Saturday, January 12, 2008

Angry Crier or Next President?

This past week, pundits have been all atwitter about Hillary's so-called humanizing moment -- when she got all verklempt when asked about the rigors of the campaign. The next day, the press and all of punditdom proceeded to herald far and wide that Hillary had "cried" and seemed to think it was the last nail in her political coffin. Although I am not personally a Hillary supporter this primary season, I was more than a little chagrined at the unholy glee with which Hillary's apparent demise was reported, and how her emotion had been portrayed as a weakness -- especially since I hadn't seen any tears fall in the multiple replays I saw; to me she just seemed choked up -- a big difference. (I should note that I was up in New Hampshire the weekend before the primary, just before the "big cry," and the talk in the pub at the Radisson -- where all the media was staying -- was all about the end of the Clinton dynasty, whispered with a lot of relish.)

After Hillary's no-tissue moment, most news outlets, CNN and MSNBC included, kept cutting from the "crying" clip to the "angry" clip from the New Hampshire debate, where she defended her record on this year's must have political accessory -- CHANGE. So, throughout the day, the media narrative about Hillary was that she was an angry crier whose campaign was in disarray, whose donors were in revolt, and who was going to get her political hat handed to her in New Hampshire.

Then, Tuesday came and went and -- low and behold -- Hillary not only won, but she cleaned up on the women's vote, the group that largely seemed to desert her in Iowa. Did women appreciate Hillary's brush with emotional depth? Or did they just decide that another woman candidate was not going down to defeat on their watch because of a little tear duct exercise (hello, Pat Schroeder). It's probably hard to tell... there are reports of women waking up, looking in the mirror and pretty much saying, "what the hell am I thinking, voting against the first viable woman in history? Am I smoking crack?" or something to that effect. The big question will be, if the New Hampshire vote was largely a defense of Hillary -- rather than an outright support of her candidacy -- will that be enough to carry her to nomination? And, if women truly decided to vote their DNA, will the Obama and Edwards campaigns get on the stick and actually start paying attention to women voters? And will the Clinton campaign finally realize that they shouldn't take women for granted and need to earn their votes just like any other group? It should be interesting -- and is a critical question given that the gender gap is alive and well in American politics, and that women will likely chose the next president. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

A thought.

I am always troubled by people who vote their DNA.

ZaftigRedhead said...

Yeah, I agree. Gotta vote for the best candidate, regardless -- as far as women go, to me, that is the most evolved form of feminism. Hence, I cannot support Palin.