September 4, 2012

Things Madeleine Albright cannot understand.

"I'm not sure I'm going to state this exactly right," said the woman we once relied on to speak for America in the most delicate and momentous affairs*:
"But I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of. I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important. And frankly, I don’t understand —I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat — but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney."
____________________________________________

* I'm referring to foreign diplomacy, in her role as Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, but having written "most delicate and momentous affairs," I realized you might think I was referring to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, which was "a most delicate and momentous affair" of a different kind. But there, she didn't speak for us. She spoke to us. She was the most prominent of the Clinton Cabinet members who allowed themselves to be pulled forward to vouch for him, and she famously said, "I believe that the allegations are completely untrue."  The powerful man must be right, and the little lady must be lying. This, from a woman who now "frankly" doesn't "understand" how women think.

And by the way, that new quote of hers is damned sexist. She can't visualize how a woman could reason and analyze and come to a conclusion that the more conservative approach is better. She presents women — all women, apparently — as voting based on some kind of fuzzy, feel-y thinking about women, within which the only appeal of Romney is his wife.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings. 

Think about it, Ms. Albright.

ADDED: An emailer prompts me to see an alternative meaning in the phrase "why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney." Obviously, I thought she was saying that some women might find Ann Romney so appealing that they'd want to vote for Romney. But now I see the ambiguity in those words. It can also mean that the only woman who'd want to vote for Mitt Romney is his wife. I think that is probably is what she meant. Actually, the whole quote is a mess (except for her one obviously true statement, which she herself flags as obvious: she's "a card-carrying Democrat").

72 comments:

Lance said...

When she says "women who want to be taken care of," isn't she describing Sandra Fluke?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I'd say that admitting that you can't even understand your opponents point of view, is an instant dis-qualifier for being someone whose opinion is even worth listening to.

Brennan said...

Think about it for a moment. What perception does she intend by insulting women that do intend to vote for Mitt Romney?

Ms. Albright cannot possibly think of one reason why a woman would vote for Mitt Romney. Not one?

What kind of intellectual is this? Do you realize how low you must set to bar to consider that level of thinking to be intellectual?

Tell me more about your pins Ms. Albright because that is a fascinating view into your intellectuality so I know you've got some.

t-man said...

My re-write of Albright -

Democrats believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of and controlled by the government. Republicans think women should be able to choose to take care of themselves or to partner with someone who chooses to care for them.

Matthew Sablan said...

"She presents women — all women, apparently — as voting based on some kind of fuzzy, feel-y thinking about women, within which the only appeal of Romney is his wife. "

-- I don't think she means to present it that way. It is more of: "Women are smart; smart enough that we're not so dumb as to vote Republican. Women who are voting Republican are betraying the inherent smartness of women."

I mean, she's quoted as saying this: "(Romney became) captive to a party that does in fact think that women should not have voices." That is, the party that has major women speakers who were asked to speak for reasons other than anatomy, somehow, doesn't think women should have voices. Albright just isn't... all that bright, and seems to be willing to accept being just a partisan hack in the quotes pulled for this piece.

Also, the gender gap has been closing, and fast. So, there's that.

Seeing Red said...

-- I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important.--


She thinks wrong.

Darrell said...

Julia represents cradle-to-grave government care and interference.
Cancel her pension. She's just proved that she couldn't have earned it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Democrats are now in favor of leaving women to fend for themselves? Julia's going to be horrified.

EDH said...

Lance said...
When she says "women who want to be taken care of," isn't she describing Sandra Fluke?

"The Life of Julia."

Heck, the Obama campaign even makes it sound like the "Life of Riley".

The expression, "Living the life of Riley" suggests an ideal contented life, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it implies that someone is kept or advantaged. The expression was popular in the 1880s, a time when James Whitcomb Riley's poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life, but it could have an Irish origin—after the Reilly clan consolidated its hold on County Cavan, they minted their own money, accepted as legal tender even in England. These coins, called “O'Reillys” and “Reilly's” became synonymous with a monied person, and a gentleman freely spending was “living on his Reillys”.

Dr Weevil said...

The Lewinsky affair was certainly momentous, but there was nothing 'delicate' about it, on either side. It was crude, crass, and vulgar through and through.

