Hillary Clinton’s Even Playing Field » Outside The Beltway | OTB

I don't think this is quite fair:

Andrew Sullivan is not amused by Hillary Clinton’s whining about how hard it is to run as a women and how she wishes there were a level playing field. Using some colorful language, he reminds us of the enormous advantages being Mrs. Bill Clinton has afforded her political career.

There’s an old saw, employed perhaps most famously by Ann Richards against George H.W. Bush, about people who are born on third base and think they hit a triple. Hillary Clinton was born on third base but apparently thinks she bunted her way to first and then stole second and third.

She seems to honestly think she’s had a tough go of it, despite her accomplishments being entirely a function of having married well.

Professional women have great difficulty projecting authority without projecting aggression, or bossiness. And running for president is probably the one place where this is hardest. Recently, one of my friends said, disparagingly, "She reminds me of my mother." It's hard to imagine someone saying, in the same tone, that they wouldn't vote for McCain because he was too much like Dad.

To be sure, women get some compensating advantages--I probably get invited to speaking engagements and so forth that I wouldn't get if I weren't a woman. But we pay for that by enduring condescension and criticism that would never be directed towards a man. I can't say whether this ends up accruing to my net benefit or loss--but I sure wish I didn't have to think about it at all.

It's probably true that Hillary would not be in politics if she weren't married to Bill; she doesn't strike me as someone who's naturally attracted to electioneering. And her senate career is obviously a side effect of his presidency. But it's far from clear to me that in this race, the benefits of being married to Bill are outweighing the drawbacks of being punished for things that would pass unnoticed in a man. And it's pretty damn frustrating to think that you may lose a job you want because you've got twice the "normal" number of X chromosomes.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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