2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Conservatives’ Veneration of Masochism

It’d been awhile since I last gave Margaret Thatcher a thought, although I may have caught a glimpse of her on TV at Reagan’s funeral (See her on YouTube from this site). Recently, her name has been popping up in the US presidential campaign in comparison to Hillary Clinton. In one of Giulani’s bizarre, convoluted attempts to ally himself with a conservative stalwart, he loudly asserted that “Clinton was no Iron Lady.”

Amplifying Giuliani’s sentiments, an article by Peggy Noonan appeared yesterday in the WSJ Opinion Journal titled: Things Are Tough All Over, But Mrs. Clinton is no Iron Lady.

According to Noonan’s detailed, rhapsodic description of Thatcher, we can hope that Clinton will never earn that designation. Here’s a sample of what Noonan considers meritorious about England’s one and only female PM:

In fact, she wasn't so much a woman as a lady. I remember a gentleman who worked with her speaking of her allure, how she'd relax after a late-night meeting and you'd walk by and catch just the faintest whiff of perfume, smoke and scotch. She worked hard and was tough. One always imagined her lightly smacking some incompetent on the head with her purse, for she carried a purse, as a lady would. She is still tough. A Reagan aide told me that after she was incapacitated by a stroke she flew to Reagan's funeral in Washington, went through the ceremony, flew with Mrs. Reagan to California for the burial, and never once on the plane removed her heels. That is tough.

Wow! Now that’s impressive: a woman in her old age so adapted to enduring the torture of high heels for the sake of appearance, that she won’t take them off and treat herself to a few minutes’ relief during a plane trip.

Makes you wonder if conservatives, along with sexists in general, consider masochism an admirable trait for women in leadership positions. That would explain their rabid defense of eight men (with the exception of Richardson) personally attacking Clinton in the October 30th debate and wondering why anyone would question their right to do so.

Aren't women supposed to suffer in silence?

Noonan did jog my memories of Thatcher’s tenure as PM and my impression of her at the time. I recall feeling sad and disappointed that one of the few world leaders of my gender would try so hard to outdo the most mindless, intemperate macho males in the universe: "Here I am ready for war at a moment's notice."

Recall that Newsweek’s headlines in the spring of 1982 declared, “The Empire Strikes Back” when Thatcher sent a naval task force to recapture the Falkland Islands that Argentina had claimed since the 1830s.

Thatcher, one of the longest serving PMs in England’s history, was eventually ousted by an internal party ballot over concerns including her tax policies, high interest rates, divisions within the Conservative Party, and European integration.

Wikipedia states:

Her {Thatcher’s} distaste for consensus politics and willingness to override colleagues' opinions, including that of Cabinet, emboldened the backlash against her when it did occur. Others cited her strong uncompromising personality. The dislike for Thatcher that had previously come primarily from her political opponents was now being expressed by some members of her own party.

The obvious differences between Thatcher and Clinton are even more reason to elect Clinton as president. Clinton’s judgment, ability to get things done, competence, leadership skills, wisdom, knowledge, and experience have all been well demonstrated over the years.

Thatcher may have had little in common with Hillary Clinton, but in reviewing the biography of England’s first woman PM, I was suddenly struck by how many traits she shared with our current president, also noted throughout his tenure for his disdain for consensus politics, his willingness to override colleagues’ opinions, and his uncompromising personality that many have described as his stubborn streak.

And about that Newseek headline, "The Empire Strikes Back," Dubya and cohorts have also emulated Thatcher’s leadership by attempting to build the empirical presidency — the US Constitution be damned.

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