Titus said...

The democrat convention will be one Gigantic Vagina with it's lips contasntly moving.

There will be a bunch of fags sprinkled all over the place too.

Paul Risenhoover said...

It reminds me of a Michelle Goldberg Matt Welch blogging heads where Michelle said she couldn't imagine any reason for opposing Obamacare other than racism.

I believed her assessment of her cognitive abilities.

Shouting Thomas said...

Not a single woman in my life is agonzing over this election as if it were a major issue in her life.

I don't know a single woman who worries about whether things are properly feminist or not (except for Althouse and commenters at Althouse).

This entire discussion is mostly a fantasized vision of life as a great feminist intellectual struggle. Of the women I've been close to, not a single one shares this vision of life.

Feminism is irrelevant. I don't begrudge you, Althouse, for your fascination with this. Some people like football. Some people like porn. You like feminism. Pretty borring and irrelevant obsession to me, but you are welcome to it.

Henry said...

I'm sure Julian Sanchez is furiously updating his epistemic closure theory. Not.

Rumpletweezer said...

On a similar note, the Democratic operative who called Scott Brown a girl for doing laundry, has now apologized to Scott Brown. But, think about it, he meant to insult Scott Brown, and he thought that calling him a girl fit the bill. Doesn't he owe women in general an apology for that?

creeley23 said...

Democrats are generally unable to understand how any person of a particular group could vote Republican. Recently Henry Reid made the same remark about Hispanics. Thomas Frank wrote a whole book, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" about not understanding how middle-class red-staters could vote Republican.

I voted Democratic until 2004. Until then I was similarly mystified how anyone could Republican.

Embedded in the Democratic/liberal viewpoint is the belief that your side possesses the moral and intellectual high ground and there is no questioning that. The only issue is how to convince unenlightened others of the same.

I find some of this on the Republican/conservative side, but not nearly so much; Republicans/conservatives have far more willingness to hold assumptions up to debate.

In this blog we see this played out as well. Most liberal commenters are content to post drive-by taunts and ad homs rather than substantive arguments.

Tim said...

Albright is just another sheep dog to keep the sheep together.

Democrats can't win when people vote as individuals rather than blocks.

wef said...

Every time you mention clinton, you should include the phrase, the rapist, impeached president.

Juanita Broaddrick, not the slut lewinsky, should be the first woman that should come to mind when the word clinton is heard.

AJ Lynch said...

That is all they got- go after sizable slices of voter blocs.

Romney wants to help all families while Dems want to help only selected families.

Marshal said...

I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney."

So Albright is affirming that those voting left are simply too ignorant to understand their choices.

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

Rumpletweezer said...

"On a similar note, the Democratic operative who called Scott Brown a girl for doing laundry, has now apologized to Scott Brown. But, think about it, he meant to insult Scott Brown, and he thought that calling him a girl fit the bill. Doesn't he owe women in general an apology for that?"

Of course he does.

Yet from the activists Democrat women - let's start with Elizabeth Warren, to make the point exceedingly clear - we hear crickets.

This, of course, should surprise no one at all.

Jay said...

I think women want to take care of themselves,

And nothing says that like contraceptive mandates, bragging about all the "free" stuff ObamaCare gives them, etc.

These woman is either senile or a terrible liar.

gerry said...

My concealed-carry-licensed wife fears Obama and the liberal Democrat machine, feeling they they want to smother the citizens with regulations.

She thinks Allbright is a douchebag, and says so.

Shouting Thomas said...

One thing that might interest me about this tactic is... Does anybody (including Albright) actually think this tactic might work?

It's juvenile... pure junior high school clique tactics.

Nobody who's [cool, in with the in crowd, up on style, down with the herd, upscale and trendy, etc.] could possibly vote for those unfashionable [fill in the blanks].

Perhaps women are moved by these juvenile tactics. Don't know.

Jay said...

I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney."

Maybe Hillary! is?

Top Bill Clinton confidant Douglas Band has said that he will vote for Republican Mitt Romney, according to a report in The New Yorker, apparently a move to strengthen Hillary Clinton’s position in the Democratic Party.

