zen.org Communal Weblog

February 10, 2007

A Hen Party for Hillary

Filed under: — lois @ 14:07 IST

So, Hillary, what about a heart-to-heart? About that little episode a couple of weeks ago in Davenport? I mean, think about it. It unfolded back on January 29th but pundits still are bringing it up. At least male pundits. And, let’s just say it out loud. Wouldn’t that male reaction have been funny if it weren’t so pathetic? There they were—night after night, the male talking heads, each weighing in your sound bite on evil and bad men, with no clue on what had transpired between you and (did they even notice who reacted?) the female contingent of your audience.

A two-week old story. The boys just won’t let go of it. In my opinion, Senator, you need to put it to bed. And, at the same time, you think about that little square dance that took place at that town meeting in the Hawkeye State, and what it should have hammered home to you: there is an advantage that is ripe for your picking, that, unlike the Garden of Eden episode, can only be harvested by a woman. Not Edwards or Obama or Richardson, Biden or Kucinich. Only you. Wow.

Okay, let’s so over it hopefully for the last time. You, Hil, were asked what there was in your background that would make you a good commander-in-chief, able to deal with a Saddam or Osama. You were rephrasing the question because some didn’t hear—and, as you often do, to give yourself an extra few seconds to work on your answer: “The question really is,” you said, “…what qualifies me to deal with evil and bad….” You were just about through and presumably ready with a serious response when, to your surprise, the room erupted with the sound of laughter—feminine laughter in the land of the wild prairie rose, but precipitated by the same kick of estrogen that precipitates a chortle in the bellies of women in Manhattan and Chicago and San Francisco—and Paris, London and—who knows?—probably Bagdad when those poor females are up for lightheartedness about anything at all.

It was a woman kind of thing. Clearly. The men in the audience, their rumps on the edges of their folding chairs, reporter’s notebooks in hand, wore blank faces. Something was in the air, but what? Which is how I guess they can still be chewing on it two weeks down the road.

As an aside, don’t you agree, Hillary, that that kind of male confusion is a perfect example large piece of their discomfort with you, with Nancy, with Barbara Boxer—with all the political women? Men can’t stand to be out of the look; they feel threatened.

Of course Mrs. Clinton, you’re no slouch and after all a woman yourself. You immediately got it, the joke. On you. Well, really on your understandable inability to keep your husband zipped up. It was one of those accidental comments that really was quite funny to us gals, don’t you agree? Woman talk.

If you had meant to make a joke—and in retrospect it is too bad you didn’t come clean right away and admit that you were a bit startled yourself until you caught on a nanosecond later—you could have reworded the question: I’m being asked what is it in my life-experience that might qualify me to deal with difficult egotistical males. Ho ho ho. But no matter. We sisters, including you, were all in on it.

But it was when male journalists and TV hosts and their panels dissected it—clue-less—that the episode got legs. Given their analyses, probably even Dr. Phil read it wrong. Meanwhile women from Maine to San Diego, from Washington’s San Juan Islands to Key West were doing a collective eye-roll of contempt: you weren’t talking about Bill; the women of Iowa had simply leaped upon the parallel, as girls will do. And you joined in.

It’s kind of a sexist sport that every woman partakes in. Like it or not, fair or not, the gals make fun of the guys, point out the masculine lack of logic. How they can never find things right before their noses. Their capacity to complicate the simplest job. From the female perspective, President Ford’s inability to walk and chew gum at the same time was hardwired into every male, not specific to Ford.(As my husband will say if he’s still talking to me after reading this column, it’s time to move on.) This was one of those times when you, Hillary, and the women of your audience instantaneously bonded over the body of your man. A man God knows is a handful. And, of course, the fact that you, Hillary, weren’t the only woman in the room with such a problem is a problem that can elect you president.

Females all had difficult dealings with the errant male animal, or have a friend who has, or a mother, or a daughter. A common experience. Senator Clinton, take advantage of the sisterhood, this group-dynamic, only available to the feminine politician. Ignore your army of guy-advisors and go with your womanly instincts. Assure yourself of the largest block-vote: the American woman. Yes, yes, talk just to us about the men you’ll have to handle—four star generals, secretaries of state, FEMA heads, dictators— and why obviously it is a woman who can best keep them and their bullying ways under control. We’ll identify. And, for a change, you won’t come across as preplanned; how could you? It’s your opportunity to look relaxed, to be relaxed. It’s a safe strategy because the men won’t even hear you, Hillary, in a way that only we can hear. It’s a takeoff on the religious right buzz words Bush implanted in his speeches for years before the mainstream picked up on the code—that the evangelical Christians took to heart all along. Except there’s no disingenuousness here, no pandering. All you have to do is be the woman you are.

This common feminine connection will win over those ladies who might have been put off by you for whatever reason. And it could just be that, when the curtain is closed at the voting booth, men will quietly follow their wives’, mothers’, girlfriends’ instincts.

Can you imagine? Tasks, once begun, will be completed. Like war? You think?

You go, girl.

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