Hillary's Sexploitation of the Issues

When Hillary Clinton participated in the first Democrat "debate," she wore a dark suit – a female version of those worn by the male decoys up there on the platform with her.  From her cream-puff center-stage position, Hillary emoted like a bygone theatrical revue headliner flanked by a balanced number of attentive swains.  I rather expected her gallant lackeys to step suddenly from behind their lecterns and twirl her around in a choreographed routine.

That might have relieved the boredom.  As it was, however, O'Malley, Chafee, and Webb were mere debate window dressing – with Jim looking  as if he was framed by the wrong political window.  Nobody knows much about this trio of wannabes,  whose poll numbers make George Pataki look like Mr. Popularity.  By contrast, Bernie Sanders is a viable political threat, whose outspoken message has fired up the Democratic base .

Still, what do voters really know about Bernie, other than that he is a feisty avowed socialist?  I haven't even heard it mentioned that Bernie Sanders is a Jew.  His Wikipedia claims he is "proud to be Jewish" but adds that he is "not particularly religious."  Maybe it has become politically incorrect to allude to a candidate's faith.  If so, times have changed in a hurry.  In the last election, presidential candidate  Mitt Romney's Mormonism was a source of  considerable  media conversation.  And Dr. Ben Carson was raked over the coals when he suggested that he would have a problem supporting a sharia law-abiding Muslim for president. 

When John F. Kennedy ran in 1960, his Catholicism was suspect, many contending that the primary allegiance of practicing Catholics was to the Pope in Rome rather than to the U.S. Constitution.  JFK even went public to set the record straight.  His election was a milestone in the removal of political barriers based on religion.  Obama's election almost a half century later did the same for race. 

Isn't it unusual, then, that the DNC – an organization that boasts of its inclusiveness and cutting-edge candidates – hasn't bothered to point out that if Bernie Sanders were elected, he would do our country proud by being the first Jewish president? 

Contrast this with the fuss Democrats made over Joe Lieberman when he was Al Gore's running mate in 2000.  Joe, who refused to campaign on the Jewish Sabbath, was the darling of the DNC back then, and Gore was hailed for his bold pick.  In fact, Lieberman was so effective in his only political debate – and Al Gore so "squirrely" in his several – that many partisans wondered if the ticket should not have been reversed.

Political winds shift quickly.  And in Lieberman's case, he was blasted, blizzard-like, by the same crowd that once professed to love him.  Defeated in the Connecticut  Democratic primary for his U.S. Senate seat by a little-known party-liner, Lieberman ran in the general election as an Independent – and won.  By the time he retired from politics, once-lovable little Joe had been lambasted as a "disgrace" by Diane Feinstein and others. 

The reason we don't hear much about Bernie Sanders's personal life is that it really doesn't matter.  It may be fashionable to appreciate the spunky little wild-haired septuagenarian, but no way will he be the nominee.  Maybe that's what makes voter affection for him come so easy.

As for the likelihood of his ending up as Ms. Clinton's running mate, fuggetaboutit!  Democrats already control three quarters of the Jewish vote.  Hillary has a less volatile and much younger Hispanic in mind.

So as soon as Hillary sews up the nomination – and her first debate performance virtually assured that – her campaign conversation will be all about sex, not sects.  Long obsessed with being the first female president of the United States, she is not about to be thrown under the bus a second time by a primary Democrat challenger, be he Biden or Bernie.

According to Camp Clinton, over 130 crucial super-delegates are already in her pantsuit pocket.  But since she is still struggling with an email problem that won't quit, Hillary has decided to play the sex card for that, too, characterizing Server-gate as nothing more than another ugly skirmish in the Republican war on women.  And while she has half-heartedly said she takes "full responsibility," she ascribes the "real" blame to Republicans, all of whom, she avers, have always been out to get her.

For a lifetime, Hillary has taken the cards dealt her and determinedly arranged them to perfect her skill at the blame game.  Even with bald-faced lies – like the Lewinsky affair being "a vast right-wing conspiracy" – Ms. Clinton has managed to reshuffle the deck and even stash a few cards up her sleeve.  First rule of the game: everything bad is someone else's fault.

Now she has conveniently come up with another explanation for her flagging poll numbers: women in politics are unfairly "held to a higher standard" than men.  Perhaps she arrived at this by observing firsthand how easy it was for Slick Willy to politically survive his bimbo eruptions and other unacceptable behaviors.

At the same time that Hill's handlers gripe about how the playing field for females is unlevel and unfair, they hold to the belief that women, by nature, generally make superior candidates to men.  (Or the liberal ones, at least.)

Last week I was at the L.A. Convention Center for a big non-partisan event called Politicon.  Most popular were the spirited debates among outstanding well-known figures from both parties, including Newt Gingrich, David Axelrod, Ann Coulter, and James Carville.  There were also a wide variety of panels, one being "Women in American Politics: What difference does it make?"  The moderator identified herself as a member of the Newsweek staff.  Among the better-known panelists was historian Doris Kearns Goodwin .  (Disclosure: Michele Bachmann was lecturing solo in the next room.)

In my venue, the discussion seemed more like a Hillary love-fest, effusing how she brings to the top job her experience not only in government, but in uniquely "women's work" as well.  She birthed and nurtured a child; she weathered the frustrations from opposing pulls of career vs. motherhood; she encouraged women all over the world, a challenge resulting in, as they dubbed it, "the Hillary effect."

The panel went on to praise the superiority of women in general.  A public relations "couch" on the panel made the preposterous statement that she "trains women to be caring."  One of Barbara Boxer's daughters, a filmmaker, talked enigmatically about "the emotional 'subtext'" that is unique to women.  Not surprisingly, they found Hillary far more appealingly fuzzy-wuzzy than Carly, whom they nevertheless praised for being smarter than any of the male candidates in the Republican field.

So if a stalwart Hillary has to make her eyes brim with tears now and then, she can handle it.  Bottom line: voters expect it.  And, for better or worse, it goes with the territory when she shouts out at rallies, "Isn't it time we had a woman in the White House?"

Still, another year of smiling and slogging in campaign mode awaits her.  Perhaps one of the cherished malapropisms uttered by New York Yankee Yogi Berra, who died last month, best describes Hillary's problem: "It's not the heat; it's the humility."