Tuesday, March 06, 2007

If You Want to be a Leader--Quit talking about your Freaking Grandkids!

I saw this article on MSN about men's attitudes at work and how people are skeptical of female leaders. Naturally the article points out that women have the aptitude to be a leader but they are being held back because of their female status. Okay, maybe yes, maybe no. But the article points out that if Hillary Clinton wants to make it as president, she better take a look at their survey:

While Clinton hopes to smash through the ultimate glass ceiling to become the nation's first female president, the Work & Power Survey conducted by Elle and MSNBC.com suggests that stereotypes about sex and leadership are alive and well....

One cannot live in a sexist society without absorbing some of those messages, which make women feel worse about themselves and suspicious of other women," said Janet Lever, a professor of sociology at California State University in Los Angeles, who helped conceive the survey. "The enemy is omnipresent cultural messages, not women themselves."

There are long-established attributes that are assigned to men and women, says Madeline E. Heilman, an expert on workplace sex bias and professor of psychology at New York University. Women take care of others and nurture, while men are seen as taking charge and being assertive. The problem is, she says, when we map these attributes onto the workplace the male attributes are much more sought after.

“I call this the lack of fit,” she explains, because the perceived attributes of women don’t fit the leadership mold. “When women succeed in areas they’re not supposed to they are disapproved of greatly, by everyone, men and women.”

Kolb doesn’t think people’s negative attitudes about women have anything to do with their abilities. She points to many surveys that show women are on par with men when it comes to leadership attributes. Unfortunately, she adds, in most surveys, including ours, women are not seen as having the same leadership potential as men.

If you don't want to be sterotyped in a traditional female role, then stop talking about yourself as being qualified for leadership positions because of your stereotypical female role! Newsflash: If you want to be taken seriously as a leader, then quit talking about how nurturing you are, how caring, how we need a "mom" for president and your darn grandkids. Seriously, does John McCain or any other presidential candidate run at the mouth about being a granddad, as if this is the main qualification he has for the job of politician? Of course not. Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton would do well for all women leaders if they would talk about why they are qualified to carry out the duties of Speaker of the House or President. The world's full of moms and grandmoms -- and dads and granddads -- who aren't qualified for high office. To be a leader, you must talk like a leader, whether you are male or female.


Blogger SGT Ted said...

What is the most disturbing of their attitudes and statements is the "being our mother" part. It is an infantilizing tactic to justify control freak-like regulation of the lives of other adults.

"We're going to take things away from you for the common good." is a choice example of this attitude.

When politicians talk like that, it's time to get them out of office.

11:09 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

Usually I am pretty free with my opinions on the Internet, but if I voiced my true opinion of the bragging supermoms in the workplace no doubt someone would show up at my door to tar and feather me. This is an area where non-mothers have learned to keep their mouth shut for their own safety.

11:16 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Sgt Ted,

Ultimately (I hope) I think this smothering mother tactic will lose. It seems that those like Hillary or Pelosi who like to play up this angle to woo female voters can't fathom what a turnoff this tactic is to many, and as you can see from the article, it is women who often are suspicious of female leaders, perhaps with good reason if they display no more sense than "As your 'mom,' I will tell you how to live." Most independant minded Americans will not put up with such dribble.


Are these "supermoms" so hostile that you are afraid of them? If they are hostile to those who do not have children, what kind of leaders would they make?

11:23 AM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...


Of course I am afraid of them, I don't need trouble. I've learned to fake appreciation of mothers and fake it well. Nobody can admire a desktop picture of a child as well as me.

What kind of leaders do they make? I wouldn't know, in my professional world supermoms don't make it much past HR Administrator.

11:30 AM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm agreed with you on so many points, but I really think that politics is a nasty game and anything that can be used against a candidate will be used against a candidate. Any woman in the public eye who doesn't fit the mommy stereotype isn't going to get very far in politics precisely because if she shows the acceptable, typically masculine leadership characteristics she will be labeled as cold, unfeminine and uncaring and alienate the voters who expect women to fit this role. Now, Dr. Smith, please tell me how this defeatist viewpoint is wrong and that America will one day have a brilliant, intelligent, non-smothering female president.

