Hillary's gender war
By Carey Roberts
The greatest controversy during the upcoming political campaign will not be Republican vs. Democrat or conservative against liberal. Rather, the most riveting debate is likely to revolve around the question of whether a female president can better lead the nation than a man. It will be the ultimate Battle of the Sexes, played out in endless bedroom discussions, backyard debates, and newspaper headlines.
Three years ago Marie Wilson wrote a book called Closing the Leadership Gap in which she wrote (somewhat ungrammatically) that the United States "has been steered by male leadership who tend to lead from a self-centered, self-preservation perspective," whereas, "Women…are inclined to lead, their families and nations, from an other-centered perspective."
Hillary Rodham Clinton soon picked up on that theme and began to brag that female officials are more truthful than their male counterparts. At the 2005 Women's Global Leadership Summit, HRC claimed that "Research shows the presence of women raises the standards of ethical behavior and lowers corruption."
And others argue that a more caring and peaceful disposition of the fairer sex will lead to a less bellicose world.
Of course these claims are so over-the-top that they are almost self-refuting. Should we start with the notion that women are more ethical?
O Hillary, let me count the ways: insider cattle-future deals, denials of the Madison Guaranty retainer, White House travel office firings, and many, many more.
Then the bone-tickler that you were named after Edmund Hillary's mountaineering feats. You were born in 1947 and Sir Hillary's conquest of Mount Everest wasn't until, let's see, 1953. Oh well, it made for a good conversation-starter.
In fact entire books have been penned about your calculating manner and ethical lapses. But hey, I don't want to be accused of piling on!
But the notion that women are more ethical than men? Well, just ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi about that fishy minimum wage deal she finagled with Star-Kist Tuna a couple weeks ago.
Now what about Marie Wilson's claim that female leaders are "other-centered"?
Say what you want about men and women at home. But my first-hand observation of elected officials leans to the opposite of Wilson's stereotype.
Elect a man to office and the first thing he does is pass a law that benefits women. Blame it on the patriarchy, chivalry, or political savvy -- I don't know, but that's what happens. Yes, men are so predictable.
Take Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare programs – all were passed by largely male legislators, all are paid for mostly by male taxpayers, and all have a majority of female beneficiaries.
Now let's look at the record of female elected officials -- sorry, folks, this won't be pretty.
Can you think of a single Congresswoman who has pushed for funding to help boys who are falling behind in school? Can you name a law for prostate cancer research that was spearheaded by a woman? (For the record, it was Sen. Ted Kennedy who first seized on the idea of championing breast cancer research.) Can you wise me up to a single female-sponsored resolution that sympathized with the injustice of loving dads who are barred from seeing their kids?
Hillary and Nancy both claim to be pro-children, and then advocate for "a women's right to chose." Help me out ladies, you'll need to explain that connection to me.
OK, maybe women aren't more ethical or "other-centered" after all. But surely they are harbingers of a kinder, gentler world. Right?
Within hours of Hillary's announcement of her candidacy, the pundits were predicting this was going to be one of the nastiest campaigns on record. And traveling to Iowa just a week later, Mrs. Clinton proved them right.
Speaking before a group of 50 Democrats, HRC took off the kid gloves: "When attacked, you have to deck your opponents," the gentle soul from Chappaqua boasted.
But she saved her best salvo for an appearance at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. In response to a question about greedy, rotten leaders like Osama bin Laden, Clinton responded with a mischievous grin, "And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"
I am certain of this: No male politician has made a similarly demeaning reference to women. But Hillary's comment triggered hooting and laughter among the ladies present.
And when Clinton later tried to explain her anti-male broadside to a group of journalists, all they could do was groan in response to her self-serving claim that she was just being a "little funny."
Some may say the Battle of the Sexes is the spice of life. Fine. But Mrs. Clinton, I don't think we need to start a Gender War.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.