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February 3, 2007

Your Turn: Leading The Sea Change


It is clear to me now that the visual attention surrounding Hillary Clinton goes far beyond simple media hype.

As a more than viable Presidential contender; as the former First Lady and Bill’s wife; and as a complex personality, politician and tactician, Hillary is a powerful magnet.  Raising the possibility of America’s first female President, Hillary also evokes and brings close to the surface a range of gender issues, including the politics of career, motherhood, marriage, fidelity, strength, ambition, privacy, and more.

Add Clinton’s presence to the dynamics off a wide-open Presidential race, factor in the dramatic and highly recent sea change in American politics — with new Democratic control of the Congress, with a woman also taking charge of the U.S. House — and you’ve got a complete upheaval in the themes and the context behind the latest political pictures.

The emergence of new (or newly prominent) faces raises a lot of initial personality questions for The BAG and its readership.  Call it the study of portraiture or the investigation of character, it’s hard to make sense of a political photo without a better understanding of the subjects in it.  As a result, I think it’s particularly valuable — especially at the start of this election process — to take “biographical material,” particularly more reflective images offered us by the candidates themselves, as material to investigate who they are, especially in light of what they’d like us to see.

Regarding the shot above, there are several images in Hillary’s on-line Family Photo Album that are fascinating.  I’ve been looking at this one (#14 of 15), off-and-on, for over a week now.  If it’s indicative of anything, it speaks to Mrs. Clinton’s ability to project contrasting impressions of herself.  I might run another one or two shots from this gallery, but this one interested me the most.  The image is simply titled: “Bill and Hillary Clinton, 2001.”

(image: multimedia)

  • tina

    I’ve always thought Bill is an intelligent person who really respects Hillary, and here he seems to display genuine affection as well. However, it still disturbs me that he treats other women so casually. His behavior cannot be described as anything other than very, very tawdry, and it shows bad judgement to boot.
    Aside from Paula and Gennifer, Monica was a very young woman who claimed she fell in love with him. So he stuck a cigar into her. To quote “Our Man in Havana”: That is not nice, Mr. Clinton.
    I don’t think people who claim this is totally without any importance are entirely correct. I’d rather have him than Bush any day of course, but I think he’s very disrespectful/stupid towards women, not the best quality in a leader. That said, we don’t always get the ideal, so we? So many powerful men are like that.
    All of this is of course going to haunt Hillary’s campaign no matter how lovey-dovey they manage to appear. I notice she’s the one wearing the stylish sunglasses and projecting force. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
    Standing by her man my foot. HE knows which side his bread is buttered on, so to speak.

  • lima

    Tina – I’d rather have a President that sticks a cigar into a willing partcipant than one who fucks an entire unwilling Nation in the ass.

  • Margaret

    Notice, carefully, that, although he has his arms around her, his body is not pressed closely to hers, nor is she leaning back into the embrace. It’s a very posed picture…and, no contact in the pelvic area, I might add, suggesting that there might be “affection,” but there might not be much else.

  • JD

    Hehe. Great photo.
    When my co-workers and I discuss a potential Hillary presidency, someone always says that it would basically allow Bill Clinton back into the White House, and certainly back into a position of national leadership, albeit a less prominent (at least on paper) leadership position.
    I like how this picture shows Bill in that “less prominent position.” I also like how she almost appears to be piggybacking him. In a strange way it reminds me of Odysseus riding the ram out of Polyphemus’s (the Cylops) cave…sneaking under the blinded eye of suspicion…in this case the blind eye being any number of things: the press, the people, the unhinged, angry conservative, so enraged by his Limbaugh fueled hatred of Hillary that he misses Oddyseus/Bill riding Hillary into the White House/Out of the Cave etc….
    Of course, Odysseus was under the ram on it’s stomach, and Bill is on Hillary’s back, but the concept (for me at least) remains intact.

  • lowly grunt

    As to the last two pictures in the album (which the one above is number 14), Bill seems to be hiding behind Hillary. It’s almost as if he is saying, “She’s the candidate — shoot here! Give me a f***in’ break, already!”
    I also would rather have a womanizing pig in the White House than the teenaged boob now occupying the space.
    I was startled by the second picture in the series. If it weren’t for the photo being in black and white, I would have sworn that the subject was Chelsea. As to Chelsea, she has blossomed into a beautiful young woman, so that just goes to show you what Rush knows….

