Is America Now South Asia?

More

No developed country in the world actually bestows political office on women because they were once the wives of presidents. It has tended to happen in South Asia - Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines - but certainly not in modern, developed, Western societies. Argentina is busy electing a sitting First Lady, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence that a mature democracy like the US would be following South America. Geoffrey Wheatcroft compares the nepotistic path used by Hillary Rodham Clinton to achieve power with the meritocratic efforts of a Thatcher or a Meir or a Merkel, actual rather than phony feminists, who never tried to wield power by marrying it. He also points out the lack of experience that Clinton has in governing anything:

Seven years ago, she turned up in New York, a state with which she had a somewhat tenuous connection, expecting to be made senator by acclamation (particularly once Rudy Giuliani decided not to run against her). Until that point, she had never won or even sought any elective office, not in the House or in a state legislature. Nor had she held any executive-branch position. The only political task with which she had ever been entrusted was her husband's health-care reforms, and she made a complete hash of that.

She got that job through pure nepotism and cronyism. And her use of a man's power to fuel her own was a major setback for American feminism. But she continues, deploying her husband's presidency as a reason to vote for her. Maybe it takes a foreigner to see what is in front of our nose:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has become a potential president because she is famous for being a wife (and a wronged wife at that). Europe has long since accepted the great 19th-century liberal principle of "the career open to the talents." In the 21st century, isn't it time that the republic founded on the proposition that all men are created equal -- and women, too, one hopes -- also caught up with it?

Not if the Clinton machine can help it.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down