I'm having trouble with Hillary.
It's not so much that she got rattled by her opponents in the last Democratic debate, or that she allowed her staff to do her dirty work with the "piling on" video they quickly displayed on her website. Yes, women still encounter sexism across all sectors of American life. Yes, nearly every powerful institution from the media to Congress is still dominated by men. Yes, it's tough being the first woman presidential candidate, especially at a time when feminism seems to be either a dirty word or passé, a quaint chapter in some 1970s history book. As a feminist, at times I feel incredibly discouraged by how little women have progressed.
But no one asked Hillary to run. And if she can't stand being challenged by a handful of smart guys, if she's going to obliquely accuse them of playing dirty or unfair, of going after her because she's a woman, how is she going to stand up to real bullies and tyrants like Ahmadinejad?
Which leads me to a far more serious problem I'm having with Hillary's candidacy. Her waffling on Iran and her macho posturing. You can't be leading the charge in the Senate to declare Iran's revolutionary guard a terrorist organization one minute, flinch when you get attacked for being so transparently calculating, then claim that, well, you were really just misunderstood. Or that it doesn't play right into Bush and Cheney's fear-mongering rhetoric about Iran being such a threat to the United States that we might have to bomb them. Come on. Hillary knows what they're capable of. In fact, she enabled Bush and Cheney to take us into Iraq. Whether she intended to or not.
There are generations of women and girls looking to Hillary for leadership, who are truly excited by her historic candidacy. My 15-year-old daughter is one of them. I used to be, but I'm waffling. What we don't need is a female presidential candidate who has an identity crisis and whose position on every issue seems driven by perception and polls.
It's not about being tough. It's about being real.