The Hillary Effect on Young Girls

On Parenting's column last week about kids and voting, Bringing Up Voters, got me thinking about my nine-year-old daughter.

For her, Super Tuesday was a bigger event than the Super Bowl. She stayed up until 10 p.m. tracking vote tallies and woke me at six the next morning to see the final results. She's curious about the mechanics of our voting system and which states matter most. She feels sorry for Ron Paul and Mike Gravel for getting so few votes.

She is ecstatic that her birthday falls in early November, so that she will be able to vote only a few weeks after turning 18, nine long years from now. From age nine to 18, I expect she will learn a lot about the lack of balance in our country in terms of experiences and opportunities for men and women, and other forms of bias and prejudice. There's much to learn as she makes her way through adolescence, first jobs, single sex sports, college applications and the hidden cultural biases of teachers, parents, employers and boys.

The remarkable thing is the effect Hillary Clinton is having on her, and on many young American girls like her. She loves everything about Hillary. Her hair. Her clothes. Her teeth. Her brain. Her experience. Forget Hannah Montana. For my girl, Hillary Clinton is the rock star.

You might assume it's because her mom is a fan. But I've contributed to both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. In our sunroom there's a picture of me and Hillary next to the green Obama blanket from Oprah's picnic fundraiser. Everyone in my family knows my view that both are fine candidates.

The reason my daughter loves Hillary is uncomplicated: Hillary's a girl. Clinton embodies girl power, pure and simple, even if the bedrock of her campaign is that she's a presidential candidate who happens to be a woman, not vice versa.

This is Hillary Clinton's legacy, whether she gets to the White House in 2009 or not. A generation of American girls will grow up with the image of a strong, competent woman running for president. So go Hillary. Whether you win or lose, you've already won over millions of Americans too young to vote or have their voices heard. But they will one day. In a decade, these girls will be voting. And soon after that, running for office themselves.

What do you think the impact of this election will be on our kids?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  February 11, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  You Go Girl!
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Hopefully our kids and grandkids will come to think the excitement to vote, to develop convictions about a candidate, and to participate is "just the way it is" and assume their own prticipatory and thinking role as they grow up. Also, this election is an excellent venue to point out how people behave - good and bad. Adults can underscore those candidates that stay above the fray with less pettiness - and still win at times...and those candidates who pull punches that seem unfair and yet they still win at times - lots of life lessons, lots of moral discussion opportunities are here for the taking, great for those dinner time conversations.

Posted by: robertoalberto | February 11, 2008 7:14 AM

My daughter is really too young to understand anything that is happening. But one day I will tell her about the current election. She is coming with me to vote tomorrow because my husband will be on a business trip. Anyway, I think no matter if Obama or Clinton wins the nomination, they will make history. I think it is awesome. I personally think Hillary is more capable then Obama but I would be happy with either one. I more relieved that McCain is probably going to get the Republican nomination. Huckabee scares me!

Posted by: foamgnome | February 11, 2008 8:11 AM

Seems like a sad commentary when girls look up to a woman who is running as "Bill Clinton II", a woman who touts being the "wife of" as experience for running the country, a woman who overlooked infidelity in order to maintain political standing, a woman who has no hesitation about playing the gender and race cards and a woman who is afraid to admit a mistake. That's not a woman to admire. I have no doubt that a woman is more than capable of running this country, but Hillary is not that woman. I have taught my daughter to admire women who stand up on their own, not ride their husband's coat tails to success. Admire Nancy Pelosi, admire Diane Feinstain, admire Michelle Obama -- but admire Hillary Clinton? Not in this house.

Posted by: Jayne | February 11, 2008 8:25 AM

Jayne, I often find your comments about Senator Clinton poisonous, not just on this site, but on others as well, and I don't understand why you feel that way. In what way has Hillary Clinton stood up on her own less than Michelle Obama? I am very happy that both my (now-grown) daughters appreciate the historical nature of this election, and that they look at the candidates analytically, but still value Senator Clinton's participation. (One supports her, and the other, Obama.) When a person is in a long-term relationship with another, the experiences of each partner are bound to affect the other. I don't find it at all unreasonable that Senator Clinton gained valuable experience and knowledge from her involvement in her husband's campaigns and political offices.

Posted by: Lamentations | February 11, 2008 8:36 AM

Lamentations, what on earth are you talking about, "other sites"? Poisonous? So sorry you can't accept criticism of Sen. Clinton, or understand my disgust for a woman who plays the race card, the gender card, cries when it's convenient, and claims that being the wife of a president somehow qualifies her to be president herself. You are free to disagree with my opinion, but, "poisonous"? You need to explain that one, please.

Posted by: Jayne | February 11, 2008 8:40 AM

I think having Clinton and Obama both running and doing well is a good thing. My older three kids (18, 17 and 16) are paying close attention. Oldest DD is skipping college classes today to try to get in and see Obama at College Park. She's voting for him.

(OT: grrr! As a somewhat typical 18 year old, she FORGOT to mail in her absentee ballot and will now have to come home to vote in person tomorrow, meaning skipping a second day of classes! GRRRR!)

DS can't vote this year - his 18th birthday is six weeks after the election - but he's a firm supporter of McCain. Middle DD is paying close attention because of her HS Goverhment class; she says she'd probably vote for Clinton but isn't sure.

Youngest DD (11 years old) is mostly bored with the whole thing, but we're working on her. :-)

Oldest DD and her boyfriend were home for dinner last night; we had an interesting discussion. Boyfriend is not so politically aware; he despises Clinton mostly because he despises her busband, and thus will likely vote for Obama. But he's not really clear on the differences between the two of them. And we had a good discussion on what will happen in Iraq under a McCain presidency vs an Obama presidency vs a Clinton presidency. (I think I convinced him that regardless of who wins, we aren't leaving Iraq for at least four more years because of the lessons learned from Vietnam and Afghanistan-the-first-time.)

It was a good discussion.

(Now all I have to do is figure out which way to vote on Tuesday, since Edwards pulled out. :-( )

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 8:46 AM

Armybrat -- My son is just like yours! He'll turn 18 exactly 30 days after the election. My timing should have been better 19 years ago, LOL.

Posted by: Jayne | February 11, 2008 8:50 AM

Lamentations, what is wrong with not liking Hilary? Do you also think ill of me because I don't like her? I think she is about as honest as a snake. I can't vote for someone I don't trust and will not be voting for her in the orimary tomorrow. Not everyone is going to like the candidate you are backing, but it doesn't make us poisonous.

I am happy to see how this election is motivating the younger generation. Very exciting!

Posted by: Thought | February 11, 2008 8:59 AM

Leslie, your math is confusing me. "She is ecstatic that her birthday falls in early November, so that she will be able to vote only a few weeks after turning 18, nine long years from now."

Okay, so your daughter turns 18 in early November 2017. A few weeks after that is late December 2017/early in the year 2018. What elections are held then? There are no Presidential primaries that year (2016 and 2020; but not 2018). So what elections are there that she'll vote in that will happen in late 2017/early 2018? I'm honestly confused.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 9:10 AM

ArmyBrat -- You are way too anal on this one! My daughter is thrilled about the timing of her birthday. It's not my goal to rain on her parade by saying "na na there is no presidential election that year!" I will leave that to her 10 year old brother, who may be just a tad more mature than you!

