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Victim or a Party Crasher in the 'All-Boys Club'?

Clinton--in several forms--returned to her Wellesley alma mater this week to speak to and meet with students. (AP).

Hillary Clinton's return to Wellesley College on Thursday was a stroke of scheduling serendipity for a campaign seized by the desire to play the gender card after Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia.

"In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics," the Democratic frontrunner told an enthusiastic, young generation audience at her alma mater.

That presidential politics has largely been an all-male profession is hardly in dispute. Not only has the country never elected a woman president, but the ranks of campaigns past and present have been dominated by men and the media pack that trails along after the candidates is equally unbalanced against women. Witness the nauseating number of boxing metaphors before and after Tuesday's debate.

Even the many women who populate and play increasingly important roles in presidential and other campaigns recognize -- often to their annoyance -- that the vernacular of politics is that of blood sport and gamesmanship and that the pressurized atmosphere inside these campaigns is more a combination of locker room and fraternity than classroom and sorority. So there is a ready audience for what Clinton is saying about the world she seeks to conquer.

What has been striking about Clinton's candidacy is the way in which she and her advisers have sought to straddle the two worlds. She has learned how to use the gender card with both female and male audiences. On the campaign trail, she talks explicitly about shattering the highest glass ceiling in the world to the nodding of heads of the many women in her audiences. But in front of male-dominated audiences, she can be more overtly feminine, as when she told a labor audience last summer, "I'm your girl."

At the same time, she has regularly portrayed herself as the toughest hombre in the neighborhood. Recall what she told the Iowa Democratic Party's state central committee on her maiden voyage of the campaign last January: "When you're attacked, you have to deck your opponent."

Interestingly she decked nobody on Tuesday night. Relentlessly attacked by her Democratic rivals, Clinton certainly tried to stand her ground, especially on the issues of Iraq and Iran. But she hardly jumped any of them. Employing the classic strategy of a frontrunner, she tried to deflect criticism and aim her fire at President Bush and the Republicans.

Since then, her campaign has offered nothing but six-against-one explanations for what has been widely judged as her poorest performance in any debate this year. Eight against one when you include moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert of NBC. Eight men, one strong woman, as her campaign puts it.

Her rivals aren't buying that description. John Edwards's campaign put up a new video Friday that accused Clinton of engaging in "the politics of parsing" rather than being the victim of "the politics of pile-on," as her campaign described the debate. From Iraq to Social Security to drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, the video shows Clinton seemingly on both sides of all three issues.

On NBC's "Today Show" Friday morning, Obama said Clinton is trying to have it both ways: offering herself as strong and tough but then claiming to have been the victim of an all-male mugging at the debate.

"Look, I don't think that people doubt that Senator Clinton is tough," Obama said. "She's used to playing in national politics. And in fact, that is one of the things that she has suggested is why she should be elected is because she's been playing in this rough and tumble stage. So it doesn't make sense for her, after having run that way for eight months, the first time that people start challenging her point of view that suddenly she backs off and says, "Don't pick on me." I think that that is not obviously how we would expect her to operate if she were president."

I suspect that many women agree with Obama on this, that if Clinton aspires to the most difficult job in the world, she ought not to fall back on playing the victim when things get rough. As she enlarged her lead in national polls, nothing was more predictable than that her rivals would start coming after her. Even if those men appeared gleeful about her missteps on Tuesday night, Clinton could not have walked onto that stage without knowing what was likely to be thrown at her.

But there's no doubt that Clinton strikes a responsive chord as well with her girl power message, and perhaps with many of the same women who believe she should not be surprised that she became the focus of so much criticism on Tuesday. That is why her advisers have increasingly come to believe that her gender is the most underappreciated aspect of Campaign 2008 and why Clinton has becoming more and more explicit about the history-making potential of her candidacy.

A candidate who promises to fight fire with fire cannot suddenly cry foul over predictable campaign tactics. In that way, the Clinton camp may have overplayed "the politics of pile on" reaction to Tuesday's debate, rather than turning quickly from a bad moment in the campaign and putting the focus back on her strengths as a candidate.

But no one should underestimate the underlying power of a message that aims to appeal to the aspirations -- and the sense of exclusion -- of the majority of the population. No wonder Clinton and her advisers have decided to play the gender card at every opportunity.

--Dan Balz

By Washington Post editors  |  November 2, 2007; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Dan Balz's Take  
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By the latest poll numbers it seems to me that Barack's did not benefit.

In your opinion will Barack Obama's tactics of attacking Hillary Clinton help or backfire?

Posted by: PollM | November 4, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

If Barack Obama had gone to a black college after the Iowa debate and said something about the 'all-white club' piling on him he wouldn't have explicitly have said it was because he was black either, but that would have been the implication. Everyone would have recognized it as such. But for some reason lots of people want to give Hillary Clinton a pass for doing the same thing.

