Saturday, January 20, 2007

Go Nancy!

"I am woman, hear me roar," sang Helen Reddy in the feminist favourite song.

Now it may be a case of "Ok, you're a woman, so shut up about it and get on with the job." Patrick Hynes writes:

"Nothing irritates male voters more than to have a woman politician belligerently point out the obvious: that she is a woman," one prominent Republican pollster in Washington told me. "In focus group after focus group, we see support from white men nosedive when female politicians from either party deliberately suggest that their gender makes them better suited for high office."

I can validate this phenomenon from personal experience. I once observed a focus group for a client, a Republican woman candidate for Congress. She was thought to have innumerable weaknesses, though we considered her gender an obvious strength. We were thrilled to see that she sustained her favorability when we highlighted her presumed shortcomings to participants. But when we played up the gender-angle, the needle plunged among white guys. The focus group fundamentally altered our approach to voters.

"That’s the kind of thing you see whenever these situations arise," my source told me. "Generally speaking, being a woman is an electoral advantage, but running as a woman is a weakness."
Hynes suggests new US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may harm Hillary Clinton's tilt at the White House by carping on about girl power.

I knew Pelosi couldn't be all bad.

-- Nick

UPDATE: Clinton formally announces her intention to seek nomination as the Democrat candidate and more of her pals immediately 'help her out':

"I am one of the millions of women who have waited all their lives to see the first woman sworn in as president of the United States _ and now we have our best opportunity to see that dream fulfilled," said Ellen Malcolm, president of EMILY's list, which raises money for Democratic women who run for office.
Clinton also repulses a lot of women voters. In comments from the above:

Anyone who can look the other way while her husband had an affair with an employee in her own house puts her integrity in question. It made my skin crawl when she went on for the sole purpose of politics. I know she lost a lot of respect from women all over the US.

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