And re the Clinton controversy here. I have to say I think Clinton has taken some very hard knocks in full public view. Who knows if Pelosi, Obama et al have also had to endure infidelity, a backseat to their husband's career, etc? Maybe they have too. That's no reason to knock someone down.

What I love about Hillary Clinton is that I feel, more than any candidate, that she has walked in my shoes. She knows what it is to be a working woman, a wife, a mother. She knows how hard the juggling act is, and what difficult, imperfect, pragmatic choices you have to make in life with very little support. And in addition to being older and more experienced, she's also clearly demonstrated, over the course of 35 years, that she is dedicated to the rights of women and children, immigrants and people who cannot afford healthcare, rather than being someone who cares only about the rights of white men.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, she is a remarkable woman, fully worthy of the respect of my daughter and millions of others.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 9:20 AM

To all you Hillary haters: please read Paul Krugman's most recent column. Fracturing the party and given the Republicans ammunition will lead to Democratic defeat in November.

Posted by: skylark1 | February 11, 2008 9:21 AM

At such a young age, children are very easily influenced. The good thing is, you have educated your daughter that not everyone in the world has the option to vote in a free democratic society. It is a privelege & should be exercised by everyone eligible. I hope you will enlighten your daughter to learn about strong women on the right side - Condi Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Leslie Sanchez, Liddy Dole, etc.
Hillary's experience...? Doing what?
She has been a poor example for women. Staying with her husband after numerous public affairs - not out of love, but very clearly obvious now - out of a 'business arrangement' to secure a political future for her own personal benefit.
Sure, she may be intelligent and strong, but she's not exactly the warmest person with any genuine examples of morals, values, integrity or principles. She is not sincere, as she seems to have her game face, followed by "when the cameras aren't on" face. I cannot & will not justify admiring much less voting - or selling a young impressionable mind about someone like her. There are far better examples of strong women role models - on both sides.

Posted by: jschaus | February 11, 2008 9:30 AM

For all you Hillary haters, look at her resume, she has been working to support women,children and families all of her career. Her years in the White House will forever change the importance of first spouses. Families all over this country will find their lives better if Hillary is elected.

Posted by: johnkauffman114 | February 11, 2008 9:34 AM

Armybrat, let me know if you can figure out how someone born in early November can vote "a few weeks" after turning 18 anyway. Is election day ever going to be later than November 8?

Posted by: Jayne | February 11, 2008 9:47 AM

Jayne, watch out or Leslie's going to call you "anal" too. :-)

(FWIW, I don't mind Leslie's friendly gibes at me. I enjoy reading this blog - that's why I waste - er, spend - so much time here!)

And yes, Leslie, I am somewhat anal about facts and figures. It comes from the engineering background. Way too many big picture, non-detail people tell me not to worry about the details. "This system will work if you believe it will." "Nobody can break into this network." "Why worry about that - who'd want to steal your identity, anyway?" "So what if we haven't carefully analyzed it - it'll work." Enough years of that and whenever somebody spouts numbers that don't make sense to me, I kind of react.

Now, to the really important topic. Where are Meesh, dotted and mn this morning? Did you see that game last night? Talk about hero-worshipping, cult of personality environments. Clemson lost in Chapel Hill for the 53rd consecutive time only because the zebras whistled 31 fouls on the Tigers and only 14 on the 'Heels. Seven free throws to 36, and two starters fouling out. On a neutral floor with unbiased refs the 'Heels lose by 30. They better get Lawson back in a hurry or it's one and done in March Madness. (And I'm not a Clemson fan; I went to Purdue, remember? I tend to watch ACC games to be entertained, not to root, but that was as tough to watch as it used to be to watch SEC teams in Rupp Arena. It used to be said that no visitor ever got a fair game in Rupp; I suspect that it's similar in the Dean-dome.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 9:58 AM

My kids are a little young, but during the primary, I spoke to my almost 6 YO about the election, he didn't know much about what was going on. Probably in first grade they'll talk a little bit about the election, I suppose.

Although, I don't have much good to say about Hillary. Leslie: I get the feeling Ms. Clinton WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE she feels your pain, but her only goal is to get power. I have no illusions. I do not believe ANYONE OUT THERE cares more about my health than ME AND MY FAMILY. I don't want anyone else to be in charge of those decisions for us.

After Hillary won the election in NY (carpetbagger...) - I got to tease my entire family, most of whom still live there - especially my dad, who was head of the republican party in our small town many many years ago. Two weeks after Bill's first election, he told me that Bill was not going to win re-election....then he actually STAYED HOME for the 1996 election (so out of the ordinary for him - he was pissed...) rather than vote for the repub nominee.

But really - I guess Hillary is a little better than Obama only because she doesn't definitively say that she will cut and run when/if she gets to office ...

I do think, though, no matter who wins, that this is all a good thing for the country. My kids will grow up without having 100% white men to vote for for president, even if another woman or black or latino or whatever doesn't run for many years.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 10:02 AM

Army Brat

My late father would still call it Purdon't!

Posted by: Fred | February 11, 2008 10:03 AM

Jayne -- Ditto. You are missing the forest for the trees! But if this is the only thing you can bash me on today, go to it!

I agree that Hillary comes off as cold in the media. She seems overly preoccupied with being "tough". But I think both of these are understandable, and you shouldn't skew your view of her because of them. Some very fine leaders are not media-genic. Some terrible leaders are charming on camera. It is far harder than you think to come off as warm, genuine etc on tv -- and the impression someone makes on television is not an indication of who they really are.

Re: Clinton's obsession with being tough. Take a step back and remember she came of age in the early flush of feminism, when women with political aspirations were routinely and very publicly ridiculed by men and women for being rash and emotional at "that time of the month." The worst thing you could accuse a woman of was being too emotional, too soft. Part of Clinton's public persona was forged in those times. It doesn't mean she isn't human and caring and generous. People who work with her and have known her for decades attest to those qualities.

And I also think we'd never accuse McCain or Obama or any other male leader of being too tough or too cold.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 10:03 AM

atlmom -- so, do you pay for your healthcare with passion or dollars? of course you care more than anyone else. but how about people who can't afford doctors and hospitals? they don't care any less. they just don't have the money to pay for insurance or the actual medical bills. hillary clinton wants to make healthcare affordable and accessible for everyone, precisely because health is something that people are so passionate about safeguarding, for themselves and their families.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 10:08 AM

Jayne - told ya so!

Fred: we will now all stand and recite the Purdue Students' Creed. Adjust pocket protector, tape glasses back together, and repeat after me:

"I love this f-ing place,
and this place loves f-ing me."

