has made many speculate on her chances of winning the election, but not many seem invested in determining her qualifications-those are assumed. Those most assumptive of these qualifications tend to be Democrats. I take issue with that assumption.
Hillary is no trailblazer. She has not broken down any barriers. The fact that she was a political star when not many women were is not the result of her brilliance or accomplishments, but merely her talent at positioning herself. That is not to say that she is not an accomplished lawyer and brilliant politician. She certainly is. But to suggest that her experience automatically qualifies her to be President is to say that anyone who’s had numerous political jobs is also qualified.
No one clamored for her to become a Senator from New York. She moved there, opportunistically, for the sole purpose of launching her Presidential candidacy in 2008. And I liked her at first. I seriously considered voting for her in 2008, primarily because there were no other viable Democrats and the Republican field was rife with Bush apologists. But I was always uneasy with her. Then, Barack Obama came out of no-where. I, like the majority of Liberals, immediately jumped ship and latched on to the Obama campaign.
Hillary may have been a good first lady, Senator and Secretary of State, no one disputes any of that. Her problem is that she has no pathos. I see nothing behind the schoolmarm-ish admonitions that are so much a part of her rhetoric. She’s simultaneously pedantic and didactic. Barack Obama has been called professorial, but he’s actually been a college professor, so it’s easily forgiven. Hillary seems to be a pretender to the throne. She speaks, not in sentences, but in contrived profundities, as if she expects virtually everything she says to be etched in granite on a monument somewhere. Almost like George Bush, but with a better vocabulary.
She is also a bit of a hawk for my taste. There is no question that she voted in favor of the Iraq war, her attempts at historical revision notwithstanding. She tried to tip-toe around it in 2008 and might have been forgiven if there had been no better alternative on the Democratic ticket. If there had been no better alternative.
I see Hillary as not having struggled to get where she is, not having broken glass ceilings (as she has claimed) simply by running for President-she lost. I think she expects us to view her as something new and refreshing by simple virtue of the fact that she is female. Except that she is the ultimate insider politician. There is nothing new and refreshing about her. Nothing.
Now, regarding the question of having a female in the White House…I’m all for it. I believe that there are serious differences in how men and women view problems and solutions and I want to see the day when we give a woman the opportunity to do so. I believe that a woman may offer sufficiently different insights into our problems so as to lean, somewhat unfairly, toward voting for a woman over a man. Yes, I admit that I am more likely to vote for a qualified woman over an equally qualified man because its simply time that we find out for sure what influence it will have over American society.
But not Hillary. Why? Because Hillary does not display the characteristics that I usually assign to a woman in politics. She does not see the world from a different perspective than do the men around her. She does not embody those characteristics that we often, if sometimes unfairly, assume to be inherent in women. Characteristics like compassion, kindness, empathy and willingness to negotiate to the mutual satisfaction of parties, rather than win at all cost.
Yes, you may call this sexist, and to a great degree, it is. But if we’re going to have the first woman President anytime soon, there is no reason to have one who will be just like the male Presidents we’ve always had.
Otherwise, what’s the point?