Today, many political strategists say women no longer have to be so defensive. Voters have grown more accustomed to women in powerful positions....Well, I've already said what I think about Hillary Clinton on this one. I think she's overdone the mommy stuff at this point. But managing our feelings about women and power is a complex task. We may be "more accustomed to women in powerful positions," but it's still very complicated. And raising motherhood as a qualification is a new move, and we're not accustomed to that at all. This new rhetoric will create its own swirl of complex feelings about women and power. It remains to be seen who will be helped and who will be hurt.
What this means, strategists say, is that motherhood and a focus on children can become one more political asset to be showcased — a way of humanizing a candidate and connecting with voters, especially other women....
National security remains a threshold issue for voters but is no longer such an automatic advantage for the Republicans because they have lost so much support on the war in Iraq, the polls suggest. And neither Ms. Pelosi nor Mrs. Clinton is neglecting these issues. On the campaign trail in Iowa on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton argued that all of this — security, maternity, affordable health care — was part of her potential-first-woman-president package.
“I’m going to be asking people to vote for me based on my entire life and experience,” she said. “The fact that I’m a woman, the fact that I’m a mom, is part of who I am.”
January 29, 2007
This is a front-page "political memo" from Robin Toner.