THE BLOG
08/16/2013 06:29 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2013

Hillary's Play on Women, for Women Might Work

In the eyes of most middle-age college educated straight white male suburbanites (that's me), it's a failing formula for Hillary Clinton to (1) position herself as an inevitable president and (2) to begin her certain candidacy of inevitability by talking about voter rights.

After all, it was her celebrated inevitability that Barack Obama crushed in 2008. And most polls place voter rights far lower than perennial priorities like the economy and jobs.

But out from behind her platoons of proxies, partners and plants, Clinton this week spoke about just that. Perhaps it's what she simply wants to do, but Hillary Clinton is nothing if not strategic. So why is she choosing to remind 2016 voters about an issue of relatively low concern? And what is her strategy?

According to The Standard Table of Influence, her play is a well-reasoned and well-run Trial Balloon, the influence stratagem by which politicos measure public reaction (and flee from or flack accordingly).

If voter rights violations are a cause for Hillary Clinton, women's rights are core. Her April speech in New York served as a marker to claim post-political sabbatical and her San Francisco speech this week is all but a springboard to her #1 worry.

Like voter rights, women's rights also hold strategic advantage, not only to Hillary Clinton's presumed candidacy but, as The Washington Post op-ed writer Kathleen Parker proposes, to the world. It is the male-dominated cultures of so many anti-American governments that suppress women. Whether through religions, laws or traditions, what makes the leaders of Iraq or Afghanistan remarkable is their fear of women. The fights they want to wage least are those they can have at home, literally, and in their kitchens.

While the icon of an African-American president has and will do much to inform the Black v. White equation in America, Clinton's dynamic is ironically more relevant to The Congo than North Carolina. So will voters care, even if Clinton is working for them too?

My sense is yes. What Hillary Clinton brings to the world stage is a standard of treatment for women that, in the language of entrepreneurs, is disruptive innovation. It will take some explanation, and a long runway of time and speeches to get lift, especially with an increasingly isolationist electorate. But women's right are a wedge that a first madame president can foster and feed for national and human advantage. And it won't hurt us white guys a lick.

Kings and self-appointed rulers can largely ignore what we appear to adore and abhor in Barack Obama, his skin color. But Hillary Clinton -- a woman with abiding interest in women and a politician who will suffer no misogynist monarch -- will both shake the men of lesser world orders and inspire the women who dwell there. In that process, perhaps, they will be forced to reconcile their aggression abroad with their aggressions at home.

Hillary Clinton may annoy many men in her own country, but she'll absolutely rattle them everywhere else, and for the good.