11:48 AM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care whether she's a mother. If anything, I care about what kind of mother she is. Where's Chelsea when you need her?

11:50 AM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Any woman in the public eye who doesn't fit the mommy stereotype isn't going to get very far in politics"

This is definitely true at the local level. I ran for office and definitely felt my childlessness as a handicap. Ideally, you would have had your kids young and they would be in HS or older before you enter politics. It's something to talk about, and women voters want to relate to you. Plus, it's a lesbian-filter; having kids takes that off the table. Grandkids look good in campaign photos too.

But mommy-as-superior-candidate? Give me a break. What did Margaret Thatcher do? She will always be a model for me.

12:02 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:48 is right. Both sexes put women in an unwinnable position. If women act all business and leave out the touchy/feely, we're considered "cold" and "bitches". Folks can deny it all they want, but that is Hillary Clinton's main problem with the public. But if we let emotions show or appear softer, then we're seen as too weak.

So, I've often sat around and wondered if Hillary would've been better off dumping Bill 15 years ago. I think undoubtedly she would be viewed more sympathetically. She would be "liked". But would she have had a career in politics? I don't think she has much of a shot at the presidency now (I don't think any woman can). But I don't think she would have a snowball's chance in hell, if she had taken up the role of the pitiful, wronged wife.

12:05 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a great topic and something that I struggle with everyday in the workplace. I have found that being a mom makes me a much better leader and co-worker. I understand and empathize with those that work for me. I get their almost instant commitment when they realize I appreciate they aren't just drones that work for me, but real people with real lives. In contrast, before I had kids, I just didn't understand why people had to take off from work to take their kids to the doctor, why the first day of school was so important, and I didn't have anything of note in common with 60% of those I worked with. I couldn't connect with them. I was a decent, organized, confident leader before I had kids. But now I have a humanizing side that I didn’t have. Of course, some people may already have that humanizing side before kids. I didn’t.

Just because I have a broader perspective now that I have kids, doesn’t mean I ooze sympathy and “mommy-ness” at work. I play a careful balance between when I am a strong leader who talks business and one who talks mommy-stuff. Regardless, I always aim to be true to who I am now. I was taught that those who you lead can spot a fake a mile away, so be true to yourself. This is a lesson that Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton may want to revisit.

12:07 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What kind of leaders do they make?"

Elementary school teachers, that's what they're like, Cham. Very good for that kind of work and not much else.

"Both sexes put women in an unwinnable position. etc..."

Very true, Anon. It requries a change in culture. I have been around many female leaders in mynitme in the Army. They are enculturated to lead just like men, and commnets of the "bitch" variety are compliments in that setting. It's a compliment to a woman in that setting to be called "hard as crow's lips" or whatever. I even noticed a little sociolinguistic detail once - when a female soldier has a baby, they say she has "dropped" a kid, as when a mare gives birth. I never heard the same complimentary expression used in the case of a civilian wife. And it certainly does not make these soldiers any less feminine.

12:36 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a great read on the subject:

"Generation of Vipers" by Philip Wylie, written in 1942 no less.

Wylie coined the term "Momism" and pretty much predicted this would all happen.

Great writer too if you're a word person like me. He was part of the founding staff of the New Yorker.

12:48 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, I've read that book many times. It lays to rest many common assumptions about how things were back in WWII days. It would probably be considered highly sexist now but as a woman I never minded its acid critique of the culture and its bracing good sense.

1:12 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem with this post is that while it may speak the realities of women in American, there are oh so many countries that have relegated women to unequal status but nonetheless have put women in very important political office. Only in America , it seems, the great democracy, are we still wondering if a woman can be the head of state.

1:32 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Pat said...

"Both sexes put women in an unwinnable position. If women act all business and leave out the touchy/feely, we're considered 'cold' and 'bitches'. Folks can deny it all they want, but that is Hillary Clinton's main problem with the public. But if we let emotions show or appear softer, then we're seen as too weak."

Sorry, but I don't buy this at all. First of all, I don't think that people view Hillary as emotionless. Their problem with her is that the emotions she has displayed are anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power.

Second, I don't agree that showing emotion per se is a liability for politicians. This photograph doesn't seemed to have harmed the President's image any. Nor has Tony Blair been harmed by the "free-flowing warmth" that this Slate author praises him for.

