If Not Hillary, Who?April 28, 2008
Wish I had that proverbial crystal ball, so I could find out which woman will be the first to actually run the White House, not just be there as support staff. Is Hillary the one? When I started my own unofficial straw poll, the pro or con reactions to Senator Clinton were instant and intense; people certainly are feeling strongly on the subject, no matter which side they support.
I then asked a few “sage pundits” to name some other women who might stand a chance of winning the U.S. presidency. I originally thought to list all the suggestions here, but I ended up doing a bit of research on each woman instead. By the time I read about the actions they had taken and how they voted on issues, who their major financial backers were and what others thought of them, I realized that most of these women would elicit the same kind of reaction Clinton is getting — lots of pros and cons and not one clear front-runner.
So what characteristics, background, beliefs, and public record does a woman need today to get elected to the presidency? If the past is anything to go by, having good or bad traits in any of these areas doesn’t necessarily predict success in electability or in job performance if elected. And I’m sure that’s just as true for women as it is for men.
Whoever they may be, all women still have to overcome the public’s apparent continued reticence to seeing women as capable leaders. (Take a moment to read the April 6 New York Times article Our Racist, Sexist Selves, by Nicholas D. Kristof, on this subject.)
Just because my crystal ball isn’t working doesn’t mean you may not know of a woman who might just be the one to break the gender barrier — if not in 2008, then sometime in the future. Let us know!