Seeing Red said...

So the Dem convention is "The Vagina Dialogs?"

Tim said...

"Juanita Broaddrick, not the slut lewinsky, should be the first woman that should come to mind when the word clinton is heard."

Another pity of it for Juanita Broddrick is that neither Sandra Fluke or Nina Burleigh were there in her stead.

Then it would have simply been between consenting adults.

Not that we know Bubba liked it that way.

Shouting Thomas said...

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.

This is such a bullshit, pathetically self-pitying statement that it has to be rebutted for the simple sake of sanity.

I can't imagine why a woman of your intelligence, Althouse, would allow such a stupid statement to exist on your site.

You have never experience, witnessed or known of anything that would support the notion that Western women were ever treated as anything except human.

Conserve Liberty said...

I well recall my wife's 1986 address to a local, women-only chapter of the Cum Laude Society, of which she was and is a member. As her guest I heard her declare that the most important element of her fine private women's school and Smith College education was "how to make a decision - and then how to make that stick."

She said, "My decision is to stay at home and raise the family my husband provides for us. I made the decision. I'm going to make it stick."

Of the four speakers that Thursday, my wife received the standing ovation.

Tim said...

Seeing Red said...

"So the Dem convention is "The Vagina Dialogs?"

Dialog requires actual discussion.

I think the original, "Monologue," still fits.

That is, where "monologue" = "harangue."

creeley23 said...

One thing that might interest me about this tactic is... Does anybody (including Albright) actually think this tactic might work?

ST: It's not a tactic. It's a sincere statement of belief in the superiority of Democratic policies for women.

Bruce Hayden said...

And frankly, I don’t understand —I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat — but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney

Clarice Feldman had a piece this weekend linking to an article by Daniel Greenfield on manufactured reality and one by Glenn Reynolds on preference cascades. The Dems used peer group pressure, through efforts of the MSM, to get Obama elected, and the Reps are pushing the cognitive dissonance and new media to negate this. Last election we had the contest between the uber-hip cool young clean black man, and the cranky old white geezer. And, those who didn't jump on board this were ostracized as unimaginative and ill-informed.

Much of what the Obama campaign seems directed towards furthering this meme. What independent woman would not vote for more unemployment, significantly greater debt for her children, and as a nod to Sec. Albright, a much more dangerous world? Oh, wait, that was reality. Let's try that again. What independent woman would not vote for such a cool cat as Barack Obama, esp. if they got free birth control as a result?

It is kinda like why middle school girls drive us crazy - they are so desperate at that age to conform. And, yes, you continue to see this as women grow up, from all those co-eds ironing their hair when some of us were in college, to many of the ads on TV aimed at women (the ones not trying to make men look stupid). So, here we have a very publicly accomplished woman, the first female Sec. of State, telling women that only stupid women would vote for Romney.

The funny thing for me, is that independent thinking women would seemingly be more likely to vote for Romney because of the abject failure of Obama as a President, esp. when it comes to the economy, but also to foreign affairs, the place where Sec. Albright would be most knowledgeable (did anyone note this weekend that the Obama Administration has somewhat cut Israel adrift, in terms of Iran?)

rhhardin said...

Women are human beings who vote like women.

It's all not insulting to women who like soap opera.

A woman who takes care of herself is a character in soap opera.

The escape isn't more complex meta-soap opera but actually getting interested in something else. Take up math.

"Girls, we have to up our game."

Shouting Thomas said...

The purpose of this tactic is primarily to scare women who worry about the continuing availability of abortion.

Can't see why this is such a big issue.

First, it is only a tangential issue in presidential politics. The president can't do much about abortion except to appoint Supreme Court Justices and hope they vote in harmony with the president's views.

Second, Mitt is a RINO. He's flipped back and forth on the abortion issue, and doesn't seem to have strong feelings pro or con. He's amped up the language a bit to win the nomination, but I don't see any indication that he's on a crusade to end the availability of abortion.

AllenS said...

No one wants to pet Madeleine's cat.

EMD said...

