Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A little bit of politics

I was listening to On Point today on public radio regarding the issue of Hillary Clinton being a good candidate for Secretary of State. People on both sides of the argument included her husband as part of the conversation. Is that appropriate? I wonder if Hillary were a male with a famous (and political) wife, if we would still be talking about her spouse? Shouldn't she be judged on her merits alone?

If it isn't obvious, I think we should limit the conversation to Hillary Clinton's skills. The bigger question is if this is a Hillary / Bill (ie unique) issue or is this a feminist issue? I would love to hear your thoughts.

8 comments:

mo*reezy said...

I think part of that attention paid to this couple in particular is their own doing - remember when Bill was running for President and basically advertised himself as a two-for-one special? They are a pretty unique couple though, and I can't think of another situation to compare it to, to determine whether it's just her and because she's a woman or not. But, yes - she should be judged on her merits alone.

Summer said...

I think she should be judged on her merits alone but as mo*reezy said the Clintons often don't distinguish themselves from each other and what each have done individually.

At this point I would say that it's a unique Hillary/Bill issue only because there are no other political couples who are both involved in national politics to the same degree.

Brenda said...

Funny, I listened to "On Point" this morning and thought the same thing. I had a hard time thinking what pos/neg being married to a former president would do for one as a Secretary of State. It seems in bad taste to say, "you owe this to my husband." She doesn't seem like that kind of person. And it is not like Bill would have more info about a particular subject 8 years later than she would get now as Sec. of State, does it? I am not really sure why their is an issue here. And did they bring this up when she was running for President? I don't remember that conversation.

Dramalish said...

Wives are often brought into their husband's political lives. John Kerry lost the election (in part) because his wife called somebody a name on camera -does anyone remember that?

I don't agree with the Hillary/Bill criticisms, and I think sexism may be a part of it, but the spouse thing does cut both ways, I think.

Clare said...

OH I miss NPR...

While I think we all should be judged on our merits... it would be naive not to think that Bill would have a major impact on his Hillary's job performance, even if it all on the side of how people react to her and nothing to do with her ability.

Whether that impact is good or bad, it is still there. Just as candidates heart conditions, prior lobbying connections,etc. are part of the vetting process, it does not surprise me that there'd be questions about how Bill would influence things. His voice will carry further than the average spouse because of who he is and even if message differs from his wife's official message... well that could be tricky.

areyoukiddingme said...

I believe Hilary should be judged on her own merits, but that she is part of a two-fer with Bill. That's just the way it seems to be with the Clintons. What I don't understand is why there is public campaigning to get Hilary nominated as Sec. of State. That is most unusual to me. I grew up in Chicago (where President-elect Obama got his political training) and the political machine there works way behind the scenes (it's like gravity - you know it's there, you don't often take notice of it, it works pretty well, and trips you up when you least expect it) but I guess the Clintons do like publicity.

Mrs. Spit said...

I think the challenge is that they have so linked themselves. It was never an issue with Margaret Thatcher, but they have made it an issue.

midlife mommy said...

They are unique, and they both come with a lot of baggage. Plus, how many men in politics have a former president as a wife? I can't think of a comparison that would fit. In a perfect world, we would only look at her. But, this is Billary, and they seemed to be permanently joined in all things.