2008 Re: Cool It In Ohio
posted by February 25 at 12:45 PMon
I’m not even going to address Josh’s WTO-as-EPA analogy, because we’ve been arguing about that for, oh, about 47 years now.
But I do have to take issue with his description of Maureen Dowd’s column calling Obama feminine and Hillary masculine as “smart analysis.”
For context, here’s Dowd:
And when historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival. …
At first in Austin, Hillary did not channel Jane Austen. She tried once more to cast Obama as a weak sister on his willingness to talk to Raúl Castro.
Obama tapped into his inner chick and turned the other cheek. To cheers, he said, “I think that it’s important for us, in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, for the president to be willing to take that extra step.”
Hillary tried to rough up Obama on copying his pal’s language even as she copied her husband’s line from 1992: “The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits that the people in this state and this country are taking every day of their lives under this administration.”
While Obama looked at her warily, even fearfully, Hillary suddenly switched to her feminine side. Getting New Hampshire misty, she said she was “absolutely honored” to be there with him and that “whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.” (Her campaign defended the originality of the John Edwardsian sentiment, saying it had even been expressed by the likes of Lindsay Lohan). The press hailed the moment as heartfelt, but it was simply Hillary’s calculated attempt to woo women and protect her future in the party — by seeming more collegial. She’s furious that the Chicago kid got in the picture.
Hmmm… Why does this sound so familiar? Oh, this must be it:
She won her Senate seat after being embarrassed by a man. She pulled out New Hampshire and saved her presidential campaign after being embarrassed by another man. She was seen as so controlling when she ran for the Senate that she had to be seen as losing control, as she did during the Monica scandal, before she seemed soft enough to attract many New York voters….
How humiliating to have a moderator of the New Hampshire debate ask her to explain why she was not as popular as the handsome young prince from Chicago
Again and again at debates, he looked eager to greet her or be friendly during the evening and she iced him. She might have frozen him out once more Monday night had he actually tried to reach out.
But Obama is the more emotionally delicate candidate, and the one who has the more feminine consensus management style, and the not-blinded-by-testosterone ability to object to a phony war.
The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.
Mistress Hillary started disciplining her fellow senator last winter, after he began exploring a presidential bid. When he winked at her, took her elbow and tried to say hello on the Senate floor, she did not melt, as many women do. She brushed him off, a move meant to remind him that he was an upstart who should not get in the way of her turn in the Oval Office.
He was so shook up, he called a friend to say: You would not believe what just happened with Hillary.
She has continued to flick the whip in debates. She usually ignores Obama and John Edwards backstage, preferring to chat with the so-called second-tier candidates. And she often looks so unapproachable while they’re setting up on stage that Obama seems hesitant to be the first to say hi.
When pundettes tut-tut that playing the victim is not what a feminist should do, they forget that Hillary is not a feminist. If she were merely some clichéd version of a women’s rights advocate, she never could have so effortlessly blown off Marian Wright Edelman and Lani Guinier when Bill first got in, or played the Fury with Bill’s cupcakes during the campaign.
She was always kind enough to let Bill hide behind her skirts when he got in trouble with women. Now she deserves to hide behind her own pantsuits when men cause her trouble.
We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato.
But maybe the qualities that many find off-putting in Hillary — her opportunism, her triangulation, her ethical corner-cutting, her shifting convictions from pro-war to anti-war, her secrecy, her ruthlessness — are the same ones that make people willing to vote for a woman.
Few are concerned that Hillary is strong enough for the job. She is cold-eyed about wanting power and raising money and turning everything about her life into a commodity. Yet, the characteristics that are somewhat troubling are the same ones that convincingly show she will do what it takes to beat Obama and Rudy. She will not be soft or vulnerable. She will not melt in a crisis.
And, unlike Obama, she doesn’t need to talk herself into manning up.
When Hillary voted to let W. use force in Iraq, she didn’t even read the intelligence estimate. She wasn’t trying to do the right thing. She was trying to do the opportunistic thing. She felt she could not run for president, as a woman, if she played the peacenik.
By throwing in with Joe Lieberman and the conservative hawks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issue, she once more overcompensated in a cynical way. She’d like to paint Obama as the weak reed who wants to cozy up to dictators, while she’s the one who will play tough. It was odd, given her success in the debates conveying the sense that she is the manliest candidate among the Democrats, that she felt the need to man-up on Iran.
Or this (imagining a conversation between Bill and Hillary):
Her voice softening, she asks, “Do you know what your First Lad project will be?”
“ ‘Just Say Yes?’ ” he proffers. Going back to his crossword puzzle, he asks, “Do you know an eight-letter word for `loving wife?’ ”
“Overlord,” she replies, smiling lovingly.
Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband — under fire for lacking experience — as an undisciplined child.”
I’m just not certain, having watched the fresh-faced senator shy away from fighting with the feral Hillary over her Hollywood turf, that he understands that a campaign is inherently a conflict.
The Democrats lost the last two excruciatingly close elections because Al Gore and John Kerry did not fight fiercely and cleverly enough.
After David Geffen made critical comments about Hillary, she seized the chance to play Godzilla stomping on Obambi.
As a woman, she clearly feels she must be aggressive in showing she can “deck” opponents, as she put it — whether it’s Saddam with her war resolution vote or Senator Obama when he encroaches on areas that she and Bill had presumed were wrapped up, like Hollywood and now the black vote.
If Hillary is in touch with her masculine side, Barry is in touch with his feminine side.
When she was little, Hillary Rodham would sit on a basement bench and pretend she was flying a spaceship to Mars. Her younger brother Hugh, perched behind, would sometimes beg for a chance to be captain.
No dice.“She would always drive, and I would always have to sit in the back,” he once told me.
Through all the years of sitting behind Bill Clinton on his trip to the stars, Hillary fidgeted and elbowed, trying to be co-captain rather than just wingman, or worse, winglady. …
In Iowa, her national anthem may have been off-key, but her look wasn’t. It was an attractive mirror of her political message: man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity.
For Maureen Dowd, politics is a lunchroom battle played on the national field. Tough girls like Hillary are mannish bullies, and boys who show their emotional side are wimpy, skirt-hiding girly-men. You get the sense that she really, really can’t get over the time that cute jock turned her down for Sadie Hawkins in 11th grade.