Hillary Clinton found her voice amidst the media barrage that tried to make this about the politics of gender, and it backfired. There was something very troubling about the school-yard dynamics that played out in regard to her candidacy. Very specific language was used to describe her words and actions in New Hampshire over the last days. The media wanted gender to still matter. It made great copy.
This is not about Obama's very historic real victory in Iowa or the beauty of Edwards' words at the NH debate. But how much sweeter would the victory be without resorting to shenanigans, and playing the smart woman as abrasive card. We all know what that is code for and it does not serve us well. Only Governor Bill Richardson on that New Hampshire stage did not play that game. Bravo!
It was appropriate for the media to encourage voters to make decisions about the candidates on quality, character, experience and even their personality. But it was not okay for the media to portray a woman as aggressive because she was fighting back or soft because she was showing emotion. There was no Ed Muskie moment. Yuck!
The tabloids portray youth and beauty as the formula for success for women. Please let us step beyond that in our politics to embrace those women who are brave and smart enough to fight their way to the top. It's time to put our finger up into the winds of change, and see how far reaching they really are. The media tied Hillary's likeability to this old, tired paradigm, and it did not serve us well.
People throughout this nation are hungry for real conversations. New Hampshire was the next step in that journey for 2008.