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 10:09 AM

We have not even mentioned the election to the kids - but last night, we watched a short snippet of the news while waiting for "America's Funniest Videos" (the kids' very favorite show). The news showed Obama, and said something about him taking several states, and my daughter said "BOO on him! I don't want him!" Surprised, I turned to her and asked "Why not?" "He's against the girl," she simply replied. "The girl wants to be president, and I want a girl president." When I pointed out that we've never had a black president either, she said "REALLY? Nothing but white men?" There was something incredulous in her voice that made me slightly hopeful for the future.

I don't know that women are reflexively voting for Hillary as a woman, but if only the under 10 crowd could vote -- she'd have ALL the girls.

Posted by: badmommy | February 11, 2008 10:13 AM

Army Brat


Posted by: Fred | February 11, 2008 10:13 AM

Long time lurker here, The DEM hate kids & women! Abortion kills children and raises the chances of breast cancer. It hurts women who mostly are not told that they have other choices than to kill their own. We have wiped out 30% of people under 37. Abortion was cut child abuse. It has surely not.

I am 49, a woman who is singe and lives with a disability (cerebral palsy). I have been on welfare and I'm now a Grade 12 with Dept of ED.

Posted by: Radiohead | February 11, 2008 10:19 AM

Leslie: I don't think the govt can solve those problems, though. There's the difference. They've done a lousy job with everything else, part of the problem in healthcare is that the govt is TOO involved.

Yes, provide health care for those who can't afford it (which we already do). But don't let the govt be in charge of it all. Part of our large problems today are that we rely too much on govt to solve problems that they cannot - but the politicians want more power and more money. The healthcare industry is billions and billions of dollars that the politicians can't wait to get their hands on. That's what *I* see.

And - we *can't afford everything* it sucks, but there it is. You don't compromise GOOD or GREAT care because you can't have it for everyone. My friend's kid nearly died because he was getting treated by govt healthcare in Germany. ONLY because he is in the US now did he get the right doctors finding the right blood disease he had, and he would be able to get the right care. In Germany, he'd still be sick (the drs refused to give the tests to the child there). Only because MOM was advocating for things IN THE US, did he get the care he needed.

We have to stop thinking that we can give EVERYONE the best care anywhere. We just can't afford it. We have to make some decisions (like in England, where their wonderful system allows people to go blind rather than get a simple procedure cause blindness isn't regarded very highly as a problem - only risk of death is).

People point to other countries - but ONE reason they are as 'good' as they are (and most people complain) is BECAUSE the US is there and providing treatments and cures and research. Put govt in charge, and as much as you're paying for medications, don't worry about it cause the research won't even be there, there will be fewer research dollars and fewer new drugs and fewer new treatments. Research is expensive. But would you rather pay a fortune or have no hope of a cure at all?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 10:23 AM

etyler -- yes, that's exactly what i'm seeing too. girls under 12 seem to be unabashedly pro-girl. then our culture -- and/or real life experience -- makes them feel like they can't be so openly pro-girl. a shame.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 10:24 AM

If you're willing to fudge the facts on something as simple as your child's birthdate, Leslie, and then slam those who call you on it, what else are you willing to misrepresent for the sake of a column? Either your daughter will be able to vote immediately after her 18th or not -- adding that little factum doesn't make your column better, but fudging the truth does make it worse. For what purpose would you do that?

I don't think Hillary just "comes off" as cold -- I think she is a cold and calculating politician who will say anything she needs to say to be elected. Maybe that doesn't make her any better or any worse than Obama or anyone else, but I've had my fill of Clinton promises and Clinton scandals.

Posted by: Jayne | February 11, 2008 10:28 AM


Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 10:31 AM

altmom: I hear you about getting into socialized medicine. But sometimes I think we do too much in the US. Like leaving people on life support for years because the family thinks they will wake up one day. Or saving premature infants who end up with multiple problems later on. Or keeping people on very expensive drugs for the rest of their lives (like the hemophilics). I know this is easy for me to say because it isn't my life or my loved ones. But sometimes, I think we should allow death more freely. It is a hard line and no one right answer. But to pull out all stops just because we can or can afford it doesn't seem right either.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 11, 2008 10:32 AM


"Long time lurker here, The DEM hate kids & women! Abortion kills children and raises the chances of breast cancer.... I a woman who is singe and lives with a disability (cerebral palsy). I have been on welfare and I'm now a Grade 12 with Dept of ED."

Not surprised you are single....

Posted by: chittybangbang | February 11, 2008 10:33 AM

That's exactly why it troubles me that she made comments in at least one of her speeches about her weight and needing to diet-- she is (visually, anyway) at a healthy weight, and she's running for president! What kind of role model for young women does that?!

Posted by: teb26 | February 11, 2008 10:35 AM

Oh, and Leslie: part of the problem is you just can't force people to do the right thing and to get themselves to a doctor.

You can't force people to go yearly to a doctor, to go to prenatal visits, to get tested for breast/colon/prostate cancer, to eat right, to exercise, whatever.

The costs in our system are due to people NOT doing those things. Of course MOST people know what to do. More education for those who don't is a good starting point.

BUT - what are you going to do? Fine people if they don't make and show up to appts? If they don't eat healthily? How are you going to deal with the fact that many people bring diabetes on themselves, then don't take care of themselves?

I mean, even my mom, who had world class health care, SHE JUST DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. Ovarian cancer was and continues to be one of the MOST DIFFICULT to diagnose because there are very ambivalent symptoms (is the bloating one can feel due to ovarian cancer - or is it just normal?) - so most of the time once it's diagnosed it's too late. BUT *my mom* was having pains for over a year (she didn't admit this, my step dad did) and she didn't want to go to get checked out. So by the time my step dad took her (only because she couldn't even walk, so he forced her to go) - it was too late. Oh, she had surgery and chemo and was around for about 18 months after first diagnosis (for which we are grateful), but if she had had her symptoms checked by a doctor, she probably could have been one of those few who survives said cancer. But we'll never know cause she was stubborn.

Yes, maybe create places where people who don't pay can go that are less expensive than a hospital emergency room - I don't see anything wrong with that. But don't force me to have the govt be in charge of MY health care. I'm all for being humane and doing the right thing - but then to expand that to apply to everyone does not make sense.

So - the only way to fix things is to force people to take care of themselves, and I hardly see that happening.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 10:41 AM

foamgnome: I totally and completely agree with your assessments...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 10:43 AM

on topic: I will never vote for or against someone because of their race or gender. However, I can see how someone might be held up as a role model to those only able to partake of less-adult beverages (kinder way of saying...youth, imho).

offtopic to ArmyBrat: yes I saw the game (my husband was at the game in about the best seats imaginable...well maybe we need better imagination, but he was well situated). I asked him about the foul calling because I was thinking it could be questionable myself. He brought up the point that Clemson panicked and started fouling. Even when they were ahead, they looked like deer in the headlights, like they were waiting for the boom to fall (insert your own simile here). In particular, the 2nd OT foul for Tyler which put the game away. From the camera, the foul looked questionable. From his vantage point, it was obviously correct. He enjoyed the good game and, while he enjoyed the win, he enjoys all basketball.

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 10:47 AM

Forgot to add:
Hillary is PRO-Hillary.

