As the Hillary '08 campaign slowly fizzles to a halt, autopsies are under way even before the patient has entirely stopped breathing. Unlike a medical autopsy, though, a political autopsy is more about spinning the causes of the death to best advantage than it is about truly discerning what went wrong. Since we see before us the largest and least-expected political failure in a generation, the putative causes have to be equally larger-than-life.
And sure enough, they are. We're being told that Hillary's campaign came to naught, not because of her history of scandals, nor her ludicrous gaffes in the here-and-now, nor her bizarrely mutating personality that offered up everything from a black preacher's intonations to a barhopper knocking back Jack Daniels by the snootful.
No, nothing less than the overpowering sexism of an entire political party sufficed to do in this paragon of feminism - this, despite the kind assistance rendered to her at the polling booth by crossover Republicans.
Months ago, in a notorious op-ed printed in the New York Times, Gloria Steinem started the ball rolling. In the very first sentence, she made the claim that
Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House.
In other words, the American electorate is more sexist than it is racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or anything else; or, put another way, being a woman is the worst possible fate one could endure. Yikes! Whatever happened to "I Enjoy Being A Girl"?
This claim is obvious nonsense, as witness the vast numbers of women who are happy and successful in their chosen domain, whether that domain be that of children and family, Hollywood stardom, or the national political scene. Is being a multi-millionaire Senator from New York as shabby as all that? We would happily trade jobs with Hillary at this very moment as long as the baggage of her past didn't come with it.
But it's that very baggage that the frothing accusers of sexism must disregard. In their worldview, there is nothing whatsoever about Hillary Clinton the individual that interests them - not her accomplishments and failures, not her policy prescriptions and their consequences in the real world, not her managerial methods or style of campaigning.
The only thing that matters is the simple fact that Hillary Clinton needs the services of a gynecologist which no other presidential contender ever has. Really, they're saying that being President is of no more value than being Miss America - it's not something you do, it's simply a crown that you wear, basking in the spotlight and smiling to all the world that "I've arrived!"
Is this not the ultimate in objectification? Is this not exactly what the feminists have long assailed retrograde Neanderthal men of doing - that is, seeing a woman, not as a human being with hopes, dreams, goals, and a brain, but as nothing more than a symbol of her sex? In pushing to drive one of their own through the ultimate glass ceiling, the "women's leaders" - who in reality, lead nobody beyond themselves - have become that which they claim to most despise.
Actually, it's even worse than that. One of Hillary's most emotional appeals on the campaign trail have been her stories of women who beg her to continue the campaign so they can "see a woman in the White House with their own eyes."
That is, Hillary is the last, best hope of Womankind to sit in the Oval Office - it's her, now, or none, ever. They are saying that among all the 150 million ladies in the United States, there is precisely one who has the qualifications even to dream of this position. One - and it's her.
There are dozens of men whom we can plausibly imagine as President; there are, no doubt, hundreds more of whom we may not have heard but who can dream of it. And there are those who don't dream of it today, but who know where they might be in another twenty years? Yet in all that crowd of masculinity, say the feminists, there is but one lady who can stand among them as equals. When it comes to women presidents, it's Hillary or nobody.
You know what? If the feminists are right about the qualifications of women - and, certainly, they ought to know, oughtn't they? - then being sexist when we vote might just be... right. After all, if for thousands of qualified men there's only one woman of equivalent stature, then having our world be run by men is just the way it ought to be.
Thanks for clearing that up, ladies!