June 17, 2013
June 12, 2013
Stephanie Hanes: Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect
Fred Weir: In tweak to US, Russia would 'consider' asylum for Snowden
June 10, 2013
The Kosher Gourmet by Anjali Prasertong: A tart filling so good it might not make it to the crust
June 5, 2013
John Rosemond: Mom, Dad: Talk More and listen less
Egypt court sentences 43 pro-democracy workers to prison
June 3, 2013
Molly Hennessy-Fiske: Military judge to consider letting Fort Hood shooting defendant represent himself
May 29, 2013
Andrew Connelly and Helene Bienvenu: The Little Synagogue that Refused to Die
May 24, 2013
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb: When I didn't so 'humbly disagree'
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
Jewish World Review
Jan. 11, 2007
/ 21 Teves, 5767
Sexual politics and power
"Sexual politics" means a lot of things in Washington, even how men and women relate to each other, defining notions about femininity and masculinity. For better or for worse, as in the marriage vows. In Washington, "sexual politics" is usually more about power than sex. The Republicans are the Daddy Party, the Democrats the Mommy Party.
But the stereotypes are changing right before our eyes, and smart pols will take due notice now because public expectations and psychological perceptions will shape their future. Nancy Pelosi, pretty in pearls and looking warm and maternal surrounded by her grandchildren, wants to be perceived as one tough mother with a gavel.
Henry Kissinger said "power is an aphrodisiac," and that's certainly true for men, but so far it hasn't quite applied to women. We expect women in power to be defeminized, if not neutered. Think Maggie Thatcher, Indira Gandhi (and if you're old enough, Golda Meir). Geraldine Ferraro shared her recipes for blueberry muffins, and she got burned around the soft edges.
Nancy Pelosi is helped along by what John Lapp, former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, calls "the Macho Dems." These men were recruited as a new breed of candidate, part of a strategy for winning back the Congress. "So we went to C.I.A. agents, F.B.I. agents, N.F.L. quarterbacks, sheriffs, Iraq war vets," he tells The New York Times. "These are red-blooded Americans who are tough."
How this will play out with the red-blooded American ladies who live in Gender Gap, so far a Democratic enclave, is not yet clear. "Macho McGovernite" is an oxymoron, and the left wing of the party, still addicted to McGovernite nostrums, wants to rewrite Teddy Roosevelt's famous dictum to "speak softly and carry a big shtick." The macho Democrats are culturally conservative, and how they clash with their liberal colleagues will give us clues as to how sexual politics will be played in 2008.
Hillary Clinton is the most vulnerable of the prospective presidential candidates, caught in a crossfire between the sexes, not quite sure how to conduct the power foreplay. The granny of her Wellesley College days has morphed into the fashionable, carefully coiffed middle-aged matron, inviting speculation that a little Botox has helped her look buff and even a little younger. But if a changed physical image serves her well, her political facelifts have not.
The unattractive icons to whom she is compared are legion, and Mother Jones magazine rounds up the familiar suspects. They range from Lady MacBeth, constantly trying to rub out the "damned spot" of memory, to Martha Stewart, always eager to freshen up the label with a little spot remover. When the old Hillary claimed that she was no Tammy Wynette, eager to stand by her man, the radical feminists who should have been her natural constituency imagined they heard Tammy singing from Monica's thongbook.
That's all ancient history, and the wife of the governor of Arkansas can only hope that now that she's a New Yorker, old times there are now forgotten. It won't be easy. The hardened feminists may decide they can vote for the humiliated wife if she can be counted on to carry their agenda into office, but this creates problems with voters swimming in the mainstream. One irreverent critic, looking at an artist's sculpture of her, sneered that she looked like "Jimmy Carter with boobs."
Hillary's big problem is that nobody can be sure who she is. Familiarity in politics is not meant to breed contempt, but comfortable acceptance. Her mistakes the health-care fiasco, the Arkansas financial shenanigans, her hug of Mrs. Yasser Arafat sent her underground for a season and made her little more than one of those life-size cardboard cutouts. Like Nancy Pelosi, she's a great fund-raiser, but unlike Nancy Pelosi, who was elected and re-elected by her liberal constituency, she has no consistent persona except that of a woman who easily changes her mind. We can hear someone saying it now: "Isn't that just like a woman?"
It doesn't matter now whether she was willing once to stand by her man. The voters of '08 will want to know where she stood when her man was making certain bad decisions, like, for example, letting Osama bin Laden get away when he was ripe for the picking. "The husband of" told Israeli television in 2005 that in some ways his wife would make a better president than he did "because of what we did together." The campaign of '08 may be the first to require the intense public scrutiny of a marriage. That will redefine "sexual politics" once more.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.
Suzanne Fields Archives
© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K