Third, I question whether being perceived as "cold" or a "bitch" actually harms a woman's political success. Margaret Thatcher was attacked with those terms countless times, but that did not seem to prevent her from winning elections. Any successful politician will be disliked by a lot of people. Women are going to have to grow thicker skins if they hope to survive in that arena. How many male politicians worry that someone might call them "cold" or a "bastard"? It comes with the territory.

2:04 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Joe Giles said...

I don't doubt that a woman can be President, but the current applicants are suspect.

And as noted, the current officeholders are the ones who keep bringing gender up.

And then there's the issue of whether the womanly/parental/grandparental anecdotes are believable. Funny that those who deplore any gender stereotypes return so quickly to them when politically convenient.

And then wonder why they are suspect.

2:13 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It took me 18 years to get away from a smothering mother, and I ain't going back!

Nothing against my Mom, mind you, it's just that at some point I want to decide things for myself. I can't think of anything worse than ultra-Liberal neo-Socialist Hillary or Nancy trying to run my life for me. I can tie my own shoes now, and I enjoy it.

2:16 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Mike said...

This is not unlike the average woman's rag which is cover to cover with images sexualizing women and focusing their identity on sexual relationships. That these are often edited by feminists makes it more ironic.

The day that most women want to be held to the same performance standards as men, is the day they'll be fully equal. Until then, it'll be a farce in the eyes of most men who haven't been rendered pussified by uncritical acceptance of liberal propaganda.

2:16 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Jeff with one 'f' said...

"there are oh so many countries that have relegated women to unequal status but nonetheless have put women in very important political office"

I think women in America have much greater power than women in other countries, both in social terms and in tangible positions of power. Anecdotal testimony from foreign friends suggests that the US is in practice a matriarchal society. For this reason I believe it understandable that we haven't had a woman president yet- it would feel too much like putting all of our eggs in one basket.

Openly (even murderously) patriarchal nations like India can have a female leader because there is no way she could tip the overall gender balance of their society. A female leader is an outlier, the exception that proves the rule. In the US a female president would be interpreted as the final proof that female chauvinism can run unchecked.

Also, American nationalism is built on the concept of a 'mission', of a people (anyone can join!) with a destiny to fulfill and a legacy to guard. I propose that our optimism, energy, and lack of birthrate collapse stem from the energy of the 'mission'- like a shark, civilizations must move forward or die. We want a leader who will move us forward somehow, not someone who will mind the shop or manage the downsizing. George Washington is still the role model for the Presidency, and it's still hard to envision a female COmmander-in-Chief.

2:16 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Radish said...

I find this new "must have children" prerequisite for women in politics very, very disturbing. It's antithetical even to the original women's movement--Elizabeth Cady Stanton never would have told Susan Anthony she wasn't fit to champion women's rights because she'd never reproduced.

2:20 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Jeff with one 'f' said...

PS- "Anonymous said...
It took me 18 years to get away from a smothering mother, and I ain't going back! "

This, on a gut level, is the basic male response to female leadership. And it holds true for many of my female friends when applied to the workplace!

2:20 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Mike said...

Another thing, about the perception of being a cold bitch, the problem there is that many such women don't project real strength. Some of them don't deserve the bitch label and are genuinely strong women, but most are not. It's a sad fact of life that many of these "strong, independent women" (and yes, I use that stereotype phrase with utter sarcasm) are no different than many of their male counterparts who are nasty, destructive jerks.

These people may be financially successful, but they are neither strong, nor good people when the chips are down, regardless of their gender.

2:24 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary is a dysfunctional sociopath. Most women aren't.

2:27 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Kids are the only product we absolutley positively have to make and make well and somewhere in its dna the voters know that.

3:05 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. Being a mom doesn't automatically make you a fabulous human being, it may not even mean you're any good at being a mom. It just means you've got eggs that met some sperm. I know, I am a mom, and I love it, but does it make me better at my other job??? Let me do your taxes, I've reproduced! Or maybe let me fill that cavity, I've got kids and really know how to wield a dental drill. It's such a non sequitur. Seriously, if anyone else tried to tell us being a mom made them good at what they do, we'd laugh so hard, we'd pee our pants as bad as we did when we were 9 months pregnant and our bladders were squeezed down to the size of a grape. They're just trying to pander to the "soccer moms",
whoever they are, and diminishing themselves in the eyes of any thinking person ( mom or otherwise, uterus or no) in the process.

