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What Does it Say About Us

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Judith Warner is on a wave-making roll with her Domestic Disturbances column in the NY Times. Today she takes on the voice quiver heard ’round the world and asks: why did it matter so much to the New Hampshire primary voters that Clinton cried (or almost did)?

Here’s what Warner has to say:

I don’t for a moment begrudge Hillary her victory on Tuesday. But if victory came for the reasons we’ve been led to believe – because women voters ultimately saw in her, exhausted and near defeat, a countenance that mirrored their own – then I hate what that victory says about the state of their lives and the nature of the emotions they carry forward into this race. I hate the thought that women feel beaten down, backed into a corner, overwhelmed and near to breaking point, as Hillary appeared to be in the debate Saturday night. And I hate even more that they’ve got to see a strong, smart and savvy woman cut down to size before they can embrace her as one of their own.

I can definitely echo Warner’s discomfort with the line the MSM is feeding us — that Clinton won in New Hampshire because she showed some emotion. And I too have been scratching my head over why, if indeed that is how Clinton picked up the votes, women thought that the tears were a positive development in Clinton’s candidacy.

But I’m not so sure that it was the tears. And if it was, I’m not so ready to pile all the blame on the voters (though certainly they play a role). What about the media that has created this Hillary persona to begin with. While I disagreed with Gloria Steinem’s piece the other day, it does at time seem like a lose-lose for a female candidate: either she’s tough enough to run with the male candidates and too tough to win, or she’s not tough enough to have power over our military and have her finger on the button but she’s now sensitive enough to win.

As some of Warner’s commenters point out, maybe she’s got a little of her own voter narcissism going on in her column. Whatever her angle, I think she’s right to point out that if it is indeed the tears that allowed Hillary to win, we’ve got some serious soul searching to do.

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