On one of the national news broadcast the other night, a man in a focus group in Iowa was questioned about his potential support of Hillary Clinton for President a day after she made her somewhat low-key but highly expected announcement she is running for the same position her husband had in the Oval Office. The elective position, that is.
The Iowan being questioned had been an active supporter of Barack Obama for both of his elections to the Presidency. But the man wavered a little when he was asked if he would immediately support Hillary. “She has to prove herself,” or something like that, he responded. The woman at my side watching the same program hearing the same answer disliked his comment.
“That’s because she (Hillary) is a woman,” she said. “He says she has to prove herself because she's a woman. She’s more qualified than Obama was when he ran. Why does she have to prove herself? If she were a man, he would not have said that.” Her comments about Hillary’s qualifications were spot on. Serving eight years in the United States Senate to Obama’s two years there, if that means anything superior, Hillary may have been more qualified than Obama was when they first ran for President in 2008. Add to that her four years as Secretary of State and her qualifications today are light-years ahead of Obama in 2008. But even with all of that, she'll have to prove herself to the country, to the electorate.
Unfortunately, for all the experience she has from those two public service offices, Hillary may be best known as the First Lady of President Bill Clinton, a title she can’t escape. And, if her campaign continues to refer to her as “Hillary” instead of Ms. Clinton or Secretary Clinton, she may have a hard time shaking the First Lady moniker though she could still be elected. There would be some who would title her as President and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.
No doubt the “woman” or “female” card (similar to "race" card) will be played often in this election. The comment from the man in Iowa was because he is a die-hard Obama supporter, and he doesn’t have the same feeling toward Clinton as a Presidential candidate, not because she’s a woman. In his mind, she has to prove herself to him. However, no matter what anyone says about Hillary, if it comes across negative in the slightest (which will be that way more to women than to men), we will be told it’s because she a woman. Her campaign wants it both ways: the election of the first woman as President of the United States without anyone saying the slightest thing that may be construed as sexist. Or maybe they don’t mind the “negative” attention?
Dictionary.com word of the day
schlemiel (noun) [shluh-meel]: and awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right