Up till just recently the media has been very gentle with Sen. Clinton. Now, when she gets a small taste of adversity, she immediately goes into victim mode. And she claims to be the toughest most experienced candidate who will be best able to defeat the Republican attack machine...

Remember, she's the one who chose to make it about her gender. She's the one who chose to portray it as the 'all-boys club' piling on the lone female candidate. It's not necessary for her to have come right out and speak the words "because I'm a woman." She could have just complained about her fellow candidates piling on, or better yet, she could have shown a little more toughness and not complained at all. Barack Obama never whined about them all piling on him at the Iowa debate. Too bad she doesn't have that kind of class.

Posted by: mystylplx | November 3, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

hey Condi,

why don't you do us all a big favor and turn states' evidence...

right now, you the poster child for "equal opportunity," corruption.

tawdry dear, very tawdry....and you coulda been president someday, you coulda been running against Hillary in '08, but you're backing genocide and distilled evil...




Posted by: afraidofme | November 3, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Hermann Goering, Hitler's deputy:

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Hermann Goering, a nazi...

had your patriotism questioned lately ???

as a ruse?


Posted by: afraidofme | November 3, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

NOTE: im_timmaaay is a republican too....another tactic will be and has been to besmirch Hillary with the stain of bush, since he's the most hated man on earth....the campaign to make her the new bush lite is that "rebranding campaign," hurt them badly....break their toes, smash their faces and shove it up thei razzes...

back to our regularly scheduled broadcast:

when the bulk of legislation is corporate based...

when the bulk of the problems have to do with lack of liquidity, because of the MISSING MIDDLE CLASS....and welfare for corporations...

when bushCO and CRONYs use banks to money launder their drug profits, floating notes that are risky because they need to money launder regardless of losses....


and the bulk of the budget going through CONGRESS IS WAR PROFITEERING...

I would say if you wanted to get the market, the economy and the world back on track....

indicting, arresting, prosecuting and punishing whilst affixing the profits of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND ALL APPOINTEES OF THIS ADMINISTRATION....

would do one whole HELLO of a lot to wards making the world a profitable place to live in....

war as a fabrication, pays no dividends...

nothing gets might as well be shredding

$760 MILLION DOLLARS A DAY....get over it, end it. lock them up and set the jail on fire.

."parenthetically speaking," of course...


Posted by: afraidofme | November 3, 2007 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Hillary = Politico Criminal

When Edwards pressed her on healthcare she slipped this past debate, 'I have a plan to slash another 10 billion dollars from medicare'...

WAKE UP BABY BOOMERS... If you need help with cancer or any other sickness, Mrs Bill Clinton will be shutting Medicare down! Bill signed off on major cuts. Hillary has admitted to planning on doing the same.

With Hillary so so deep into the Lobbyist Network pockets, what chance do we have in the effort against Climate Change?

Hillary and Bill brought in the corporate world to design the structure for public education. If you speak with anyone the has studied educational psycology, they'd tell you it stifles creativity and does nothing more than developes an obediant Wal-Mart worker. And if we are hiring latinos to stock the shelves at Wal-Mart, where does that leave us Americans?

I know... these are complicated questions that go nowhere, but that's exactly what you get when you elect someone like Bush and/or a Clinton.

Edwards or Obama are our only hope.

Posted by: im_timmaaay | November 3, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: svmorris

Crybaby Hillary should take some notes from a real leader-- Margaret Thatcher.

AFRAID OF ME? or just too stupid to post under a different ID? RESPONDS:

first off, "crybaby," is attempting to sell a label and a position as a given...

when it's not, he is selling _that_position_ , it's not a truth...

more than that, it's blatant appeal to emotion...

and thirdly, he doesn't tell you that he regularly posts as a a position....does he ???

svmorris continues:

Thatcher would never act like a crybaby or use the gender card. She also never needed to refer to herself as a "girl" to remind people she is female (or straight).

AFRAID OF ME? or just too stupid to tell people the truth, because a lie will do? Responds:

"act like a crybaby?" why is telling the truth acting like a crybaby...examining roles and how they are used? Thatcher? These same people would call her cold and emotionally unavailable, if it suited their needs....they are looking for a poison's what they do....and they call it "politics,"

if you're a disinformatinist trying to take down a Central American govnernment I guess that would be !true.

svmorris continues:

And I bet she would never allow her husband to humiliate her just so she can hold on to power.

AFRAID OF ME? or of having the truth tucked into your rear end? responds:

and this is really the proof....insinuating that somehow what the husband does or doesn't do is reflective of the wife....and you will see it repeatedly until you cram it back up their a**es, hard.... Fully 60% of all marriages that exist now end in divorce....and there are more single parents with children than married with children....People grow, change, have mistresses or lovers...within a marriage. So what...who cares ??? You don't look in my bedroom I won't look in really is none of your fricking business...

