Monday, May 19, 2008

Chelsea should have been more front and center in Clinton's campaign

I just re-read a January 10, 2008 draft of an op-ed I published in the Tribune about unfair media portrayals of Hillary Clinton. At the end of my draft, I made a prediction that my editor removed because he said that I wasn't in the prediction business. He was right, I'm not--but I have to say, my prediction was right (read these two paragraphs that were not in my published piece.) And, I have to say, I think if Hillary Clinton had relied on Chelsea more from the beginning, and framed her own image as a "mama bear," as a maternal figure, she would have been portrayed more positively in the press.

Here are the two paragraphs from my original draft:

"Hillary's challenge in the days ahead is going to be how to reach out to those postfeminist twenty and early thirtysomething women who haven't yet suffered much because of their gender. A prediction: the Clinton campaign will feature Chelsea more front and center, and allow her finally to talk to the press. We'll see a lot less of Bill, a lot more of Chelsea. We saw a glimpse of this at the end of Hillary's victory speech Tuesday night: she hugged Chelsea, then Bill, and then Chelsea again, and they gazed lovingly at each other: the shot of mother and daughter gazing lovingly and proudly at each other made the Drudge Report. (Usually the victory speech image is of husband and wife.) Many young women will see themselves in Chelsea in a way they never will in Hillary."

"Bill Clinton (with Gore by his side) could use his sex appeal as a way to attract young female voters in 1993. I remember Naomi Wolf on the Yale campus screaming that "These men are babes!" to the cheers of the co-eds. The “Obama Girl” YouTube video only strengthened Obama's appeal. Hillary can't capitalize on her sex appeal as a strategy. (When she innocently showed an inch of cleavage a female Washington Post reporter jumped all over her.) But maybe she can run on her maternal appeal."

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