Ha Ha Ha.

exiledonmainst said...

creeley: I was a liberal back in the 1980's. I once shared an office with a nice, well-educated, very funny guy. One day I made a slighting comment about Reagan. My co-worker snapped at me, "Why do liberals always assume other people are liberal? I voted for Reagan twice and I think he's a great president." I was taken aback. Of course, I had assumed he was liberal because I thought that an intelligent, well-read person that I liked a great deal just HAD to be liberal. I had had very little personal experience with Republicans or conservatives up until that time. I had never read any conservative books or publications or heard a professer expound a conservative POV. I lived in an urban bubble. My friends and I didn't vote for Reagan, so how on earth did that landslide happen? Gee, those other Americans must be stupid yahoos. Really, I pinpoint that moment as the time when I started questioning my assumptions. It began to dawn on me that I had large gaps in my education and understanding. When I actually began to challenge my own beliefs, well, here I am on the "Dark Side." The great lure of liberalism is it allows you to swallow the conventional wisdom of our times whole while thinking yourself somehow cutting edge and superior. It's non-thought and conformity disguised as hip intellectualism. Only when I left it did I recognize how cliched liberal thinking is.

Larry J said...

There are so many things that Madeleine Albright can't understand. That's why I gave her the nickname "Not At", as in Madeleine "Not At" Albright.

Synova said...

What's pretty funny, really is that "women should be taken care of" is Julia.

And "taking care of herself" is, just maybe, buying her own birth control.

A person could read what she wrote and map that onto the conservative/individual liberty/Republican/Tea Party ethos, 100%.

And yet her conclusion is... can't see how any woman would vote for Romney.

DADvocate said...

I think women want to take care of themselves,...

As others have noted in various ways, the Democrats are all about the federal government (Big Brother) taking care of women, not women taking care of themselves.

edutcher said...

Lance nailed it.

So, for that matter, did Titus.

This is the same Madeleine Albright who allowed the Norks to hornswoggle her with the "Agreed Framework".

She also stayed at her post after finding out Willie had looked her and the rest of the Cabinet in the eye and lied to her.

Ollie North described her as "Our Dancing Diva of Diplomacy".

And, yes, he nailed it

Balfegor said...

But I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of.

Yes, wasn't that the whole point of the "Life of Julia" thing? That women need to be taken care of? And the birth control mandate -- that women can't be asked to buy their own birth control. Instead, their employers have to take care of them.

I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important.

Yes . . . so why would they vote for the Democrats?

Bender said...

I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of.

Says a member of the Puppet Master Party, who advocates government control of everyone's lives.

Balfegor said...

Re: edutcher:

This is the same Madeleine Albright who allowed the Norks to hornswoggle her with the "Agreed Framework".

Agreed Framework was 1994 (Warren Christopher); she wasn't sworn in until 1997. And in fact, starting around 1997, someone in the Clinton clearly realised that they'd made a foolish bargain, so they started delaying implementation, probably causing the North Korean tantrum/missile test in 1998.

And even in 1994, part of the problem was Carter mucking around with US diplomacy on the side of tyrants and dictators as usual.

elkh1 said...

Women want to take care of themselves, except to buy their own condoms.

The Godfather said...

What is Madam Albright trying to say?

"I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important."

If you want to take care of yourself, you don't need a "voice in how that is done", YOU just DO it.

You need a "voice" only if you're expecting someone else to take care of you.

What she must mean is that women want to be taken care of, but they want to be taken care of in a particular way. They need the "voice" to be sure that their care-givers take care of them the right way.

This notion isn't limited to women. It's the basis of the welfare state philosophy.

If Albright can't imagine a woman voting for Romney, it's because she can't imagine a strong, independent, and self-reliant woman.

Bender said...

I don’t understand —I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat — but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney

See, the implicit argument here is that you are not a real woman if you do not share an antipathy and hatred for those things which are exclusive and intrinsic to being a woman, those things which are the essence of differentiating a woman from a man. To Albright, the only real woman is the one who mimics men.

edutcher said...

I stand corrected.

acm said...

No, Ms. Albright. We don't want to take care of ourselves. We want to throw tantrums about how unfaaaiiir it is that we have to pay for our own birth control because we couldn't possibly depend on our boyfriends or husbands to buy it (Sandra Fluke says I don't need a man to take care of me! Just a whole university full of Jesuits...) and, like, how crazy would it be for us to haggle and ask the doctor for the cheaper kind? Then the doctor might think I'm poor and then he won't want to date me!