INSIDER WASHINGTON wanted to take BILL CLINTON DOWN....he interrupted the HARVEST OF IRAQ....

he defeated George H.W. "son of nazi supporters" Bush...who was supposed to get a second term out of sucker punching Saddam Hussein in "Desert Storm,"


read the transcript of their meeting, in which she gives tacit approval of him solving his border dispute with Kuwiat by using Military Force...

Rumsfeld and George H.W. Bush repeatedly worked with and fed Saddam Hussein....they trained him

like a deer at a deer feeder, until they were ready to harvest him...

know your repugnicans' tactics....

help them to find beeeeeeeejeeeeeeeeezeus

I help them by sticking my size 14's in their rear exits and asking them to cough.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 3, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

"Clinton has becoming more and more explicit"

Dan, what tense was this supposed to be? Past? Present Perfect? Past Progressive? Present Progressive? You certainly didn't compose any of them correctly. C'mon. This is basic grammar and you work for The Washington Post. At least take the time to seriously proofread your work before you publish. Serious text journalism still requires some basic skills, lest you be compared to illiterate third tier bloggers.

Posted by: tharriso | November 2, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Crybaby Hillary should take some notes from a real leader-- Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher would never act like a crybaby or use the gender card. She also never needed to refer to herself as a "girl" to remind people she is female (or straight). And I bet she would never allow her husband to humiliate her just so she can hold on to power.

Posted by: svmorris | November 2, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Comment on: Stocks Tumble As Investors Get Bad News On Citigroup - on 11/1/2007 10:55 PM


another poster, horend wrote:

Maverick, I find understanding the markets difficult but will explain some of what I've learned.

GDP growth is not all derived from manufacturing as we are lead to believe.

It is the movement of money from one business transaction - a product is not necessarily created, but fees are generated, mortgages, corporate buyouts, downsizing, transactional legal fees, selling of credit derivatives, etc.

These constitute the movement of money which registers GDP growth although nothing was created.

There is also a report from two leading economics I believe at Harvard which discusses how the Bush administration has incorrectly equated imports as GDP growth.

If oil were sold in Euros and not dollars, the US would lose primary control of the oil markets. There was discussion that prior to our invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was planning to revalue Iraqi oil in euros, thereby destablizing american markets. Further discussion can be found on line, about the joining of Mexico, Canada and the US - the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America which calls for use of a common currency the Amero. To justify a common currency between our three countries, the dollar must bottom out so this idea can be sold to the American public. Which to me explains the almost intentional devaluation of our currency.

AFRAID OF ME? continues:

so what this poster is saying is that bushCO und CRONYs is treating manufactured goods from other countries as AMERICAN products....when they are not. The company profits, the INTERNATIONAL COMPANY does...but AMERICA doesn't...

in fact for every item manufactured overseas, money is going out of the country...

AMERICANs are losing wages, and secondary sales, supporting businesses, etc.

I talked to a lawyer in a formerly BLUE COLLAR MIDDLE CLASS TOWN, I said "how's life?"

he said, "It sucks, no one has any money." "There are no injury cases, no medical cases, and no automobile cases, no property cases...." "With the factories empty, there are no support industries in this town....and no one has the money to litigate." "And the same is true for everyone else in town....and it's getting worse."

so let me be clear factories means a lot of different a lot of people...

there are lawyers, insurance agents, realestate people, auto sales agents, motorocycle sales, and so on that all of a sudden don't have any business....

and the people that sell to them, all of a sudden don't have any business...

it's sort of like the dust bowl....Oklahoma farmers didn't realize that removing the sod would allow the wind to blow it away...

United States MANUFACTURING is a key element of AMERICA's wealth....

downsizing, internationalizing and outsourcing are destroying our ECONOMY and INFRASTRUCTURE....



that and zionists running the fricking government.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to comment about this post:

sinz52 wrote:

In the recent French election, Segolene Royal tried to play the gender card against Sarkozy, but it backfired.

French women voters felt more insulted than impressed by the argument that they should vote for a woman on the basis of female solidarity. In the end, many female voters deserted Royal to vote for Sarkozy.

AFRAID OF ME? responds:

first regarding Sarkozy, several things were screwy about that election...

1. neo con bashing of everything french for a couple of years.

2. riots by muslims, generating Islamophobia...CIA is often sent in to "stir up," countries that are being overthrown by such methode.

