A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton A Woman in Charge discussion

Will she win?

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Just heard a guy on the radio say that it will be Hillary because everyone forgets a) she's smarter than you and b) she's meaner than you. He said that Huckabee will win the Republican nomination and then Hillary will beat Huckabee. What do you think?

message 2: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. Hilary is starting to remind me a little of Al Gore in his last run for presidential election. She's starting to sound preachy, condescending and a little desparate. I think coming in third in Iowa took the wind out of her sails. She is smart and tough and I think she will hang in until the bitter end. This is going to be a very interesting process to watch and I can't believe how much interest there is in this election so far ahead of time. Hopefully we will have a huge voter turnout so we will have a clear mandate on who we want to run our country. I'm just dreading all the negative campaign ads, now there's something I would like to see outlawed.

message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I have despised Clinton for years, but I agree with what this Guardian guy says, and totally relate to those famed New Hampshire ladies who switched sides at the last minute. For years I've been howling, "I'd love to have a woman president -- just not THAT woman!" and, "The problem isn't that she's female, the problem's that she's HER." I am no fan of Hillary, and I've always vowed I'd never vote for her in any primary, no matter what happened.

Well, the coverage of her loss in Iowa and of her "emotional meltdown" afterwards completely changed the way I felt about the whole thing. It suddenly became so obvious to me that people hate her because she's female, and that the things she has to deal with as a presidential candidate are so different from what the others all confront (yeah, not to discount anything, but even Obama; see G Steinem's op ed in the Times on race v. the gender factor -- I agree with her). If not now, WHEN??? I still don't care for Hillary or her crummy politics, but the media's treatment made it so painfully clear to me how very, very badly I want a woman to be president, and how difficult and unlikely that prospect still remains today, in our still very misogynistic society.

Obviously, Paul, you're all too familiar with the fallacy that a candidate's gender is a good reason to vote for her, and the Maggie Argument is one I've kept very much in mind up til now. However, earlier this week, that point unexpectedly lost a lot of its power. I just want a woman to be president so so bad! I really really do! I can't help it!! I wish it were another woman running, but part of me wonders now who else will ever do it, if she can't.

message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hi Jessica - a lot of Americans froth at the mouth when contemplating Hillary. If we discount Republican frothers, that leaves a lot of people still frothing. This is what I don't get. Bill Clinton was something of a do-nothing president, quite similar to Tony Blair - that's to say both of them were elected on a tide of goodwill and expectations, and both accomplished about a quarter of what they could have done. Okay so that's one criticism. But that doesn't explain why Hillary freaks people out so much. So here's the question : what did Hillary ever do, or not do, to annoy Jessica so much?

message 6: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I've never been able to fathom why Hillary has drawn such ire. It can't all be because she said she didn't want to "stay home and bake cookies."


message 7: by Jessica (last edited Jan 12, 2008 10:19AM) (new)

Jessica K: nice to hear your perspective. It's awful when women thoughtlessly defend their own choices in a way that's insulting to other women, and that was a badly-chosen comment.

I know that a few months ago I explained my issues with Clinton, but now I can't find that thread. Anyone remember? I think it must have been a comment on one of Paul's books, but I can't seem to dig it up....

I am one of those kids who grew up adoring Hillary, and defending her from the hoards of people who hated her for the cookies comment, and for (sort of) keeping her last name, and for being a smart, strong lady with a career and a mind of her own. I feel like her behavior over the past few years has all really taken the support of people like me for granted, while courting the millions of Americans who'd much rather see her get hit by a big truck than get anywhere near any kind of office, oval or otherwise. She is like that girl in middle school who ditches all her geeky friends to try and get popular, and winds up eating lunch alone, because the popular kids are NEVER going to like her, no matter how much she tries, and she just alienates her longtime supporters by wearing trendy clothes, or doing whatever the polls tell her is popular on the Iraq war without any thoughtfulness or ethics or considered explanation.... As I grow older, I have more patience for the reality that most people are far to the right of me politically, but I remain spooked by both Clintons' intense commitment to finding the middle and responding to polls, to the detriment of any consistent ideological commitment. I feel like she'd change any one of her stated policy positions in a second if she felt it politically expedient. I mean, it's also scary when politicians are total ideologues who aren't responsive to change in any way, but this is too much.

