Hillary isn't the only woman in the Democratic Party

Should Barack Obama pick Hillary as his VP? On balance I think not; the narrative that Obama won on was that of a change, a new way of doing things. Hillary, as a Clinton, quite clearly doesn’t embody that narrative (and it’s in the rules of narrative that you have to embody it). To have a Clinton as VP would undermine his narrative and would endanger his election. Plus, it would be very awkward in the White House.

I always veered towards Barack Obama but I was very well aware of importance of Hillary’s position; the first woman to have run a serious campaign for the democratic nomination. I understood, in the face of the misogyny that she endured during the campaign, why she had to keep going. Why it was so important not to let the (largely male) party grandees pat her on the head and tell her to let the man through unimpeded. Even as someone who has leant towards Senator Obama during the campaign, I can see that a woman with a similar CV would’ve been laughed out of the race straight away.

So, do those of us who long for real diversity in politics have to sigh wistfully and just be grateful for all the ways, just by standing for the nomination, that she has made a difference to politics and women’s place in it; as candidates, as voters and as commentators. Politics, in the US in any case, has changed forever as a result. Should we just wait out the next 4 years?

Well, no.

An article from The American Prospect website has got me thinking. Just because Hillary would be the wrong Vice President, it doesn’t mean to say there can’t be a woman Vice President. As Dana Goldstein points out, in the VP contenders women make up 2 out of 3 of the top choices (if you discount Hillary herself). Goldstein goes on to say:

“We've experienced unprecedented interest from male politicos in women's participation in the electoral process. And demands for women's leadership have been given their fairest hearing to date in the United States, with Democrats nationwide expecting Obama to give close consideration to female vice-presidential prospects -- not only because there are a few wildly successful and talented women who would be great at the job, but also as a gesture of good will toward the feminist energy that animated so many Clinton supporters”.

And so:

“…in addition to Clinton herself, Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas are among the top three most frequently-mentioned vice-presidential prospects, trailing only Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia.

The Vice President is a funny old job and can be fairly made into whatever the holder wants it to be. However, the VP must be good enough and at no point would I suggest that anybody without the right qualities to become the Vice President should get there just because of their symbolic value.

But if they were to meet the criteria and have a symbolic value, as a role model to half the world population, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

So, I’m going to count up the differences that Hillary has made for women in politics and hope those differences translate from the US to the UK. But I’m also going to hope that Barack obama, a symbolic candidate in his own right understands that value of role models and that leadership of change, of cultural change comes from the top.


6 comments:

Exciting Facts said...
6 Jun 2008, 13:04:00

Hillary, If that would happen in Poker...

Its too funny what politicians do all the time not admitting that they have lost at a given situation. Hillary being just the perfect model how policitians act when they have to

face a situation where they have lost or were wrong on a topic. They try to ignore it and still play "I am a winner" no matter what the facts and the given reality around them

indicates.

I wonder if thats the reason why policitians don't play poker tournaments - at least not that I know of many who do. Because in the end if lose or win. You can just say "Wow, it

was a fantastic poker game, I was coming in place 38 out of 500". You either win the tournament or you dont. Great if you finish in a range of places where you are getting paid

a few dollars, but if you really want to win in poker games you need to be at the very top of the winners or else.

Nothing would help you that in the world of politics is always going on: "re-arranging facts", "changing the rules at the end to adjust reality", "playing dumb", "not admitting

any mistakes, and just saying NOTHING", "blame it on misunderstandings", "I didnt mean what i said, actually everybody did misunderstood me", and so on.

The good thing about poker is that you either win or your dont. The most obvious of your skills in playing poker is the ability to win. And the "politicians" under the losing

poker players will always say "I had a bad run, I just had back luck" and try to reduce the game of poker to the game of being lucky and being dealt the right cards. It is not.

:-)

Anyway Hillary, I would love to see you at www.actionpoker.com and www.tigergaming.com some day and would like to see how you try to explain your bad poker performance when we

do beat you in the first poker tournment offered just for struggling politicians.

Kevin, Poker Tournament Fan
current favorite poker site:
www.actionpoker.com

Tristan said...
6 Jun 2008, 13:26:00

Some of Hillary's supporters didn't help the image of female politicians...
There were lots of claims that Obama was only running to prevent a woman from winning (which is bizarre).

I also don't think Hillary kept going because of misogyny (which certainly did occur in some sectors - just as racism has against Obama - from within the Democratst too), but because she lusts after power...

There are however some very very capable female Democrats who would make great VPs (some of them probably presidents too).
Unfortunately, the two most prominent women (Clinton and Pelosi) have dire, illiberal politics...

Jo Christie-Smith said...
6 Jun 2008, 13:47:00

Oh, really Tristan! Every presidential nominee since the dawn of time has listed for power! And why not? I lust for power, because that's how you get to change things - a presidential candidate that was happy to be disempowered would be a useless one. Barack Obama probably lusts for power, its just that nobody remarks upon it as it is an entirely unremarkable characteristc in a male candidate.

Plus, you'll notice I wasn't suggesting either Clinton or Pelosi, so why base your analysis on them?

Lastly, barack obama is no free trader...

Jim Jay said...
2 Jul 2008, 19:07:00

I'd really like to see a woman VP too - although I totally agree Clinton is out, she doesn't fit the message, and to be honest Obama is attracting a lot of former republican voters Clinton would certainly put them off - at least that's my judgement on it.

Do you know when they decide?

Jo Christie-Smith said...
2 Jul 2008, 22:06:00

Hi Jim Jay,

They have to have a VP running mate by the time of the Democratic Convention in August but they've normally chosen them well before that.

Jim Jay said...
2 Jul 2008, 22:34:00

Thanks - next couple of weeks then!

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