02/27/2008 04:46 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Even Paranoid People Have Real Enemies

I'm not one of those women who see a male-dominance conspiracy at every corner. And I understand that Hillary has baggage, while Obama doesn't (never mind that's because he hasn't been around long enough or done much). I realize that he's taller, younger, more charming than she, and that the American people tend to vote for the taller, younger, more charming candidates. I'll confess readily to being a Hillary supporter -- because she's smart, and tough, and the most qualified of the two; because to get to where she is, she's had to be at least twice as smart and tough and dedicated as any man. But I can't believe anyone could watch last night's debate and not come away with the conclusion that the Hillary camp is right when they say that the press goes out of its way to give her a hard time, and again goes out of its way to give Obama a free pass.

Just one example, and then we can move on: that NAFTA question. The aggressive manner in which Tim Russert kept interrupting Hillary as she tried to say that she would renegotiate NAFTA instead of opt out of it. Then the same question is posed to Obama, and he gives the same answer -- to a word -- with only one gentle interruption.

OK, one more: all the "this is what Hillary has said about you, how would you respond?" questions. Was this a debate, or a "let's give Obama free air-time to answer the attack ads"?

And let me tell you, I do think she's getting this treatment because she's a woman. I don't believe Russert would give himself permission to use that tone of voice with a male candidate, or to interrupt him as many times.

And I also think the reason many Democrats have gone over to Obama's side is because he's not a woman. His positions on major policy issues are very much like Hillary's. He has less experience and an obnoxious wife (remember Theresa Heinz Kerry?). And yet people (men and women -- this is the sad part) say they're voting for him because he has more charisma, or because they "just don't like" Hillary, or he's more electable. I think much of that "charisma" is in fact Obama's "maleness". Or, rather, Hillary's femaleness.

So what? You say. What's wrong with electing someone with charisma -- no matter what the source of it? So what that the press and the media happen to like Obama more than they like Hillary, and therefore give her a harder time?

So Republicans voted for GW, in spite of his lack of experience, because he was more likable. Look where that got us.

And the press gave GW a free pass for an eternity because they were either trying to curry favor with him so they wouldn't be locked out of the White House press room, or they found his jokes funny and were amused by the nicknames he had for each of them. Look where that got the press -- and us.

All you Obama-voting Democrats out there who think you're smarter than the Republicans who voted for Bush or gave him a free pass, take heed.

The truth is, I don't know if Obama can beat McCain, or what kind of president he would be if he were elected president. I do know that voting for someone because of what he sounds like or looks like is what's brought this country to where we are at the moment: behind countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, India, and Liberia where the electorate has been enlightened enough to choose the more qualified candidate -- even if she is a woman.