Thursday, August 31, 2006

"How Do You Feel About a Woman President?"

That's the question Ann Althouse has asked her readers, setting off a lively discussion. Here's a surprise: I had an opinion or three.
I have no doubt that if the country had the opportunity to vote for a compelling female candidate for President, it would do so.

Bill Clinton...has apparently said that the first woman President will likely be someone from the right, a la Thatcher. I think there's something to that, given doubts harbored by sexists of both genders over whether a woman could be tough enough for the presidency.

While that thought may lead some to tout [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice, I think that quite apart from the fact that she's not really an elective political animal (it's hard to imagine Condi talking about pork bellies or the price of pork chops at the super market), Rice would, unless she waits until 2012 or beyond, carry the baggage of an increasingly unpopular Bush foreign policy should she run for President.

I've never felt that Hillary Clinton would be a candidate for President in 2008. My guess is that, in the end, she'll conclude that though she might win the Democratic nomination--a remote prospect for a party desperate to nominate a candidate without all the negative polling numbers Clinton has--she cannot win the general election.

Besides, for the first time in her life, Clinton is doing work largely out of Bill's shadow and she's shown herself to be adept at the work of a legislator, irrespective of what one thinks of her politics.

Both her predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan--once called the greatest Senator in US history by George Will--and Ted Kennedy, who personally destroyed his chances of becoming President (a job I doubt that he ever really wanted in spite of the whole Kennedy entitlement thing) found life in the Senate to be to their liking.

I...think that Hillary Clinton will look at those examples and determine she'd rather be a successful Senator than lose the presidency in a year when every Dem in the country will be salivating for the White House and condemn her if she loses.

At present, I can't think of any Republican women who could make a viable run for the presidency. [This isn't to say that there are no able GOP women. There are. I just don't think they can make viable runs for the White House at present.]

Among Democrats, I could see Dianne Feinstein running, but time may be running out on her; she's already 73. (Though I have wondered whether Mark Warner, the person I think will win the Dem nomination in 2008 is likely to give Feinstein serious consideration to be his running mate.) In the end though, I think that Feinstein's liberalism would cause her real problems in the Red states.

Having said all this, I will end with the only appropriate summary of my speculating...or not


Deborah White said...

Hillary has shown herself to be a hard-working, diligent senator who has had a distinguished freshman term. I believe she has found her niche as a senator, as have such longtime Senate luminaries as Orrin Hatch, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd.

She, indeed, would be foolish to throw it away for an unrequited run for the presidency. But vanity and ambition can be foolish and fatal flaws... and the Clintons are long on both.

I believe that Americans can accept a woman president long before most would accept a woman senior pastor their own home church.

(P.S. I've returned to Heart, Soul & Humor.)

Mark Daniels said...

Your observation about churches is interesting, Deborah.

There are a few churches in my denomination where there would be hesitance to accept a female pastor. But for the most part, I think that she would be welcome without reference to her gender.