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Lee Woodruff Headshot

Damned if She Does

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So there it is. The dreaded emotion card. What will we do with a woman in the white house if she becomes -- gasp -- emotional. The reaction to Hillary's moment of "welling up" is offensive to me; only one step above concerns over how a White House would function with a leader who gets PMS. Puuuullleeeease.

Is the measure of a successful leader that they become an automaton? A robot? Do we want our future president never to display emotion or anything resembling a humanoid? Do we expect of them unlimited energy, or that they will never experience fatigue? What might that say about a candidate if they could run a grueling campaign and never let us see those emotions, successfully conceal them from all of the voters?

I, for one, like my leaders with a little humanity peeking out of their stuffing. A little frailty. OK. I could do without world leaders shooting people. Perhaps Dick Cheney took it a mite too far on that ill-fated duck hunting expedition.

But why the Hillary headlines over a moment of honesty?

We could rifle through history and find many a world leader who has had a misty-eyed public moment. Doesn't this make them more like us? More likeable even?

It seemed just a mere moment ago, Hillary was being taken to task for her famous "I'm not gonna stay home and bake cookies and stand by my man Tammy Wynette" statement. She took a drubbing for being too tough, too much of a bra burning feminist, bashing housewives everywhere who had chosen to tend home and hearth exclusively. So which is it? What exactly do we expect of our female leaders and how double is the standard?

I can't imagine the excruciating, constant pressure of a campaign trail. You suffer some slings and arrows and even though your spouse may be screaming to set a record straight, a political advisor somewhere tells you what is "prudent." Just keeping an even keel with your emotions publicly deserves an Oscar nomination. I'd be tempted more than once to let loose at a heckler, really dazzle 'em with a few choice words; do a "Howard Dean." Boy that would feel blessedly human.

From campaign trail hot dogs and bad fried food to late nights and pressing flesh so frequently you must just want to take a bath in Purcell at the end of the day, you have to be committed. You have to want it. And nothing less than perfection is expected. One false move, one misstep, and an entire press corps and your opponents will rain criticism down on you like rice at a wedding.

I've seen tears in George Bush's eyes as he asked about the wounded from Iraq. Were those tears okay because they were shed for the honorable? Do I think he is a Nancy boy? If Condi Rice cried watching re-runs of Brian's Song does that make her unfit to help forge foreign policy?

If we are looking for candidates devoid of emotion, then we are looking toward a hollow and soulless future as a country. We will not be attracting the best and brightest. I say bring on the emotion--good and even bad. Let me see a little life in the future Commander in chief, whether or not their cup size is found in their jock strap or their blouse.