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Hillary's choice: be a bully or delicate flower
The Times of London ^ | November 2, 2007 | Gerard Baker

Posted on 11/02/2007 10:20:11 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

There's an essential paradox about successful women in politics that we flat-footed men have never really grasped.

To succeed in anything, but especially in the cold brutality of politics, you have to be hard as nails, ruthless, willing to win at all costs. Life and love have taught us that these are qualities we associate mostly with the selfish, hardened, ambitious male.

But the few women who do possess these traits are unusually blessed. They are after all, still female, and as such have, or at least are deemed to have also those feminine qualities that speak to a different kind of leadership - maternal solicitude, selflessness, enduring loyalty.

I pondered this chromosomal dimension to political competition as I watched the latest American presidential debate.

The campaign for the Democratic nomination entered a new phase this week. Lagging Hillary Clinton ever farther in the opinion polls with only two months until the first votes are cast, her increasingly desperate rivals have decided to go on the attack.

Instead of politely setting out an alternative that nobody seems to want, they have chosen to come at her with pitchforks and steak knives. At the debate in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, they went for the jugular and it wasn't an edifying spectacle.

There stood Mrs Clinton, the little woman, caught like a frightened doe between her two principal rivals. The shameless John Edwards pounded her repeatedly over her tough foreign policy stance and her dishonesty. Barack Obama, the more reluctant pugilist, landed softer jabs, still designed to tenderise her. From the wings, the also-rans - all male - threw a few lusty punches.

Needless to say, the Clinton campaign seized on the opportunity that the spectacle presented. They issued a video after the debate that emphasised the narrative - Little Woman Waylaid by Big Bullies.

It was pure Clinton. Having spent a lifetime insisting that women should be treated exactly the same as men, Mrs Clinton has been quite brilliant at exploiting her femininity.

She campaigned for years for the rights of women to stand up to abusive men, and then defended her husband as he treated vulnerable female employees as playthings for his own sexual gratification. Better still, she exploited her own status as the helpless, wronged wife of a multiple philanderer to launch her campaign for the Senate from the humiliating ashes of the Monica Lewinsky affair.

In that campaign, the most telling moment came in a debate with her Republican rival, Rick Lazio. The witless Mr Lazio had happened upon a brilliant wheeze to challenge Mrs Clinton directly over some issue by striding towards her podium and insisting that she sign some piece of paper. As Mrs Clinton visibly flinched, the election was clinched. Who wants to vote for a man who would treat a woman like that?

Now she's under attack from a whole gang of men, and tactically speaking it's a no-lose situation for her. If her opponents play tough, she can shrink and look like the intimidated woman beset by brutal men. If they treat her with kid gloves - all gallant forbearance and courtly deference - she can open up a can of whoop-ass on them as eagerly as a dockside bully.

Mrs Clinton, of course, is not the first woman to spot the possibilities of this duality. Elizabeth I, when she wasn't putting Spaniards to the sword overseas or lopping off the heads of Catholics at home, softly reminded her courtiers that she had the body of a weak and feeble woman. Margaret Thatcher could beguile any opponent with her feminine wiles even as she demonstrated repeatedly that she was the proud owner of the largest pair of steel balls in the Cabinet.

All this merely emphasises again that her rivals cannot really defeat her. Only Mrs Clinton can. And it is also why the most revealing moment of the debate was a self-inflicted wound.

Asked whether she stood by an earlier remark that she supported a plan by the Governor of New York to give driving licences to illegal immigrants, she said, essentially, of course she did. But when one of her opponents said he didn't agree - that driving licences were a privilege that ought not to be extended to people who were here illegally, Mrs Clinton backtracked furiously.

It was a startling moment - a rare blunder and an insight into the candidate's fundamental weakness - a powerful impression that she will say and do anything to get elected, even if it means contradicting herself in consecutive sentences. It was a reminder, too, that for all the advantages she and the Democrats possess, both remain deeply vulnerable.

