What’s Iron Got to Do With It?

Mon, July 23, 2007

Presidential Campaigns

My blogging friend and public relations expert David over at It’s Not a Lecture has a question on his mind and has tossed it my way:

Are we ready for a woman president?

And if we are, does she have to be made of iron, as many other women heads of state have been dubbed?

The possibility of the first woman American president has long been an exciting thought to me, even though at the moment I’m not completely sold on Hillary. Think of the things that would, or could, be different simply by having someone in The White House whose brain is wired differently from every other occupant before her.

I was actually wondering this morning whether I should change my stance and just throw her my support precisely because she is a woman. After all, the guys haven’t really done such a great job, so maybe gender is a good reason to get on board the Hillary bandwagon.

I do know what I want in a president — someone who is smart, principled, has a complete grasp of the issues and the potential implications of decisions that are made by the Leader of the Free World. I also want someone who is capable of compassion and empathy.

Our current president and most of his advisers seem to be missing that personality chip. Unless you count the recent weepiness of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Judith Warner wondered in her recent New York Times op-ed what we would have made of such a display of humanity if it had been Condi Rice who had shed a tear over the casualties of war.

I have a feeling it would have been something like this — if Gates weeps, he’s feeling their pain; if Rice cries, she’s weak and not strong enough, not steely enough, to handle the hard decisions.

So, at least for the moment, my answer is this — I’m not sure that a country that has active organizations like the Eagle Forum and well-read publications like The Weekly Standard are ready for someone who wears skirts and gets cards on Mother’s Day to occupy the Oval Office unless she at least has the appearance of being made of iron, steel or titanium.

But that’s OK, because there are plenty of us on the double-X side who know how to present the face of toughness, while staying true to the qualities that make us human.
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10 Responses to “What’s Iron Got to Do With It?”

  1. mcewen Says:

    Well, you know that Margaret Thatcher [British Prime Minister] was known as the Iron Lady!

    By the by, which would you say is your main blog? I always arrive at your profile and I never know which one to pick?
    maybe that should have been in an email!

  2. David Says:

    Thanks for the link, J!

    I think for some reason we can’t always accept women leaders until we assume they’re superhuman, or “iron.” It’s amazing how we’re so willing to overlook so many foibles for so many male political leaders — from sheer incompetence to rank infidelity — and I wonder if we’d ever cut a woman the same slack.

    “being ready” for a woman president, whether it’s Hillary or someone else, is just one step. being ready for a woman and accepting the fact that she’s human who makes mistakes is another.

  3. lildb Says:

    I’ll tell you what I’m ready for – I’m ready for the current administration to go to jail, and for other people that are not this current administration to take charge.

    although if any of the post-Bush admin members are people named things like Mitt or Rudy, I’m gonna have to maybe, um, move to another planet.

    *shivers, terrified*

  4. Paige Says:

    I want good sense, honesty and decency. That’s what I want.

    I’m not sure who has it, but I’d embrace them, whatever their gender.

  5. painted maypole Says:

    Women tend to be viewed as more compassionate, caring, able to multi-task, etc. Yes, I think those are presidential qualities.

  6. MotherPie Says:

    mcewan had a very good point, reminding us about the Iron Lady.

    I find it interesting to watch how the media is depicting the candidates, visually. It is one thing to make a caricature of a guy but for a female?

  7. Lisa Giebitz Says:

    I think voting for Hillary just because she’s a woman is as prejudiced as not voting for her simply because she’s a woman.

    She won’t be getting my vote, but that’s because she doesn’t seem honest and open.

  8. radical mama Says:

    Whether American is ready for a woman president remains to be seen, but I know that I am ready for one. Hillary clinton would not be my first choice (How I would love Barbara Boxer to run!) but I will vote her. Because she is a woman. Other reasons too, but I admit that I am compromising a bit. Then again, I always have to compromise a bit when I vote. Don’t we all?

  9. karrie Says:

    I’ve replied to similar posts, but I do believe that gender combined with a similar stance on most of the important issues is a powerful combination. On a purely political basis, I’m probably closest to Kucinich. I voted for him in previous elections, and would again if Hillary was not planning to run.

    Hillary has my vote–and I have the t-shirt collection to prove it. ;)

  10. Gunfighter Says:

    I think the country is ready for a woman President… but I think that a woman President isn’t likely to be much different (gender aside) from a male President.

    Such a President is still likely to be a career politician… will still have to pander to special interests (on either side), will still have to kiss babies and say insincere things while eating at a hole-in-the-wall diner while on the campaign trail…

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