Tough Enough?

Two weeks ago, there was a surprise “shock and awe” attack on the Chappaqua Headquarters of the Clinton Ladies Intervention Team.  A bomb dropped on them so big, their retaliatory response had to be nothing short of DEFCON 1.

The latest Zogby poll showed that 50% of all respondents would never vote for Senator Hillary Clinton for president under any circumstances.  Now, not only does she have disapproval ratings at 50%, she also has half of the country saying they would never vote for her. Ever.

So what’s a girl to do?  Well, this girl went into overdrive.  She understands that she’s got two cards to play.  One is the Bill card.  She has trotted him out at strategic moments.  She has deployed him in relatively small doses, but at the right time.  He is, after all, the sex bomb of the Democratic party, so she doesn’t want to dilute his seductive powers by using him too much, unless and until it’s necessary. 

So she has decided to play her other card:  The Estrogen Card.

She began in earnest in September, when she told a service employees union, “If you hear someone saying that America can’t elect a woman president…tell them to come with me.”  (Hillary doing Jesus!)   She went on that she “hears parents point to her and tell their young daughters ‘see, honey, you can do whatever you want to do in life.’”

Note: possession of female genitalia does not automatically qualify someone to be president (or Speaker of the House, for that matter.)  That means that the “vote for me because I’m a woman” argument is itself sexist.  More on that in a moment.

The Estrogen Tour continued two weeks ago with a visit to The View, where she laughed like a schoolgirl about how much longer it takes her than the guys in the race “to get ready,” and then went on about the virtues of having a woman president.

Later that week, she reminisced about how tough it was juggling her legal career and rearing a young Chelsea, saying how grateful she was for a “friend” who helped with her daughter as she raced off to trial.  (In other words, it takes a village.)  This was Hillary doing “I’m just-another-overwhelmed-working-mom-like you!”

After her disastrous performance during the Democratic presidential debate last week, Clinton adopted the “Loser’s Limp:”  pretending to have gone through the entire thing while wounded by those big, mean men running against her and asking the questions.  “Six on one!” her campaign cried.  Moderator Tim Russert — hardly a disciple of William F. Buckley — was described by her team as “unprofessional,” “unfair,” and “belligerent.”  All because they broke the cardinal rule of never asking the Junior Senator a difficult question.  And certainly no follow-ups!

The Clinton Strike Force then produced a video claiming her opponents had “piled on” her.  Since the crybaby routine worked seven years ago when she ran against Congressman Rick Lazio for the Senate, she could successfully haul it out again.  This time, it’s Hillary doing Scarlett O’Hara:  “Well!  I’ve neva been so insulted in all mah life!  This is no way to treat a lady, I do declare!”

That “I’m just a delicate flower” tap dance while being a bulldog in real life worked the first time she was co-president and in the 2000 Senate race.  But she’s in the Big Leagues now, and it’s not washing this time. 

Sensing this, the Estrogen Tour made a symbolic stop at the candidate’s alma mater, Wellesley College.   She reduced the young women to tears with lines like, “in so many ways this all-women’s college prepared me to compete in the all-boys’ club of presidential politics.”  And “so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work together!”  And “never in a million years could have I imagined one day I would return as a candidate for the presidency of the United States.”  (That “million years” part is a bit of an exaggeration, as it was shortly thereafter that she met Bill and began to imagine them both as president, multiple times.)

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro raced to her defense as well, stating to the New York Times that Clinton had been unfairly “attacked” during the debate:  “It’s OK in this country to be sexist,” she said, and “I don’t think Barack Obama would have been attacked for two hours.”

Herein lies the sexism.  There was not a single question asked of her during the debate that would have been stated differently if she were a man.  She says she wants to be treated as an equal, but really, she wants to be treated differently: more gently, and as a superior.  That’s because SHE believes she’s superior by virtue of her “womanhood.” 

As she has always done, she is trying to take Yogi Berra’s recommendation: “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.” 

But she’s not getting away with the double-game this time.  Either she’s a fragile woman who needs special courtesies, or she’s tough-as-nails and ready to be commander-in-chief.  Can’t be both.  Pick one, Senator.  And let’s see if you can stick with it.