  • gil

    Very funny and very true :) )

  • gil

    I misread, I meant Lima!

  • donna

    She’s a powerful woman, so she’s demonized by the right, like all powerful women are.
    Certainly doesn’t look like a demon here at all – just a beautiful woman with a loving husband.
    Say what you might about Bill and HIll, but they are a true American success story – not a legacy sham like the Chimp we have now.

  • Dr. William Dyer

    This photo demonstrates how Hillary for better or worse has to carry on with her husband’s presence in all her endeavors. She will always have him there, and will have to in some way or another address such or open the door for others to address it for her.
    For Hillary this is a double edged sword. Bill’s presidential actions in the past and even now engendered a lot of good feelings from a number of people; but also, stirred anger from other groups. Whatever Hillary wishes to attain politically, from holding on to the Senate seat she has to being the President, Bill’s actions will be there. Bill has demonstrated himself to be leader with a welcoming personality and I’m sure she would like to use such, but that is not the end of her husband’s legacy.
    Not only does she need to overcome the handicap of being a woman(and more importantly a woman who won’t except being-good-for-a-girl standards), she has deal with her chosen partner. Laura, Nancy, and Barbara are firmly attached to their husband’s records, but since none of them cares to carve out an identity much other then social norm of good wife, they deal with Hillary’s problems infrequently if at all. Hillary upsets the apple cart in that she is part of a more recent pattern of women who demonstrate some level of successfully integrating multiple roles where most women chose one and stick to it.
    Looking at the photos of Bill and Hillary, there is definitely something different about the two of them together. Part of that is in contrast to many other politicians standing with their spouses, very few other couples share similar high levels of stature independent of one another. One would have to go back in US history to Eleanor Roosevelt to find a woman who stood near equal to her husband in terms of influence. I don’t think the Clintons have seperated their lives to the extent the Roosevelts did as time went on, in fact I suspect they have drawn closer.

  • PTate in FR

    What a fascinating photo album. No images in midlife, eh. We see Hillary as a little girl, her senior high school picture, Hillary as a bride & young wif& mother, several pictures of baby Chelsea. The random picture in front of the fridge…Hillary and Chelsea in the Arkansas governors mansion in 1983. Then family shots from the late 90s and after. This picture, #14, is interesting because Hillary is all cool, calm, collected, a Woman in Black. Bill is in the picture, but not in the same universe. Bill’s role is to admire her, and if we admire Bill, we should admire her too.
    But what a bum set of photos: If you asked me for 15 pictures of my life, even a sampling, you’d see much better pictures and more interesting revelations of who I am and how I have spent my life.
    But in this set of pictures, where is the evidence that Hillary has the credentials, the experience, to be POTUS?? The accomplished lawyer? Brilliant legal mind? Manager? Executive? Or, for that matter, of the 25 years of she has been part of a glittering power couple? The wife of the governor of Arkansas? The First Lady? The Senator? Her credential, based on this set of pictures, is that of a regular gal, wife, mother–who, gosh!, just happens to be running for President of the United States.
    In the Washington Post Linda Hirshman wrote that women are irrational voters–less well informed than men, more likely to vote based on “feel” than “facts. Forget experience! Forget policy! Do they LIKE Hillary? See her as someone just like them? This set of pictures seems to be an narrative cunningly crafted to win the support of the suburban Moms.

  • gil

    They look like…well….”the morning after”….

  • Johanna

    JFK pioneered the use of intimate family photos by politicians. The feelings they stir in viewers are more interesting than their actual content — the illusion of having a personal relationship with celebrities, the abandonment of reasonable assessment of someone’s positions, even of his or her past actions. “Just a beautiful woman and her loving husband”, purred Donna. Even if that were so, are these the feelings that should be guiding us as voters?

