|Hillary: Too late to be the first|
There's all that stuff and lots more, so the New York Times shifts its disdain to the wife of Republican candidate Marco Rubio's thirteen traffic tickets over the last 18 years, including one for going 23 miles per hour in a school zone. Mrs. Rubio is a woman, by the way, so her stints in traffic school must be news. Her husband, a comparatively sedate driver, over those years received four citations, two of which were dismissed. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, who last year admitted she has not driven a car since 1996.
|Caitlyn Jenner: So shocking you have to look|
Being a woman, being a man wanting to be a woman, admitting to "coloring my hair for years" and learning how to apply eye-liner (Caitlyn used Tom Ford Eye-Defining Pen)--these are topics gaining attention. They inspire the public to purchase magazines and, Hillary hopes, cheer at her rallies.
Hillary wants to capitalize on her gender because she's aware it's "trending."
While repeating that she's a woman, she'll conveniently forget to remind us of the more than thirty-five other women who sought the presidency before her, including candidates in her own party. Notably, Hillary won't mention a black congresswoman who represented Brooklyn, New York for seven terms, from 1969 to 1983, Shirley Chisholm, whose slogan and book were "unbought and unbossed."
Rep. Chisholm ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972 (when Hillary and Bill were in Yale law school with my husband), and with only $300,000 at her campaign's disposal, won 152 first-ballot votes for the nomination. Rep. Chisholm was direct, articulate and feisty, and earned as much comment about her gender as her race.
"When I ran for the Congress, when I ran for president, I met more discrimination as a woman than for being black. Men are men," she reflected in 1982, on her way to teach at Mt. Holyoke College (as quoted in her New York Times obituary of January, 2005).
Rep. Chisholm wasn't the first woman in recent memory to earn delegate votes at a major party's national convention. The Republicans did it first in 1964, with Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the House and the Senate, representing Maine for 32 years. She always emphasized her competence over her gender. When asked upon announcing her presidential candidacy if she expected the continued support of Democratic women, she answered, "I take the position that women Democrats and Republicans are not supporting a woman because she is a woman. I think the women of this country are looking for qualified candidates..."
Sen. Smith founded the women's divisions of both the Coast Guard and the Marines, and in 1950 was the first Republican to publicly denounce Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communism tactics in her "Declaration of Conscience" speech, in which she said, "I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an American." In that ascending order.
This contrasts with Mrs. Clinton's spotlight on her sex. In its coverage of her campaign reboot speech a few days ago, the New York Times noted, "...it was clear that Mrs. Clinton will make gender more central to her campaign this time. In her closing remarks, she called for a country 'where a father can tell his daughter yes, you can be anything you want to be, even president of the United States.'” Earth to Hillary: fathers and mothers have been doing that for two generations now.
She must also grapple with the issue of her advanced age, a problem Sen. Smith could not surmount, even though she would have been three years younger than Mrs. Clinton, who if elected will take office at age 69. To deflect age questions, Mrs. Clinton shifts focus back to her gender, saying in her reboot speech, “I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.”
|Screen grab from Carly Fiorina's recent speech in DC|
Democrat Geraldine Ferarro in 1984 was the first woman to capture a major party's nomination for Vice President, followed by Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. They both already demonstrated women's acceptability for high office.
|Sec'y Condoleeza Rice: Universally respected|
And there's another woman who, like Mrs. Clinton, has international experience. A concert pianist, National Security Advisor to the President, Secretary of State, Stanford provost and professor, corporate board member, College Football Playoff-picker, and seven years younger than Hillary: Condoleeza Rice. Unlike Hillary, she has no family baggage or scandals to detract from her record. Adding her as VP to any ticket--as suggested by my husband--undercuts Mrs. Clinton's "I am woman" mantra, and adds Dr. Rice's proven national security expertise.
Hillary isn't gaining fans, and in fact, it appears she's losing them. It could be her stiff, five-miles-an-hour delivery of stump speeches. It could be her unwillingness to answer direct questions, or her squishiness on foreign enemies and solving domestic economic lethargy. Most likely, the public's just tired of her, because she sounds tired. She never earned their trust or friendship. Mitt Romney can attest to the importance of a candidate who "cares about people like me," and with a net worth somewhere near $30 million, few are "people like Hillary."
So Hillary is reduced to touting her gender. Voters want a candidate with a record of competence, but with a trail of scandals and embarrassments, the Democratic candidate just keeps singing her slow-tempo "I am Woman" refrain as Republicans with momentum pass her by.