She also just freaks me out. Clinton epitomizes this big machine, image-focused politics that is all about surface and speeches and hairstyle, which avoids issues and analysis as much as possible. However, I guess she's running for president, so what could one reasonably expect? Those are the terms of the playing field.

Anyway, this is all my old spiel on why I don't like HC, but I feel differently now. When I woke up last week to the radio reporting her loss in Iowa, I was shocked when I suddenly wanted to cry. I guess I really want her to be president after all, and, to be honest, if she were a man I wouldn't. I feel pretty uncomfortable about that, but there it is. At least I'm being honest!

Oh, yeah, Paul, so to answer your question: her response to the Iraq war (which you and I differ on) pissed me off. She had access to information that non-politicians didn't, but she hawkishly supported it because that was the popular thing to do. That would be fine if she'd now say she'd made a mistake, but instead she's put all this energy into attacking the Bush administration for running into a war that she fully supported before it became unpopular to do so. This woman's not dumb. To me, her changing stance on Iraq is incredibly cynical.

I know these may seem like minor things, but two little events that really sent me through the roof were a speech she made a few years ago in which she tried to reach out to anti-abortion-rights activists which to me really is the prime example of her problem. Why is she trying? Those people hate her. They always have, and they always will. Why alienate your pro-choice bloc trying to woo people who will NEVER NEVER NEVER vote for you, no matter how many teenage abstinence programs (hah!) you endorse?

She also introduced a bill to ban flag burning, which is so ridiculous I can't even talk about it.

Anyway, but yeah.... Go Hill!

message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I'll add as an aside that in the junior high school halls of this political shitshow, John McCain is the successful, opposite version of Hillary. He is like that kid who's able to flit around from group to group, who can hang out with the stoners and the jocks and the honor students but doesn't actually do drugs or sports or study himself. He isn't really close with any of them and no one actually really knows what exactly his deal is, but he can sort of get along and hang around with whoever, because he's pretty likable, plus you know if there were a fight or something, he'd be good to have on your side. So I'd probably keep an eye on that guy, because he seems to have some social skills that the other candidates lack.

P.S. If Huckabee gets the nomination, I'm leaving.

message 9: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Okay, If Mr Huckabee is elected, there's a couple of pretty nice houses on Devonshire Road here in Sherwood that have been up for sale for months, I bet you'd like them. Except that Americans are SHOCKED at how CLOSETOGETHER English houses are. So you wouldn't like that part. (But this explains why we don't talk to our neighbours and you all do, even if you have to use a megaphone). I digress.
I see Jessica's description of Hillary's miserable attempts to beg for political support from her opponents as something which Tony Blair was very often accused of doing. This is part of a wide picture. Let's see if history can teach us something (which as you know I believe it never does).
In Britain there was the Left and there was the Right. And they deserved those terms. In America it always seems to us here that there was the Right and there was the Centre, no left at all. That was bulldozed into a mass grave by the communist witch-hunts of the 30s through to 50s. You guys hated Communists so much! In Britain the Communist party until the end of the USSR regularly stood in local and national elections (Nottingham actually elected one once in the 1980s. I can't see that happening in the USA in the 80s. Correct me if I'm wrong.) A few of the current and previous British government's cabinet members were declared Marxists in their radical youth - also not likely to happen in the USA.
Every time Hillary even mentions the words "health" and "insurance" right wing Americans accuse her of being a Marxist Leninist.


How insane is this. In Britain, the so-called right wing party, the Conservatives, recently declared their passionate belief in our (socialist) National Health Service


(you don't have to read this stuff, I'm just making a point!).