3. as I understand it, there was a lot of neoCON MONEY backing Sarkozy....UNITED STATES...zionist money/bushCO und CRONYstagers

as to whether or not playing the "gender card," is important or not important...

who cares...

but the "good ole boys," are always playing it, saying women aren't tough enough...or saying another man is "like a woman/sensitive," it's used as a pejorative...

examination is an important part of making decisions...

being fed cliches as if they are the simple answer to lifes complex questions, is what the party that sold you

demagoguery, hate as a family value and gay marriage as their greatest fear...

specializes in bain 'n switch and selling you three magic beans for your cash cow...

MISSING MIDDLE CLASS? lack of liquidity ???

oh my gosh, you mean moving manufacturing overseas and selling our companies to foreigners that have no interest in having the United States maintain it's economic lead,

might have been a bad idea !!!!

oh gosh, Wally, run home and tell Dad...I'll go get Lumpy and Eddy...


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

The most obnoxious thing about all of this is that people like the (male) writer of this article fail to recognize the exclusive gender bias in the last 100 years of US politics. When have candicates (the present repubs especially) *not* played the gender card? Each one argues about who can out-cojones the other against the terrorists, and then they complain at the slightest whiff of "gender politics" by the sole female candidate. Pot=kettle=black

Posted by: Hokuto | November 2, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

In the recent French election, Segolene Royal tried to play the gender card against Sarkozy, but it backfired.

French women voters felt more insulted than impressed by the argument that they should vote for a woman on the basis of female solidarity. In the end, many female voters deserted Royal to vote for Sarkozy.

I think the same thing will happen in America, if Hillary tries to play the gender card in the general election. The type of left-wing women that vote in Democratic primaries are probably more receptive to feminist type appeals than the majority of women who vote in the general election will be.

Posted by: sinz52 | November 2, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

it's interesting isn't it ????

all of those brains...hah hah hah...

and still neo cons and "party first, over country republicans,"

really have nothing to offer except disparagement, innuendo, and "appeal to emotion,"

much like grade school children, their net worth is figured by the current rumour on the playground...

learn to take them down, work the framing...

you get a "set up question," feed it back to the questioner...

make them eat it.... and smile.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

the anti hillary crowd is mostly republican...

because they fear her...

the pig trough will be empty.

mark it.

WASHINTON INSIDERS, depend on a new president being one of them, or not knowing who they are...

Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Let's see: Hillary "I'm your girl" Clinton is the "victim" because because she learned how to succeed in the tough world of old boys' club politics at an all women university but when she applied those tactics in the Presidential debate the her 6 male opponents and 2 male moderators were "ganging" up on her because they asked her tough questions and pointed out her shortcomings, inconsistencies and other foibles -- in other words, they treated her just like one of the boys, knocked her around a bit and sent her home. So the next day, she puts out an ad claiming she got "piled on" and her surrogates suggest in a conference call with her chief strategist and pollster Mark Penn, that one of the moderators (Tim Russert) should be shot for doing his job. Then she trots off to her alma mater to play the reverse gender card -- "ooooo-oooh, look how tough I am and it's all because of Wellesly!" while simultaneously continuing to suggest she got pummeled unfairly and (strangely,) that all these men have some kind of "perverse" (her word) fascination (sexual attraction?) with her.

Welcome to the bizarro world of Clintonia!

Hillary was not "victim" of her husband's repeated infidelities, she was his chief defender. The all-women world of Wellesly didn't offer a course in "Divorce the Cheatin' Bastard." But that is a rant for another time.

Hillary has had a free ride in this campaign. The media continues to salivate for the match-up that didn't happen: Rudy vs Hillary I -- also known as NY Senate Race 2000. So they are trying desperately to set it up now. And tripping over themselves in the process.

Now, when the voters outside of Iowa and New Hampshire are starting to focus more intently on the race -- and the candidates focusing on the early primaries -- things heat up, the jabs get sharper, the elbows are little more pointy, and lo and behold Hillary cries "Foul!"

Without her husband's name recognition, Hillary would be just another housewife in a bad pantsuit and a SuperCuts shag. There are better qualified women who should run for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There are brighter, smarter, more capable politicians whose names aren't Bush or Clinton that voters can choose among running now. They should make that choice.
I will choose Barack Obama or anyone else on the Democratic side not named Clinton.

Posted by: jade7243 | November 2, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The Hillary/Bill campaign is playing true to fashion. It ain't really the woman card this time, it's the victim card, one which Bill used so so effectively to garner sympathy when his indiscretions and lies were brought out into the open. Supposedly, Americans don't like to see people victimized. That was the case with Bill, who got lots of folks to rush to his defense even though he was a skunk out of control. Hillary is doing the same thing. Why women empathize with her is not hard to grasp. Most highly educated, intelligent women who's husbands sneak around and have sex under their noses can relate to Hillary. Rather than kick the rat out, and strike out on their own they hang onto him so that they can use his popularity and his strengths for her own advantage. She needed him more than he needed her, except for keeping the marriage, and domestic thing intact for public presentations. So this "I am your girl" Hillary will boo hoo because she got caught, like a former president caught in a lie, claim victimhood, get a lot of sympathy from her sisters in victimhood, and commence to stab her other opponents in the back. I just want to know who is going to write an opera about all this stuff.

