The first female president

This article in the NY Times makes a bunch of interesting points –

That woman will come from the South, or west of the Mississippi. She will be a Democrat who has won in a red state, or a Republican who has emerged from the private sector to run for governor. She will have executive experience, and have served in a job like attorney general, where she will have proven herself to be “a fighter” (a caring one, of course).

She will be young enough to qualify as postfeminist (in the way Senator Barack Obama has come off as postracial), unencumbered by the battles of the past. She will be married with children, but not young children. She will be emphasizing her experience, and wearing, yes, pantsuits.

Oh, and she may not exist.

Makes sense. And if not a Democrat, a liberal Republican.

“No woman with Obama’s resume could run,” said Dee Dee Myers, the first woman to be White House press secretary, under Bill Clinton, and the author of Why Women Should Rule the World. “No woman could have gotten out of the gate”.

Women are still held to a double-standard, and they tend to buy into it themselves.

Anyone disagree with the above? I don’t.

But for many women, whether or not they support Mrs. Clinton, the long primary campaign has left them with a question: why would any woman run?

Many feel dispirited by what they see as bias against Mrs. Clinton in the media — the “Fatal Attraction” comparisons and locker-room chortling on television panels.

“Who would dare to run?” said Karen O’Connor, the director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University. “The media is set up against you, and if you have the money problem to begin with, why would anyone put their families through this, why would anyone put themselves through this?”

For this reason, she said, she doesn’t expect a serious contender anytime soon. “I think it’s going to be generations.*”

What I really want is a strong Dem ticket that can beat McCain and at this point, Obama is going to head it. But let’s not dismiss the incredible media bias that has prevailed – it is easy to say that it is because it is Hillary and not just any woman. I don’t think that is entirely true. And that is depressing.

*The emphasis is mine.

  • Agree, sadly.

  • Well…the DEM race is far from over even though it seems like Obama is ahead. As Mrs. Clinton has said in a recent interview…its not even June yet!

    However, I do agree that if Mrs. Clinton loses the nomination, it will be a while before we see another woman fight for the Presidential nomination. We have had some very very good women senators but none ever tried to fight the presidential election.

    It is interesting how one of the world’s most open society is so conservative…you have to be a white, of christian faith, and a male to run this country?

  • Krishna

    @Gupta
    Conservative?
    Obama is black. McCain is old. Neither have political pedigree (unlike Indira Gandhi in India). And there are plenty of women more likable and qualified than that carpet-bagger now from NY- maybe Obama will choose one of the eminently qualified democratic women Governors. Or maybe McCain will choose ‘Bobby’ Jindal- also non-white.

    For the first time in a long time, the US has a choice between non-typical candidates. Maybe it’s time to recognize and celebrate that

  • Shripriya

    @Krishna, @ Gupta – The US is actually pretty conservative when it comes to politics. There have been 43 presidents. Every single one of them a white man.

    I don’t think “old” is a qualification to say he’s different! 🙂 Yes, he’s older than most, but we’ve had OLD white men as presidents, thank you very much.

    The only non-typical candidates are Obama – a black man and Hillary – a (white) woman.

    Let’s not even try to give the Republicans any credit for being non-typical. If and when McCain chooses Jindal, yes, he’ll get kudos for that, but he’s doing it to counter his age (Jindal is in his mid-thirties!)As an aside, Jindal also converted to be able to play in US politics – that says something too.

    But I do recognize and celebrate that the Democrats have been able to put forward to such non-typical candidates 🙂

  • Pingback: A Quick Question « Life Is a Street Car Named Desire()

  • Krishna

    @Shripriya:
    Then you need to talk to US demographers. They split the nation into various groups based on different (at least perceived) needs, interests, and intents.
    If Blacks are a voting group, as are “hispanics” (a completely group created by Nixon!), then the elderly are certainly one too. And McCain would be the first elderly candidate in the last few decades.

    In a time of global uncertainty and conflict, having been a war hero, McCain’s probably better informed and able to make decisions than a ex-cocaine smoking regional politician and a carpet-bagging resume inflator. Change must be for a reason and with purpose not change for change’s sake – which seems to be the essential Democratic arguement since their last drug smoking genocide-allowing waffler (I guess no troops in Rwanda too- wonder why no democrats have asked that question!)

  • Prithvi

    @Krishna

    This is a time of global uncertainty and conflict – still it is worth exploring the role of Republican decision-making in inflaming if not orignating conflict. The move to bifurcate economic and social issues is at the root of the problem – neither is of any use without the other and conservatives like McCain who have terrible records on social issues within their own country cannot be expected to handle international social issues with any measure of diplomacy.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

    One cannot expect anybody to be right about everything- even over-scrutinised politicians are people first – still it is reasonable to expect a leader to have correct convictions about critical issues – Obama was anti-Iraq from day one – pretty sharp for an ex-cocaine smoking regional politician. Okay I will stop – I don’t want to sound like Obama girl 🙂