Sunday, January 3, 2016

So Trump thinks he can damage Hillary Clinton by reminding the nation of her husband’s sexual exploits or her bathroom habits? That is risky politics.

A memo to Donald Trump:   So you think you can damage Hillary Clinton by reminding the nation of her husband’s sexual exploits or her bathroom habits? That is risky politics. You just do not get it when it comes to women. In national polls, 6 in 10 women do not believe you “represent their interests”.  Why? It is about respect.

 Hillary was not the perpetrator in the blue dress affair. She was the victim. Women understand. She is not the first woman to be in that situation.   The marriage almost broke up, but she put family and her support of Bill’s political accomplishments above it. She deserves respect for grit and determination, and for what she has accomplished as her own person and not your crass reminders of those times.

Here is  the significance of what Hillary Clinton has accomplished. She is paving the way for so many in the future.  In the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, women had to overcome a charge that they were “underqualified”, with no experience in government or political leadership.  No wonder.  The corporate and governmental  powers were not friendly toward women moving up the ladder. They may have been loved, but they were disrespected.

In the FDR era Frances Perkins served as the first woman cabinet member as Secretary of Labor and in the early 1950’s Oveta Culp Hobby was the first head of Health, Education and Welfare.   My mother considered their service as proof that women could do such jobs as well as men.   Nonetheless,   women governmental officials and CEO’s were rare in the 1950’s and ‘60s. A few took over position left by deceased husbands.  Participation as unpaid volunteers and civic activists were the other routes left to women and those credentials were not respected as much as experience in government and the corporate world.

 That began to change with the women’s rights movement in the 1970’s, and now women are governors, many more than in the past serve in Congress and as mayors, and cabinet officials, including Hillary Clinton. They have become ones mothers can hold up to their girls as how far women can go because now they have achieved the experience needed to gain respect.

 There is still a long way to go. Only 20% of Congress are women. Nonetheless, it is a foundation on which girls in the future can build because the possibilities of success have been publicly demonstrated.   No candidate running now can claim the international and domestic experience Hillary Clinton has: lawyer, Senator, Secretary of State.

 Bill Clinton deserves every bit of criticism for his personal follies, but if you persist in visiting the sins of Bill Clinton on Hillary Clinton, you will have also risked giving the opportunity for Bill Clinton to remind voters of successes on his watch that puts the GOP in a relatively bad light. When Bill Clinton took office, the deficit was 4.7% of the GDP; when he left, it was a surplus of 2.4%.  Inflation rates were reduced and growth was 3.8%.  Under Bill Clinton’s watch, the unemployment rate was 3.9%. With GOP presidents, the average is 6.1%. More jobs were created per month during the Clinton presidency than during any other presidency in recent U.S. history.

A version of this was published in the January 8, 2016    Panetta endorses Hillary; experience counts

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