3:22 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 2:27:

I agree with you, Hillary gives me a really bad feeling that I get among the liars and pseudopsychopaths that I see at work. I don't think she is a good example of a female leader who is discriminated against. I think she has gotten ahead, partly because she is a woman and a Democrat who some feminists identify with.

Look at Condi Rice, she holds herself with authority and leadership but her ties to Bush and the Republican party seem to lead to discrimination and the fact that the Democratic party can't stand the fact that she is a minority who is not on their side.

3:28 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't think you need to have kids in order to be an effective leader with a broad view. I have worked for great bosses without kids and because they had empathy they knew why I needed to go home for a family reason.

If you want to be a good supervisor you have to have a broader view regardless of you having or not having kids. Unfortunately I think we are in a era (from strictly my viewpoint) of damn the employees, pump that bottom line. I have also seen too many cases of people having kids to "make them a better person". It didn't.

Rich Cook

3:30 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i totally agree. Thatcher made no secret of the fact she wanted the power, but, she also balanced that with a very high personal morality that didn't make it seem like she wanted to be "King". Any women that can go through a live fire excercise at the British Army's Special Air Services' "killing house" without batting an eyelash has my vote and then some.

3:36 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Thatcher presented as tough, smart, and hard working. Secretary Rice presents as brilliant, fit, and tenacious. Mother Theresa presented as strong, determined, and happy. Ms. Brakefielf, a family friend whom I respect and admire, presents as kind, understanding, and funny.

I am sure some of these women were or would have been great grandmothers, but that is not the criteria I use to vote for someone. I think that a dumbing down PR hack came up with the grandmother aspect. It is frivolous nonsense to me.

But I do need to make a list of liberal women I admire. Suggestiongs for consideraton?


4:45 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger submandave said...

I have always contended that the real major hurdle either a woman or minority candidate for President must overcome is the impression of proprietary interest. The voters, in general, are not interested in electing a candidate to support "women's" or "black" issues, especially if it is perceived that these issues will overshadow the candidate's attention and efforts on behalf the larger nation as a whole.

5:35 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger MathMom said...


I have not found a liberal woman that I can admire. The ones I can think of do not debate fairly, speak in generalities and broad brush strokes but never support their positions in a meaningful way.

I used to watch Chris Matthews, and he had Katrina VanDenHeuvel on many times. He'd ask her a question, and she'd invariably say "that's not the question, this is the question" and proceed to say whatever she wanted to. She never answered a frickin' question. All of them that I've seen do that or a variety of that.

Mrs. Clinton, for example, wants to be adored for her "experience" in the White House, but doesn't want anyone to ask questions about her experience as an enabler and a rider of coattails. She will be offended if George Bush has not tidied up Iraq before her coronation, as if Iraq were a house on the market that had to be made ready for sale. It would be great if life worked in four-year cycles, and that each administration could work on what they want, history be damned. But life isn't like that, and the person who next occupies the White House had better have huevos of brass, because the terrorists are not going to quit until they are hammered into the ground. Mrs. Clinton will not do that. Margaret Thatcher would. That is why she was fit to run a country. If we ever grow a Margaret Thatcher, I'd vote for her. I won't vote for a person who spends all her time implying that it's "time" for a woman president, or "time" for a woman Speaker of the House. That is hooey.

7:43 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pat said: "Sorry, but I don't buy this at all. First of all, I don't think that people view Hillary as emotionless. Their problem with her is that the emotions she has displayed are anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power."

Ok. But those would be about all the emotions we would see from most male politicians. (Your Bush photo, besides being staged, is, of course, a rarity AND not terribly emotion-filled.) But those emotions (anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power) are not held against a male politician. It's not only expected but well nigh admired.

7:45 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Lee J. Cockrell said...

When Pelosi took the Speaker position and said "I accept this gavel on behalf of America's children," my eyes rolled so hard they almost spun in their sockets.

8:19 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:45 wrote: "But those emotions (anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power) are not held against a male politician."