  • The BAG

    I think PT’s comments are very interesting. Sounds like Johanna is moving in the same direction. It seems the credentials the Clinton campaign is twisting itself into knots to establish are domestic and familial, rather than political and professional. Otherwise, what would compel the candidate to substitute a “Photo Gallery” with a “Family Photo Album?”
    Does the campaign believe it has an early hurdle to scale, which is to build momentum with female voters? If so, those skeptical faces in Iowa might have come as a bit of a shock. Could this be part of the reason Hillary canceled her trip to New Hampshire at the end of last week? Will we see a shift in approach come Monday? (And, if so, in what direction?)
    A couple of other things I saw in the photo. First, does anyone know when Hillary started wearing the cross? And, does she wear it religiously now (pardon the pun)?
    Second: The photo is titled with the date — 2001. Whether this photo has anything to do with 9/11 (Hillary could be dressed for a funeral or a memorial service), is the photo pulling for that association? And/or, is the black-and-white supposed to help draw more of a contrast with WJC?

  • truthseeker

    Let’s disabuse ourselves that these photos are all ‘just from the family album.’ This couple has been in public life and the public eye almost since their marriage. Aside from the very early photos, most are public and posed. Even in Chelsea’s baby picture, papa is wearing a suit and tie! I’ll bet none of us have a photo of our dad’s holding us in a suit and tie. Don’t we remember seeing #9 just after he had to admit to the affair that ended with his impeachment? All the happy family not looking in the same direction…….
    From #11 on, they are all posed for the public. Even the game room at Camp David, wearing coats while ‘playing a game?’ Don’t they have any heat up there?
    As for the last two, posed, posed. Someone pointed out the lack of bodily contact…..very perceptive. Also in both they are looking in different directions and totally different (imaginary?) objects. Since I’m not a middle aged soccer mom, I can’t say how it will affect that audience (if that’s what she’s going for), but as a ‘family album’ it left me wondering about the state of her family. But then, maybe they have been living for the public perception for so long they’ve forgotten what real families do.

  • margaret

    I just finished watching on C-span the DNC meeting at which the candidates spoke. Hillary vs. John Edwards makes an interesting contrast between two lawyers making their case to the “jury.” Edwards won on elocution, sincerity, presentation, and most of all, firmness, without sounding loud and strident. Hillary’s content is like the pictures of her, void of deeper meaning. She says, as President, she wouldn’t have started this war…except, we all know, she voted for it, so she has blood on her hands, and is finding a rhetorical way to distance herself from her actions, which, after all, enabled the President to do what he did. (So, by her own logic, she didn’t have to be President in order to send men and women to war.)
    Edwards also voted for the war as Senator, but he has disavowed it, forthrightly, and without reservation, as having been a mistake, to which he holds himself accountable. So, after the two speeches, if this were a trial and this a courtroom, his side would have won, for all the reasons given in the first paragraph. (Oh, and his marriage seems to be a quite solid one, judging by his book and his wife’s.)

  • itwasntme

    Although I don’t support Hillary for president, I like this particular picture. After a long marriage, with all it’s stretch-marks and pimples exposed, it says to me that Bill is still saying “I’m backing her up.” I don’t think the public needs or wants, really, to see a full-body embrace by the couple.
    Different marriages have different rules and trade-offs that have been made by each person in them. Many, if not most men of power have screwed around, and wives, for centuries, have found a way to deal with it. Although it’s publically embarrassing for hubby to be caught, there are many scenerios where some fooling around is tolerated. I recall Gracie Allen, George Burns wife. A solid, devoted couple, without doubt. But whenever George fooled around, Gracie got a nice piece of jewelry. She was said to be disappointed when one of his affairs ended because “I was looking forward to getting the necklace, too.” I understand this sentiment. Her marriage was in no danger.
    Women just have to face the fact that men can screw around and it can mean very little; just a grab at some passing sweet strawberry with an urge to sleep with a powerful man. It need not inpact the marriage much at all. If the home life and family are good, and the wife knows where his true loyalties are, such screwing around, within reason, is easily tolerated.
    I wish America would grow up and realize this.