It's been tempting to write off the Republicans, but history suggests that it would be unwise. They have proved remarkably good at winning elections. Since the Republican party was founded in the middle of the 19th century there have been 39 presidential elections. In 23 of those the winning candidate secured a majority of the popular vote. Of those majority winners, 17 were Republicans – beginning with Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and ending with George Bush in 2004 (there's a pair of bookends for you). Only six of those elections were won by Democrats and, get this, four of those winners were Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

So in 150 years, only three Democrats have been elected to the presidency with the support of a majority of voters — FDR, Lyndon Johnson (by a landslide in 1964) and Jimmy Carter (he scraped home with 50.1 per cent in 1976). Now, to be fair, there have been sometimes been special circumstances - Bill Clinton surely would have won a majority in 1996 had it not been for the late entry of the quixotic Ross Perot as a third-party candidate.

But the numbers are so stark that they suggest something quite enduring. The Republicans have been brilliant at assembling winning coalitions over the years — social conservatives, business interests, libertarians, national security hawks. And it is still true that Americans are, deep down, rather conservative.

For most of the past 150 years the Republican message of free markets, traditional values and a strong defence has seen off a steady succession of ambitious Democratic men. Who's to say it won't do the same for a Democratic woman?


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; US: Illinois; US: New York; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: 2008; barackhusseinobama; conservatism; democratparty; democrats; election; electionpresident; elections; gop; hillary; hillaryclinton; johnedwards; republicans; victimculture
Let us hope he is right.
1 posted on 11/02/2007 10:20:13 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Hillary's choice: be a bully or delicate flower

Clearly, Gerard has never seen Hillary if he thinks this is possible!!

2 posted on 11/02/2007 10:27:42 AM PDT by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: All; kt56
The Republicans have been brilliant at assembling winning coalitions over the years — social conservatives, business interests, libertarians, national security hawks.

Altho I thought the article was pretty good, the quote above is where he gets it wrong. At least I think so.

We don't really assemble coalitions in the sense the British do. And when it comes down to it, Americans always vote for the person that they 1) identify with and 2) personally like. So I think it is a mistake to look at our Presidential elections through rose colored glasses. I think maybe that is why we keep stumping the pundits!

3 posted on 11/02/2007 10:30:28 AM PDT by misharu (US Congress = children without adult supervision)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The only flower that Hillary resembles is the Amorphophallus titanum otherwise known as the “corpse flower.”

Amorphophallus titanum, which is said to be the biggest, smelliest flower in the world, looks like something that could eat a human being and smells like a mixture of rotting flesh and excrement.

4 posted on 11/02/2007 10:33:49 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Rush says that the bloom is off the rose—she just doesn’t have it! Mrs. Clinton doesn’t have the talent to lie like Bubba. And the Drive-Bys are not happy.
5 posted on 11/02/2007 10:33:59 AM PDT by Miss Didi ("Good heavens, woman, this is a war not a garden party!" Dr. Meade, Gone with the Wind)
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To: DustyMoment
Little Woman Waylaid by Big Bullies.

WTF?????

The most wicked and evil woman in America being waylaid by bullies???

6 posted on 11/02/2007 10:34:51 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (One by one, in small groups or in whole armies, we don't care how we do it, but we're gonna getcha)
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To: DustyMoment

Hillary’s choice: be a bully or delicate flower...

a delicate flower....what has this guy been smoking????

bull dyke is the more apt description!!!


7 posted on 11/02/2007 10:37:47 AM PDT by nyyankeefan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Having spent a lifetime insisting that women should be treated exactly the same as men, Mrs Clinton has been quite brilliant at exploiting her femininity.

If Hillary can't stand up to fellow democrats, she has NO business being on the world stage...

8 posted on 11/02/2007 10:42:05 AM PDT by GOPJ (If Hillary can't stand up to fellow democrats, she has NO business being on the world stage...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

She’s the Classic BULLY!!! Timmy asked her one little semi tough question and she is now WHINING!!! She is NOT ready for President!


9 posted on 11/02/2007 10:46:01 AM PDT by Suzy Quzy (Hillary '08...Her PHONINESS is REAL!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Now she’s under attack from a whole gang of men, and tactically speaking it’s a no-lose situation for her.”...I agree. She could stand there and just fart through the whole debate and the media would call it brilliant!


