Since my books are very popular in Italy, I was asked by Corriere della Sera to comment on the Iowa results for their front page tomorrow. Here is that Q&A, expanded:
1. The data show that the majority of women in Iowa didn't vote for Hillary? Why?
There is a strong desire for change in the USA as a result of the disasters of the Bush administration; unfortunately people associate Hillary with the old guard. I personally believe this is wrong and believe Hillary could be a great leader. But she is associated with the 90s, her husband's administration and her capitulation to the Iraq war. At this moment in American history those things are a big negative for her.
2. Why did women prefer Obama and (apparently) even Edwards?
The answer is the same. There is a passion for change. If Hillary were, let's say, Mrs. Obama or Oprah Winfrey she might command women voters, but to many she represents the past. This transcends the gender issue.
3. Is this the beginning of a trend that will be repeated in New Hampshire and in other states?
In fact nobody knows. Some people think that Iowa is meaningless; other people think it starts a trend. I am not sure that Iowa matters as much as the news media would indicate.
4. How representative are Iowa women voters of the rest of the country's women?
I don't think this is an election that will indicate how much women support women. This is an election in which USA voters want to throw out every trace of the Bush backlash and, unfortunately, Hillary is part of that. I believe that as President she would be independent and brilliant, but many voters cannot see it that way.
5. Are the gender and color factors going to be central in this election or will it be a color-blind and gender blind election?
We are more color and gender blind in America than people know. The main thing in the election of '08 will be a surge for change, a repudiation of Bush and Cheney and their neo-con flunkies, a desire for peace in the world, a repudiation of the military industrial complex, and a hope for America to regain its place as the country of habeas corpus, fairness and equality. The greening of America is also a big issue. After allowing a biased Supreme Court to throw the 2000 election to Bush and Cheney when Al Gore actually was the popular winner, Americans really want a green America. Gender and race are second to the desire for change.
6. Do certain women fear Hillary? More than men? What do they see in her?
Many many women, especially women in their 60s and 70s, are fighting hard for Hillary as a symbol of change they fought for all their lives. I have supported Hillary financially and intellectually; I think she would be a great President. Surely, there are women who fear her, and men who fear her, but the desire for change overrides all of this.
7. Which strategy should Hillary adopt to reverse this trend?
She should show that she can be anti-war and pro-peace. She should show she is not part of the establishment. She should show she is ready to make new history. She should disentangle herself from the past. She should stress environment, mothers' and childrens' rights (issues she has fought for all her life) and challenging the military industrial complex. We could be a great country if we didn't have the corporate war-mongers on our backs.
8. Is America more ready for a woman president or a black president?
This is a fascinating question. I always believed that America is such a sexist country that we would have a black or multi-racial President before we would ever have a woman President. I wanted to be proven wrong. I still want to be proven wrong. I believe Obama is a good man, very, very smart, a wonderful writer, a terrific intellectual, but inexperienced. I believe Hillary is far more progressive than she has shown. In the past it used to be good policy for American Presidential Candidates to move toward the Center in order to get elected. She has done this, she has attempted to "triangulate". Ten years ago this would have been a great policy. Today the desire for change overshadows everything, but don't count Hillary out yet. There is along way to go after Iowa. I think she should show her progressive side now more than ever.