Clinton Makes It Harder For A Woman To Become President or Vice President

Ever since it became clear that Hillary Clinton would not be the nominee there have been reports from journalists suggesting that Clinton and her supporters would be more upset if Obama chose a female running mate other than Clinton than if he chose a male. In other words, Clinton’s ego was more important than promoting gender equality. I guess such a lack of real concern for feminist causes should not be surprising from Clinton supporters who are now willing to stay home or vote for John McCain and help bring back the era of shirt hanger abortions.

The Politico has a report today on this attitude:

While there had been speculation that Obama might seek to mend fences by tapping another woman for the role, this seems increasingly unlikely — and it’s not clear that even if it did happen that it would help with Clinton loyalists, especially since the most-often named women all endorsed Obama in the primaries, earning the resentment of many leaders of women’s organizations.

“If he picked Claire McCaskill or [Janet] Napolitano [or Kathleen] Sebelius, I think it would annoy women,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro added that “those are women who we spent our lifetime helping run for office” and that “a lot of us are not happy with these women for not supporting Hillary because they came to us for help based in large part on their gender.”

“I would be very concerned about his judgment if he offered the position to another woman before offering it to Hillary Clinton,” Pappas said, “or any person.”

“The women who have been elected to office in this time in history are the beneficiaries of the women’s movement,” Pappas continued. “And it’s disheartening to see those same women turn their backs on another woman who is better qualified, and one can only wonder what they are getting out of their decision to turn their back.”

One problem with this viewpoint is that Hillary Clinton is the “better qualified” candidate. A woman politician who built her own career would be a far better example of success for woman than Hillary Clinton who is only in this position due to who she married. Her proximity to power, when she did not even have security clearance, does not make her especially qualified.

Clinton’s record has been poor and further disqualifies her. This ranges from her terribly designed health care plan during the Bill Clinton years which led to the loss of power for Congressional Democrats for a generation to her support for the Iraq war while echoing Republican arguments based upon fear of terrorism. If her lack of experience and poor record weren’t enough to disqualify her, her adoption of dishonest Rove style tactics by itself should exclude her from consideration. Reform-minded Democrats and independents who backed Obama see Clinton as part of the problem which should be removed from Washington, not as a potential running mate who can help bring about change.

The goal is not simply  to replace George Bush but to reform the Democratic Party. A victory for Obama would be a tremendous step in removing the influence of the Clintonistas from the Democratic Party and  change the party for the better. Besides her serious personal flaws, Clinton’s nanny-state views and support for increased presidential power would move the party backwards from a more libertarian direction many of us hope to see it move in. Such a reformed Democratic Party very well might provide the possibility for woman candidates, however if the attitude persists that Hillary must be chosen first then the chances are reduced.

Someday we will have a woman president, but it will probably not be–and certainly should not be–Hillary Clinton. Many of us began this campaign cycle with an “anyone but Clinton” attitude, fearing that stopping Clinton might not be possible. If this could be done in 2008 when Clinton’s nomination appeared to be inevitable,  Clinton can most likely be stopped in future years.

If a substantial number of woman are unwilling to accept any other woman than Hillary Clinton, either as Obama’s running mate or as a future presidential candidate, it will become harder for all future woman candidates as long as Clinton remains in politics. Rather than making cracks in the glass ceiling, Hillary Clinton has reinforced the glass ceiling and made it harder for other women candidates.


  1. 1
    CMB says:

    The no-woman-but-Hillary rhetoric shouldn’t have much impact on Barack Obama’s selection of a vice presidential nominee.  By many gender-neutral measures, Kathleen Sebelius would be an excellent choice.  An effective governor who has successfully enacted progressive policies in a mostly Republican state would be a great addition to the ticket.  Then, a candidate on ticket would have chief-executive experience, and the selection would reinforce Barack’s measures of someone who could reach across party lines to further his agenda.

    My first choice is Brian Schweitzer.  He is younger, more dynamic, and more libertarian than Sebelius.  Also, he can use his expertise from his pre-political career to help craft our energy policy.  But, if that team doesn’t work out (whether Schweitzer isn’t interested, or Barack believes that their personalities don’t click well enough), Sebelius would be my preferred vice presidential candidate.

    If the Clintonistas have trouble with that, too bad.  The Clinton supporters who are less vocal than Geraldine Ferraro or Lanny Davis are less wedded to the Hillary-or-nobody notion.  And, it wouldn’t be bad for Barack to show the country that the Democratic Party isn’t the Clintons’ party anymore.

  2. 2
    Jerry says:

    I agree about Sebelius.  I know less about Schweitzer, but I’ll look into him, thanks for the heads up.  I also agree about not worrying about what the Clintons and Clintonistas think.  I’m not oblivious to their still-considerable clout in the Democratic Party, but their influence has taken a huge hit.  Bill pouting in a corner isn’t helping his image at all.

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