Now, in Britain Tony Blair, rightly believing that Britain is essentially a right-of-centre country, threw out every leftwing policy and charged into the centre ground. He had to do this because Rupert murdoch wouldn't have let him win otherwise. Mr Murdoch, an Australian, controls large parts of the British press, which as you know are like rottweilers in a kidergarten :


Anyway Tony's idea of de-lefting the labour Party worked brilliantly (it helped that he had a very charming smile). He called himself Labour but he was more Conservative than the Tories in some respects. So he got enormous flack from everyone slightly leftish, but in Britain, in the 2000s, the centre is the only place to be. Ideology is so last century. The right wing has ditched it too, as you see. Efficiency and management is all.
This is not so in America, where Hillary is now catching the same flack as Tony used to catch, and she, I think, would say the same as Tony would have done any time in the last 10 years - I have to do this. Whereas Tony has to appease Murdoch, Hillary has the awesome Christian Right to grapple with, which is so strong, so vicious, so misogynistic, and she has to do all that nasty ducking and diving. It makes her look like she has no principles, I guess, just like it did Tony Blair.
American politics are stuck in a wilderland at the moment, maybe they always have been. There is a very cohesive Right with an agenda (yes, you can break it down but they really come together on so many issues). And opposing the Right there is a Centre which desperately pretends it's slightly right wing too. I think all the Democrats can do at present is field the Not Very Right Wing Candidate, which from my point of view, has to be Hillary - because she's a woman. It has to happen, the most important political position in the world has to be held by a woman, and for eight years.

message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Well put, sounds about right.

FYI, Murdoch owns a lot of our press, too. He's got his infamous national Fox News on TV and here in New York City has the Post, a shockingly right-wing tabloid which must be the most widely-read paper in the city.

message 11: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Also, I have just quit my job and expect to be unemployed for a couple months while I find a new one. This puts me in the position of either paying $400+ a month to extend my health insurance during this time, or just trying very, very hard not to get sick or hurt. If do I move to Sherwood, will I be eligible for your pinko healthcare system? Or do I have to become a citizen in order to qualify? This would need to start in February in order to solve my problem.

message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant As soon as your pretty feet walk upon this green and pleasant land you are coccooned in our womb-to-tomb national commie health service. So quit your job, you say - more time for reading and writing reviews? (Always look on the bright side of death).

message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Well, they say you have larger pints and better chocolate, and I guess that is worth a lifetime of Robin Hood jokes. Will you pick me up at the airport? Also, will you chauffeur me around to all my appointments, once I'm settled in? I'm scared to drive on the left.

I guess we should wait until Super Tuesday (2/5) to plan anything definite, but I'll keep this in mind as a reasonable option. It's certainly more reasonable than paying for COBRA.

message 14: by Missie (new)

Missie maiewski well id otn think she wil win since oprah is totally into obama so it could be him but i dont know im onlt twelve

message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Having now discussed the Hillary/Obama issue on various Goodreads threads, I have (as an English person) been surprised, bemused and a little disappointed that almost everyone - I mean Democrats here - says "we don't know why but we really can't stand Hillary" - so, it seems to me that it has to be Obama if even the Dems don't like her. Mystifying!

message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I had a dream over the weekend in which Clinton showed up somewhere that I was, I think at work, and we were hanging out, maybe she was helping me with something at my job? In the dream she was really, really cool and funny and real and down to earth, not at all how she seems in real life! In the dream, I told her I was definitely going to vote for her, even though that was totally not what she was after. In the dream. It was very vivid.

message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Hey Paul, thought you might get a kick out of this op-ed type thing on Hillary haters, though I suppose there's not much that's especially new in it: http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/?8dpc

I have moved past my own Hillary hating, but now that it's actually time to pull the lever I am having a major freakout. I think I can overlook everything but her Iraq vote; however, that is a biggie. I had a conversation with my sister this weekend about her feelings on having voted for Clinton and then being completely misrepresented by her during Hill's (I maintain, deeply cynical) march to war, and Rachel's feelings made a pretty big impression on me. I actually want to vote for Clinton at this point, but I don't know if I can. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow, I really don't!

