2008 Does Hillary Have a “Gender Problem”?
posted by November 2 at 14:01 PMon
Not everybody agrees that Hillary Clinton has been, as Eli put it, “trying to push women’s buttons, getting them to rally around Clinton out of a sense of shared victimhood.”
Here’s a different take from The Carpetbagger Report:
The meme of the hour is that Clinton played the “gender card,” but the evidence is pretty thin. A lot of people are pointing to this example from yesterday…
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton returned to her alma mater Tuesday, the all-women’s Wellesley College in Massachusetts, as her campaign suggested this week’s debate could help her with women voters.
Clinton seemed to allude to sharp attacks from Democratic rivals in Tuesday’s showdown, telling the enthusiastic crowd, “in so many ways, this all women’s college prepared me compete in the all boys’ club of presidential politics.”
However, like Ezra, I don’t see this as particularly troublesome. […]
Playing the victim takes a lot more than the mere mention of gender.
That said, while I think the media is blowing this way out of proportion — probably desperate to find a new narrative to talk about — part of me thinks this whole hullabaloo is Mark Penn’s fault. He’s the one who hosted a conference call to say that Obama’s and Edwards’ criticisms were driving women voters to Hillary. Since Tuesday, that’s probably the only legitimate instance of the campaign playing the “gender card” at all.
TCR’s Steve Benen was referring to a post on the American Prospect’s blog by Ezra Klein, who elaborates:
Clinton, speaking to her alma mater, said, “In so many ways, this all-women’s college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics.” That’s the only invocation of gender since the debate. And to me, it sounds like nothing more interesting than alumni puffery. She didn’t say the “boys” were beating up on her for being a woman. She didn’t say the questions were unfair or the attacks sexist. She just said that her alma mater helped prepare her to enter this world. That’s not making this about gender. It’s mentioning gender, and pumping up her college.
And as far as calling the election an “all-boys club” goes, that seems unambiguously true. In a nation that’s more than 50 percent female, where women made up 54 percent of the electorate in 2004, exactly one out of the 17 candidates currently vying for the presidency is female. But what we’re upset about is that Hillary Clinton mentioned that fact? The men doth protest too much, methinks…