Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hillary and the Ambivalence of Women

As usual, Anna Quindlen, in her column for the Newsweek issue of May 28, 2007, nails it. In brief: women had been hoping that the first woman President would break the mold. But there is nothing mold-breaking about Hillary. She is the quintessential politician, male politician.

Anna Quindlen - The Brand New and Same Old

Elsewhere in the issue, Carl Sferrazza Anthony discusses what Bill would do, and what we should call him. First Gentleman? Yuck. But First Gent? Yep, I'll buy that.

And You Do What, Exactly?

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Polarizing Hillary Clinton

The adjective "polarizing" has been attached like a leech to Hillary Clinton. But what, exactly, is polarizing about Hillary? Perhaps more to the point, why is she "polarizing"? The answer is simple and awful: the only thing polarizing about Hillary is the fact that Right Wing Conservatives loathe her and Bill with a hatred that can only be described as pathological, going back to Bill Clinton's first run for the Presidency.

What is awful is that her qualifications for the job are irrelevant. The demagogues will probably be effective in stopping her. Even her biggest supporters can't help but dread a Hillary Clinton Presidency, not because she wouldn't be a good President - she could not, of course, be worse than the Shrub, although that's setting the bar pretty low since not many could be worse than the worst President in the history of the United States - but because her Presidency would be plagued from Day 1 with an endless stream of vitriol from the Right amplified by the scandal-hungry media. It would take a person with far more charisma than Hillary has to rise above those attacks.

I am not endorsing her candidacy. But I enormously resent having my evaluation of her candidacy being so thoroughly distorted and manipulated by hate-mongerers.

In Defense of Alberto Gonzales, Sort OF

As performance art, Gonzales' testimony in the House and Senate are Oscar-worthy. Nixon's attorney general John N. Mitchell was pugnacious, disdainful, arrogant (like Bork and Thomas during their nomination hearings). But I never saw anything but the blandest, almost sweet expression on the face of Gonzales. He mouthed inanities and inconsistencies with no apparent sense that what he was saying made him look to be a fool.

He makes me think of the underrated Vanna White. It is no small feat to turn letters over, smile, and clap minute after minute, over and over for hours at a time. (It is my understanding that multiple programs are recorded on a single day.)

Like Ms. White, Mr. Gonzales was almost always cheerful in his answers. His lack of concern for either truth or competence, a total lack of concern not disdain, would make him a superb press secretary.