Thursday, November 15, 2007

Broder on Hillary Clinton

I hope all women who look at all like Hillary Clinton wear those orange caps for it is indeed the hunting season right now. First that nice little word "bitch" was released into the political debate by a questioner at a McCain event. Then David Broder, the pundit of the pundits, chips in with some carefully nonsexist dilemmas that Hillary Clinton's candidacy presents, framed within discussion about Bill Clinton's role in his wife's campaign:

The former president's intervention -- volunteered during a campaign appearance on her behalf in South Carolina -- raised the second, and largely unspoken, issue identified by my friend from the Clinton administration: the two-headed campaign and the prospect of a dual presidency.

In his view, which I share, this is a prospect that will test the tolerance of the American people far more severely than the possibility of the first female president -- or, for that matter, the first black president.

As my friend says, "there is nothing in American constitutional or political theory to account for the role of a former president, still energetic and active and full of ideas, occupying the White House with the current president."

Of course this very dilemma is a direct consequence of the tradition of having only (at least apparently) heterosexual men be presidents of the United States. Thus, the quandary Broder argues the Clintons present is not separate from the American tradition of barring women from positions of public power.

Broder really cannot swallow the idea of an ex-president as the First Lady. Bill might steer the country from the back seat, you know! What does this do to the American system of government? How are we going to preserve our myths of the First Spouse as a powerful image of utter supportiveness but of zero real-world significance? What could Bill Clinton possibly do that wouldn't either make him the mastermind of the universe or a silly henpecked husband in an apron, breaking champaign bottles against the sides of new destroyers, all named Vagina Dentata?

If I were an observer from another planet I'd find this all most hilarious. Alas, I'm stuck here on earth, and that makes me wonder just how much the various pundits in the media who hate the Clintons would be willing to sacrifice not to have to write about them anymore. A war or two abroad? A Supreme Court full of little cloned Scalias? Perhaps.