Clinton v Obama

5 March 2008

If I were just about to become an American citizen instead of an Australian one, I’d have to make decisions about where my vote would go.  In view of the fact that the results of an American election effect the entire world, I think we should all have a vote there anyway.

But how would I vote at the moment? 

My first reaction when seeing the choice of candidates was that I would pick Hillary Clinton.  How great it would be to have a woman in the White House, what a message that would send to the world, men have messed it up for years so why not give a woman a chance  etc etc.  But why?  Women have been leaders of countries for a few years now but there’s no evidence that their presence has done anything to advance the cause of women.  Have the women of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan been freed from their shackles?  (And why is it that countries where the emancipation of women is so low on the agenda were the first to elect female leaders?) 

And then of course we have that paragon of feminism and leader of women, Margaret Thatcher!  I lived in Thatcher’s Britain and failed to notice any great leaps forward for women.  Quite the reverse.  Most of the advances women have made in Britain in the 20th Century were made possible by middle-aged and elderly white men (Ted Heath, Harold Wilson et al).

So to vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman is probably not the best idea.  A number of Americans have told me that some Democratic voters so loath the woman that they’d vote for McCain rather than her. 

I’d go with Obama –  intelligent and educated, and has a world view that has always eluded George W.  I don’t know how good he’ll be for the people of America but for the rest of us, I think he’d be the right choice. 




  1. Some of this is generational change, I think. Hilary represents old world, old money, old values, whereas Obama feels like the fresher, younger approach. Bit like Howard and Rudd, really.

  2. Interesting point about those countries that have women’s emancipation low on the agenda being among the first to have women leaders! There’s at least one woman president in Africa too. Not a job I’d want [anywhere in the world].

    Perhaps women in leadership are too busy proving that they can do as well [or better] than men that they forget women’s issues? Just a thought!

  3. I agree about Obama, I think (after not thinking about it too much 😉 – it’s like the Clintons and Bushs are the Old Guard ‘American Royalty’ families, while Obama represents a whole new fresh start.

  4. I worked in the British Parliament when Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister. There were fewer women in the Cabinet then (one – her) than there had been since 1934. We used to say, “She may be a woman, but she ain’t no sister”.

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