Ugh. The notion that husbands and wives might take care of each other is gah-ross, so we ladies need to "have a voice" in how *everybody* helps us take care of ourselves.

Bryan C said...

"I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important."

Women want to have "a voice in how taking care of themselves" is done? Done by whom? The President?

Democrats always think of their constituents in passive terms. Women can be independent, but only if they have things "done" for them. Minorities need dumbed-down welfare just to cope. Gay people can get married but have to be protected from offensive chicken sandwiches.

It's like we're all in assisted living, with big calendars on the walls to remind us what day it is. While nurses with soothing voices read the First Lady's latest helpful tips on how to buy things at the grocery store all by ourselves.

Salamandyr said...

Strange...she believes women want to take care of themselves, and want a "say" in how that's done.

Well, if they're taking care of themselves, then nobody else should have a say. But that's not exactly what she wants, is it? She wants women taken care of, and she wants women to decide how much and who by.

The Crack Emcee said...

She presents women — all women, apparently — as voting based on some kind of fuzzy, feel-y thinking about women,...

Now where would she have gotten THAT idea from?

[rolls eyes]

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Contrary to popular opinion, the infamous phrase "barefoot and pregnant" (implying a perpetual state) is not supported by (American) conservative principles nor does it reflect the actual dynamics. It has been used as a simple prop to marginalize a philosophy which emphasizes individual dignity, both of men and women.

Actually, it is better used as a metaphor to describe a philosophy which denigrates individual dignity and devalues human life. The recent spate of women dressed to resemble the external features of the female reproductive system, women walking topless through the streets, and the SlutWalk movement (which conflates cultural standards for dress with rape and discrimination), are material examples of diminishing a woman's stature in society. Well, not all women. Only the individuals who participated in these exhibitions.

As for pregnancy, it is a choice, which is readily understood to be a potential outcome following vaginal intercourse. There are no Republicans or conservatives, religious or otherwise, who desire to take away that choice from women.

Albright should review the history of Republicans, and American conservatism specifically. She seems to recognize individual dignity; but, paradoxically, she votes for its denigration and subordination.

The prerequisite for liberty are individuals capable of self-moderating behavior. It will not survive the normalization of involuntary exploitation (i.e. redistributive change) and it will not survive the devaluation of individual human life.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with Crack here - the video he links to is pretty funny: Now where would she have gotten THAT idea from?

exhelodrvr1 said...

The Vagina Monologues, Appendix 237.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The Vagina Monologues, Appendix 237.

Revenant said...

Albright is either an unconvincing liar or really bad at understanding how people think.

Either possibility explains her poor performance as Secretary of State pretty well.

Freeman Hunt said...

Where do you get the card to be a card-carrying whatever?

"Madame Albright, you say you're a Democrat."
"I am!"
"I don't believe you."
"Wait, wait, I've got my card. Here."
"Alright, it's okay. She checks out. Cancel the editorial segment about her outrageous ignorance on tonight's news."

jono39 said...

Aside from being among the worst of a very bad lot as Secretary of State, how can anyone take seriously a person who "forgot" or "did not know" she was a Jew? Please. Really.

jono39 said...

Aside from being among the worst of a very bad lot as Secretary of State, how can anyone take seriously a person who "forgot" or "did not know" she was a Jew? Please. Really.

Freeman Hunt said...

Did you know that people are still passing around the Obama most stingy since Eisenhower canard? Well-educated professionals are still saying this. Unreal.

CWJ said...

As I read the embedded quote, I thought she was working up to leaving the reservation. At least that would seem to follow from the line she was taking (control and dependency bad - independence good). In fact, I even took the life-long Democrat line as providing cover for the conclusion that would follow. My head nearly exploded when I got to the punchline.

It was an amazing example of arguing right up to the brink of a rational conclusion, and then turning back.

Rob said...

This falls under the Bullshit tag. As a card carrying member of the Democrat party the category "women" has nothing to do with her position. She also could not understand why men, rabbits, dogs, llamas, geese, rocks, or pistachio nuts would vote for Romney.