Posted by: jschaus | February 11, 2008 10:48 AM

atlmom - i used to have the same views on healthcare. i've just become softer in my old age, i guess. healthcare is not a "right." but it is a public good, and such a humane and generous goal to shoot for as a society, even if we fall short. hillary clinton has been working for this for the better part of the last three decades.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 10:49 AM

Hey Leslie: your daughter wouldn't be influenced by your support of Mrs. Clinton, now would she? And all the women role models, I take it, that you steer her to identify with, are all white. So does the chant from feminist history, "Free, White and 21" mean anything to you? And is your patent racialism something you're unware of? As the saying goes, most white mothers in the States admire the achievements of kids of races and families not their own, but they really only love their own. Great lesson in hypocrisy and racialism.

Posted by: thedefendant | February 11, 2008 10:55 AM

atlmom has a good point about people not going to the doctor. Additionally, until we, as a country, educate and control obesity and the numerous resulting health problems, universal health care may be beyond the financial reach of the government.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 10:56 AM

thedefendent: Shirley Chisholm was one of my ideals back in the day

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 10:58 AM

klb - how's your mom and dog doing?

Fred - your weekend good? Freida's weekend good?

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 11:00 AM

When I was a little girl, I said I wanted to the first lady president. This was in an elementary school class in 1960. The boys laughed at me and everyone - my teacher - my parents said I could not be because I was a girl. All I ever heard was that I needed to be pretty so I could get a good husband. My parents sent me to college to get my MRS. Hillary is only a few years older than me but she managed to do so much more. I admire her. I wish I had the strength to be like her. I would be a polished professional today instead of a secretary. All my friends from those days married - divorsed - married - divorsed and ended up raising their children alone wound up working is subordinated jobs. There were no opportunities for any of us. Men had all the opportunities and it was not uncommon for women to compromise themselves for a sliver of "success" (or rather a bit of relief from the struggle). Women like Hillary spearheaded the changes of the future. Anyone who doesn't know this - doesn't know anything about recent history. I am very proud of Hillary. There isn't one little girl who has to believe that she can not be president because she is a girl. Thank you Hillary, from the bottom of my heart.

Posted by: bermansylvia | February 11, 2008 11:01 AM

Re: health care: while there's no question that the US system could be improved, as altmom and foamgnome point out, there are no easy answers. I looked at the Canadian system in some depth while I was working for the Toronto company for three years. (That's me being anal again; checking out numbers someone throws at me that sound suspicious.) It definitely has some advantages. But it has a lot of shortcomings or "decisions" that don't get played up much. As atlmom and foamy point out, there's not enough money in the world to pay for all possible treatments for all possible patients. So decisions get made about how much of what service will be provided, and who gets what. So there are wait times assigned, based on how serious somebody thinks your condition is. A friend tore an ACL skiing. His doctor told him that he needed arthroscopic surgery; it could be corrected quickly. Problem: that's not a life-threatening or major quality-of-life condition, so at that time in Ontario he was told he'd have to wait six to nine months for the surgery. In the meantime, he could deal with the inconvenience.

A fundamental precept of the Canadian system is that nobody "jumps the queue"; everybody has to wait an equal amount of time. The dirty little secret is that lots of people with money do what my friend did. He made an appointment with a doctor in Buffalo. He went in in the morning; had surgery in the afternoon; and was home rehabilitating that night. He was fully healed long before the six to nine months he'd have had to wait.

Here's an extreme example: Google "Belinda Stronach" sometime. She's one of the wealthiest women in the world. Her father, Frank Stronach,started Magna Enterprises, which is a major auto parts manufacturer and also owns a number of race tracks, including Pimlico and Laurel. Belinda was also a politician for a while: she started as a Tory, then jumped to the Liberals and was a member of Cabinet. With all that wealth and power: Belinda Stronach was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Where did she have the necessary surgery? Hint: it wasn't in Canada.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 11:05 AM

My mom passed away on Feb 1st. Dandylion wrote a nice note for me. Thanks for asking.
Dog is fine - annoying but fine. He can tell time and knows what time I usually feed him dinner. Thirty minutes before that time he sits and stares at me. When I ignore him he goes into the kitchen and clinks his tags on his food bowl. This started when the vet told me to put him on a diet. Guess he thinks he should have more food. HAHA.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 11:07 AM


"My parents sent me to college to get my MRS. Hillary is only a few years older than me but she managed to do so much more. I admire her. I wish I had the strength to be like her. I would be a polished professional today instead of a secretary."

What is stopping you now? Still don't have the strength to be a polished professional?

Posted by: chittybangbang | February 11, 2008 11:08 AM

KLB: I musta missed that day/week. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I know it can be tough - no matter what. My thoughts are with you.

Bermansylvia - I think your post was incredibly touching. Don't listen to naysayers...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 11:13 AM


you are a bully

Posted by: Radiohead | February 11, 2008 11:15 AM

Fracturing the party and given the Republicans ammunition will lead to Democratic defeat in November.

Posted by: skylark1 | February 11, 2008 09:21 AM

You are so right, skylark! I am glad that we agree that the time has come for Hillary to exit the race so the Democrats can unite behind Obama as soon as possible. The sooner she exits, the sooner Obama can get to the REAL campaign.

To the point of the column, I agree that all of our kids are better off for having seen these races play out as it has -- whatever the ultimate outcome.

ArmyBrat - After a myriad of unsavory comments made by Clemson fans after the Virginia game, I decided I didn't have the stomach to root for Clemson and the alternative -- rooting for UNC -- is never an option at my house. There are NO fairly officiated games at the DeanDome. I hope Lawson comes back strong and soon so the excuse-making can stop for UNC fans other than dotted -- one of the few and always gracious. Not that I care or anything.

Posted by: mn.188 | February 11, 2008 11:15 AM

BTW, I was born in the second week of November and voted in the election during my 18 th birthday. The election was held the day after my birthday. You were allowed to register as long as you turned 18 on or before election day.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 11, 2008 11:19 AM

Thank you, Radiohead. A nice note of civility and sticking up for someone else. Ditto from me.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 11:19 AM

KLB - dogs and diets: yours sounds exactly like ours! We got him from the shelter two years ago, grossly undernourished. Since then he's had a slow but steady rise in weight. At the last vet visit, the vet told us he's gone past "healthy" to "a little chubby." She told us to cut his food from one cup, twice a day, to half-cup, twice a day. That's been going on for two weeks now. Every time I feed him, he looks at the food in his bowl and then looks at me. I can project his thoughts: "come on. That's a little light! This isn't enough! How's a dog supposed to protect the house and kids on this little food? You used to give me more; where's the rest of it?"

OT: per Sports Illustrated, one of the favorites at the Westminster Kenner Club show tonight/tomorrow is a beagle! Yay, beagles - we had them for years when I was growing up, and I'm still a beagle fan. Wow - a rooting interest in a dog show. Football season must really be over, huh?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 11:24 AM

My 11-year-old daughter is less concerned with the gender/race of the next president; she is asking, "Who will try to stop global warming?" "Who will keep college costs down?"

At 11-years-old, she is concerned with issues, not personality or "making history." She wants to know who is going to do the best job to leave a better planet for her. (The 11-year-old boy next door loves Obama because he "is so positive," so young kids are watching this).

