Reasons you may not give, if you don’t want Hilary for President

Let me make it clear from the outset, I have not yet decided which presidential candidate I will vote for in the primaries, let alone come November 2008, or, as I like to call it, please-dear-God-let’s-not-fuck-up-so-heinously-again-day. I am, like so many others, entranced by Barack Obama but I need to hear a lot more from him before I’m swayed.  I believe Hilary could be an excellent president but her stance on abortion is a bit too wishy-washy for me and, as I’ve stated before, I don’t like the monarchial glean the presidency has taken on – both very real and powerful concerns for me.  John Edwards was my main man but I have to admit (and this is something I will expound on in another post) I’m deeply suspicious of his continued candidacy during his wife’s incurable cancer.   I’m so demanding…poor S. simply won’t have the option for life to continue “normally” if I’m ever diagnosed with incurable cancer, let alone run for president. I think I’m going to want a lot of attention.   But most of this is neither here nor there today.  My friends and family members have taken to giving toe-curling, anti-feminist, prehistoric reasons for not voting for Hilary Clinton and I am, quite frankly, sick of hearing these invalid and weak excuses.  So here, I present The Reasons You May Not Give, If You Don’t Want Hilary For President:

1. “She stayed with Bill Clinton even though he cheated on her. By doing this she obviously doesn’t respect herself.” Another version of this, which will be just one of many “Hilary’s a freaking shrew” arguments, goes like this: “Hilary stayed with Bill Clinton even though he cheated on her. By doing this it proves how cold and calculating she is because obviously you can’t love someone who would do that to you.  She only used him for political gain.”  This is my mom’s favorite argument, but I’ve heard it time and time again and to it I say this: None of us know what happened with this marriage, but as a married woman I DO know that bad things happen in marriage. Bad things happen in life, for God’s sake, and it is impossible for two people to live together day in and day out for their entire lives and not do or say something horrible.  Perhaps she stayed with him out of concern for her daughter, whom we all forget about. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s still madly in love with him.  And maybe it is solely for her career…but you know what? None of us will EVER know, and using this as a base for judging her sacrifices our sisterhood.  We can’t decry the state of the family today and then criticize a presidential candidate for seeing her marriage through when the republican candidates hilariously can’t find one candidate capable of remaining faithful to his wife except, perhaps, for Mitt Romney but he ties his dog to the top of his car, which is all kinds of wrong. So, sorry folks – this dog just don’t hunt.

2. “Hilary is strident” or “Hilary is a shrew” or “Hilary is a bitch” or “Hilary is too manly” – well – there are – no words – for this argument. WHEN, I ask of those who give this argument, WHEN has she been a bitch? When she was trying to institute a national health care plan? When was she a shrew? When she actually worked in lieu of wondering around the White House redecorating the Lincoln Bedroom? And why is strident a bad thing? Would you prefer an UNSTRIDENT senator or president? And for those who say she’s too “manly,” well.  Perhaps the problem is you just happen to be to womanly.

3. She voted initially for the war in Iraq.  I think perhaps this is the most tired argument of all. For goodness sake’s – we apparently aren’t holding this against our president, who has led us into an immoral and unjustified war solely to carry out his family’s obsession with Sadam Hussein. We haven’t impeached him or brought him up on war crimes and we are going to hold the Senator’s vote against her? Let me ask you this – who would you rather have leading your country… someone who admits her first vote was wrong, and has the abstract ability to change her mind, or someone (again, our President comes to mind) who is completely unable to say – Shit. I really screwed this up – let’s fix it?  I truly believe Senator Clinton made the best decision she could at the time with the information she had available to her, and we simply can’t hold her initial vote against her.

4. As cited by Maureen Dowd in a June 20th OpEd piece entitlted “Carmela God Jewelry, Hillary Wants a White House” as a reason not to vote for Hilary, Hillary’s run is nothing more than the conclusion of a decades long pact she and her husband made when they first got together, that some day BOTH would be president. I’ve had various friends refer to this unsubstantiated pact and as far as I can tell they, as well as Dowd, seem to hold it against the Clinton’s that their plan, simply, came true.  They find something chilling in the idea that Bill and Hillary (gasp) laid out goals and (gasp) they came to fruition.  I don’t understand how this is any different from making plans with your own loved one to buy a house and take a vacation in Boca, and both of those things happening. Of course the Clintons had much grander plans than most of us, but we cannot punish them simply because life went the way they hoped.  This argument is just un-American.

