The Clinton campaign asks if America is “ready” for a woman, implying that those of us who don’t plan to vote for Senator Clinton are backward sexists. But that’s the wrong approach, says Peggy Noonan, who notes that being a woman is key to Hillary’s campaign. Noonan says that Clinton is doing more and more to act like a woman:
“Her fund-raising emails have subject lines like, ‘Wow!’ and ‘Let’s make some popcorn!’ Her grin is broad and fixed. She is the smile on the Halloween pumpkin that knows the harvest is coming. She’s even putting a light inside.
“In New York this week she told a women’s lunch that “we face a new question–a lot of people are asking whether America is ready to elect a woman to the highest office in our land.” She suggested her campaign will “prove that America is indeed ready.” She also quoted Eleanor Roosevelt: “Women are like tea bags–you never know how strong they are until they get in hot water.
“Mrs. Clinton is the tea bag that brings the boiling water with her. It’s always high drama with her, always a cauldron–secret Web sites put up by unnamed operatives smearing Barack Obama in the tones of Tokyo Rose, Chinese businessmen having breakdowns on trains after the campaign cash is traced back, secret deals. It’s always flying monkeys. One always wants to ask: Why? What is this?
“The question, actually, is not whether America is ‘ready’ for a woman. It’s whether it’s ready for Hillary. And surely as savvy a campaign vet as Mrs. Clinton knows this….
“The point is there are many women who will on some level be inclined to view Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy through the lens of their experience as women, and there is real latent sympathy there if she could tap it, which is what she’s trying to do.”
Still, I think that Clinton pollster Mark Penn’s claim that nearly a fourth of Republican women will vote for Clinton is wrong-it’s more about sounding inevitable and trying to persuade women to bond with Ms. Clinton. (A Washington Post blogger raised questions about Penn’s claim, too.)
That said, women do tend to like big government programs. It is the job of those of us who do not share this perspective to point out, if Clinton is the nominee (and she almost certainly will be), that high taxes and ceding more control of our lives to the government don’t really help women. Our work is cut out for us.