Now, I'm no Hillary fan, but I found myself wondering, is this fair?
For nearly two decades I lived in DC, and I religiously watched the Sunday morning talkshow lineup (Inside the Beltway they conveniently schedule the shows so you can watch one after the other - its the politico's version of NFL football). When I moved to the West Coast, I realized my weekly political junkie fix would be limited (three years later, I still haven't succeeded in locating CBS's Face the Nation). As a result, Meet the Press and the Chris Mathews Show provide my Sunday morning political insider 'spin.'
This Sunday's Meet the Press had a segment titled "Slick Hillary" in which Timmy and the gang talked about Ron Fornier's recent article describing Hillary's political skills as less "slick" but not as "slick" as 'uber-political' husband Bill.
Stop the presses, folks.
Let's be fair here - and acknowledge there are 20 candidates in the field with political instincts that are no match for Bill Clinton. Hillary isn't going to measure up to him, but neither are any of the others.
As far as being "too slick," PBS's Gwen Ifill came to Hillary's rescue by observing,
"Guess what? Almost every other candidate in this race has some sort of 'slickness' which has been attributed to them - from Mitt Romney to Rudy Giuliani to Barack Obama. And guess what? It turns out that that doesn't matter as much to people as the issues which concern them. How are they going to get their kids in school? How are they going to get their healthcare paid for? So, even though it infuriates us - the media... I don't know that there is any evidence that voters are sitting here thinking, 'Well, I don't know what she thinks, I'll have to vote for somebody else.'"Amen, Gwen.
Oh, but I made the mistake of leaving the TV on too long and wound up catching Chris Matthews and his gang of merry misfits. Misogynist TweetyBird took particular delight in devouring Hillary this week - but it was the WaPo's Kathleen Parker that really shocked me when she commented on a recent front page picture in the WaPo accompanying an article about the role of women in Clinton's presidential campaign by saying:
"It makes a case with a certain demographic, and I noticed the picture on the front of The Washington Post the other day showed her with all these women and her crew, and did you notice, there was only one blonde out of about 15 women, so it sort of -- I thought that was very telling."
The photo in question can be found here. And, yes, there's only one blonde. Not sure what that says about Hillary's qualifications to be president, but Ms. Parker found it noteworthy.
Most troubling is that this answer came during Tweety's line of questioning about Hillary's qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief, which he prefaced by this comment:
OK, let's put the gender thing in here. I love gender politics, guys. We have two women here all the time to make sure we're balanced on this show. But Elisabeth, I know you're a feminist, in the best possible sense of that word. You [Parker] probably are in a more traditional word.
I found myself wondering, "WTF? What does Matthews mean by "you're a feminist in the best possible sense of that word?" And, if Parker's more "traditional" feminism means making vapid observations about hair color, I can only shake my head in utter dismay. Who cares about the hair color of the women on Hillary's team?" I can't believe this passes for political discourse in modern America.
Twelve hours later, as I tuck myself into bed, the late-night local news reports there are 23 million single women in America today. They are likely to be the 2008 version of Soccer Moms and NASCAR dads, the anchor tells me.
"Oh, please," I find myself begging, "don't let them care how many blondes the next president has in their cabinet. "
Can't we do better than this? Doesn't America deserve more?