  • readytoblowagasket

    “Otherwise, what would compel the candidate to substitute a ‘Photo Gallery’ with a ‘Family Photo Album’?”
    Maybe having a famous *family* would compel a candidate to “substitute” a Family Photo Album. People want to see pictures of *this* particular family because all three of them are American *celebrities.* Exactly like people wanted to know about (and see pictures of) Teresa Heinz–because she wasn’t an “ordinary” spouse. I’m sure Hillary gets lots of requests (from magazine editors, for example) for images of her with Bill and Chelsea. So maybe Hillary’s website designers knew this and tried to accommodate it on the site.
    Discussing Hillary like she’s an ordinary candidate is useless. She’s *EXTRA*ordinary.
    But regardless of the Clinton family fame, there is nothing peculiar about organizing the material on the website into thematic groupings. It’s an editorial decision, not necessarily a sinister one.
    “If it’s indicative of anything, it speaks to Mrs. Clinton’s ability to project contrasting impressions of herself.”
    I think this is something many American women can probably relate to. Yet The BAG makes it sound like a negative.
    “It seems the credentials the Clinton campaign is twisting itself into knots to establish are domestic and familial, rather than political and professional.”
    Prove how the campaign is “twisting itself into knots.”
    Hillary’s “credentials” are presented throughout her website, fyi. There are some First Lady and Senator images in sections labeled as such. It wouldn’t make editorial sense to include “credential” images in a family photo album. That’s why her photos aren’t all lumped together in one klutzy slide show.
    What’s the point of looking at pictures of Hillary in this forum if bias fogs the ability to see?

  • blabby

    Bill looks like his mind is elsewhere. He’s looking off to the side with an expression that strikes me as one of apprehension or mistrust.
    Hillary strikes me as, frankly, quite beautiful. The cross necklace pendant strikes me as the usual political phoniness we’ve come to devour, but other than that she looks kind, warm, and well, quite beautiful.
    I should mention for the record that I do not plan to vote for her in the primary, but I will probably end up holding my nose and voting for her in the general election, and wishing I hadn’t after that.

  • see you

    100% engaged in hillary´s campaign?????
    what about Obama???
    maybe americans don´t want CHANGE …

  • see you

    The Obama revolution
    He is charismatic, confident and and is starting to change the face of American politics by reaching out across party lines to Democrats and Republicans. But can the Illinois senator, who is set to announce his presidential candidacy this week, go the distance? Paul Harris reports
    Sunday February 4, 2007,,2005485,00.html
    The Observer

  • demit

    On the subject of gender issues, since I suppose we’re going to be reading thousands of inches of copy about them in the next year and half, please note the following:
    Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, 1966-77 and 1980-84
    Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1979-90
    Helen Clark, current Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1999-
    Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, current President of Liberia, 2005-
    Angela Merkel, current Chancellor of Germany, 2005-
    Michelle Bachelet, current President of Chile, 2006-
    I think the rest of the world will be greatly amused at our acting as if we are breaking new ground by contemplating electing a female president.
    To Dr. Dyer: “the handicap of being a woman”—? And “…recent pattern of women who demonstrate some level of successfully integrating multiple roles where most women chose one and stick to it”—? I don’t know if the attitude that being female is a handicap is remediable, but you especially I would like to take note of the above list of female heads of state. Good God almighty. It’s going to be a painful year and a half.

  • tina

    Poor Gracie. She can get all the jewelery in the world and she can have it. As a person who values fidelity in marriage, having seen the damage that infidelity causes, I can say it is in fact an important issue. A woman who has been forced to sit on the sidelines and see her husband wander after whatever younger piece he fancies is not experiencing a true marriage, even if she pretends to accept it or ignore it. Sorry, it’s a fact. Some things are quite visceral and just because it is widely accepted in different cultures does not make it any better. I notice that it is NEVER accepted for women to do the same. Why is that?

  • donna

    I’ve done it. And I’m still married. So sometimes it is acceptable. Maybe not to all people, but to those who matter anyway.

  • tina

    So it was acceptable because you did it and are female and your husband was okay with it?
    A rather weak argument.
    I’m speaking of public acceptance…you don’t hear about Gandhi’s and Thatcher’s boy toys. There’s a reason for that, but it’s only partly that promiscuity raises a man’s stock but seriously lowers a woman’s.
    Maybe it’s not the public that needs to “grow up”. Maybe it’s Bill Clinton.
    I’m no fundie, but I have not observed that these “open marriages” work very well. The girlfriends get dumped and generally treated like objects (and they do matter, also), the wife stews in her resentment no matter how hard she tries to be “accepting”, and at the end of the day the only one to benefit is the asshat of a husband.
    Just another way gender inequity plays itself out.
    And I don’t really think the solution is for the women themselves to start picking their strawberries where they can find them. How about both of the couple just doing what they agreed to do when they entered into the contract of marriage.