Posted by: gw888 | November 2, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton's only comment on whether she was playing the gender card:

"I don't think they piled on me because I'm a woman," she told "I think they piled on me because I was winning." She said she anticipates it happening "again and again and again" now that the campaign has entered what her campaign calls a "new phase."

Union Laeader, Manchester, NH, Nov. 2, 2007

What's even sadder than the press's rush to invent a story is the total lack of judgement and intelligence of all the people here who blindly believe any story the press makes up.

Posted by: jfashwell | November 2, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Uh, yuh, I am truly afraid of "afraid ofme"...but enough about our inadequate mental health system.

As for Hillary, it's no coincidence that the media, her opponents, and, indeed, many feminists are fed up with the unnecessary gender politics. You're #1, Ms. Clinton, and the front runner takes heat. If this is uncomfortable, just wait until you take on the varsity...the GOP plays for keeps.

Posted by: jd5024 | November 2, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

the anti hillary crowd is mostly republican...

because they fear her...

the pig trough will be empty.

mark it.

WASHINTON INSIDERS, depend on a new president being one of them, or not knowing who they are...

I do have to agree though that calling the Iranian Republican Guards terrorists is

rather humourous....what would you call the lying mofos in Blackwater ????

the good guys? bushCO und CRONYs duplicity in action....going along with them on anything, at this point, is masking their vulnerability to being taken down....

take them down first.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the "Pile On" ad as playing the gender card at all. However, I do feel that Senator Clinton is treated differently because she is a woman:

At the end of the YouTube debate, when candidates were asked to make a comment about the person to their left, Edwards makes a comment about Clinton's coat ("I'm not sure about that coat"). Obama remarks "I actually like Hillary's jacket." Would any male candidate get a remark about his clothes?

And when you read maybe of the opinion pieces, blogs, or listen to Chris Matthews or other political pundits, note that they refer to Clinton by her first name "Hillary," but use last names to refer to the men.

I believe that many (perhaps most) men sincerely believe that they are being gender neutral, but (subtle?) things like those mentioned above still show up.

Posted by: grzz_76 | November 2, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

dah dennis pro entity regularly

posts in favor of georgie worgie loves Jeff Gannon...

he and rove play hide the salaami....



Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I would say niether victim OR party crasher... just worthless. Look at her record, it speaks for itself.

afraidofme, I can see you your cut and paste fingers are working in fine form tonight... typical kool-aid operative...


Posted by: dennispro | November 2, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

what is george w. bush ???

an unprosecuted felon...

doubt me ??? think I am a bush hater ??? making it up ??

SEARCH on George W. Bush, Harkin, SEC fraud, Gates

be a hero, check it out.

Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

this is a favorite form of misleading

"I am a democrat"

the form of your proselytizing sayz you ain't....

that you're a shunt of disinformation, a blind alley of misinforming purposefully...

but you knew that, since you're getting paid right...Anne


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The Carters, The Clintons, The Gores...

examples of people that keep giving back to AMERICA...

instead of taking as habit.

have any Republicans made it a 2nD Job to work for AMERICA ???

name one.

I don't have a party. I just notice trends.....

INSIDER WASHINGTON, murdered JFK, backstabbed Carter, tried to defame the Clintons and defrauded Al Gore out of a Presidency...

is there some comparison ???

do you really want to play this game, talking trash ??? Please do, because I will be taking some out this will lose two key members before this week is over....kiss me, and make it real.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse


are you referring to Trent Lott, Georgie Worgie Bushbottome, Newt the sly one Gingriche, Foley or that tap dancer with his eye on the keyhole Larry Craig...

which G(ay)O(ld)P(arty) wimmen are you talking about...

and as far as opportunism? how is it that Larry the Liar, Craig makes his way out of the jet setter lounge and starts looking to hook up with some male college students in Minnieappleus ????

can't his wife control his zipper ????

heh heh heh.... who gives a rat's patootie...

but you wanna play hardball, catch a few of these little P***IES

I will spank you soooooooooo hard, you won't know what to do, except blink...

and come back for more.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 2, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Clinton, really a tough and cynical old politican, is playing on Democrats sense of fair play and a wee bit more for the girls generousity. She cannot keep playing the gender card in a general election however. The "Boys" of the GOP already can't stand her, and if Rudy or Mitt go against Clinton forcefully they will lose no votes especially among GOP women. GOP women do not like Clinton's opportunism and her self-absorbed ambition.In fact, Clinton will finally have her brittle persona break during the general election, when Repubicans will pile-on her and cost us Dems the White House.