I have always told my daughter, "Don't ever believe you cannot accomplish something because you are a girl." She takes the message to heart, but she also tries to discern who is the best role model based on qualification and beliefs rather than gender or race.

Posted by: pepperjade | February 11, 2008 11:28 AM

foamgnome: "BTW, I was born in the second week of November and voted in the election during my 18 th birthday. The election was held the day after my birthday. You were allowed to register as long as you turned 18 on or before election day."

Ah, so your birthday is November 7, huh?

As somebody noted above, Election Day by law is the "first Tuesday after the first Monday in November". That means that it can be the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th of November. It can't be any later than that.

(Sorry, that's just me being anal again. :-)

BTW, this year Maryland is allowing people to vote in the primaries if they will turn 18 before the general election. So there are a few thousand 17 year olds who can vote in Maryland tomorrow.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 11:30 AM

My recently college graduate is very energized by Obama.

Even though I don't really like Clinton that well I'm energized by her also. I feel like I'm going to vote for her tomorrow because I want to send a message that women are here to stay in the political scene!

Doesn't mean I'll vote for her in the general if I'm not satisfied with her. But I'm pleased to see her up there.

I'm also glad to see that she's fighting like a dog to win that nomination. I don't advocate dirty politics, but you gotta win to make a difference. I'm happy to see that she in there with the best (or the worst) of them.

Posted by: RedBird27 | February 11, 2008 11:31 AM

RE: Hillary. I'm in a group of women who meet monthly to discuss politics rationally this year, not focusing on sound bites and commercials, but on making our choices with our eyes open. The older women tell you baldly that they want Hillary so they can see a woman president before they die. They can't give any other rationale, even when asked. I voted for Obama (this is California) for all the reasons Jayne cited. I'm a capable, professional woman, and I think the country is ready for a woman in charge. But not this woman.

Posted by: babsy1 | February 11, 2008 11:35 AM

bermansylvia: It sounds like what held you back was you, not some societal barrier. That's a shame. I'm about five years younger than you, but no one ever said there was anything I couldn't do. I went to college, I went to law school, I've married, raised two kids and worked the entire time. It's not easy, but it can be done. I hope you think about what options you might have now for reaching your goals -- if that's what you want to do. Don't let anything hold you back if it's what you want.

Posted by: Jayne | February 11, 2008 11:36 AM

klb - please accept my condolences on your loss. I also missed DL's post or day.

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 11:44 AM

bernsylvia: my aunt received a master's degree in Chemistry in the 50s. I'm glad times have changed such that if she did today, she wouldn't be asked how many words she can type a minute.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 11:47 AM

I am glad that there is diversity in our candidates, and I think that's VERY important. However, I think it's just as wrong to vote for Hillary *because* she's a woman as it is to vote *against* her because she's a woman. It's just a different bias.

I am thrilled that a woman is a viable candidate. Despite what people think of her (too cold or whatever...), she's not seen as a token woman, but as a real candidate who is also a woman. That's what's most important to me. I am pregnant with a baby girl, and my real hope for this election (as it relates to gender/race) is that it changes how we vote, so that from now on our vote isn't chosen from a list of old white men.

Completely unrelated, but I have to say that I don't think Army Brat is being anal at all. Leslie, you could have easily written your sentence so that it was accurate AND communicated your point. Maybe something like "she will be able to vote shortly after turning 18." You are a journalist for the Washington Post. If you aren't held to standards of accuracy, then who is? It's not the end of the world, we all get a little sloppy sometimes. And no one is perfect. But lashing back at AB and calling him "anal" wasn't the best way to handle it.

Posted by: sandiego_mama | February 11, 2008 11:57 AM

Realistically, ArmyBrat, I get stuck on 'little details' like that too! to the annoyance of those around me...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 12:01 PM

Leslie, I am glad that your daughter is expressing an interest in politics at this early age. It bodes well for her future political participation. I recently attended an academic conference where our panel discussed younger voters' reactions to all of the presidential candidates. We actually had a few undergraduates in the audience and their comments were basically in the tone of, "Obama is young - he's like us. All of the other candidates are, like, older".

We do know that younger voters (18-24 year olds) are unusually interested in this year's presidential contest and especially interested in Barak Obama. Perhaps the only silver lining that other campaigns may look to is the fact that this age cohort(group) is among the least likely to vote. Interest, yes, follow-through, not so much.

Posted by: rlcooperman | February 11, 2008 12:25 PM

"Abortion raises the chances of breast cancer..."

This has been scientifically disproven, just another anti-choice false scare tactic.

Posted by: cjbriggs | February 11, 2008 12:35 PM

I was Leslie's daughter's age when Geraldine Ferraro ran with Mondale and remember being pretty excited about it. I thought there would be a serious presidential candidate sooner though.

OT to mn: Can't wait for Wednesday's game. Won't be watching it with the BF though - he's a MD fan.

Posted by: tntkate | February 11, 2008 12:37 PM


Can't say my daughter is as revved up about this election as yours is. But then again, she's only 5.

But I like the fact that she's seeing a woman run for president and an African-American man run, too. She's seeing it without totally getting that this is some type of milestone. To her, it's just normal that a black person and a woman could be president. That's the election message I'm most thrilled that both she and her brother (age 7) are getting.

It's a teachable moment without me even having to say a thing.

Posted by: gchen | February 11, 2008 12:38 PM

i urge you all in the strongest possible terms to read the essay below:

you should also read the original 1970 essay, which is linked to in the first paragraph.

I am thrilled to have an election where the country is actually paying attention, after years of apathy and "obvious" candidates. It's been really refreshing to have people actually CARE who's going to be the next President.

Posted by: newslinks1 | February 11, 2008 12:42 PM

when Geraldine Ferraro ran with Mondale and remember being pretty excited about it
Posted by: tntkate | February 11, 2008 12:37 PM
OT: I went to the college where, at the time, Ms. Ferraro's son was expelled for dealing cocaine. Thus began my disillusionment for the rich politicians I had been taught to look up to. One had nothing to do with the other, but it affected me nonetheless.

Posted by: WorkingDad | February 11, 2008 12:54 PM

I had just graduated from college and joined the working world before the 1984 election, and my recollection of Ferraro was that it was a shame the first woman in a national campaign had to be such an obvious token.

It was pretty clear early on that Reagan was going to be re-elected in a landslide no matter who the Democrats nominated, and Mondale didn't exactly distinguish himself in winning the nomination by basically controlling the party machinery and using it to crush his opposition. So Mondale was desperate for anything that would help, and he announced before the convention that he was definitely selecting a female as his running mate. IIRC, his campaign considered six women, with Ferraro being picked, and it became very clear that the criteria was "the best woman available", not "the best person available, who also happens to be a woman." She was so obviously a token that even GHW Bush beat her in a debate, which was saying something. A real shame, too; I think that was pretty much the end of Ferraro's political career (although she stuck around in Congress for a while).

