candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton has been infused with a kind of novelty that
only an "America's first 'insert race/sexual orientation/gender here'
candidate" could invoke. At the same time, Ms. Clinton's apologists have
dismissed gender as a legitimate issue. I think we can all be excited that
America is finally breaking with an antiquated social norm by all but
acquiescing to an eerie presidential sequence of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton.
However, I can't help but lament that America's first legitimate shot at a
female president is such a bad one.
Some would argue that Ms. Clinton's gender puts America in a lesser position when
negotiating with particularly paternalistic societies. Such arguments are an
unfortunate and anachronistic platitude when one considers that Condoleezza
Rice, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and former Pakistani Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto have all shown that such societies can evince exemplarily
respectful behavior when faced with female leaders and societies. The behavior
and treatment of these women during their tenures have shown that they can be
treated with as much disdain, disrespect, love and adulation as their male
The reasons that Ms. Clinton is ill-prepared to be my president has little to
do with my worries that certain extreme elements within the Middle East or
elsewhere may respect our country less. Unfortunately for those who have long
awaited a legitimate female candidate, Ms. Clinton is a self-serving and
erudite politico, yet another special-interest servant who will do little to
unite the country.
At first it seems interesting that Sen. Barack Obama and Ms. Clinton are
front-runner candidates, considering the traditional hurdles non-white,
non-male candidates have faced in the American political process. It perhaps
speaks to America's desire to break out of its traditional mold. Personally,
I'd say it speaks to the strength of Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. Their front-runner
status is exemplified in the Iowa polls: A recent poll by the Des Moines
Register, Iowa's largest newspaper, shows Mr. Obama, once trailing, now leading
Ms. Clinton by three points.
exactly was it that put Mr. Obama over the edge in the Iowa polls? It is
Americans' realization that the only change Ms. Clinton brings to the American
presidency is her gender.
Ms. Clinton's strongest asset is her experience, and especially, as her
campaign touts, her experience with health care. Yet it is health care, and the
hopelessness of her plan to recreate the American health care landscape, that
exemplifies her inability to unite the nation or Congress behind her.
In theory, the Clinton plan will cover every American, and every American will dutifully
shoulder the load. However, I'm partial to the Obama equivalent. I like the
emphasis on health care that is affordable for every American, versus an
unenforceable mandate that requires every American to buy health care in this
Many voters find themselves weary of Ms. Clinton's ability to be honest. But
her health care plan may be the most honest she has been with the American
people. Her health care plan addresses a reality that Americans are unwilling
to address: The European brand of government-controlled health care works, and
America would be well to emulate the model.
As such, Ms. Clinton's plan calls for the biggest expansion of government since
FDR's Depression-era politics. Isn't that just like a Democrat? Try getting
that passed through Congress. Remember 2007's immigration reform? No? That's
because it didn't happen, and health care is about the only issue as difficult
to deal with as immigration.
Mr. Obama's equivalent effectively deals with the American public's aversion to
a government-run health care system and avoids the sweeping mandates that Ms. Clinton
prefers. Mr. Obama's plan puts the government into a role of enabler for
Americans who can't afford health care; Ms. Clinton's, it seems, makes the
government an enforcer. How Hillary of her.
Iowans may also have begun to notice something that her health care plan,
thankfully, does not reveal: Ms. Clinton's anachronistic approach to the
question of special interests and lobbyist money. Ms. Clinton's acceptance of a
system that killed off her and her husband's original attempt at universal
health care in 1993 is an aberrant stance among the three Democratic front-runners.
Sound like more of the same? That's because it is.
The male-only presidency is a ridiculous legacy that America must change. After
eight years of an administration that has completely undermined our standing
and reputation with every nation in the world outside of Albania, there is no
better time to change this sad legacy than now. Electing America's first female
president would be a powerful way to convey a message of change to the world.
While we progressive-minded voters are anxious to send an "America's first…"
president to the White House, we cannot allow our zeal for change to cloud our
vision for America. Ms. Clinton is more of the same.
I would welcome the change of having a woman as my president, but Hillary
Clinton must not be that woman.
Cox ([email protected])
is a senior majoring in economics.