Much of the focus of the news this weekend was on Hillary Clinton's cleavage, and yes, I fully understand that many people absolutely don't want to go there, but it was in the Washington Post Friday thus we all have to deal with it now.
The estimable Senator from New York gave a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, captured by C-SPAN, on something, the usual blather, and her outfit for the event was a stunning, low-cut, daring V-neck affair. Yes, I am stealing fashion show commentary here on purpose.
Then the Post ran a story Friday about her apparel, which just goes to show you what constitutes news at the Post. In no time at all it became a national issue.
It even was brought up on Friday's broadcast of Hardball, in which Melanie Morgan, the San Francisco radio hostess at KSFO and chair of the pro-troop organization Move America Forward who was there to debate a liberal fluff muffin on another issue, was asked about it.
(Just in case you are keeping score, the fluff muffin, whose name I can't remember and don't care enough about to look up, failed miserably at attempting to intimidate Ms. Morgan. You'd think they'd learn by now that Morgan really knows her subject matter, is tougher than nails, and if they want to ambush her they should at least get someone with a little more than a double digit IQ. But they don't and the result is what Hardball got on Friday.)
Anyway, this issue got me to thinking about how Mrs. Clinton wants to go from former First Lady to current President, which got me to thinking about other major world leaders who were female. Meir, Thatcher, and Indira Gandhi came immediately to mind, and whether you liked them or not, agreed with them or not, you have to admit they were strong, principled leaders and their cleavage was never, ever an issue.
So what do we conclude when we hear Mrs. Clinton going on about women's rights and women's issues and how she will be the candidate who does the most for women? First, when we hear that 'women's issues' means flexible hours at work, day care assistance, and similar matters we can conclude that what she really is talking about are 'family' issues, not women's issues, that already are being addressed all across the corporate spectrum, so once again she is spewing spin, not substance.
Then we look at the horrors women are subjected to in many other areas of the world - rape, slavery, abuse, death for merely wanting to live as something other than handmaidens and second-class citizens - and we realize that these women have major life-and-death issues hanging over them. Compared to what are termed women's issues in America, and the current debate on Mrs. Clinton's fashion wear, it's not unfair to conclude that we are being spoon fed shallow, superficial claptrap.
There are REAL issues in this world. There are REAL issues in this country. But we are having a debate on whether Hillary Clinton should reveal her cleavage?! Am I the only one who is outraged at this? Am I the only one who sees this as a national embarrassment?
My God, what is wrong with our politicians and the people they hire to research issues for them? It is once again all too obvious, considering the fact that this issue was raised - please don't insult my intelligence, she wore the outfit on purpose, she knew it would be broadcast on C-SPAN and the Post was in on the "unveiling" - and that the media pushed it, that our politicians and their advisers have no respect for the American voter.
This is why in every single election the candidates increasingly play to issues that are of interest only to smaller and smaller segments of the voting public - because larger and larger segments of the voting public refuse to vote for any of these buffoons. I don't know whether this is a planned effort to undermine our form of government by getting so many people turned off that they no longer care to be involved, or it is mass stupidity.
Either way the result is the same.
If you take a look at the careers of the other women I mentioned in this article, not the Va-va-voom Mrs. Clinton and her Oh, So Remarkable Cleavage, but Thatcher, Gandhi, and Meir, you will see that they dealt with major issues both on the domestic and international fronts, and they did so in the style of real leaders. They didn't play to the lowest common denominator in their cultures, and they didn't insult their constituencies by pandering instead of leading.
I often take issue with the Democratic Party in this column when matters of this nature arise, but today I'd like to make another point. Many of my Democratic friends, and yes I have them, make no more claim to issues of this nature than I do to the concepts put forth by right-wing extremists who identify themselves as Republicans.
I believe the Democratic Party has been so completely hijacked by the extreme left-wing sect that the bulk of issues being discussed and tactics being used are an embarrassment to many far more sensible people in their party. But only the fringe element seems to have access to the media so we are left debating whether cutting and running is really a military tactic, and whether a dipping neckline proves better leadership qualities.
When we are inundated with non-stop publicity stunts masquerading as action on important national issues, when Congress can't pass a single meaningful piece of legislation because each and every one is bogged down in a quagmire of publicity stunts and self-interest amendments, when what someone wears on television is deemed more important than what they are saying, when matters of the utmost secrecy involving our troops and national security are routinely leaked to the media and openly discussed in Congress instead of in closed door sessions where they belong, we must conclude that it is long, long past time for direct action.
The most direct action that comes to mind at the moment is term limits. This country has shown repeatedly that we have an abundance of intelligent, patriotic, capable leaders who can and will do what is best for America and world democracy.
Unfortunately, we see fewer and fewer of them actually inside government. We have to change that.
Monday, July 23, 2007