Dec 062007
 
Authors: Joseph Haynie

One of my colleagues at the Collegian wants you to believe that “Hillary is taking extra heat because she is the front-runner in the polls.”

Mike Huckabee attested to this notion during the most recent Republican debate, and said “when they’re kicking you in the rear, it’s just proving you’re still out front.”

Although Clinton maintains strong leads in national polls, as well as in key primary states, she has seen a seven point lead in Iowa diminish to Barack Obama in the last two weeks. Not only is she trailing the Illinois senator in Iowa, her once solid lead in New Hampshire is slowly becoming surmountable, as Obama trails by a mere nine points with five weeks remaining until the primary.

The same colleague has also argued that Clinton’s criticisms are because “she is a woman.”

There’s no doubt that Clinton is campaigning for president in a sexist culture that perceives strong women as a threat. But to cast a sympathy vote for a woman candidate, as some pundits suggest, is an insult to the female demographic, which comprises 51 percent of the population.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that Clinton is getting criticized because of her gender.

Do those that prescribe to this idea apply the same logic to the criticisms surrounding Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Is all the negativity surrounding these candidates a result of their race or religion?

Or is it because of their inexperience, verbal gaffes and flip-flops?

The truth of the matter is, Clinton is being attacked because she is, well, a Clinton.

In the American political lexicon, the word Clinton is synonymous with scandalous. If anything, she, complete with her spotted record and shady past, has brought all of this negativity on herself.

Despite all of the criticism surrounding Clinton, she has encouraged the candidates to rise above the juvenile attacks.

At the debate in Las Vegas, Clinton, commenting on the “mud slinging” by the other candidates, said that the criticism “really detracts from what we’re trying to do here tonight.”

However, upon feeling the heat in the Iowa polls, Clinton has found herself with dirty hands, having resorted to the very thing she denounced earlier.

On Monday, while speaking to a group of supporters in Iowa, Clinton said that Obama “doesn’t have the nerve to take on tough issues.” She supported this claim by citing his record of “present” votes in the Illinois state legislature.

Apparently, Illinois allows its legislators to vote “present” instead of yes or no on a bill. While in Springfield, Obama voted “present” on several abortion bills.

According to the New York Daily News, Hillary slammed these “present” votes and said, “a president can’t pick and choose which challenges he or she will face.”

Clinton might want to think twice before challenging Obama on his “present” votes. She, too, has been known to avoid a direct answer or two in her day.

In the debate in Philadelphia, Clinton couldn’t plainly answer a question regarding driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, even after being pressed by Tim Russert.

This came in the wake of a heated exchange between Clinton and Russert in September in which she was asked to comment on whether Israel would be justified in taking out an Iranian nuclear reactor, Clinton not only sidestepped the question, she flat out refused to offer an answer.

These non-answers, among many others, are kind of like “present” votes, don’t you think?

Arguing that her criticisms have resulted from poll positions is acceptable. Arguing that it is because of her gender is not. If anything, all of this has resulted from Hillary simply being Hillary.

But what do I know? After all, I’m just a typical Republican.

Joseph Haynie is a senior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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