Reports have come out that in Bill Sammon's upcoming book, The Evangelical President, Bush predicts that Hillary is a shoe-in for the nomination. I don't want to put too much stock in what our xx leader has to say--he's been wrong before, after all. But the issue of Hillary's viability as a candidate is interesting for me.
You see, I'm not sold. I wish that I were, but I'm not.
My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is absolutely convinced--but not because of Hillary's politics. For my second-wave, march-on-Washington, hold-an-undying-grudge-against-Phyllis- Schafly MIL, Hillary's campaign is the dream of Geraldine Ferraro revived and made real once again. For her, the opportunity for a woman to hold the highest office in the land trumps any voting record or political past. It's the feminist dream of the 1970s come to fruition.
I want to sympathize with that sentiment. I want to see a woman in the White House doing something more than hosting a polite gathering of tea cups. I want to believe that a woman could do an even better job than a man. I want to believe that Sally Fields is right-- "if women ran the world there would be no God damn wars in the first place." But I know that it's too reductive. And as much as I have the impulse to second those sentiments, I know that they actually continue and preserve the stereotypes that keep women making, on average,only 81% of what men make for the same jobs.
I want to like Hillary. I want the vote I cast for her--if it comes to that--to be one I'm excited about making. The problem is, she keeps giving me reasons to doubt. I watched her interview with Tim Russert last Sunday on Meet the Press hoping that she could give me a reason to change my mind. It didn't happen. I keep waiting, but it doesn't happen.
Here's my problem-- I get irritated by one issue voters. I hate that the last election was most likely decided because people were voting pro-choice and anti-gay. I hate that people can actually buy into Bush's rhetoric about a culture of life when he's pro- death penalty and instigated what seems to be a hellish and un-winnable war. It simplifies the issue too much. I think the reason politics have become so dichotomized in recent years is because Americans tend to cling to one-issue campaigns and fail to examine the complexities of each issue. We don't like complexity. We live in the echo-chamber, listening only to the opinions that please us. And that's dangerous, I think, for democracy in general. But still, I can't get over Hillary's vote for going to war, her continued (until recently) support for that war, and her reluctance to admit the mistake of those votes. I don't want to be a one issue voter, but I feel like I am with her.
I want a woman in the White House, but I also want the right person in the White House. We've had the wrong person for seven years now.
I do think it's interesting, though, that Bush himself thinks that she's the one that has a shot. He doesn't predict victory for the Democrats, but, like I said, he's been wrong about stuff before.