Suzanne Fields

Women are traditionally the "caring sex," so health care reform was a natural for her, but her big-government caring was rejected, big time. She insists that she's learned from that failure. But the Clintons, for all their differences, are united in their determination to keep hidden a lot of the details of what went on in the health care consultations in the White House. Hillary claims those White House years as part of her 35 years of "experience," but there's a lot we still don't know about her training as a workhorse.

One of President Clinton's proudest achievements was the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but Hillary joins Obama in scorning it. That leaves it to the Republican workhorse, John McCain, to argue that NAFTA created millions more jobs than it shipped south to Mexico. "The person left to carry on this part of the Clinton legacy," notes the New York Sun, "is the Republican."

Men and women react in different ways when they're confronted with a problem. Women are eager to have their problems acknowledged; men want them solved. Human relationships are complicated, of course, and sexual differences, like political differences, are rarely clear cut. But it's clear that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have reversed the sexual stereotypes. She's the one in the "solutions business." He craves acknowledgement for the big problem, the need for change.

With Hillary burdened with so many qualities traditionally regarded as male, her campaign tries to dampen her aggressiveness, which makes her even more vulnerable. If Barack Obama is the eventual nominee of his party, he will have demonstrated that Democrats, if not everyone else, yearn for the female qualities in their president. The conventional wisdom says most Americans vote with their gut, but many others are voting in the primaries with their hearts. For better or worse, the Democrats are sending Hillary work orders, with Valentines and love notes to Barack Obama. It might feel good, but it's risky business.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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