Friday, January 11, 2008

Don't Cry for Hillary, America

Two ed.s caught my attention today: The one that parroted my essay of a few days ago about authenticity and Hillary from The Nation and Today's AJC Editorial on whether a tear brought victory for Hill-- Here they are:

Obama and Clinton

Authenticity Counts

Patricia J. Williams | At this historic moment, don't let pundits and political spinmeisters reduce our first serious black and female presidential candidates to false narratives and stereotypes.

Diary of a Mad Law Professor by Patricia J. Williams

American Pie

[from the January 28, 2008 issue of the Nation]


Thanks, Hillary

Clinton a far cry from weak

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/11/08

Did Hillary Clinton cry, tear up or just get something in her eye during a meet-and-greet with voters in a New Hampshire cafe?

There's been more discussion this week about whether Clinton cried than about her health care plan or her strategy for Iraq. According to the post-mortems of her unexpected New Hampshire victory, Clinton's misty eyes humanized her and caused hundreds of women in New Hampshire to cast their vote for her rather than Barack Obama.

Debate still rages over whether a teardrop actually fell. But if a tear had fallen, does that mean Clinton is unfit for the White House? Given the looming recession, the collapse of the real estate market and the war in Iraq, it's a wonder more Americans aren't weeping.

In writing off Clinton and then crediting her resurgence to tears, pundits underestimated the candidate as well as the voters. It's ridiculous to proclaim that legions of female voters could be swayed by that hint of a tear. After all, Mitt Romney has choked up during the campaign — to no avail.

Perhaps the New Hampshire women who were forecast as Obama voters switched to Clinton after watching her debate the other candidates or answer questions at campaign events. Pundits drubbed most of Clinton's public appearances in New Hampshire, saying she was wonkish and bogged down in detail, while Obama was inspirational.

But many women appreciate the details. It's helpful to recall another smart, driven politician whose public crying also sparked questions about her electability. Twenty years ago, the tears that accompanied Rep. Pat Schroeder's decision not to run for president led to national debate on whether women were "tough" enough for the job.

"In the best of all possible worlds, I did not intend to cry," said Schroeder a week later while visiting Georgia. "But the bottom line is that if you don't have tears, you don't have a heart, and I don't think you want people in government who don't have hearts."

Or who, as the women of New Hampshire indicated, don't relish the details.

Maureen Downey, for the editorial board

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