ity Weekly founder and raconteur John Saltas is one of my bosses. Reason enough not to pull the guy’s chain too hard, eh?
I wouldn’t say I do. But I will say this: Both Saltas and I love a good argument. Lately, we’ve had a regular verbal slugfest over which Democratic candidate would make the best president. (We aren’t even wasting our time on Republicans. It’s the Demos’ year, by God, and if they can’t pull a win from the rag bin that is George W. Bush’s legacy, they’ve got worse problems than anyone can measure.)
Careful readers of
CW already know where Saltas stands. He thinks Hillary C. has very bad mojo. One of my 50-something male friends calls her an “evil bitch.” My mother used to tell me “hate” is a strong word to use when what I really mean is I “intensely dislike” someone. But I hear that word “hate” tossed around pretty indiscriminately when the topic of discussion is Hillary.
I decided months ago to vote for her on Super Tuesday. I gave it good thought. Like a lot of Americans, I’m impressed with Barack Obama and his good looks, his oratory skill and certainly, that push for (all together now)
change in America. I appreciate most of his short but impressive political resume. And props to John Edwards for having the guts to even mention the labor movement.
I’m voting for Clinton because she’s the best candidate. And because she’s a woman. Go ahead and send the e-mails and the letters to the editor. Call me shallow. Accuse me of reverse sexism. I don’t care. It’s our turn.
Plenty of people have a problem with this view. Funny, but it’s scarcely a blip for women of a certain age who have watched men mess up as leaders for years. It was the crones, after all, who shocked the pundits and pollsters last month by voting for Clinton in droves and helping her grab a surprise victory in the New Hampshire primary. My neighbor—a white, middle-age, hard-charging lawyer and lifelong Democrat whom I like very much—told me that’s because Clinton faked her tears in that appearance before an audience of women the day before the election.
In other words, Clinton snookered all those women voters with her gift for fakery and drama. Dumb women, I guess, all of them led around by their noses.
Saltas and my neighbor share a lot of opinions about Hillary Clinton. Saltas was in my office earlier this week, complaining of the “Billary” phenomenon. He resents former President Bill Clinton stumping for his wife, sees right through it. He’s not interested in a “two-fer,” he told me, as he started warming up for one of our debates.
That also bugs another man I respect, and he’s a Clinton supporter. My husband thinks Bill Clinton’s constant presence on the campaign trail or speaking on his wife’s behalf as he did in Salt Lake City late last year, could backfire on her. “People in this country have always felt strongly about electing one, and only one, person to the presidency,” he says.
I believe it. But it didn’t seem to hurt Bush a bit in his 2004 re-election bid to be Velcroed at the hip of Dick Cheney, or that he has all but channeled Cheney’s voice on most big policy decisions. Bush fans would disagree. Cheney is his vice president, not a spouse.
We do struggle in America with our perceptions of strong and successful women. Younger generations are coming along, but most of us still can’t get our minds around a woman truly in charge. Now take that up a notch. We don’t know how to deal with the Clintons. However cold, calculating and politically driven they may look to some people, they are partners and political equals. There’s no doubt Hillary knew much of Bill’s business and advised him as first lady (and unlike most first ladies—Nancy Reagan comes to mind—Hillary C. didn’t try to hide that role out of some preposterous fear of looking too bossy).
So if you supported Bill Clinton, if you fared well under his administration (and I did), you’re not going to have some over-the-top reaction to his involvement in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Ours is the only country of any size and world stature that has
never had a female in charge. That’s appalling. Clinton has the gender, but also the grit: Her proposal to start a troop withdrawal within 60 days of her election is the most earnest offer for ending the debacle in Iraq. She still has the best handle on health care in this country: there is no waffling about who will have it. We all will. We all should.
I’ve told Saltas and anyone else who cares to listen: More than anything this year, I’m all about Anybody But Bush. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination gets my vote in November. I can support any one of the current frontrunners: Clinton, Obama or Edwards.
But all things being equal, I want a qualified and tough woman. I’ve got that in Hillary Clinton.