Posted by: sperrico | November 2, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

We hope future feminists will take strong stands in favor of peace, will not fear to speak truth to power will not accept to be 'favorite bunnies' of the military industry will not master deception to achieve their goals.

Posted by: tabita | November 2, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Dan hasn't seen the latest poll taken AFTER the debate. She's increased her national lead, Obama went down, Edwards soared to 12%. It looks like the media's little effort to gin up a horse race hasn't come off.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | November 2, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

C'mon everyone. Let's LISTEN to what she is saying. "do you support Spitzer's program?" "it makes sense". "No i didn't say that it makes sense". She can't decide which way to go unless she has a poll in front of her telling her which way to go. She wants to be the leader of the free world but when she gets confronted by a REPORTER she calls in the gender card? And she wants to be president? I sure do hope that the Iraqs, Irans, and North Koreas of this world don't give her a hard time. Can she play the gender card then? I would bet not. Then what does she do? She is a poor excuse for a candidate, when she has to pull something like that out. Forget her. Vote for someone with a spine at the least.

Posted by: rosek | November 2, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

On Yahoo and AP, there is a story about how this has been a long term strategy. when under criticism, play the gender card.
But, the Caucus is right. I am a female democrat and I find it a weak way to duck things. it's like a spoiled child holding their breath. Oh, poor me!
Plus, I find it so Clintonian. Game playing, evasive and arrogant.
for the clintons, it's always All about me!
personally I find it very unpresidential and that she is unsuited to be president tempermentally. the office is not about games, as we have so sadly learned through her husband's and Shrub's administration.

Posted by: vwcat | November 2, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

If a guy said, "I'm your man!"... Would you call that "playing the gender card"?

I haven't heard the clinton campaign use this excuse at all, except for one "anonymous" source from way behind closed doors.

The "piling on" video...? What I heard in the debate and in the ad was the other candidates saying "Clinton" some 30-something times.
I never heard a single word about GENDER in the "piling on" video.
Did YOU?

At an all-girls school, I think the "we girls" against "them guys" is just a part of the "rah-rah." I mean, the entire campus is girls. She did not speak in the same way at UNH later in the day, so again, not using gender at UNH (and, yes, maybe some at an all-girls school.)

Personally, as a proud Clinton supporter,I'll go with her explanation:
I don't think they're doing it because she's a girl. I think they're doing it because she's beating them.

Posted by: freespeak | November 2, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Clinton did "play the gender card." The press did. All she did is say that she was "piled on" in the debate. That was true, but the press took the further step of pointing out the gender issues.

Clinton is getting beaten up for her tendency to see both sides of an issue, and then wait for the democratic process to shake out solutions. I think she needs to play that as a strength rather than a weakness.

Posted by: jdossett | November 2, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Clinton and her camp are insulting the intellegence of all women when they play the "gender card". Sen Obama did not whine when Biden, Dodd, and Clinton ganged up on him in one of the earlier debates. Other women have become governors of red and blue states without playing the victem card. All Clinton is saying is "how dare you question me". I am a woman and a Democrat, but I do not respect Hillary Clinton. She stood by a louse in order to have access to his political connections and his name for future use. Now she is pandering to woman who like to play the victem card. I heard from two such women today, and boy were they pathetically ignorant.

Posted by: bringbackimus | November 2, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Dan Balz is really overanalyzing this.

Sen. Clinton's campaign is appealing for sympathy. She has done this regularly for many years, basing her appeal originally on the fact that her husband cheated on her. A lot.

This isn't unique among modern politicians. Bill Clinton appealed for sympathy against Republican "extremists" all the time. And George Bush's campaign machine has raised to an art form the counterattack that accuses critics of the latest administration disaster of being motivated by irrational "hatred" of the President.

The key to the success of an appeal for sympathy is how it resonates with the people most likely to vote for the candidate trying to paint him or herself as the victim. Strong Republican voters are already disposed to dislike liberals, so President Bush's complaints about Democrats in Congress being unreasonable are readily believed by that audience. How they are received by people who already dislike Bush is not as important. So also with Sen. Clinton's appeals for sympathy -- there isn't any significance to them beyond her campaign's calculation that women voters might buy it.

There is an irony here. Politicians of an earlier generation -- many of whom were subjected to abuse much worse than anything the Clinton's or Bushes have ever suffered -- would have regarded a deliberate attempt to play the victim as weak (if you couldn't stand up to the other party how were you going to stand up to the Communists?) and somewhat unmanly. Sen. Clinton by definition doesn't need to prove her manhood, but she is making the victim's appeal for sympathy only after many male politicians have demonstrated that while it may not have worked before, it can work now.

