In 15 days the first votes of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination election cycle will begin to be cast.
As the last two weeks before voting actually begins approaches, the British newspaper The Telegraph is writing a series of articles on the American presidential race. The article, touted by Drudge, is called America Hates Hillary Clinton and Co.
As the title of that article indicates, the contents of the piece are a Hillary hate fest. The article does break some new ground in that it explicitly attacks the very idea of a woman as president.
Mrs Clinton might be the frontrunner in the polls, but almost everywhere we went people questioned her candidacy. Many stated bluntly that they did not want a woman in charge. “It’s a man’s world,” said Hugh Laflin, 62, a Kansas truck driver. “Would a Middle East sheikh talk to a lady president?”
A Vietnam veteran in Arizona and a Florida gun-shop owner were among those who made crude jokes about America “going to war every 30 days” under a female president. We never brought up Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances, but many ordinary Americans did. “She couldn’t keep her own home together, so how can we trust her to manage America?” asked Micki Martinson, a housewife in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
Either The Telegraph found voters who actually think so backwardly or The Telegraph is pushing an undiluted, unmasked misogynistic line of attack against Hillary. In either case, we all need to be aware of what we are up against as voting days approach.
Also any doubters that Michelle Obama deliberately intended to attack Hillary with the line “if you can’t run your own house – you certainly can’t run the white house” should be removed as we see the poll tested message being repeated in The Telegraph.
The incense burners at the Obama temple should not rejoice at the unmasked misogyny nor the repetition of Michelle’s “family values” Ripublican style attacks on Hillary.
But the anti-Hillary mood does not necessarily translate into happy days for her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, or the Republicans such as Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney queueing up to take her on. Beyond the coasts and outside the college towns, Obamamania was difficult to find. His lofty, professorial manner has made it difficult for him to connect with ordinary Americans and he could well go the way of earlier “outsider” Democrats running on a platform of change, including Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas and Bill Bradley. Obama’s lack of experience was a staple of conversations about him.
Although few people cite Obama’s race as a negative factor, there are clearly worries about whether he is too exotic a creature for Middle America. Some openly speculated that he was a Muslim – the result of snippets from his background cited in emails that have dropped into inboxes everywhere.
A childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii and mixed-race parentage in some ways epitomise modern America. But voters are often most comfortable with the candidate they can best relate to – something Bush tapped into in 2000 when he played down his Yale education and chose not to reveal how often he had travelled abroad.
As the Thanksgiving holiday ends we are entering the two important weeks before New Hampshire absentee balloting begins.
The Christmas holidays will be upon us soon.
It’s time NOW to redouble all our efforts if we want a truly happy, new year.