(And whether you're supportive of HRC or not, note the difference between Ferraro and HRC's campaign this year. Ferraro was a case of 'we'll pick a woman to try to revive this lost cause' while HRC is a case of 'do we want this person with this past/qualification/baggage?' I regard that as a positive development.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 1:04 PM

"The reason my daughter loves Hillary is uncomplicated: Hillary's a girl. Clinton embodies girl power, pure and simple"

Glad to hear we are teaching our children not to be sexist. Let's hear it for those boys who love a man running because he's a "boy", and those who love Obama because he's black -- no reason to look beyond gender or skin color is there?

Posted by: RBCrook | February 11, 2008 1:10 PM

Not sure how senator clinton, who rose to power on her husband's coattails, is emblematic of "girl power" in any way. There are plenty of women who have acheived great things on their own, but she isn't one of them. I really don't see how she's much of a role model.

I also don't see how voting for her *just* because she's a woman is any different than voting against her just because she's a woman. I am always shocked when someone tells me they're voting for her simply because she's a female candidate.

Posted by: floof | February 11, 2008 1:11 PM

I do recall the ferraro debacle. It really was a sad day for the Dems. No one seemed to take Mondale seriously after that. Ferraro was from Queens, so I guess she got a little more coverage in NY than elsewhere - but she has/had a crook for a husband, and that never helps...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2008 1:14 PM

ArmyBrat: With an active duty Reagan Democrat for a father (see Thursday comments) I evenly vaguely remember being made aware that Ms Ferraro's chances were slim. ;-)

Frankly I didn't expect our Chesapeake primary (or whatever the h-e-double hockey sticks the pundits have dubbed it) to be as important as it has become.

Posted by: tntkate | February 11, 2008 1:15 PM

ArmyBrat - have you never read about Shirley Chisholm? She won 162 delegates as a Democrat in 1972. She ran a credible campaign but ultra-liberal darling McGovern got the nod. I remember Ferraro as you do - but she wasn't the first to run a credible real campaign...Shirley was. She deserves/deserved some respect. I liked her because of her eloquence and her reality. She was no political spouse...she was politics. Senator Margeret Chase Smith was similar (though not in their beliefs). Awesome women both!

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 1:15 PM

bermansylvia, why not become a professional if that is what you want to be? We talk about how Hilary is inspiring younger women, but why not middle aged women as well? If you are about the same age as Hilary, you are certainly not too old to go for it. Sure, you may be older than people in class/at your level at work, but if you are happier with yourself, it is worth it.

Posted by: Thought | February 11, 2008 1:29 PM

I was talking to a neighbor the other day (we are in Arizona) and I mentioned that her grand daughters would be able to go to college one of these days. My neighbor said, with amazement: "what? they aren't going to college! They don't have any money! They'll do what all the other girls around here do: they'll get a husband as soon as they get through high school - I hope they get through high school! She has many grandchildren, a few great grandchildren and one great great great grand daughter who just had a baby (no father and she is in high school). No one over there is paying attention to the election. No one is talking to the girls about what they can do. Only one in 34 offspring went to college. One of the little girls I started to refer to, asked me about Hillary. I told her as much as I could. Maybe it will make a difference.

Posted by: bermansylvia | February 11, 2008 1:30 PM

dotted - yep, remember Shirley Chisholm well. We were living in Munich at the time (Dad rotated back stateside in the summer of '72, shortly before the Olympics), and as I've noted on this blog several times before, the military folks tend to pay real close attention to elections, because it decides who gets to tell them to go die (or to become a widow/widower, as it were).

Our downstairs neighbors in Perlacher Forst were a black SFC from Baltimore and his family; they were huge Shirley Chisolm fans and we talked a lot about them. But I really don't think that counted as a "national" campaign because she never got the scope, or publicity, or anything else. Certainly nothing like Ferraro's situation. Don't mean to be disrespectful, but it's really a different situation, I think.

Re: Margaret Chase Smith - my sixth grade math teacher in Munich was a huge fan of hers. He used to tell this story - don't know how he knew and it was probably apocryphal - that when she was first elected to the Senate, the women's bathrooms in the Capitol still had pay toilets. He claimed that Sen. Smith went in one day and took an axe to a couple of them, and that was when it changed. He'd laugh out loud telling that story.

(Hmm, I wonder if there's a way to verify that? Probably don't want to; the memory's better this way. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 1:34 PM

ArmyBrat - great story! I guess the Wapo's coverage of these women was strong enough to get my attention...though earning delegates as she did was big. People voted for her. What I remember is she spoke her mind and her mind made sense, even in the strange psycho world of 1972. However, what happened after the conventions did turn me off of politics forever...the stark divide and hatred was just too much for me.

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 1:43 PM

my view is that nat'l politics can have a profound effect on kids' view of their country and the world. i grew up with jimmy carter as president and i remember his female cabinet appts. whether or not he was a "good" president, his view that women were worth listening to impacted me. also remember nixon's resignation, and how shaken/disgusted my parents' were. even my five year old is aware that barack and hillary are running, and why the race is newsworthy.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 1:46 PM

Whether she's a woman or not is besides the point, I think Hillary is enough of a crook to be President, not a good one though. My daughters don't like her.

Posted by: GutlessCoward | February 11, 2008 1:50 PM

KLB - so sorry about your mom! I know it has been a tough row to hoe - hang in there! Thank God for the animals - they are so lovley at bad times!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 11, 2008 2:09 PM

Leslie, I agree with you that politics can have a profound effect on kids' views of the country and the world.

I guess one of the fundamental differences between you and me is illustrated by the different memories of Jimmy Carter's presidency. I'm a few years older; I was an undergraduate in college during much of his presidency. I don't particularly remember female cabinet members; I remember "stagflation" - double-digit inflation; the prime rate being 21.5%; 17% mortgages (at a minimum); gas shortages; a minimum wage of $2.65 per hour; and extremely high unemployment.

I remember one energy crisis after another, and a plan from the Department of Energy that would have taken all the oil and natural gas produced in Louisiana and Texas and sent it to the northeast; while providing coal from the west for use in La. and Tex. I remember a song from 1979/1980 that was a hit in Louisiana - it was entitled "let the Yankees freeze in the dark." (I kid you not.)

And of course the whole Iranian hostage crisis and the country's seeming inability to do anything about it.

In short, what I remember about the Carter presidency was serious concern that I'd never get a useful job despite the college education I was paying for. "Crisis of confidence", indeed.

Honestly, under those circumstances I didn't care if his appointees were male or female; whether they were black, white, brown, or pink with purple polka dots; or where they went to school or if they had even been to school. My primary concern was: fix the darned economy so that I can get a job!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 2:10 PM

Dog is fine - annoying but fine. He can tell time and knows what time I usually feed him dinner. Thirty minutes before that time he sits and stares at me.

KLB-SS and I must share the same dog. But I have more than one, and that dog makes a POINT of whuffling into my face anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes before the alarm goes off. I swear, the beast thinks he's channeling "The Lorax".

"I speak for the dogs! Get up! Feed us, early and often! 3:30 a.m. is a PERFECT time to feed us!"