  • jtfromBC

    To whom it may concern;
    >Michell Brachelet, may become the most influential woman in this century in our hemishere should she succeed in her ambitious programs in spite of the fact that her personal CV may be of concern for some.
    >Among other things a child born out of wedlock in the most Catholic country in South America.
    >She was head of the foundation’s Medical Department between 1986 and 1990. Some time after her second child with Dávalos, Francisca, was born in 1984, she and her husband legally separated.
    >Between 1985 and 1987 Bachelet had a romantic relationship with Alex Vojkovic Trier a Communist engineer and spokesman for the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, an armed group which among other activities attempted to assassinate Augusto Pinochet in 1986.
    >While working for the National AIDS Commission (Conasida), she met Aníbal Henríquez, a physician, with whom she had her third child, Sofia, born in 1992. Between March 1994 and July 1997, Bachelet worked as Senior Assistant to the Deputy Health Minister
    >Bachelet faced Piñera, and won the presidency with 53.5% of the vote, thus becoming her country’s first female elected president and the first woman who was not the wife of a previous head of state or political leader to reach the presidency..

  • demit

    Tina, you sound like you are speaking out of painful experience. But. There’s no one solution for everyone, regardless of what the public thinks a couple should do. Or what we think the public should think about what a couple should do.
    Probably the last wisest word on the subject is Dear Abby’s, who advised every wronged partner to ask, “Am I better off with him or without him?” And only the wronged person can answer that.

  • jtfromBC

    Is it possible there are greater challenges for politicians, female or male than infidelity. Seriously this is a sad situation between two individuals, but when one wishes to assume the leadership of millions of people, other moral qualities may be of greater import to wit:
    Follow The Money and include The Fear Factor seem to be essential ingredients in getting to high office in the USA. Will it work for Hillary ?
    Hillary Clinton celebrates Israeli war crimes (on Lebanon) 19 July 2006
    >“We will stand with Israel because Israel is standing up for American values as well as Israeli ones,” the New York Democrat proclaimed at the New York City rally
    >Whose “values” Clinton defends was demonstrated by her next public appearance after the pro-bombing rally at the UN—when she was the guest of honor at a campaign fundraising event sponsored by billionaire publisher Rupert Murdoch, whose right-wing media empire includes Fox News and the New York Post, two of the foulest spokesmen for the American ultra-right.
    >Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most slavish in her support for the positions of the Israeli right of any US political figure. According to figures released by the Federal Election Commission, she is the number-one recipient of campaign funds from the Israeli lobby in the 2005-2006 campaign cycle,
    On a local note from a northern neighbor:
    Hillary led the charge after 911 in blaming Canada. Remember that? Hillary Clinton led the charge once again in 2003 against imaginary terrorist migration:
    **Well, it could have been true.** That’s what Senator Hillary Clinton had to say after finding out that five Pakistani men did not actually sneak into the US through Canada so they could blow up New York on New Year’s Eve. Because they were never in the US at all, and they weren’t terrorists, and the whole thing was dreamt up….

  • Dr. William Dyer

    I should have phrased some things to better relay my thoughts. When I attributed Hillary as having to deal with a handicap due to her gender, I should have been more clear and stated such a handicap derives from the seeking office in America and with an American public’s notions of women and their “normative” roles and not her actual gender. All the talk/debate of America being ready for any woman president is indicative of these conditions, and I thought I pointed to such a notion on the backhand by the good-for-girl remark. Some people may care far less, if any, about a candidate’s gender compared to their ability to do the job, but there is a sizable number of voters who are the opposite. Personally, I am unsure how the 23rd chromosome pairing determines suitability for jobs beyond who can gestate a fetus. And even that can get blurry under some conditions.
    You do cite a number of women whole made it to top level positions in their respective countries. History is indeed dotted with women at most every level in about all fields of human activity. To my knowledge and the corresponding point was women until more recently tended to only be in places of leadership due to who they were born to or married. Those women listed and Hillary are part of a change were the limits women face to get somewhere are more like a man’s and women can more then just in theory reach these lofty places. I was trying to give a nod to the way in which women and our society are growing into a new conception of what a woman’s life holds for them. One where women themselves can chose anything to pursue and do so without the need for the input or green-lighting by any men unless they chose to involve them. In the picture not only is Hillary in front, she is looking to a different direction then her mate.
    I’m sorry if what I wanted to convey came out unclear or even backwards in reading. As for things looking to be long and slogged out in politics for the coming months, yea I agree. Primate territorial battles can get messy, and this one has billions of dollars to drive it.

