Magazine article Tikkun

Hillary versus Condi

Magazine article Tikkun

Hillary versus Condi

Article excerpt

The favorite parlor game in Washington right now is speculating about a Hillary-versus-Condi race for President in 2008.

What does the appetite among inside-the-beltway pundits for that face-off say about politics in America?

First, it says that the 2008 race is wide open; neither party will have the benefit of an incumbent. While the challengers could re-offer John Kerry, his close but uninspiring performance in 2004 is causing top Democrats to go shopping. So, Hillary and Condi are viable choices in an open field.

Second, it says that we are drawn to interesting personalities and stories. Hillary, the First Wife betrayed by a First Husband impeached for lying about his non-sex sex, has a back-story full of nutritious complexity and intrigue. But the junior senator from New York has clearly established herself as a highly credible political personality and power in her own right, and her " second chance" story is one that fascinates (and infuriates) America.

Condi has her own intriguing story, starting in the postslavery south and wending its upwardly mobile way to the position of the first black woman secretary of State, with a little classical pianist mixed in. With her new Matrix-like wardrobe in Paris, she has emerged as a high-fashionista and world dominatrix, a variegated tapestry never before seen in American politics. While still a political personality in formation, Condi is living a complex Bush-mentored "coming of age" story right before our eyes.

Third, it says that we want to see a woman and an African American run on a major party ticket for President of the United States. A two-woman race would eliminate the degrading and distracting arguments about whether a woman could be as "tough" as a man in the presidential office. And with Condi as the Republican standard-bearer, any disquieting voices from the Right that might question the wisdom of putting a black person in the White House would be seriously muted. With Hillary versus Condi, our gender and race shibboleths would be behind us, and we could advance our destiny as a country where any American has the chance to become President.

Fourth, it says that a political consensus may be developing around policies of strong national defense, free trade, and fiscal conservatism. …

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