I remember being excited that Geraldine Ferraro was on the ticket for VICE-president. No matter who wins, isn't it nice to see a more varied visual palette of contenders? I mean, on some level most people view them all as "politicians". Ahem.

Glad to see none of the local regulars got blown away yesterday!

Posted by: maryland_mother | February 11, 2008 2:13 PM

I am lucky that my dog does not wake me up in the morning. He is perfectly happy to stay in bed (actually stretches out sideways when I get up) while I shower and dress. It is so wrong to be up and moving around at 4:45 am and look at a dog sleeping soundly in my bed.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 2:21 PM


Fortunately, our "mutual dog" can't haul himself up onto the bed. I know he'd LOVE to try.

Hmm, what's worse, the dog getting me up before the alarm; or watching the dog sleep in? I think YOU have it worse!

Posted by: maryland_mother | February 11, 2008 2:24 PM

Maryland Mother is so right: "No matter who wins, isn't it nice to see a more varied visual palette of contenders?"

I have nothing against WASP males (even married one!), but the majority of US citizens was long excluded automatically from even being considered for President. Like formerly in higher positions in the workplace, this tradition impoverished us all. The vaster the talent pool, the greater the potential for great leaders.

Posted by: mehitabel | February 11, 2008 2:27 PM

Mine can jump (amd frequently does) but I also built stairs and try to make him use them. My other dog had to have both of his ACLs reconstructed - probably damage done by jumping on and off a high bed. I have no interest in going thru that again.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 2:33 PM

KLB and Maryland Mother, we've always just set a foot-stool next to the couch whenever an older or more arthritic cat started having trouble getting up on and down from it, in order to reduce the risk of injury. For a considerably larger dog you might need something more like an ottoman, though.

Posted by: mehitabel | February 11, 2008 2:41 PM

How typical. another topic on Hillary ends up going to the dogs...

Posted by: GutlessCoward | February 11, 2008 2:43 PM

He is pretty good about using his stairs. I can tap the bed on the side they are on and he will walk down them.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 2:43 PM

Oh, Gutless, maybe it's time you revived Li'l Husky.

Posted by: mehitabel | February 11, 2008 2:45 PM

KLB, I'm surprised he hasn't trained you to move the stairs over to the side of the bed he wants to use. A cat would do that ;-)

Posted by: mehitabel | February 11, 2008 2:48 PM

I draw the line at that. He knows where they are and can darned well walk to the other side of the darned bed! He has had 45 mins of extra sleep.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 2:58 PM

KLB, that's great in theory. Just let us know when he gets you to capitulate ;-)

Posted by: mehitabel | February 11, 2008 3:00 PM

don't hold your breath!

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | February 11, 2008 3:07 PM

Has anyone heard of The White House Project? It seems to have expanded its vision now that Senator Clinton is a promising female candidate for the White House. Comments about the Clinton marriage surprise me, as if people really have that sort of window into the private relationship. Not to mention when I took my son's Boy Scout troop to visit DC and hear Senate testimony on a stem cell bill, the former President wasn't there, it was only Senator Clinton, among the other Senators. I'm not saying she has a model political life, it's more that I'm tired of all the catty comments that make the communicator of said comments look stupid. She was elected by the people of New York, not her husband. If you don't like how she was elected, what should be changed about the process of becoming a Senator? Sure, she was a First Lady, but there are astronauts and others who have ridden a timely wave of fame into office. If you don't like her, that's fine, it's the selective reporting and omissions that get me riled - just like the spam email that falsely accuses Gov. Obama of being a militant muslim - see snopes if you haven't had that piece of slander show up in your inbox!

Anyone want a soapbox???

Posted by: slazar | February 11, 2008 3:08 PM

ArmyBrat -- unfortunately, for generations there have been millions of people who couldn't find decent jobs no matter who the president was, due to prejudice against their gender and/or skin color. it didn't take stagflation or a recession to do it -- just stubborn and widespread bias with few successful ways to protest. try putting yourself in their shoes and walking a mile or two.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 3:49 PM

uh leslie - I believe ArmyBrat is African-American. I'm sure he's walked the walk...

ArmyBrat - your memories are like mine. I remember sitting in gas lines during the odd/even days we were even allowed to sit in a gas line. I remember my first mortgage was an astounding 12% because I was a first time buyer, my rate was super low. Now I soon may be sitting in water lines in our lakes down here run dry...which is way worse really.

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 4:26 PM

Hey slazar, I forgot to add this earlier. You know what scares me about the Obama emails, my parents (and way too many people like them) believed it. My parents even argued with me as if it were gospel truth. Truly scary.

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 4:28 PM

Leslie, I've posted about my family history several times and won't bother to do it again. But are you saying that if a President does a terrible job in office, and runs the whole country into economic disaster, that's okay because it just puts me into a situation that others have already been in? And that it's more important to have female and/or minority cabinet members than a sound economy? Because I strongly disagree.

I'm raising three daughters, and I've done everything in my power to ensure that they have every opportunity open to them that they could possibly want. No one is going to stop them from achieving whatever they're capable of because of their gender, or their ethnicity, or where they're from, or any other external factor.

I run one of the largest girls' softball programs in this area, and I have and will continue to do everything in my power to make sure that those kids have the facilities and opportunities to succeed to the extent that their talent and desire permits.

I strongly oppose discrimination on the basis of race or gender, and have worked against that my whole life.

But if you think that I'm going to accept an incompetent President (or Governor, or Senator, or county dog-catcher for that matter) because he or she is of a particular race or gender, or will make appointments based on race or gender, you're sadly mistaken.

And that's all on that topic.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 4:37 PM

dotted - no, I'm not. To clarify - on my mother's side, her father was Mexican, her mother Irish-American. On my father's side, his father was French-Canadian and his mother was Native American.

If you met me you'd call me a "white male" and that's okay. I'm a good old all-American mutt - no African-American ancestors that I know of, but pretty much everything else.

(I was done for the day, but wanted to re-read the posting I sent to Leslie, and felt I had to correct this misconception. Now I really am out of here for the day. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | February 11, 2008 4:40 PM

ArmyBrat -- With all due respect to your points, which are good ones, I think it's more complicated than that. Presidents, just like regular people, are multifaceted. I agree that Carter made lots of mistakes, and deserves to be remembered for them. But he also deserves to be remembered for the good things he did, like putting women in high profile roles, and generally championing peace. I would not vote for him -- he wasn't a good president overall -- but he did set a good example as a person in several ways. And I'm grateful for them.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 4:42 PM

Dotted, good for you sticking up for AB. However I don't think someone's race, ethnicity, gender or economic status necessarily means they speak for everyone of the same race, ethnicity, economic status or gender. It sounds like you are making the assumption that I cannot accuse ArmyBrat's views of being naive or self-absorbed. I thought those comments about Carter and the effect the Carter presidency had on ArmyBrat personally were pretty self-centered.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 4:46 PM

leslie - I guess I disagree with you. I didn't think AB was being naive or self-absored. There was real pain for many folk during the late 1970s...and the music was a part of it...seriously, we can disagree, that is what make this board fun. We can't all agree all the time...