  • tina

    Sorry, I don’t think anybody who settles for a loveless marriage is leading a full life, whether they are staying with the partner for financial security or the kids or the good home cooking or whatever. That said I don’t make my voting decisions based on these issues, I am only pointing out there are people who do. If Hillary wins the nomination, I will be voting for her holding my nose, but not because of Bill, rather because of her support for the war. I voted for Bill Clinton also, but I considered his aptitude for skeeziness a real shame. If Hillary wants to settle for that, then whatever.
    But knowing what we do about them, this makes the photo look somewhat different than it would if we knew nothing of wee Billy’s adventures, doesn’t it? We can talk about power marriages all we want, but deep in our hearts, we know that something is broken there.
    I have never heard of Michelle Bachelet, I’m guessing she is from Chile, she had two children with her husband and is still legally married to him while having had a child with a paramour, is that right? It’s South America, jt, you can be sure her husband has at least one mistress and perhaps a whole second family as well. And probably did well before his wife left him.
    Well, she may be the exception that proves the rule, is all I can say. Because she has had political success in spite of this does not disprove my point.
    Progressive people esp. on the left are for some reason generally horrified at the thought of a normal (meaning monogamous) marriage between two people who love each other. Like it’s only something that repressed fundies do. I haven’t experienced cheating personally (or done it), but I have seen it happen to my oh-so liberated and open minded friends. It’s an emotional meat grinder however it happens and I just would never want to do that to my husband, and any husband who wants to do that to his wife is a selfish moron. Give each other permission to play around? Yeah right, get back to me on how well THAT works.
    When I became utterly miserable and trapped in my marriage, I went ahead and got a divorce. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to mess around, get a little bit on the side, “send him a message”, whatever the heck it’s supposed to mean. It also would have been immature and soul-destroying. And then there’s the third (outside) person, he or she is often very attached to the married one and gets hurt, too. How many young women have regretted wasting time, sometimes years even, on a married man? Good grief, who can say this is all okay? I gave up a lot financially to get out of the marriage, but there was no honest alternative.
    Other people can of course make their own decisions, and I can think they are making a mistake. Infidelity, esp. when done behind the back of the spouse, is ALWAYS a mistake. If the marriage is that bad, a divorce is order no matter how much it costs. Then both can find someone else, hopefully a little chastened and wiser for the experience.
    Seen it way too many times. The ones who get back together or decide to stay together are so miserable it’s just enough to make you cry. Dear Abby’s advice in this instance sucks.

  • jtfromBC

    “I have never heard of Michelle Bachelet, I’m guessing she is from Chile, she had two children with her husband and is still legally married to him while having had a child with a paramour, is that right?’
    When reading my reference about the President of Chile you will note she was legally separated from her husband long before she decided to have another child. Stereotypes abound and ethnocentrism’s are not confined to the US.
    Five minutues spent checking out my reference will give you a thumb nail sketch of the tremendous human qualities of this humble and confident person, qualities she possesses, some claim are rare among men but but more common in woman. I leave that to experts and history. She has inspired women through out Latin and South American and received the admiration of many men for her principle positions on social justice and individual rights rights.

  • demit

    To Dr. Dyer, two thoughts regarding your statement that “women until more recently tended to only be in places of leadership due to who they were born to or married”:
    Due to who they were born to? Is it your argument that this is peculiar to women? That it is not a common path to elected office for men? Are we not now suffering under the worst president in U.S. history because a man advanced in his career due to whom he was born to?
    Due to who they married? Here’s another list for you, with (not-so-recent) dates of election and husband status:
    1965: Patsy Mink, elected to House, husband not in politics
    1968: Shirley Chisholm, elected to House, husband not in politics
    1969: Sen. Diane Feinstein wins first elective office, husband not in politics
    1971: Bella Abzug elected to House, husband not in politics
    1974: Millicent Fenwick elected to House, no husband in politics
    1976: Sen. Barbara Boxer wins first elective office, husband not in politics
    1978: Nancy Kassebaum elected to Senate, husband not in politics
    1978: Geraldine Ferraro elected to House, husband not in politics
    Your quaint phrasing (“women and our society are growing into a new conception of what a woman’s life holds for them”) makes me feel like it’s 1970 again. Truly, if I close my eyes I can hear my high school principal tell us how in this day and age we young women can be anything we want to be!
    Dr. Dyer, women have been breaking out of their “normative roles” and starting careers (or “dotting history at most every level in about all fields of human activity,” if you prefer) for a very long time now. My own generation is beginning to take retirement from them.
    I suspect what you want to convey differs from what you are actually conveying because you are trying to attribute to others what it is that you yourself think, but you don’t want to present it as such.
    And that is exactly what I am dreading in the next year and a half: all the discussion of the “well, of course I myself personally don’t feel this way about women’s suitability for high office but there are many people who do” variety.