Things brings us to number 5.  A woman, an actual grown up, in her thirties woman who is marrying an old college friend of mine, actually said, at a party, that a woman shouldn’t be President because pms makes us so tempermental.  I’ve heard men make this base reasoning before, as though the onset of cramps and some fatigue could harken forth a war with Spain or the invasian of the Arctic circle, and I can’t help but think this is the same mentality that encourages so many young women to idolize the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan  – even in the 21st century, women aren’t given credit for their brains and their potential.  I can tell you one thing – if I have a daughter – and really, the thought errifies me, how one raises a daughter in this day and age – I can only hope she’ll admire and covet the qualities someone like Clinton carries in lieu of flashing her uncovered crotch and drinking herself into a stupor.  Clinton still has some old-school feminist class, and I always have, always will, love her utterly for it.

So, there you have it. Five reasons you cannot give, if you don’t want Hilary for President. I am sure in the days and weeks and months ahead we will delve into these, and many ot her reasons, more carefully and with more consideration but in the mean time, let us not undo all the work our mothers and grandmothers did, and fob of Hillary * for reasons having nothing to do with her qualifications.  We all deserve better.

* have you noticed I’m completely unable to consistently refer to Senator Clinton? One minute it’s Hillary, the next the Senator, etc – if I were a student I bet some composition teacher would have a field day with the politics behind it.  As it is, I guess I’d better settle on one reference and leave it at that.

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20 Responses to Reasons you may not give, if you don’t want Hilary for President

  1. Tia says:

    Great article! I’m not American, so won’t be voting, and not sure I’d vote for Hilary if I could, but I’m interested in what goes on over the other side of the pond and I really agree with you that these “reasons” are inadmissible.

  2. Dorothy W. says:

    I SO agree with you. I’m not sure who I’ll vote for either, but I can’t stand Hillary-bashing. It so often has a misogynist subtext to it (or maybe not even so subtle as a subtext), as several of your reasons point out. I particularly can’t stand those who criticize her for being power-hungry and “overly”-ambitious. A man can be these things no problem … Right now I’m kind of hoping Al Gore will enter the race …

  3. mandarine says:

    If PMS makes women presidents temperamental, I wonder what a ten-year-long prostate cancer can do to men presidents (I am referring to President Mitterrand).

  4. I agree, those are all BAD reasons not to vote for Hillary. If I was voting, I’d be torn too, but I’d also want to beat up people who used justifications like these not to vote for someone.

  5. Emily says:

    I hate that PMS argument, too. Think about what testosterone does to men (like, you know, making them aggresive and rash), but no one ever brings that up as an argument for them not to hold office. I also hate to hear people criticize her for sticking with Bill when he cheated on her. As you point out, we have no idea what really went on or still goes on in that marriage. What I don’t like about her, if what gets reported in the press is true (and I’m always doubting whether or not it is, which means we can never really know anything about any politicians we don’t happen to know personally), is the way she was so disloyal to long-time friends when Bill first took office. Disloyalty is something I have a hard time forgiving. I’m with Dorr: I’d love to see Al run again (but I think he’s too smart for that). And if Nancy Pelosi were to run, well she’d be my candidate.

  6. Emily says:

    i actually think the “she voted for the iraq war” is an acceptable reason–but then again, so many people voted for the iraq war that it strikes me as a demerit but not a disqualification. (it’s also the only reason on your list that is about content, not style.) i do think that the evidence was there to realize that the war was an awful idea (speaking as a political scientist who studies the middle east), but those votes were about political considerations at home.

    but the crazy-hillary hate has to stop. i wonder how we can use this as a teaching moment to try to change the way people think about women in politicsc. then again, no one is going to want to think about these things.

    i have problems with hillary’s politics (i voted green in the last senate election, for instance), but i’m glad there’s a serious woman in the race.

