Mother Hillary

BlogHer Original Post

This is my first post as a BlogHer Contributing Editor, so let me say how thrilled and excited I am to be here! (OK, enough for my Sally Field moment)!

There's been plenty of commentary about Hillary Clinton's teary-eyed moment right before the New Hampshire primaries this week. Well, if you look closely, there wasn't really a tear -- just a some welling up. As Linda Richman might say, Hillary was just a little verklempt.

But maybe that's what some of us have been waiting for -- a moment when we could exhale a tiny bit after seeing a glimpse of genuine Hillary that peeked through the woman of steel facade some of her advisers believe she should maintain.

As Emily Bazelon said over at The XX Factor:

"... [I]t seems entirely plausible to me that undecided New Hampshire women shifted to Hillary in the last few days because they were both wincing and empathizing as they watched her struggle with her sudden second-tier status."

A warm and fuzzy Hillary? Who knew it was there? We knew she didn't like to bake cookies (most of the time, I don't either), but she's kept the more feminine side of herself stashed away like the crown jewels for most of her public life.

Getting her to show her softer side? Ann Althouse wouldn't be surprised:

"Is she just really tired? Or was it really something about about the questioner's expression of sympathy — how do you do it? — that brought out a truly vulnerable side? I don't know. But it seems a little like the feminine gesture she made at the debate when she said the her feelings were hurt. I think someone — an excellent actress? — is coaching her in how to display womanly emotion."

Stefcon at Political Base, however, likened Hillary's moment to that woman on the verge we love to hate and hate to love, Meredith Grey:

" ... Hillary opted for television drama, formatting her narrative to fit the story arc of her favorite television show, Grey's Anatomy."

But HRC apparently tapped a feeling in many like me -- the over-thirty but under-sixty-five woman voter who was still wondering. The woman like her. So it made me wonder, should she keep up with this nod to womanhood as a campaign tactic?


She's brought her mother and daughter out on the campaign trail, but I say that's not enough. What would happen with women voters -- with mothers -- if Hillary actually talked about how her role as Chelsea's mother has informed her views in politics? And what if she and Bill could actually convince Chelsea to start stumping for her mother and utter some words on the campaign trail, in the way that Cate Edwards has for her father, John Edwards?

I have a feeling it would be powerful. While some men voters might be put off by that, most people have acknowledged that it's women who are going to make or break this presidential campaign. So why not really tune in to it?

Hillary, we've already heard your wonky policy speeches. Give us more the 'motherhood made a man out of me' theme that I know you've got in you.

Just make sure you get a little verklempt from time to time while you're doing it.

You can also find Joanne at her personal blog, PunditMom, as well as MOMocrats and PunditMom's Spin Cycle.


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