10 posted on 11/02/2007 10:50:07 AM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
It's been tempting to write off the Republicans, but history suggests that it would be unwise. They have proved remarkably good at winning elections. Since the Republican party was founded in the middle of the 19th century there have been 39 presidential elections. In 23 of those the winning candidate secured a majority of the popular vote. Of those majority winners, 17 were Republicans – beginning with Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and ending with George Bush in 2004 (there's a pair of bookends for you). Only six of those elections were won by Democrats and, get this, four of those winners were Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So in 150 years, only three Democrats have been elected to the presidency with the support of a majority of voters — FDR, Lyndon Johnson (by a landslide in 1964) and Jimmy Carter (he scraped home with 50.1 per cent in 1976).

Very interesting.

11 posted on 11/02/2007 10:53:27 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hillary Rodham Victim for Crybaby in Chief.


12 posted on 11/02/2007 11:27:13 AM PDT by TigersEye (Kicked to the curb and left to fade away.)
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To: DustyMoment

She could try being human, only I doubt she could pull it off.


13 posted on 11/02/2007 11:39:39 AM PDT by Tax-chick (When my mother ship lands, you're toast!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hillary could never be mistaken as a delicate flower.


14 posted on 11/02/2007 11:42:06 AM PDT by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: nyyankeefan

Unfortunately for her, she’s not up to being just a classy, articulate, well-educated female like - oh, Condi comes to mind.


15 posted on 11/02/2007 11:59:29 AM PDT by jagusafr ("Bugs, Mr. Rico! Zillions of 'em!" - Robert Heinlein)
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To: freekitty

16 posted on 11/02/2007 12:02:04 PM PDT by Califreak (Duncan Hunter-no clothespin necessary!)
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To: Califreak

LOL


17 posted on 11/02/2007 12:30:39 PM PDT by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Option #3: Have an opinion, state it honestly, and be willing to defend it.


18 posted on 11/02/2007 12:33:27 PM PDT by AZLiberty (President Fred -- I like the sound of it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
LOLARMAO: Hillary Attacked. Heavens no! She invited them with her equivocating. Any time during a debate when your opponent makes a blunder you capitalize on it and she opened herself up to it big time.

She blew it on illegal immigration, social security and Iraq - the three rails of politics currently in America. Her rivals had no choice but to respond of become equivocators themselves.

The others attacked her - baloney, she opened herself up before them and America as the equivocator she is.

19 posted on 11/02/2007 12:33:43 PM PDT by sr4402
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
LOLARMAO: Hillary Attacked. Heavens no! She invited them with her equivocating. Any time during a debate when your opponent makes a blunder you capitalize on it and she opened herself up to it big time.

She blew it on illegal immigration, social security and Iraq - the three rails of politics currently in America. Her rivals had no choice but to respond or become equivocators themselves.

The others attacked her - baloney, she opened herself up before them and America as the equivocator she is.

20 posted on 11/02/2007 12:35:00 PM PDT by sr4402
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To: sr4402

Like Rush just said today: “Hillary puts her pants on just like any other man, one leg at a time.”


21 posted on 11/02/2007 1:26:10 PM PDT by BerryDingle (Illegitimi Non Carborundum (Don't let the bastards wear you down))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I think we will have to go to the LA Times to find out. Are not they the ones spiking the story about Huma and Hildabeast as an item? I think Hitlery is the bull-dyke and Huma is.....what do you call those on the receiving end. Rosie calls it her wife, but I......don’t know.


22 posted on 11/02/2007 1:36:56 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

An elected Hillary would set women in politics back 200 years.


23 posted on 11/02/2007 1:41:29 PM PDT by He Rides A White Horse (unite)
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To: He Rides A White Horse

“An elected Hillary would set women in politics back 200 years.”

Which by the way, they richly deserve. Women’s sufferage has given us both Bill and Hillary, plus Pelosi, Olympia Snow and so forth.

Enough is enough.

Time to tear down the pedistal of the political woman.


24 posted on 11/02/2007 2:20:00 PM PDT by doxteve
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To: doxteve

Let’s just say that Hillary is no Margaret Thatcher.


25 posted on 11/02/2007 3:02:50 PM PDT by He Rides A White Horse (unite)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My manicurist, who is my barometer, flipped from wanting to vote for her because she’s a woman to won’t vote for her because “she played the gender card.”


26 posted on 11/02/2007 5:19:33 PM PDT by Mercat (Waddle around and make new friends.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Little Woman Waylaid by Big Bullies.

Nonsense. The Queen is mad, they made her look bad!

Send that to Rush!

27 posted on 11/02/2007 7:42:37 PM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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