I think you have a valid point. But how did PM Thatcher carry it off so well?


9:26 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thatcher was a competent public speaker and candid in her beliefs. Hillary is among the weakest orators to every run for national office. She simply cannot convey sincerity. Oddly I suspect that she often is sincere, but is unable to present sincerely.

10:18 PM, March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But those emotions (anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power) are not held against a male politician."

Until they are turned on their own citizens, or some action is characterized as expressing those emotions against a PC-protected group.

As for the assertion that "those would be about all the emotions we would see from most male politicians", perhaps you can point me toward documentation of Carter's anger? Reagan's hatred? Gorbachev's lust for power? Walesa's spite, perhaps? I'll grant you arrogance, given that the word is synonymous with confidence, these days.

12:03 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Laika's Last Woof said...

We conservatives and libertarians don't have a problem with strong women leaders. Who among us doesn't have the most profound respect for women like Margaret Thatcher and Condoleeza Rice?

1:00 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Pat said...

"But those emotions (anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power) are not held against a male politician. It's not only expected but well nigh admired."

I don't think so. Can you cite some examples, please, of male politicians who have openly displayed those emotions and been admired for it?

1:43 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

as someone who lived in the UK, in the thatcher era for most of his young life, thatcher was able to do things because she was tough, she never used her kids as a bargaining chip, but when her son was lost in the desert, then she went to search for him.

i never liked thatcher, but she was a strong leader.

a lot of female politicians, and male ones now, use the fact they have a child as a reason why they are best for the job.

it shouldnt be about if a person has a child or not, it should be about can they do the job, everything else is irrelevant. but most men dont vote anymore, but women do and a vast majority of them are mothers, so the politicians are going for the mother vote, and they will enact new laws that directly benefit themselves.

the UK is slightly different, we have always had strong women leaders, the queens, and a woman like thatcher (who came up from being a greengrocers daughter to prime minister)

3:21 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

No one can fix sexist views of women without AT THE SAME TIME fixing sexist views of men. The two problems are too closely tied, to get rid one one, you must also get rid of the other. That is, sadly, not being done. Thus, female politicians are stuck with sexist attitudes.

There's a goodly bit of data to show that the public prefers its female leaders to look like a grandmother (as we prefer our male leaders to be tall). I think that preference carries through into other parts of the political process. So while a female candidate should not talk about her grandkids directly, she should hint at them.

3:28 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

She simply cannot convey sincerity

That can happen when your core principles are mounted on ball bearings rather than bolted down ;->

McCain suffers the same affliction.

6:15 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A liberal woman politician whom I admire? Umm, err, well, I can't think of any right off the top of my head.

I've thought about it for a few minutes and I still can't think of any. Margaret Thatcher, I admire. She was a straight shooter and had very strong principles. She didn't live by polls and she didn't put on a fake accent a la the Hildabeest.

6:26 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pat, tmink and others:

I think someone already pointed this out, but I don't think it's fair to make the Thatcher comparison. What is accepted in Britain or India or anywhere else is not really reflective of what is accepted here at all. I mean, the stereotype is that the British don't want ANYONE who's particularly emotion-filled, one way or the other, male or female. And of course they have been led by a female queen, on more than one occassion and to great success. So, it's nothing new for them.

As for male politicians, saltedslug, I don't know that I can come up with an example of each (anger, hatred, spite, arrogance and lust for power) for each of the gentlemen you cite. Or for each of the presidents over the last 50-75 years. And, of course, like everything else, I don't have any doubt that the personal politics of the people reading here colors whether you see a certain politician as having demonstrated these emotions. (And, yes, of course--that goes for me as well. But when many of you say you can't come up with a liberal female politician you admire, I think that probably says more about your bias than about liberal female politicians.)

At any rate, I think Reagan's anger was seen on numerous occassions, particularly with his critics of course. I think he was pretty open about that. Not saying he was in error. Just saying, error or not, I don't think that sort of open anger is tolerated from women.

I also think Reagan's lust for power and Clinton's lust for power can't be reasonably denied. It's not the sort of thing than I can point to a certain event. I think anger, spite and lust for power were also pretty patent in Lyndon Johnson.

You may have me on Carter.