  7. Lulu says:

    re: reason five

    I’ve never understood this reasoning. Sure I get moody when I’m PMSing, but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t control my emotions, its just means I’m going to eat a pint of Ben & Jerrys.

    No one ever seems to argue that serial killers are almost always men, not women. They (men) seem to have problems with impulse control, not us.

  8. hobgoblin says:

    All very good points. I think what all of the Hillary-bashing boils down to is contempt for and fear of a very smart woman who dares to be ambitious. The “I don’t like her because she stayed with Bill” argument is especially galling, for the very reasons you cite; it’s also annoyingly hypocritical, coming as it often does from “family values” voters.

  9. Tia, thank you, and welcome! I look forward to reading your blog.

    Dorothy – I am also holding out hope for Al Gore – I would love it if he would enter.

    Charlotte – I wish we could have your vote…we need more people like you over HERE!

    Emily – I think you are probably right that voting for the Iraq war is valid in many ways. I think I’m just tired of hearing the relentless news coverage about how she did so! I need to look further into her disloyalty towards her friends, though – I don’t remember hearing so much about that? Nancy Pelosi would be a dream come true.

    Lulu – Exactly! Imagine how much better the world would be if Bush instead of sending troops into Iraq curled up with a pint of ice cream? By the way, I have tried commenting on your blog but it won’t let me? Good luck with your move!

    Hobgoblin – It’s surprising to me in this day and age people harbor such a fear of smart, commanding women but so many still do. It’s really heartbreaking.

  10. Lulu says:

    I think you need to be on blogger or it won’t let you, but I am going to try changing that; we’ll see how much spam I get.



  11. Kerryn says:

    I, too, agree that those are all bad reasons not to vote for Hillary and they tend to say more about the fears and prejudices of the person making the criticism than the woman herself.

    I think Hobgoblin nailed it — people are afraid of smart, ambitious, successful women, particularly those whose ambitions lead them to seek a position of public leadership. In Australia, the deputy leader of the opposition party is a woman and from the moment she stepped into that position attracted criticisms along similar lines — too manly, not womanly enough because she’s not married with children, too unattractive and on it went. What her detractors didn’t comment on was her politics.

  12. Stefanie says:

    Great post. I am not sure who I will vote for yet either, but if I end up not voting for Hilary it won’t be for any of these five reasons that’s for sure!

  13. litlove says:

    My husband read an article in the Economist all about the presidential campaigners and swallowed whole their praise of Mitt Romney. So you can imagine I just had to read him your bit about him and his dog and we both just fell about laughing for a while. Not at the fate of the poor dog, you understand (although why he would do such a thing is intriguing) but at the way you’d put it which was just so wonderful.

  14. Pingback: It’s My Fantasy, And You’re In It « Charlotte’s Web

  15. Aphra Behn says:

    Surely she’s post menopausal anyway, so PMS is hardly a problem. And I find it hard to forgive anyone for voting for the war in Iraq too, it was so obviously wrong, which of course leaves me with almost no one to vote for in the UK.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post.


  16. Daniel Wallace says:

    I have a valid reason why i would not vote for hillary clinton for president- given she makes it past the primaries, as i will not be eighteen until december-

    She is not ready to lead. she has already said that she would not be willing to meet with leaders of (possibly) hostile leaders of foreign countries for fear of “making things worse” in her entire first year of presidency, but you can’t just leave things alone and hope they will go away. As the president of the United States of America you hold the responsibility of the safety and well being of every citizen of the U.S. on your shoulders.

    I don’t believe she can handle it. . .

  17. Amanda says:

    Re No.5:

    “If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?”
    –Gloria Steinem

  18. retro says:

    As much as I’d like to see a woman president, I don’t trust Hillary as far as I can throw her.

  19. jimmy says:

    Hilary is a bitch that wants to steal penises. she will make men cut off thier balls and penises and reattach them to her Super Lesbian cabinet. This is her plan.

  20. jimmy says:

    I can’t wait, when, under the stress she doesn’t cry but goes thru a Britney Spears moment of craziness and starts shaving her head in public and dancing in assless leather chaps while singing helen reddy songs.

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