Why Not Hillary? – The Progressive, 3/30/2005

OK, I did not leave on the four-year gay cruise that sailed down the Potomac on January 21, nor am I planning to leave the country. I already live in the tiny island nation of New York City. But the state of Washington looks mighty tempting. The actual state, not whatever sorry state of the union George read to us about.

Washington State’s governor and both Senators are women. The prominence of women is attributed to several factors: Early women pioneers engendered abiding respect for women1s contribution; outrage over Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings caused women to seek and win political office; the state’s weak party structures don’t foster strong old-boy’s networks; hi-tech entrepreneurial culture created businesswomen who write political checks. No one has mentioned record levels of caffeine consumption, but my research people are looking into it. In addition to the trifecta at the top, 44 percent of their Supreme Court Justices and 33 percent of their state legislators are women.

And I know, according to Lawrence Summers, I am way over my head here even dealing with percentages. Lordie, lordie where are my vapors?

Nationally, 50 percent of Bachelor degrees in math and science are earned by women but they make up only 10 percent of college faculties. I’m woozy! In his speech to an academic conference, the president of Harvard suggested that women are innately unsuited for math and science. Summers suggested that one of the main obstacles to their tenure tracks were their biological clocks. I’m as outraged as the next sister, but you can be sure I will be using “The Suddenly Last Summer Rationale” as an excuse if I ever get an IRS audit. It is still mind boggling to me that we have not yet had a woman President or Vice President. That darned Aspermative Action. In Finland or maybe it’s Sweden, and I am a little geographically challenged, but hey, I’m not the President, they have had a woman president for five years. Long enough to cause such a shift in the paradigm that one young boy asked her, “Can a man be president?”

As the White House Project has been asking for ten years: Why not a woman? According to the WHP, women leaders bubble up from other positions of power. Women are woefully underrepresented in those positions: 13 percent of the Senate, 14 percent of the House, 16 percent of governorships. Those numbers make me swoon, too.

Oprah doesn’t seem interested in buying the Presidency, so why not Hillary? As a gay friend of mine said, “She’s the only Democrat with the balls to run and win.”

She is a great campaigner. When she ran for Senator, against Rick Lazio, I was visiting my family in Syracuse. I was dismayed to see all those upstate lawns pinioned with Lazio signs, but Hillary ran a listening tour and I swear she shook hands or shared a food product with every single upstate voter.

My only hesitation, other than that I don’t like her politics, is that she will reactivate all those rabid Hillary haters. But online, I found that Haters of Hillary really have never stopped. HOHs are still talking about the Bride of Clintonstein. That Hillary will run as a moderate to win and then do whatever she pleases! That a Hillary Presidency would be a dynastic horror show! That she is a pretender to the throne! That her history is “littered with mysterious deaths, immoral behavior, and shady financial dealings.” In short, she’s got what it takes to be president. Besides, the Hillary sites are up and running with all manner of “Hillary in 2008” merch. I just wish she wouldn’t run in 2008. Women are always given the most impossible cleanup jobs. And Jeb (“Meet This Focker”) Bush, sent on tsunami tour to raise his profile, may be next in line. He can have the mess. Hillary in 2012.

Kate “Squarepants” Clinton is a humorist.