Copyright © 1999 Henrietta W. Hay
The Senate and a Woman President
January 15, 1999
What a week in politics -- An impeachment trial and a potential female
candidate for president in 2000!
As I write this, the entire Senate is being sworn in as a jury to sit on
the issue of the removal from office of the President of the United
States. I have no idea what will have happened by the time this is
printed. I strongly suspect that nobody else does either.
The first thing I saw on television on this eventful morning was the
vision of a dozen gray (suit and hair) males solemnly marching two by
two out of the Senate Chamber. They were the managers, the
prosecutors, the members of the House Judicial Committee who had just
presented the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.
I came oh so very close to throwing my new Merc basketball through my
television screen when those pompous, self-righteous suits walked out.
We thought the sixties were sex crazy. Little did we know. In those days
the young people merely started a sexual revolution, which some of them
have since come to regret as their own children become teenagers. But
then it was strictly a personal rebellion, and largely non-political.
Now here we are in the midst of a multi-million dollar constitutional
crisis over a sexual event that is extremely offensive, but is all too
common but not criminal. A young, ambitions, over-sexed female from
California flipped her jacket to show her thong underwear to the
president, and he fell for it. The small but noisy "Get Clinton Any
Way You Can" group spent millions of tax dollars hunting for dirt and
they finally found sex. Now the House, the Senate and the Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court are all involved in a farce which has turned to a
tragedy for everyone involved. And we, the "American Peeeepul" are
sitting out here wishing they'd all shut up. Enough now!
With luck, by the time of the next election, Congress will have
concluded the matter. My personal suggestion is that, since we will
have a new president, we also replace the whole House and maybe the
Senate and start over.
There was another political story this week. Liddy Dole, who insists on
being called Elizabeth, has resigned her job as president of the
American Red Cross. She has been quietly running for the Republican
presidential nomination for a long time, but now she has come out in the
open about it.
Mrs. Dole is the first female candidate to emerge this year, but she
will probably not be the last. This presents a major dilemma for
feminists, and we're going to get pounded no matter what we say. Our
vital political goal is not simply to have a woman president. We must
have a superior woman president. It's the political version of the
story about Ginger Rogers, who could do everything Fred Astaire could
do, and she did it in high heels and backwards.
Is Liddy Dole the one? I don't think so, but I'm keeping an open mind
on this one. She is a competent, beautiful woman, with high name
recognition, but those who know her describe her as rigid, rehearsed,
a control freak. Maureen Dowd says she is " all discipline and no
spontaneity. . . like a Stepford Wife." In any case, she has a long
fight ahead, for she will come up against the anti-female far right long
before the conventions.
A man can be a bad president and all we worry about is electing another
man. But if the first woman president is not an outstanding success, we
will hear, "We told you so. Women simply aren't biologically or
emotionally able do the job," and we won't get another one for a century
So we have a long way to go in making decisions about female
presidential candidates. I have a mental list of a dozen or so women I
think would be able to do the job a lot better than most recent
But first we have to get the Senate off center on the presidential
matter. That will take some time, but I do hope if they insist on
calling Monica Lewinsky she won't wear a blue dress.