AB - my apologies, I confused you with someone else. If MN were here, she would know whose monikers were whom and who I was thinking of (dangling participle here..grammar police, where are you?) details, details, details.

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 4:54 PM

Dotted -- thanks for being civilized. i agree with your take on the tough parts of the 70s, and i remember the gas lines and what the high mortgage rates did to people (as much as i could be aware at that age). but there were a few silver linings.

how did we get onto this, anyway???

but thanks. have a good night.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 5:00 PM

have a great evening yourself - now for the 'second' shift, eh?

Posted by: dotted_1 | February 11, 2008 5:03 PM

Dotted, was it maybe Proud Papa you were thinking of? Excuse me, of whom you were thinking? I am not sure I am remembering correctly either.

Posted by: LizaBean | February 11, 2008 5:08 PM

no kidding -- two of my kids are sick and the nights are endless. (not in a good way.)

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 5:13 PM

Leslie- so her only qualification to run is that she is female? That's a great thing to teach your children.

Oh yeah- what did your post have to do with Balance? Nothing, as usual.

Posted by: martinajess | February 11, 2008 5:28 PM

dotted - I'm with LizaBean, I think you were thinking of ProudPapa.

Geez, Leslie - you can accuse someone of naivete and being self-absorbed any time you like, but it's a good idea to make sure there is a credible basis for your accusation. Otherwise, as today, you just end up looking foolish.

Posted by: mn.188 | February 11, 2008 5:28 PM

You are slingin' mud without reading my posts. I wrote about my reasons for supporting Hillary and my reasons for criticizing Armybrat. Not fair, both of you! Go back, read 'em, and then we can talk. Hopefully in civilized and respectful fashion.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 6:10 PM

Well, ok, Leslie, I was going to sit this one out but since the discussion is open again.

Why exactly is it self-centered for ArmyBrat to say that he remembers the gas lines and economic pain and the fear it inspired in him, but NOT self-centered for you to say you remember being inspired by the fact that there were female appointees? You are both writing about your personal experiences during the administration, you are both reflecting on how your reactions meshed with broader world trends and events. So why is it OK for you to be personally affected but not ArmyBrat?

Posted by: LizaBean | February 11, 2008 6:35 PM

Because he was being negative and I was being positive.

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 6:38 PM

LOL, ok then! As long as we're using that as the measure, any of us who notice inequality in the world are self-centered, and those who say everything is fine are not? I think you and I could both end up on the short end of that one, Leslie :)

Posted by: LizaBean | February 11, 2008 6:46 PM

I'm not getting your positive/negative distinction here Leslie. How the heck is it negative or self-centered to discuss how the poor economy of the 70s impacted one's hope for a quality post-college job? ArmyBrat's experience in and perception of the 1970s was different than yours. That doesn't make it wrong, negative, or self-centered. Your insisting that he's all of those things only focuses the negative/self-centered label on you. And as a 9-year-old girl in the 1970s, I sure don't remember getting all warm and fuzzy over female cabinet appointments. I remember being afraid because my dad was laid off and watching my parents pinch every penny. I remember moving in with my grandparents while my dad was between jobs. Perhaps you should put on a pair of those shoes you recommended earlier today.

My 9-year-old DD is a huge Obama fan and spends a lot of time defending her choice to her girl-power girlfriends who endorse Hillary based on her gender. Not that 9-year-olds should be looking at complex political and policy issues when they discuss presidential elections, but it really does puzzle me that so many little girls are so excited about Hillary Clinton's candidacy based on her gender alone. I know DD's opinion comes from listening to many dinner-table conversations between DH and me, and we're not a fan of the Clintons in our house. I just hope that the lesson she takes from this presidential election is that gender or race alone is never a reason to endorse a presidential candidate. If Obama is elected, the fact that he's black will be the icing on the cake.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | February 11, 2008 7:07 PM

all good views, and although you disagree with mine i don't disagree with yours. none of this is totally cut-and-dried. i do think when you are being negative, you need to be more thorough and fair in your assessments, but that's just my viewpoint. and i don't think it's balanced to always assume that i, perhaps because of my education or my blonde hair or WHATEVER, know nothing about hard knocks, financial and otherwise. as you know i survived an abusive marriage and i've had a lot of other personal battles as a kid and adult. additionally my father was the first (and only) person in his family to have finished high school, and his older sister died of neglect and untreated leukemia. i grew up in the shadow of that kind of poverty and its terrible consequences.

by the way, my nine year old daughter is watching hillary and obama on tv right now and she just said "what we need is an african american woman president so we can end all this fighting!" go sister!!!

Posted by: leslie4 | February 11, 2008 7:14 PM

I was sort of hoping she was kidding with the positive/negative bit, or at least tongue in cheek. But I agree with your take VegasMom on the substance.

Posted by: LizaBean | February 11, 2008 7:15 PM

LOL LizaBean. I am very sleep-deprived today, so it is entirely possible I missed the humor.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | February 11, 2008 7:19 PM

Leslie, I didn't mean to imply that you know nothing about hard knocks. I've read about your marriage and your father on the blog before and I'm sure these experiences have shaped you.

What I did mean to imply is that you seem to have some blinders on sometimes in your responses. Today, it was your response to ArmyBrat and discounting his experience in the 1970s in favor of your experience with feminism during that time. You seem to imply that your experience is somehow more valid. I suggest it is just that -- your experience. It's no more or less valid than ArmyBrat's (or mine).

I take it you're on board if Condi Rice makes a run for the presidency?

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | February 11, 2008 7:28 PM

Spot on, vegas mom and LizaBean.

The rules here apparently change depending on whether you are one of Leslie's favorite posters. (Sorry, ArmyBrat, you must not have DandyLion's charm.) Otherwise, a valid argument is dismissed on one day as, "but you didn't speak from the heart" (whatever that means), or on another day, "you have to be more thorough if you are expressing an idea I deem to be negative". Draw outside the lines and Leslie draws a bead on you. At the risk of pointing out the blindingly obvious calling Leslie out on these sorts of personal slams is neither mud-slinging nor unfair, LOL.

Posted by: mn.188 | February 11, 2008 9:52 PM

" i do think when you are being negative, you need to be more thorough and fair in your assessments"

So just to be sure I understand, according to you, a white man looking back on his career who says that he believes that discrimination is a thing of the past and we live in a country that treats everyone equally gets a free pass (because this is a very positive thing to say), but the woman who looks back and says that she recalls experiencing gender discrimination and thinks we have a long way to go before we really embrace equality faces a higher standard for thoroughness and fairness?

Posted by: LizaBean | February 12, 2008 1:31 PM

My first political memory is my mom taking me along to vote for Mondale/Ferraro when I was a five year old girl. I've always been aware, and supportive, of women's potential in American politics. However, I have no interest in voting for Clinton. She is extremely divisive, and I'd like to vote for a candidate such as McCain or Obama who practices respect for his or her opponents. I look forward to voting for a female candidate who also embraces respect -- a value that is essential to increasing equality between the sexes.

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Posted by: MothersWisdom | February 15, 2008 7:30 PM

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