My grandfather, who died 3 years ago at the ripe old age of 91, hated Hillary Clinton. He was a yellow dog democrat but the first time she ran for Senate in New York State, he abstained because he couldn't vote Republican, and he couldn't bring himself to vote for a woman whose persona he so desperately despised. Mind you, my grandfather was born in 1913 and unfortunately held some deeply sexist beliefs. He hated her because she was too ambitious — he found her shrill and obnoxious and he found her bid for power distasteful. My grandfather was generally quiet and mild mannered and rarely spoke ill of anyone, but his visceral, irrational dislike of Hillary was palpable. All of which is a long winded and self-indulgent way of saying that men are just as emotional and capricious when choosing candidates as women are. I don't rule out the possibility that the women of New Hampshire, as Maureen Dowd et. al., are saying, voted for Hillary last night because she cried. What I will say is that none of us were there in the voting booth with them, and all the excessive, frenzied speculation as to what her tears meant for womanity and for the country and possibly for the world, is mostly a lot of hot air.
Hillary herself attributes her win last night to a changing of the tides in the aftermath of Saturday's debate. I've resisted writing about my political opinions here because I never feel like I have enough information to make a cogent argument for myself, much less anyone else, at this point in the race, but I will say that Barack Obama's hawkishness when questioned about military action in Pakistan disturbed me greatly. Obama was asked if, as President, he would go after Al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan if he had actionable intelligence, whether or not the Pakistani government agreed. In response, Barak said: "My job as commander in chief will be to make sure that we strike anybody who would do America harm when we have actionable intelligence do to that."
That was the end of a longer speech, but what I interpreted as Obama's willingness, nay, eagerness, to invade, really scared me, particularly at a time when we're viewed so poorly by the rest of the world in terms of international diplomacy. And who knows if it scared the women of New Hampshire as well? Or if something else Obama said in the debates affected them?Or if something Hillary or Edwards said affected them. Or if they had a bad day and Barak's smiling visage made them feel warm inside and so they voted for him. Or if the elastic was shot in their underwear and so they voted for Hillary. Even the woman who brought tears to Clinton's eyes in the first place voted for Obama because she found Hillary's body language "insincere."
I have to agree with what Erica Jong said in today's Huffington Post about Hillary and the voice crack heard 'round the world heard 'round the world: "Let's just learn patience and try not to predict the outcomes in this amazing year...Kafka had this word over his desk: WARTEN (WAIT). Every writer must learn to do that while the unconscious works and underground forces prevail. Maybe countries have to do that too."
Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House? [New York Times]
Clinton Says Debate Was Turning Point in Her Victory [New York Times]
TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Democratic Debate [ABC News]
Woman Who Brought Tear To Clinton's Eye Voted For Obama [Guardian]
Tears & Fears [Huffington Post]