Hillary Clinton's Current Obama Drama
The war of words between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton cannot escape the attention of any average television-watching, Internet-browsing individual whose job prospects, oil prices and taxes depend on the results of the forthcoming elections. The squabble between these two extremely able leaders in the run towards presidential candidacy is all over the media. Hence my own neutral disinterest in political affairs was recently altered by all the over the top, not to mention selective media coverage.
While not being excessively interested in political affairs, I am more appreciative of all the Democratic candidates in the run for president this year than I was in the previous election year. Being a liberal, the choice is easy. Anybody who has seen Hillary Clinton hold her own in a race that is perceived largely male dominated will respect her unless of course they have something against women in general. From her dealing of her husband's publicly flaunted infidelity to her dignified, yet unconventional tenure as First Lady, she has been the source of inspiration to many a woman. Most First Ladies are the epitomes of tradition and silently support their husbands as they lead the nation. Hillary, though a mother and always publicly very supportive of her husband, in no way appeared to be the woman "behind" the man and soon found her own place in the political world.
Barrack Obama, is as worthy of an adversary as Clinton could have deserved. He is a brilliant orator whose wry humor and determination jump out at the audience when he addresses a crowd, be it full of black or white potential voters; an extraordinary feat for a man who has now come closest to the prospect of being the only black president. He is the only African American currently serving in the Senate and a perusal of his biography indicates that he has a history of inspiring life experiences which any average American can relate to. Considering his ethnicity and the challenges that the sociopolitical construct creates for an African American man in politics, his accomplishments are as towering if not more as Hillary's many victories as a woman. As a woman, I find the endearing portraits of the Obama clan, with the two adorable daughters, somewhat reminiscent of my own family.
So having established that my own vote could've been in the favor of either of these excellent candidates, let me just say that Obama's current tactics upset me.
A close look at current news reports about the Clinton-Obama race will give the undecided voters a clear idea of Obama's tactics. "Clinton is divisive", claims Obama one day, "She is calculating" he alleges the next. I think we can all agree that in electing the president a voter considers political positions a lot more than such vague labels that smack more of ad hominem than anything else. Besides, lets face it, the way US diplomatic relations have been shot to hell in the past few years, "calculating" would probably be a welcome change. It is time for potential voters to review whether a super power wants a leader who is capable but whose entire campaign has been offensive rather than assertive. As much as I respect and like Obama and truly believe that he is a strong candidate, I do think he hasn't had the best "campaign strategy" advice. I constantly see reports and televised speeches where he invests a lot of time telling people why they should not elect Hillary but very little time establishing why people should elect him.
But here is what bothers me most. Senator Obama, though he does not need to, continuously fights his battles with Bill Clinton ignoring the fact that it is the Mrs.Clinton in the race and not the Mr.Clinton who we all love but is not the one in the debates. I silently will Obama to quit this strategy and wince when he brings up Mr.Bill Clinton yet again.
At the recent South Carolina debate, Obama constantly provided rebuttals to statements that Hillary had not even made. Surprisingly, when Hillary categorically stated that she had not brought up the subject of Ronald Reagan which Obama was debating, he meekly stated "But your husband did"
I was shocked and very disappointed at how that sounded. In a presidential debate where the candidates are defending their views and political stands, Senator Obama made the blunder of picking a personal battle. I wonder, if he would've considered it appropriate to pick out something Mr.Edward's wife had said during a debate. A spouse, no matter how important they are, (yes, even if they are a former president) are not the ones who should be addressed in a political debate of this stature.
It leads me to speculate if Obama is more threatened by the man campaigning for Hillary rather than the woman running the race where her spouse is merely a member of the cheering squad. How curious!
In an even more disturbing display, Michelle Obama, Barrack Obama's wife, at a Women For Obama event in Chicago is seen stating the following
"One of the important aspects of this campaign is role modeling what good families should look like. And if you can't run your own house, you cannot run the White House"
I found this claim not only a very absurd personal attack but also unfit for current times especially from someone campaigning for a progressive Democratic party candidate. This in my view, is a very distasteful move, which essentially places the blame of Bill Clinton's infidelity on his wife! What involves "running a house" or preserving a family? Tethering your husband to the bed post so he doesn't cheat or dealing with his publicly disclosed unfaithfulness with dignity? More importantly, a lot of good women run their houses and successfully raise children. Kudos to these capable and worthy homemakers but exactly how many of these good women have gotten close to running for the White House?
While I do not think Mr.Obama himself is a chauvinist, I do see a hint of well-disguised chauvinism in his campaign strategy. His constant need to address and criticize Bill Clinton's statements when in fact he is clearly in a debate with Hillary is a strong indicator. Bill Clinton, if we all remember, has already completed his term as president and is no longer in the running. He may be heading Hillary's campaign but how often does the campaign leader's views take precedence in a debate over the actual candidate's? So why would a candidate as good and as able as Obama feel the need to resort to such pettiness and pick a very public fight with his rival candidate based on what her husband says in media? Has he run of things to to say about her and is now going for the husband? I also wonder if this is an indication that he just views Hillary as the "wife" and hence voices rebuttals to Bill Clinton's public comments instead?
In a world where the developing nations have all had a woman leader, the United States still deals with the insecurities of trusting even a strong and qualified woman with the role of Commander-in-Chief. If memory serves me right the Late Benazir Bhutto probably never had to face criticism from a rival candidate based on her husband's political beliefs. The same, I believe, can be said for Sonia Gandhi or Margaret Thatcher. In a time when women political leaders can stand up for their own beliefs and views, Obama feels the need to look past Hillary and direct his rebuttals at her husband. When was the last time that a spouse's political opinion was publicly debated? Even the opinionated Teresa Hines Kerry known for her controvertial statements was not credited with a mention during a debate between Senator Kerry and President Bush.
This election season, it seems, may end up not only being a presidential race but on its way to the finale could also finally provide unequivocal insights into the true role of women in the world's super power where superficial political correctness sadly does not seem to have penetrated the political framework.
In the SC debate that I described above, I was as put off by Obama's stance as I was delighted by Hillary's quick response to her husband's frustrating and misplaced mention during the televised debate. For a woman firmly establishing her very own, unique identity in a male dominated political arena, her response seemed apt:
"Well, my husband isn't here Senator" she snapped amidst immediate applause, "I am"
Hillary Clinton's Current Obama Drama
- » Published on January 31, 2008
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Author: Aditi Nadkarni
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