Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Cleavage Emboldens Our Enemies

With Hillary Clinton the Democrat frontrunner, many Americans are seriously wondering if we are really ready for a woman President, especially in light of the terrorist threat. Can a woman really stand up to the terrorists and fight the War in Iraq as well as the swaggering, very macho men in the Bush Administration have?

Doubts only increased last week when Hillary was given a good spanking by Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman for asking nosy questions about whether there were any plans for withdrawal from Iraq. I'm sure Edelman must have thought that it is just like a woman to ask about withdrawal when a surge has barely begun. "The seeds of many problems that continue to plague our troops and mission in Iraq were planted in the failure to adequately plan for the conflict and properly equip our men and women in uniform," she wrote. "Congress must be sure that we are prepared to withdraw our forces without any unnecessary danger."

Edelman replied to Hillary's French letter with a stinging rebuke that said in so many words she shouldn't bother her pretty little head about planting seeds and the like because the boys at the Pentagon have got it all under control and her annoying questions will just embolden the enemy. "Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda," Edelman wrote. "Fear of precipitate U.S. withdrawal also exacerbates sectarian trends in Iraqi politics."

Then as if our enemies were not already emboldened enough by Hillary's talk of precipitate withdrawal, she went to the floor of Congress in a low-cut dress that was sure to have them exacerbating sectarian trends. "There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2," intoned The Washington Post's Robin Givhan ominously. "It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton." The 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism, Givhan isn't just some shallow fashion writer. So when she writes "To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d'oeuvres is a provocation" it is a warning we should heed. Hillary's cleavage may already have provoked the terrorists to attack.

Of course, Ann Althouse, the Internet's leading breast blogger, was quick to join in, accusing Hillary of "flaunting" her cleavage and asking, "Are you going to say that we ought to be giving attention to the content of that speech and not to the presentation of the woman who would be President?" which I believe is meant to be a rhetorical question. When some of her commenters took her to task for once again going for the mammaries, she bravely stood her ground. "Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary," she wrote, typing with one hand while the other clutched a shawl to her neckline. "A woman speaking in front of the Senate or at a political lunch with an ex-President, unless she is utterly incompetent, has thought about how she wants her breasts to appear. Visible cleavage doesn't just happen. Nor does a clingy sweater. Every woman who is competent enough to play a significant political role knows how to change to a top with a higher neckline or put a jacket over a sweater. So how she has chosen to appear means something and it is a fair subject for political commentary. I will not be pushed back from this subject." Althouse's steadfast refusal to be deterred from writing obsessively about the breasts of women she does not like, instead of boring trivial matters, like their positions on the issues, is right up there with Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on the bus.

The problem with cleavage, as Givhan and Althouse demonstrate, is that when you are staring at a woman's breats it's nearly impossible to pay attention to what she is saying. Think of all the mix-ups that could occur if Hillary attended cabinet meeting or a summit meeting with her cleavage on display. People attending the meeting might only hear half of what she says or be tempted to get up in the middle of the meeting and give her a massage. The results could be disastrous.

In last night's YouTube debate on CNN one questioner asked how people in Muslim countries will be able to take Hillary seriously when they treat their own women as second-class citizens. The questioner must have been thinking of all the difficulties Benazir Bhutto, Indira Ghandi and Margaret Thatcher had with getting Muslims to take them seriously. Do we want to take the risk that Hillary will appear as weak as these women apparently did to Muslim men? Do we want to risk provoking them to attack by appearing so weak?

But lest you think Hillary should start wearing a burka, ABC's Susan Donaldson James tells us that Hillary is not showing enough cleavage. Comparing her with an Argentinean presidential candidate Cristina Kirchner, she says Hillary looks "dowdy." "When Argentina's foxy first lady and fashionista Cristina Kirchner announced July 2 that she would run for president, she allowed her long, black hair to cascade over a plunging neckline," James writes. "But America's first lady of politics, Hillary Rodham Clinton -- who has often been compared to Kirchner -- opted for a solid black pants suit during her recent presidential debate." If Hillary started showing as much cleavage as her Argentinean counterpart, it might actually give her an unfair advantage. She could use her feminine wiles to manipulate the electorate and if there is one thing Americans resent, it is having their electorate manipulated.