Shana said...

I had the same reaction, CWJ. I was thinking, "She's throwing over Obama?" Then I read the rest of it. That is some serious confusion.

Methadras said...

I don't think Julia would protest with Albright's position.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I'm surprised no one else yet mentioned Mr Obama saying, of the GOP, something like "their message to you is, 'you're on your own!'"

If only it were true. The GOP wants govt coddling, just a bit less of it.

But it's a bracing statement of what the alternative is, and it cheered me to hear it.

Now that I think about it, the President hasn't repeated that. I wonder if someone, afterward, said it wasnt helpful to frame the matter quite so baldly.

virgil xenophon said...

What talk-radio personality was it that labeled her Madeleine Half-bright? IIRC it was Mark Levin. Whoever it was he/she was certainly square on tgt..

Saint Croix said...

And by the way, that new quote of hers is damned sexist.

Nice catch, Ann.

The offense leaps out at you if you simply replace "Mitt Romney" with "Barack Obama."

I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Barack Obama, except maybe Mrs. Obama.

Can you imagine a feminist saying this? Maybe, if it's 2008, and Hillary is running against him. Women should vote for the woman!

But you can't imagine anybody saying something like that in 2012. The hostile undercurrents are so obvious. "How can you vote for Obama? He hates women!" And of course it would seem racist to a lot of people.

Identity politics is so ideological and so boring and so really, really stupid. It's obvious to anyone listening that you're not thinking at all.

I am speaking from a vagina'd perspective.

This cracked me up because it's such a feminist cliche, and so hilarious. I am pretty sure it was tongue-in-cheek. Had to be.

Anyway, the "vagina'd perspective" is the same logical fallacy that Allbright is showing, or that any sexist pig is showing, for that matter.

"You have a vagina, I know how you think."

And of course there is biological difference, and women are different than men. But when people make rash assumptions--and identity politics is prone to these rash assumptions--it's just idiotic.

MarkD said...

Those photos of her dancing with Kim Jong Il make it impossible for me to take her seriously.

David said...

Madeline Albright was the daughter of a wealthy and well connected Czech diplomat named Joseph Korbel. She went to private schools in Europe and came to America when her father sought asylum. He was well enough connected to get a teaching post in Colorado (for which he was indeed qualified), and Madeline went to private secondary schools, then Wellesley and then some graduate work.

She married a wealthy and well connected American, who used his influence to get her some secondary level jobs in which she had little interest. They lived well in Chicago and New York and her husband took over the family business.

Madeline was most interested in academics and language. She had some talent, especially in languages, but her husband's wealth and position enabled her to acquire some fancy degrees.

Her husband divorced her for another woman and the divorce settlement made her financially very secure. She worked as a legislative aide to Muskie and on the National Security Council as a mid level staffer under Carter.

After Carter lost, she was an academic and briefer of Democratic politicians in foreign policy. She had no research or publications of note, nor did she ever have a job that required leadership and decision making at any high level.

Despite this middling background, her first ever diplomatic job was Ambassador to the United Nations. There she utterly failed to convince either other members or her boss Bill Cintlon to deal with the massacres in Raswanda. Though the press later helped to wash her clean, there was a lot of Rawandan blood on her hands. Her performance was basically incompetent.

After her mediocre career and failed tenure at the UN, she was made the first woman Secretary of State. Her exotic foreign background made some view her as a female version of Kissinger. She was not. She lacked Kissinger's intelligence, learning, academic distinction, diplomatic skill, communications ability, skepticism and ability to marshal ideas and power.

Madeline Albright is, in short, a mediocre product of an academic-political system that required little of her before elevating her to a very important post.Her ability to do this was in significant part aided by the wealth and status of her father and husband, and by her gender.

Compare her with (say) James Byrnes, George Marshall, Dean Acheson, Foster Dulles, Chip Bohlen, Kissinger, George Schultz, Jim Baker, Warren Christopher, Colin Powell or Condi Rice. These were highly accomplished people, who paid their dues to become Secretary of State, no matter what you think of their policies. Compared to them Ms. Albright is a joke.