Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 3:25 pm | Fair 72º


Susan Estrich: In Hillary Clinton, Women Finally See Their True Champion

Will she? She will.

Would she? She would.

It was inevitable.

She did.

Now where is that tingling feeling?

I remember when Fritz Mondale announced that he had chosen Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. Mind you, I knew — I’d already switched her hotel rooms around. But I still got that tingling feeling gathered in front of a television, watching our own walls tumbling down.

This time, everyone knew it was coming. It wasn’t some far-off dream of a handful of crazed feminists. It was Sunday, and the favorite to be the next president of the United States was just making it official. How remarkably unremarkable.

But it will be truly remarkable if she wins. That’s what matters here. Not having a woman run or run as a serious candidate or run in a general election. Having a woman win.

And no one is in a better position to win this race than the candidate who happens to be a woman.

Usually, foreign policy doesn’t matter. We vote bread and butter. But those pictures of ISIS beheading sympathetic journalists are hard to forget. And Hillary Clinton probably has more real foreign-policy experience than anyone to assume the presidency before her.

The real challenge of this campaign, on the Democratic side, is to find something to talk about. We’ve been talking about the Clintons for decades. Most Americans — I think luckily for them — have no idea what Whitewater was and no visible interest in learning.

I’ve had to explain the “blue dress” to young people who have never heard of it and can’t believe that it once commanded the world stage. We may or may not be “weary” of the Clintons, but we have been amazingly well informed for many political lives.

The left will say she is not left enough. But really, the first woman president? Exactly how hard does the left come down on the former chairwoman of Legal Services Corporation, a longstanding champion of the rights of families and children? This is the candidate who is going to be the target of a battering by the left? I don’t think so.

Here is what I have noticed. When I’m around elites, including elite women, they treat Hillary running as a matter of course, last night’s television, the train they’ve been waiting for, with the only question remaining being what embassy they should aim for. These women should be muzzled.

But the ladies at the lunchroom counter are not so blase. Hear any man within earshot make a negative comment about a woman, almost any woman, and you’re bound to hear, somewhere, just under her breath, a woman smirking, “Just you wait for Hillary.”

“Just you watch, Bozo,” the cashier muttered with satisfaction, and I was right there muttering with her. This time.

Maybe we’ve traded the tingle for the smirk, but there sure are more of us. Let the pundits debate whether Hillary needs to push the “woman button” harder than she did last time (every question will be framed that way), because I’m not sure it matters. It seems to me that the button is being pushed by a new generation of women, and for most of them, it’s a brand-new game.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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