Hillary did get some support from an unlikely source this week. Maureen Dowd, who also won a Pulitzer Prize for her trenchant columns that penetrate the hidden depth of superficialities, has already made a very convincing case for why feminine characteristics are undesirable in a Presidential candidate, questioning the manhood of John Edwards, Barack Obama and Al Gore. But this week she proclaimed that Hillary is man enough to be President, despite her cleavage.

But as Dowd points out, Hillary's cleavage divides the electorate. Even many women, especially older, married women, are not ready for what one respondent in a New York Times poll called a "lady President." Maybe it would be better not to risk dividing the country by electing a woman as President, or an African-American as President for that matter, and instead elect a white male whom everyone can get behind. A divided country might also provoke the terrorists to attack so perhaps it would be better having another uniter instead of a divider as President.

There are still a lot of men and even many women who think that women are boobs. But times certainly have changed since the era when woman reporters were only considered capable of writing about what women politicians were wearing in the women's pages of newspapers. Now most newspapers don't have women's pages and our female pundits are no longer relegated to writing superficial fashion pieces. Now they write very deep fashion pieces that show off their sophisticated knowledge of the theories of French Deconstructionists and Freud. No one thinks that any of these female pundits are any less intelligent than our male pundits, who are also writing about John Edwards' hair. We've come a long way, baby.

But all this post-post-feminist talk of Hillary's cleavage has some people a little confused. Conservative blogger Tigerhawk is no fan of Hillary's and he would prefer not to hear anymore about feminism no matter how many "posts" are in front of it. Still, he finds himself in the odd position of agreeing with Firedoglake, which makes him very, very uncomfortable. "How will those of us who believe that political feminism has outlived its usefulness sustain that belief if one of the nation's leading newspapers insists on deconstructing Hillary Clinton's neckline?" he writes. Unfortunately, Tigerhawk has hit on a problem that many of us conservatives have faced. It's very difficult to argue that racism, homophobia and misogyny don't exist when so many people insist on acting like racists, homophobes and misogynists. If they would all just shut up, it would make our arguments a lot more persuasive.

Conservatives are as sick of hearing about misogyny as we are about hearing about racism and homophobia. So I would like to propose a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to these issues. Conservatives are already completely color-blind and we would prefer not to hear about homosexuals' private lives. We don't like it when people tell us they are black or gay, especially when it is in the context of complaining about being discriminated against. So the next time Hillary shows her cleavage, even though we might be tempted to stare, I think we should all just look away.

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Anonymous said...

If this trend continues, I'll have no choice but to become gay or straight instead of Republican or journalist.

Hillary has breasts! Who knew?

cognitorex said...

The Hillary exit plan debate has sharp political subtleties
If Cheney and Rumsfeld had not, in what is called an act of depraved indifference, blocked plans and strategies by State, CIA and the Military to prepare for worst case scenarios before engaging in Iraq, America would today have significantly less casualties.
When Hillary says where is the exit plan, which of course the Military has game-played for ten different scenarios, she is saying that America will not again tolerate political operatives to force our Military into incompetent life and death alternatives.
Hillary is stating that America does not want a White House political slogan or Bush/Cheney political plan to masquerade as a well thought out withdrawal plan.
Congress and the troops deserve a set of plan outlines, in hand now thank you very much, created by the best minds so that the withdrawal will neither be delayed nor botched to give political advantage to the creators of this mess.
Military planning will indicate how many deaths, how much cost and what time frame(s) their withdrawal plans indicate.
Knowing the Military's best estimates makes the overall cost of withdrawal more of a debatable factual matter and less open to Bush/Cheney/Rove fear mongering, propaganda and general political sloganeering.
Craig Johnson

Jon your piece was brilliant. Sorry I have only this above "straight" post to offer. Cheers.

mw said...

