Hillary Clinton's 'mom strategy' gets off to a bumpy start

Posted: Jan 29, 2007 11:41 AM
Hillary Clinton's 'mom strategy' gets off to a bumpy start

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has finally announced her run for the presidency. According to her former friend, political pundit Dick Morris, Clinton will run on the "Mom Strategy," which, Morris says, "gives her a credible way to tack to the left on the war."

Clinton launched her mom strategy on the ABC television show "The View" when a co-host asked her if being a mom gives "a would-be president kind of an edge up on, say, a male rival?" Hillary replied, "Well, you know, nobody's ever been in a position to ask that question, because we've never had a mother who ever ran for or held that position."

Wrong, Hillary, you're not the first mom to run for president. That niche in the history books goes to Ellen McCormack, mother of three daughters and one son, and even a grandmother, when she ran for president in 1976.

Running for the Democratic Party nomination for president, McCormack campaigned in 18 states (in chronological order): New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, Nebraska, Michigan, Maryland, Tennessee, Oregon, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Kentucky, South Dakota, New Jersey and California. She failed to win any primaries, but she won some delegates and received 22 votes for president at the Democratic National Convention, more votes than were cast for Sens. Frank Church of Idaho, Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington, Fred Harris of Oklahoma or Vice President Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota.

McCormack was the first woman to receive Secret Service protection as a presidential candidate in a major party. She was also the first woman to receive federal matching funds for her primary campaign.

In 1980, McCormack ran again for president, that time as the candidate of New York's Right To Life Party. She received 32,327 votes in New York, New Jersey and Kentucky, three of the states where she succeeded in getting on the ballot.

McCormack played a major role in the rise of the pro-life movement. Her leadership enabled the then-young pro-life movement to flex its muscles and demonstrate political courage, determination and perseverance. After her campaigns for president, politicians who had been timid about saying they opposed abortion and Roe v. Wade came out of the woodwork and confidently stated their views. McCormack was also important in the growth of the conservative movement in New York State.

It is curious that, like Clinton, The Associated Press also ignored McCormack's groundbreaking campaign for president. An AP news story, timed to coincide with Clinton's proclamation of her mom strategy, omitted McCormack from a list of eight "women who have run for president," a list that included several whose insignificant campaigns terminated almost before they got started, such as Pat Schroeder's.

The AP cited as its source for this list the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers. The Center's list, which is posted on its Web site and claims to be complete, names 15 women who sought major party nominations but also omits McCormack.

If I were conspiratorially minded, I might think that pro-choice feminists in the media and in universities are trying to drop McCormack, one of the original, valiant pro-life leaders, down the memory hole. Today, she has eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and she deserves her place in history. Clinton's announcement of her mom strategy was part of her book tour to publicize a re-issue of her 10-year-old book called "It Takes a Village." The revised cover shows her surrounded by a collection of adoring children - like the photo-op of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., when she took over as Speaker of the House.

The word village is a euphemism for government, and the concept of the village raising a child is the socialists' dream. It's based on the idea that children should be raised, guided and educated by an assortment of so-called experts, including teachers, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, judges, and child care employees.

Clinton invites us to "imagine a country in which nearly all children between the ages of 3 and 5 attend preschool in sparkling classrooms." That children's paradise is France, which "makes caring for children a top priority," and where "more than 90 percent of French children between ages 3and 5 attend free or inexpensive preschools."

The assumption of "It Takes a Village" is that daycare, run by tax-salaried and licensed "professionals" in centers regulated by the government, is preferable to mother care. Clinton even praises the fact that many French children are in full-day programs "even before they reach the age of 3."

The re-issue of Hillary's old book dispels the notion that she is re-inventing herself as a moderate. Her mom strategy is badly out of sync with her book praising a country that starts government daycare for children at age 2.