Posted by: jbritt3 | November 2, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

We elect a person president because we believe that person offers a vision and leadership toward that vision. I don't think we necessarily vote for the person who has the most experience. And we detest overly ambitious politicians who over reach for the brass ring of power and fame. I don't care if it is a woman or a man, a moderate, liberal or conservative; but we want a someone who is a leader and a listener.
Today Obama rolled out a proposal for using diplomacy with Iran. Within an hour, HIllary had some policy hack on MSNBC literally reading from notes that said HIllary has a detailed strategy to deal with Iran. Now, which candidate is trying to show leadership and vision?
Hillary has been dogging Obama, Edwards and Rudy like this all year. During the State of the Union, Obama was sitting with Ted Kennedy, and of course TV cameras noted that. Hillary sat down behind them! There she was sitting all by herself, shamelessly looking over their shoulders, making sure she was in the picture. It would have been funny if it wasn't so repugnant.
Hillary's experience is in running her husband's campaign and managing his and her image. Back then she avoided talking about her role in policy-making; now she jumps at every opportunity to say that "we did X we we wee in office." Yet she won't allow anyone to see the archival proofs.
Obama realy nailed her about her campaign's use of double standards this morning on Today. I was impressed with his simple, clear response, and that reinforces my attitude that Hillary is not the woman I would want to be president because she is not a leader or a someone who can simply and clearly articulate a message with a vision. At least she hasn't shown that yet.
BTW, what ever happened to her wanting to be in Dialogue with us? Was that merely a 30 second sound bite in February?

Posted by: Anadromous2 | November 2, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama pulls the race card to say a woman shouldn't pull a gender card. And for some reason the author of this article feels it's necessary to write at length about Hillary and her "gender politics."

Posted by: msmellick | November 2, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

My first question is whether anyone has ever seen all of the candidates in a Democratic debate spend much of the debate attacking someone who deserves at the very least a good deal of respect? My second question is whether supporting and understanding the necessity for a governor's taking action while not officially endorsing that action constitutes duplicity? My third question is why does Tim Russert look so much like someone from a medieval painting when he, a moderator, jumps into a formal debate with highly detailed questions, one from something that happened in 1998? And so on. My point is: Hillary got tired and didn't make herself clear. The rest is noise.

Posted by: msmellick | November 2, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

What's sad about this story is the length to which it's been overblown. With the media it's understandable--the "improbable fall of the frontrunner" is a story that's been selling papers since there were papers to sell.

What's actually depressing is the length to which Clinton's primary opponents are breathlessly, desperately latching on to this story to try and make up ground they can't seem to get any other way. None of them believe that Clinton is purposefully obfuscating. It's just all they've got.

Maybe it'll be enough, but either way it'll just be another chapter on how to use smears in political campaigns.

Posted by: mcintire78 | November 2, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary was truly capable of leading this country, then she wouldn't need to play the gender card. If she had honest, intelligent answers to all those burning questions about ending the war, social security, and healthcare, then she wouldn't need to play the gender card. The fact that she and her advisors feel the need to insult the intelligence of women everywhere by doing so will ultimately lead to her downfall. I just hope it happens before the general election; otherwise, we're going to find ourselves with another Republican administration.

Posted by: skpedersen | November 2, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The Post should have a comment box to go with the Water Bill article. Fratto's remarked that Bush hasn't had a veto overridden because "Republicans heeded the president's concerns, stayed within his spending caps"--a more apt way to put it, Republicans marched in lockstep with a president who knew little or nothing, and who broke the law regularly during his presidency. They cannot now distance themselves from the wreckage.

Posted by: glenbc | November 2, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

feminism is not represented in hillary's actions- she is using her gender as a crutch and a gimmick to win. feminism is about independence and equality. if i were hillary, i would be glad the "men" attacked me that way. it would potentially show the electorate that i was informed and opinionated; along with prepared and eloquent. however, if i were hillary i would also be more concerned about my inability to answer policy questions coherently.

Posted by: sparkmika | November 2, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Hillary didn't land any punches because she didn't throw any. She has decided not to attack other Democrats because she probably doesn't need to do so.
Obama, typically, was befuddled in his responses on Tuesday night. Edwards was his usual attack-dog self--you know, the one who has dropped from 32% support in Iowa four years ago to 20% today.
And for Chris Dodd, of all people, to question Hillary's electability was the biggest joke of all in Philadelphia. Isn't he the same Senator Dodd who has consistently polled at from one to three precent in all state and national polls since he entered the race? Maybe he senses "Joementum" as his fellow senator from Connecticut did four years ago.

Posted by: trisuper | November 2, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Give'em hell Hillary! The more you jerks in the press try to do your Kerry job (flip flop) or Gore job (dull & boring) on her the more she rises in the polls. The people won't buy your old stinky cheese this time. She's way ahead of you!