8:17 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

A liberal female politicians that I admire? Barbara Mikulski. But, then again, she's nobody's mommy. When she wants to get something done, it gets done. (Although I am sure that she is not the cup of tea of people here) Love her.

8:49 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a woman talks about her kids, people think she's too soft. If a man talks about his kids, the world erupts in praise of this wonderful father.

Interesting, though...I'm not sure talking a lot about kids helps men get elected any more than it helps women.

8:58 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, come on Anon 8:17, you used the phrase "would be about all". Don't give us vague insinuations of "numerous occasions" of anger, and certainly don't whip out the fallacious "can't be reasonably denied".

"[W]ould be about all" can be interpreted in one way (in English, anyway) ... you are stating that the vast majority of all emotions expressed by male politicians can be characterized as "anger, spite, hatred, arrogance, and lust for power." With that assertion, the trick for you should be to find instances of male politicians NOT expressing those emotions and motivations. Certainly a trivial act for something that "can't be reasonably denied", eh? And when you find those rare instances, you can then demonstrate how they were not "well nigh admired."

Or perhaps you'd like to retract your hyperbole, and present a little reality?

9:30 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If PM Thatcher were strictly an English phenomenon, I do not think her name would poke up like spring daffodils all through this post. Somehow, she presented as tough, believable, and competent.

I agree with a previous poster who wondered if Senator Clinton appeared duplicitous even when she is being honest. I wonder that as well. For the record, I do not hate the Senator, although her policies and politics scare me. But she is hated, and loved. I remain convinced that she is too polarizing to get elected.


9:38 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is my problem with Hillary: to me, she projects an image of weakness. Yes, you read that right, weakness. It's all the more ironic because she hammers again and again on how strong she is, and the press carries this theme for her. But yes, as a leader, I think she would be a throw rug -- walked on by anybody and everybody, and seldom if ever clean.

What makes her image weak? Her willingness to pander to any audience put in front of her. Her unwillingness to take a stand on hard issues; indeed, her usual response to a difficult question is to attack the person who asked it. Her apparent inability to accept responsibility for her own actions. (Remember the "pretty in pink" press conference? To me, that one event summarizes modern feminism.) Her confusion over who is a friend to America and who is an enemy. And her apparent willingness to say and do absolutely anything to get elected, even when it contradicts her own stated positions. (Did anyone catch her Lurleen Wallace act in Selma this week? That's the one tactic I didn't think I'd ever see Hillary resort to.)

Let's face it, Hilary has an extraordinarly difficult time whenever she has to face an audience that isn't totally sympathetic to her. As a President, I think she'd be totally trampled by Congress, by the Republicans, by her own party -- and, most worrisome, by America's enemies. We'd all wake up one morning, after several rounds of Agreed Frameworks and "why do they hate us" investigations, to find all of our major cities glowing, our women in burkas, and rusty knives on the backs of our necks.

11:12 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I brought up Thatcher to begin with because I recently realized she was the ONLY model of a female leader I admired or at least knew anything about. I can't count Condi Rice because she's never run for office. Going to lots of people to ask for votes (and money) is a unique experience and Thatcher did have to get her hands dirty and yet retained her dignity.

I'd like to say I admire Liddy Dole but it's more coattails again, and she seemed so bland on the stump.

Can our country even produce a Maggie Thatcher?

11:48 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger MathMom said...

Finally thought of of a liberal woman I can admire! Cham mentioned Barbara Mikulski - don't know her, but I was impressed with Jane Harman when I've seen her on CSpan. She seemed to have actual thought processes, and asked pertinent questions with an apparent knowledge of her subject.

Wow! That only took me like 36 hours!

12:18 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Cousin Dave, your post verbalized some concerns that I had not yet figured out. Thanks for taking the time to say it so well.


1:03 PM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as far as momination (my favorite new made-up word!) goes, and since everyone keeps talking about Hil, how many US presidents were childless ?

Children were seen, as far back as this country's beginnings, as a stabilizing influence on men.

As for leadership, don't get me started. Too many talking heads think it's about intellect or position, and can't understand why, for example, the American people consider certain figures "leaders." "The public is so stoooopid!" they whine, never realizing that they are looking in all the wrong places.