Mr. Swift,
As I have long been an admirer of your insightful analysis, I regret to inform you that I was deeply disappointed by this post. Surprisingly for a man of your intellect, you completely missed the point of Senator Clinton's uplifting metaphorical statement on the appropriate sizing and division of federal government assets.

The seductive appeal of suckling from government resources, whether large or small, cannot be denied. It is this very appeal that makes great big bountiful government so attractive and so dangerous. It is only through maintaining a balance between right and left, that we can be assured that government resources are used to nurture, to protect, and not to corrupt. People will always want what big government has to offer. At the same time, there must be some limitations on how government should be used and contained. Correct support and sizing of the government containment cup is important, and properly cleaving between right and left partisan choices requires careful consideration and handling. It was a brilliant analysis and how you can miss such an obvious statement by our future president is beyond me.

More metaphorical analysis along these lines here.

Jon Swift said...

MW, please accept my apologies for disappointing you. I must also congratulate you for the very subtle way you illustrated your post with link-bait.

And conitorex, please don't be shy. Take a tip from MW and provide a link to your piece. Blogger accepts HTML tags and I welcome shameless self-promotion.

mw said...

Mr. Swift,
I am sure I don't know what you mean. I resent the implication, that simply because there are PICTURES OF BEAUTIFUL CELEBRITIES WITH LARGE BREASTS ON MY LINKED POST, I am attempting to somehow siphon away a small fraction of your readership. I assure you those photos are for educational purposes only and completely necessary to illustrate the important point of that post.

Doodle Bean said...

Dear Mr. Swift,

How are we to look away when Hillary's cleavage is drawing in terrorists as we speak?

And gay marriage! I'm sure her cleavage has something to do with terrorism and gay marriage, the two most frightening and important issues we face as the world today!


Doodle Bean

Anonymous said...

The pressing questions surrounding Mrs. Clinton's cleavage have obviously divided people into two cups...,er, camps. Is that bad enough or can we just call the whole thing a tempest in a C cup?

Anonymous said...

What's the cause of your obsession with Althouse?

OutOfContext said...

What's the cause of your obsession with Althouse?
Who knows what causes an obsession? That's kind of how it works. For instance, I have no idea why I'm obsessed with the anonymous.

robkroese said...

Thanks for keeping us abreast of these developments.

Micgar said...

What an udder disgrace Mrs. Clinton is! Thanks for your continued diligence on bringing forth news of all of the Clinton's follies! These boobs, err... nitwits need to be exposed!

Anonymous said...

That's it, I am now not voting for Hillary Clinton because of that outrageous, in-your-face display of cleavage!

Think of the CHILDREN!!!

Rick Rockhill said...

I still think Hillary is a chick with a dick. But that still doesn't qualify her for the Presidency.

James Higham said...

Hillary Clinton's cleavage? Please, Jonathan, I've just eaten.

Bald Headed Geek said...

I just think that this is a case of tit for tat.

Ha ha.

It had to be said, and you know it!



Tits McGee said...

Hur hur! Boobies!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness female bloggers like Althouse, etc. no longer need to be relegated to writing about some women's abhorrent fashion sense and now have the choice to write about some women's fashion sense.

While we hate feminism because it provides women choice, at least we can appreciate what some women still have the choice to write about....petty or not....they have a right to choose and we can't let that be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I honestly cannot believe that something as simple, natural, and God given as cleavage could create so much publicity. I am dissapointed in our society. Hilary is clearly an intelligent women who should be able to be seperated from her sexual identity. Showing breasts does not have to be sexual. Its sexual because of the person who interprets it as such. Why do we have to lie or deny it? Women were built with breasts! While I do not feel that women should flaunt it, women should not have to cover up every inch of their bodies either trying to ensure people don't take it the wrong way. What Hilary exposed was completly acceptable and still professional. She should not have to hide her femaleness because someone's got a problem staring at cleavage. Thats not her problem, that theirs. They are the one who needs to work on their own issues, and start examining themselves. We have over-sexualized women in our nation, and this publicity is a clear indication of that.

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