Monday, November 26, 2007

Let's Face It, Hillary Will Struggle As President Because She Is A Woman


Before I start getting the obligatory hate mail stating that I am a misogynist, I must clarify that I am ok with a woman as president. While there are numerous reasons to not support Hillary, we should not kid ourselves that her gender will inhibit her ability to lead as president.

Last week on my show, my co-host and I were railing Hillary for playing the gender card, and then denying doing so. I have no problem with the gender card being played, but I would like her to admit that she's doing it.

We began to give reasons why Hillary's sex is important to her ability to lead should she win. My co-host, a woman, stated that she wouldn't vote for Hillary because she is a woman ... even if she did like her politics. Simply because of the global situation the US is in right now. Whether you like it or not ... Middle Eastern nations will not respect a woman, even if she is president of the United States.

A young woman called to say that she didn't care what other countries thought of Hillary. She would not allow another country's opinion of Hillary to sway her vote.

On the surface this sounds like the proper attitude in selecting a leader. I immediately reminded her that the Democrats have made it a part of their official platform to attack President Bush because of what other nations think of him ... especially Hillary.

The notion that we should elect a president based on whether they are popular in other nations is laughable. That is what Bush supporters have been saying for years now. However, the Democrats have said the exact opposite. They believe that we should elect a president that is popular in other countries because they feel that will ease relations. The problems is that Hillary is not popular in the most important, and volatile, part of the world that she will deal with as president ... the Middle East.

It is one thing to have the Middle East not like a US president because they are tough. There is at least the possibility of respect if our leader is a man. A woman is not afforded that courtesy. Not only will Hillary be unpopular in the Middle East, but she will have no respect ... simply because she is a woman. Which means she may not be an effective leader for our country when it comes to that part of the world. That could be dangerous.

I cited Condaleeza Rice as an example. Condi is infinitely more intelligent, articulate, experienced, and likable compared to Hillary. Yet she struggles in the Middle East, and you'd be foolish to think her sex has nothing to do with it.

Now this doesn't mean that no woman can be effective in the Middle East as president, but you owe it to yourself, the country, and the world to find out if Hillary is that woman. So far, no one has asked the questions that will allow the voters to determine if Hillary can be effective with her Middle East policy.

So far, all we know about Hillary's Middle East policy is that she would talk to Iran without conditions. She also said she would leave US troops in Iraq, but allow ethnic cleansing without US interference.

What else do we really know about Hillary's Middle East policy? How will she deal with those countries we are not at war with? Can she warm relations with those countries, and how will she do it? How will she stick up for human rights in those countries ... especially women's rights?

While none of those questions have been answered, or asked for that matter, the last one about women's rights could easily have been addressed by Hillary during the last debate here in Las Vegas.

The current situation in Saudi Arabia provided Hillary the opportunity to shine, and show the American people that she will stick up for women's rights ... even if it meant going against an ally.

A woman in Saudi Arabia was kidnapped, and gang raped by seven men. She was originally sentenced to receive 90 lashes from a whip because the man she was with before they were kidnapped was not her husband. Apparently, her family attempted to bring the media into the case. As a result of this effort, the court increased her sentence to 200 lashes and six months in jail. Though people have survived 200 lashes in the past ... they have also died from it. The family said they will appeal the ruling, but have been told by the Saudi court that if she loses the appeal, the sentence will increase yet again.

Now why didn't anyone at the debate ask Hillary (or the other candidates) how they would handle the incident? Oh yeah, I forgot everyone who asked a question was a plant.

Let's not forget that Hillary labels herself a champion of women's rights. What's wrong with asking her to address the current situation in Saudi Arabia? It has everything she would need to prove that she can be a strong leader in dealing with that part of the world. She can prove that she will stick up for women's rights against an ally, and that she has that extra toughness required of a woman to have influence in that region.

She also had the opportunity to criticize the Bush administration for its weak stance on the matter. Yet she is silent ... why?

It is possible she doesn't even know it is happening. She wouldn't be the first candidate to forget about reading the news while campaigning. She may not really care about the woman, and the situation surrounding her. Perhaps she doesn't want to anger a critical US ally in the Middle East ... which warrants criticism. Then there is the possibility that she doesn't want to expose the Middle East's lack of reception to her leadership. All are plausible, and all are very concerning to prospective voters.

We can no longer ignore the fact that Hillary is different from the other candidates, and her gender will provide unique challenges never before encountered by a US president. The American voter needs to assess whether or not Hillary has what it takes to address the challenges we face in the Middle East today. Yet we continue to refuse to ask those all important questions of the defacto next president.


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