A "leader" is never flighty. Decisions, right or wrong, are measured, thought-out, planned and executed for the long haul. Short-term setbacks are not grounds for reversing direction, only for slight course corrections. If you are seen as vacillating, pandering, or lacking in conviction, your leadership quotient hits bottom quickly.

A "leader" is not hesitant. S/he doesn't check the prevailing winds to determine what is popular or stylish. Way back when, had Bill Clinton said "Of COURSE I inhaled! What do you think, that I'm too stupid to know what a JOINT is for ? What an idiotic question!" many folk like me who made fun of his indecisiveness would have been laughing with him, not at him. This is the one area where I would fault Clinton's presentation of himself as a leader. Fortunately for him, he had oodles of leadership ability in other ways, more than enough to overcome it, and it helped him to defeat Bush Sr.

Speaking of Bill, a "leader" is strong and confident, sure of her/himself. .

This is why some talking heads do not understand why many consider W (or Thatcher) to be a "leader." Those TH's concentrate on their disagreement with W's policies (well-placed or not), and never examine his demeanor, carriage, bearing, and sincerity. They predicted Kerry's success in 2004, and were astonished at the results. Despite the TH's arrogance, it's not that Americans are stupid, it was because that, whatever his abilities or shortcomings, Kerry does not exude leadership the way that W did.

And as many have put forth already, for all her smarts, Hil doesn't exactly exude many of the more intangible qualities of a leader, either.

I am not commenting on what kind of leadership her actions would produce -- that's a crystal ball I don't have -- but merely that she doesn't seem to inspire. Of course, few if any do.

1:19 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

the one thing that makes thatcher a bad PM, was she privatised a lot of industries in itself not too bad, but it led to the recession 17 years of recession and we still havent recovered yet.

as i said i lived through that period, i remember the winter of discontent, when everything shut down, no garbage, no heating, no light, nothing, and this was winter.. so on a world stage she seemed strong, and she was but at home, due to her over the top response to the unions, it indirectly caused chaos.

she had good points and bad, so was she a good leader, she was better than most, was she the best, no.. but then again i dont see anyone else who could have survived the politics of the time.

3:10 PM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You guys have got to have a female president, and a black president and a gay president. Just get it done and then we can forget about these irrelevant issues of sex, sexuality and ethnic origin.

I’m no Hilary Clinton fan, but I don’t blame her for playing the “mom” card. Margaret Thatcher did a fair bit of this in the UK before she was elected for the first time. But now we have been there, done that, had a female PM and – like her or loathe her – Thatcher was a powerful leader. As I am sure Hilary would be – like her or loathe her.

I shiver to think what Hilary’s First Man might get up to. Or would the correct title be “First gentleman”?

We have also done “gay” politicians in the UK. It is no longer an issue. Since Chris Smith, the first gay MP to “come out”, the issue gets little publicit. There are openly gay Cabinet Ministers and opposition Shadow Cabinet Ministers and I cannot even remember who they are. And that is how it should be.

From over here, the fear is that Hilary may not get the nomination because she is female, and Obama may get it because he is black. And yet he is young, inexperienced and God knows what he stands for.


7:47 PM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Clinton does not LOOK grandmotherish enough to get the backing needed to get into the White House. That prejudice remains, ya know? (Same goes for the height prejudice men face.)

Thatcher had the gramma looks going for her. Look at Campbell here in Canada! No gramma looks for her and her PC's got themselves whopped.

That is point one and a whopper of a point.

The second point and it is complex is the strength of the tie between sexist views of women and sexist views of men: Without removing both at one and the same time, both remain and get stronger. Yet! Yet, all Clinton and crowd do is make stabbing motions at misogyny. DUMB! Ya gotta fight both at the same time to reduce the half you want reduced.

4:21 AM, March 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recall Sen. Barbara Boxer's accentuation of the fact Condoleezza Rice has no children who have to "pay the price" for war. A woman in a position of leadership playing the mom/grandma card against a woman in a position of leadership. This scores higher on the cringe/wince scale than the mere pedantic nature of the comment itself.

9:30 AM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger John J. Kaiser said...

Excellent points. When complaining about stereotypes, it pays not to play into them.

9:03 PM, August 08, 2007  
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