Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Watch out: Women Write about Hillary

Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers, a new book edited by Susan Morrison is reviewed in today's NYTimes. Here's an excerpt from the review, which isn't very positive:

Few of these contributors address Mrs. Clinton’s record as a senator (why did she vote last year to urge the Bush administration to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization?), practical electoral matters (just how electable is she?) or questions about her managerial style (how would the controlling, poll-driven instincts of her campaign team inform her approach to running the White House?). Instead, like voters and commentators obsessed with the “likability” factor, these writers zero in on vague feelings about Hillary’s karma, her self-presentation or her femininity.

Here's the part of the story that intrigued me most. The author writes: "Whereas polls suggest that Mrs. Clinton has done well with working-class women who see her protecting their economic interests, her peers -- liberal-minded, upper-middle-class professional women-- have been a much tougher sell." Maybe that explains my allegiance to Hillary. I became a Hillary fan as a teenager growing up in a working class family in Arkansas. Hillary was engaged in education reform as the First Lady of Arkansas, and she was my first professional role model -- from a distance, of course. Now I'm one of those "upper-middle-class professional women," but unlike (apparently) many others in my set, I still think Hillary is amazing. Maybe my sentiments go back to those early years (when, incidentally, I declared publicly, at the age of 14, that I planned to be the first female President.) Maybe it's like other things we get attached to in our childhood and youth, which then don't wear off easily. My instincts are still to believe in Hillary - in the authenticity of Hillary, the power of Hillary, the idea of Hillary.

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