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CJColucci

Loved Hillary's reaction. I'm told by people who know her that this is the real Hillary. (Some suggest that she would, in private, actually have a funny answer --just not one she could repeat on TV.) It's too bad that successful women of a certain age don't feel free to let their loose, funny, human side out more often.

Mike Schilling

The only women whoever did that were their mothers, big sisters, and teachers, so they instinctively regress when it happens or threatens to happen.

In Wodehouse, of course, it's aunts.

Lance

Right, Mike, and as you know, say what you will about there being good aunts and bad aunts, underneath they are all the same. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.

Tom W.

Lance, great piece. I happened to be at the dinner the other night with Obama and McCain - but it was Hillary who got the loudest, longest ovation. She's ascended to a different level, and I think it's by dint of her toughness - the very quality that causes some of the knee-jerk sexism against her.

To put it another way, I think she's been a true change agent this year. Her answer to Couric's stupid question (you're right, not so stupid in its underlying intent, just in the silly anchor style it was asked in) shows that.

Now, I note you don't name names (to use the Nixonian parlance) but here are a few out-and-out sexists in the media - the big media Bull Connors of gender equality - people who deserve to be called out in the cause of making sure people like this never rise to prominence ever again:

Andrew Sullivan
Chris Matthews
Keith Olbermann
Alex Castellanos
Maureen Dowd

I could go on, but they're representative. And we need some prominent targets to make the case.

cebm

I love Hillary's laugh. I always thought it was spontaneous and the only time she really allowed herself to cut loose a little.

The Heretik

Sarah Palin has gotten to be an action figure because women like Hillary Clinton had to be nutcrackers.
*sigh*

Linda

I don't know how men in the first group deal with the likes of a Sarah Palin. I imagine that some of them deal in exactly the way they deal with Hillary, by hating her. Others probably ignore the contradiction by ignoring the fact: they make themselves not notice that a Palin is their boss and find ways to turn her orders into requests for favors in their heads. They're not obeying her. They're helping her out. Still others, I expect, do what they can to turn the tables and juvenilize her.

No, they lover her to death. Right-wing men know that while Sarah Palin wants power for herself, she also undercuts other women even more (think rape victims who have to pay for their own kits, women who want abortions, etc.) But more than that, she gives right-wing men with misogynistic agendas cover. When a woman says other women are whining, they don't appear to be as sexist as they are for saying the same thing. And, right-wing men are dumb enough to think they will siphon off female votes. After all, since they see vaginas as interchangeable, then other women must, too.

Women who honestly push for power for themselves, like Clinton, live every day with the realization that they are the nutcrackers, and that other women who benefit from them are happy to go along with their demonization. It's the cross they bear, along with the knowledge that some women are honestly grateful.

actor212

I think your last point would have been the way to go, if I was Hillary.

Look, the Republican party contains two kinds of women who are active at the national level: the dolls (Palin, Condi Rice) who have fangs and claws, and the thinkers (Kathleen Parker springs to mind, Mickey Malkin, Ann Coulter) who, while not unattractive, display such ugly thoughts that you begin to ponder barfing.

Two sides, in other words, of Hillary Clinton. And that, I think, is the GOP problem with Clinton: indeed, she CAN crush your nuts, but as she showed on the campaign trail, particularly in New Hampshire, can use a soft voice to make a strong point.

She is, in other words, not "just a woman", not just a "woman", but a living breathing human being who has shown she can play in the big leagues. She is, indeed, the Jackie Robinson of politics, and has comported herself with enormous dignity.

Which is why she SHOULD have laughed off the nutcracker question.

SweetSue

You write that Hillary Clinton is hated, villified and feared.
Yes, by the knuckle-draggers, some of whom are Democrats in good standing, I'm sorry to say.
But, she is also respected, admired and, yes, loved by many, many people.

Lesley

Hillary would be cast as the "action" doll if a) she was younger and b) she was beautiful. Palin is hardly soft, passive and sexually available. She is dehumanizing though and that has nothing to do with image and everything to do with who she actually is.

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