I also think she's screwed. It looks like her husband's really dragging her down at this point. I mean, even the NY Times ran this big article on Thursday about BC's sleazy uranium mines-for-buddies deals in Kazakhstan, and they're endorsing her, these are her friends! The underdog-lover in me now wants to vote for Clinton because I really think Obama's settting up for the knockout here. Also, though, I think BO has a slightly better chance of beating McCain, because as Paul and others have noted, a lot of people, including democrats, really, really hate Hillary Clinton, and it's hard to see her overcoming that in the general election.

message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Wow, great article, this is worse than I thought, misogyny rules. Obama vs McCain then, Obama to win by a whisker in November.

message 19: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Has anyone had the opportunity to read the article in The Atlantic about Obama vs. Clinton...very insightful and helped me to decide on who to vote for...its hard not to be selfish when voting, but since I have 3 kids I have to consider their future as well and who is going to help them the most...in the long run I just din't think Hillary was going to do that.

message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica In case anyone's wondering, I ultimately could not bring myself to vote for Clinton. However, I also could not bring myself to vote against her. This has been the most bizarre and confusing election for me, as is described by this writer much more clearly than I could ever manage:


message 21: by Meels (new)

Meels Clinton's healthcare system is the only thing endearing about her! Having lived in England myself (twice, and Jess, I had a british national health doctor before I was given residency, so you'll be fine if you're really moving there), I have no problem with it for the most part. As long as you don't get cancer and live in the wrong area and have to wait two months to start treatment...it's all good!

But, really, you Democrats have got to give me a better option!

message 22: by GB (new)

GB On this morning of Super Wednesday I heard a guy from the Clinton campaign stating the obvious - if the Dems go to their national convention with Obama and Hillary neck and neck, as well might happen, what's to stop them making a deal and joining together - so HC as prez, BO as veep for 8 years followed by OB as prez for 8 years. Whaddaya think? Could happen? Surely a Clinton/Obama ticket would shut down McCain very rapidly.

message 23: by Meels (new)

Meels If it was the other way round, you'd have my republican vote...but I can't vote for her. Something in me simply won't allow it.

Ariel It's really shocking to me that intense Hillary hatred can be called anything other than sexism. Jessica - I remember we were talking about her vs. Obama back in the summer and even you, rabid feminist, said "I'm not voting for that witch!" Witch is such a sexist word!
People have all these reasons they hate her (she's fake, she's conniving, she's part of the machine, she won't admit she was wrong) and these are all valid reasons to dislike a candidate - but the reason she is HATED is because she's a woman in power.

Regarding the vote for the Iraq war - I feel like this has been blown up way more than it should be and it annoys me how Obama keeps clinging to it as his thing to hold against her. He wasn't around then to cast his vote so he should stop acting like he was and did. The fact of the matter is we don't know how he would have voted.

I support Hillary, but I think Obama could be great too, and his charisma and power to inspire that Hillary lacks is no small thing.
What I can't stand, is how so many young, liberal people who support him couple that support with unselfconscious blatantly sexist hatred of Hillary.

message 25: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. My issues with Hilary aren't sexist, it's more a matter of integrity. For the last 8 yrs we have listened to nothing but spin and I for one have had enough of it. I want a president who has the guts to say--I screwed up--and I'll try to do better next time. I am referring to Hilary voting for the war and now during the campaign trying to put a new light on that vote instead of just owning up to making a mistake. I'm still not sure who I'm going to vote for, but I will be watching very carefully to see who seems to tell the unvarnished truth most of the time. Lord knows, I don't expect perfection from a polititian.

message 26: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I love you.

Also: I voted for Hill!

message 27: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (you-ariel)

message 28: by Valerie (new)

Valerie I've always been into Hill as a person who doesn't follow politics at all. Basically, I saw a woman in politics were there were few and women graduating at higher numbers than men from both law and medical school for decades and there being absolutely no representation or trickle into politics.

But the real kicker was right before the election seeing all these annoying liberal boys who I'd never noticed really caring about politics suddenly bashing Hill all over the place and becoming huge Obama campaigners. Granted, some of this is due to his charisma, but I can't help but suspect some of it is also due to their sexist fear. and I was like fuck them.

message 29: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly I do not feel that it is sexist if you simply don't like Hillary's politics...does that argument hold water if I don't vote for Obama because i don't like his politics...does that mean I'm racists?

Ariel Of course not.
I'm not referring to not voting for Hillary because you don't like her politics. I'm talking about the phenomenon of "Hillary Haters."

Melissa Cassel It is not likely.

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