A Woman President? Who Cares?
On Monday, NBC’s “Today” show hosted everyone’s favorite person who might actually be an android, Hillary Clinton, for a folksy “Pancakes and Politics” town-hall gathering. The setting was autumnal Hollis, N.H., in a cozy red barn; Hillary wore a cozy blazer the color of a minor explosion. The event opened with the jovial flipping of pancakes, because we all know that the former secretary of state—a woman whose inside desperately screams “Don’t blackball me, I NEED THIS!” but whose outside cleverly imitates an animatronic wax statue from Madame Tussauds—likes nothing better than to stay home and cook.
“I guess you’ve probably flipped a pancake before in your life?” Savannah Guthrie, the “Today” host, asked gamely. To be fair, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, who famously insulted millions of American cookie bakers during her husband’s 1992 campaign, this is actually a legitimate question.
“Yes. I have. I have.” Here, in this moment, Clinton stared at the spatula she’d been forced to hold, perhaps considering whether she could quietly murder someone with it. The seconds slowed. The spatula quivered. No one died. Instead, Hillary glanced up at the lofty, rough-hewn ceiling, and replied in a flat tone: “Never in a barn.”
About an hour later, after cheerful audience questions about Clinton’s favorite alcoholic drinks, hidden musical talents, and people dying in Benghazi, Guthrie closed the interview with a slow, delicious meatball, dripping a trail of sauce right over home plate: “You often say that you’re not running because you’re a woman; you’re running on the merits, and one of your merits is that you are a woman.”
This sentence was hilarious, circular, and nonsensical, but no matter. Hillary nodded, perhaps channeling Yoda or Vishnu or some voodoo doll in a closet somewhere, then smiled and agreed.
“So my question is,” Guthrie continued, “what are the merits of a female leader? What does a female leader bring that a man doesn’t?”
A short pause filled the room. “A WHOLE LOT OF RESENTMENT, MISSY, THAT’S WHAT!” Hillary roared, lunging for her spatula, which she had stored in her sock just in case. Ha, don’t worry! That didn’t really happen—or, if it did happen, it only happened with the miniature, uninhibited, Yosemite Sam-style Hillary who dwells deep inside the Big Hillary’s mind, jumping around, firing off cap guns, and randomly whacking pesky civilians with gender-oppressive cooking utensils.
No, Big Hillary kept her cool. Women, she said, “have a very different life experience, I think it’s fair to say,” to a burst of female applause. Women, she argued, live through things like family, finances, sickness, and aging “in a much more real, day-to-day way, and I will bring all of those feelings and experiences with me to the White House. And people say to me, well, you know, folks want an outsider in this election. Who could be more of an outsider than a woman president?”
Honestly, there’s so much wackiness here, it’s hard to know where to begin. The “outsider” line is the most obvious and farcical—Clinton’s been an influence-sniffing creature of Washington, D.C., since the early ’90s, back when the original “X Files” launched and Lena Dunham was still wandering around in short pants. There’s also the weird “I’ll bring feelings to the White House” gambit, when most alert observers might fairly suspect that Mrs. Clinton long ago swapped all of her feelings for power. Then there’s the subtle slam of men, with the implication that they’re somehow detached, floating and hapless—here I picture a balloon Bill Clinton, puffy and oblivious, waving with a cigar, a golf club, and a grin—from the nitty-gritty of life.
Here we are in 2015, with the world increasingly resembling a rabid goat rodeo hosted over a flaming pit of spikes and giant rattlesnakes, and yet, amazingly, the gender police soldier on. Last week, ABC’s Jordyn Phelps hilariously labeled Carly Fiorina as “the other woman” in the race, then offered this gem of a sentence: “And while Fiorina is quick to tell voters she is not asking for their support on the basis of her gender but her qualifications, her gender identity serves as a contrast with the only other woman in the race.”
Seriously, what does this even mean? I’ve read it four times, and I still don’t know. I guess I shouldn’t worry about it: After all, these days, isn’t gender supposed to be “fluid” and a “social construct”? Don’t we have gender-neutral bathrooms in the White House now? Also, who’s really a “woman,” anyway? Isn’t that kind of exclusive and hegemonic and patriarchal? Man, I’m so tired. Friends, aren’t you tired?
Ridiculousness aside, here’s the bottom line: I don’t care if there is ever a female president, and you shouldn’t either. What I would like is a president who:
1. Actually likes human beings
2. Does not constantly act all exhausted and frustrated with the yokel dummies out in the hinterlands—that's you and me, of course—when problems arise in America
3. Does not claim to have the power to adjust sea levels
4. Does not have a name that rhymes with Schlonald Frump
5. Understands the value of limited government and the separation of powers
6. Maybe takes notice when rogue Russian agents are trying to sell nukes to ISIS
7. Is not a closeted socialist
8. Is not an actual socialist
I could go on and on, but you get my point. By the way, if that person turns out to be a woman, great! If not? That’s great, too. I’m officially off the identity politics train—which, not coincidentally, runs on the exact same tracks as the crazy train.