Posted by: TheSage1 | November 2, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

So now the AP says Clinton is saying, oh she didn't really mean to imply that they were picking on her because she was a woman, but because she was a front runner. Oh, come on. Stop double speaking. Clinton this is getting old. You are just such a typical politician. How can we trust you. You keep trying to have it both ways. If you believe in yourself, stop changing your story whenever it goes wrong. Own up to your mistakes. We still don't have an apology for voting to go to war in Iraq. You have no substance. I don't believe in you.

Posted by: goldie2 | November 2, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

woman power, feminism, considering how Bill was more then happy to use females, its amazing how his spouse is considered such a standard for women.

Posted by: snapplecat07 | November 2, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Funny- the guys can't take it! Let Tim Russert play gotcha- let Obama cry becasue his campaign isn't catching on- let Elizabeth Edwards stand up for her husband and say that he is better for women voters than Hillary- ---And then they all get mad when Hillary runs a great campaign and uses whatever she can against them. If a guy did that they would say how smart he is using everything he can to win-

It is the same dual standard that the press likes to use all the time. The Post can write articles about her cleavage and then John Edwards says he doesn't like her jacket- its kind of a joke. Someone else here mentioned all the women who had run- Golda Meir- Eva Peron- etc and said they didn't use there status as a woman- guess that person doesn't know their history-

Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for President bar none- Better than any Republican or Democrat running. I say she should use everything she has to win and being a woman is one of those things. She is brilliant-tough-and wise in the way of the world. GO Hillary!!!

Posted by: peterdc | November 2, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, if what Bill Clinton said is true about Hillary having "more girlfriends than I do," then I think the gender card may be a little bent.

Maybe it should be called the gender-bender card.

Posted by: InHarmsWay | November 2, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Dan Balz writes
"What has been striking about Clinton's candidacy is the way in which she and her advisers have sought to straddle the two worlds."

What has been striking about the campaign thus far is the Clinton campaign's success at playing both sides of the issue without being called on their duplicity. If we look elsewhere in the world, to the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Golda Meier, Benazir Bhutto and Eva Perone, I think we'll find a bunch of competent women who were able to prove they were the best person for the job - based on political positions & qualifications, independant of their gender. Why does Senator Clinton choose to explicitly play the gender card in making history and breaking the glass ceiling? I suspect she is overcompensating for lacking more relevant qualifications.

Posted by: bsimon | November 2, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Playing the gender card when her opponents were clearly attacking her on her policy is cowardly and despicable. You can't just pull the gender card anytime someone calls you out for not having a sound argument. That is an insult to all of the women before her who have fought for equal treatment and it makes her look like someone who cannot stand on the strength of her own arguments.

Posted by: eine1 | November 2, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

To me gender and race don't matter. What is important is we elect someone who can LEAD this country. And the only candidate I see who is capable is Hillary Clinton

I hope the Clinton team will not emphasize playing on the gender card. There is no need.

Posted by: fcv_pi | November 2, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

She just got called out by Obama on this. Let's see how she scrambles arouund on this one.

Posted by: mito3802 | November 2, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

If in playing the gender card - i.e. Hillary against the boys club, or they are piling on.......what will she do or say if she has to deal with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea........It's a boys club?.....I'm taking my cards and going home?......Please - the women in this country are much smarter than that.....the authors or campaign manager responsible for that statement is insulting all women...

Posted by: short1 | November 2, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

One relevant point: A recent Rasmussen survey found that Hillary is supported by a higher than expected portion of Republican women (suggesting the power of playing the gender card).

However, this was offset by the larger than expected percentage of Democratic men who say they won't vote for her.

My guess: the more Hillary plays the gender card, the more problematic it will become for her.

Posted by: chay | November 2, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"But no one should underestimate the underlying power of a message that aims to appeal to the aspirations -- and the sense of exclusion -- of the majority of the population. No wonder Clinton and her advisers have decided to play the gender card at every opportunity."

I disagree strongly with Balz's assessment of the power of female "pay-back" for past and present mistreatment by males.

Clinton, her advisors and many commentators insult the intelligence and judgment of women. No less so than men women are fully capable of basing their vote on more than the wish to see one of their own in the White House.

The chief source of sexism in this campaign is in the characterization of women as too dumb to vote for a man who better represents their interests than Hillary.

Posted by: kolp999 | November 2, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

(long time reader, first time poster...)

Clinton's campaign seems to be a strategy-focused one as opposed to an issues-focused one, so I'll keep the critique one of strategy...

Does anyone else think that she used this too early? I have the sense that by using this now, it won't be available in a general election. I'm not a supporter of Sen Clinton, but it looks like she has a good chance of winning the nomination, and I don't want to see a R in the White House again.

My take at this point is that this worked in the 2000 campaign because folks immediately saw that her opponent was out of line. I don't know that the general public has the same sense of unfairness based on the debate here.

Posted by: rpy1 | November 2, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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