  • charlottesweb

    I never liked Bill’s triangulation policies and I see Hillary doing much the same. We just keep getting nudged further and further toward the right end of the political spectrum.
    I’m surprised that no one has even mentioned the concept that we’re headed into dynasty territory where we’ve had a Bush, a Clinton, another Bush, and possibly another Clinton.
    My biggest objection to seeing Hillary running is that it would seem to be more of the same of what we’ve had these past 18 years (to a greater or lesser degree). Do we really want to continue in roughly the same direction yet again?
    The picture might be seen as a mirror image of Bill’s years in the White House (with Hillary in front this time) or Hillary as Bill’s ticket back to the Oval Office.

  • ummabdulla

    It looks to me like Bill is holding her back in this picture.
    As for the women leaders, there are many more. I don’t feel like looking up how to spell their names, but there have been or are women leaders (and often leaders of the opposition parties) in Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines – just off the top of my head. Most of them had fathers or husbands who had been leaders, but then so does Hillary.

  • g

    I’ll bet none of us have a photo of our dad’s holding us in a suit and tie.
    Maybe your experience is different than mine. I have lots of photos of my dad holding my siblings and me wearing suit and tie. He was a business man who wore a suit 5 days a week and to church on Sundays.
    I think your comment might be revealing a generational divide, or perhaps a cultural/professional one. In earlier years, more working men wore suits. In professions like the law and politics, men wore – and still wear – suits. In earlier years, Men wore suits or at least jacket and tie to go to church; to go to their kids’ school functions, or to go out to dinner.
    Bill and Hillary Clinton are at the tail end of the generation where men wore suits, and they work in 2 professions where men still wear suits today – the Law and Politics.
    It would hardly be unusual for a professional man in the 1970’s or 80’s to be snapped holding his child while wearing a suit.
    Posed posed posed — of course they’re posed! People posed for photos, and especially in the pre-digital era when you didn’t want to waste film with an unflattering shot. As for the more current photos, do you think any candidate has photos on his/her website that weren’t posed? A little comparison with other candidates websites might show that Hillary’s shots aren’t really very different than any other candidate’s.
    The photo is titled with the date — 2001. Whether this photo has anything to do with 9/11 (Hillary could be dressed for a funeral or a memorial service), is the photo pulling for that association?
    My heavens! Have other public figures scrubbed their files of references to themsevles in 2001, for fear of appearing opportunistic?
    It’s fine to analyze shots, but it sounds like your (truthseekers) personal prejudices against the Clintons are coloring your take on this.

  • tina

    ummabdulla–the discussion thus far has deliberately avoided including those women “leaders” who are simply beneficeries of entrenched third world nepotism. I don’t think anybody would assert that Benazir Bhutto or Khalida Begum have ever done any leading during their terms in office. Indira Ghandi being an exception, a strong, principled woman in her own right.
    I think it’s safe to say that Hillary has advanced as a politician in spite of her husband rather than because of him, making the comparison moot. American politics is becoming dangerously stratified, the top rungs of political activity now restricted to a few extremely wealthy families and individuals. But that doesn’t make America comparable to Pakistan–not yet, anyway.
    Of course, we do have “Ahnold” as governor, whereas Pakistan has a main opposition party headed by cricketer Imran Khan, whose only pull with the masses seems to be that he is Pakistan’s biggest celebrity. Otherwise he’s not so bright and doesn’t seem to have much of a program.
    He did build a very nice cancer hospital in memory of his mother, I have no idea how much good it does to the 95% of the country who are poor though.

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