Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hillary gets motherly

Bidding to lead the so-called Mommy Party, Hillary Clinton delivered a credo in her Florida victory speech that certainly casts her as the Mommy President:

"I believe everyone who works full time in America should bring home an income that lifts that person out of poverty and gives them and their children a better chance.

"I believe that every man, woman and child has a right to quality, affordable health care.

"I believe that every child has a God-given potential that we can help to develop if we have universal prekindergarten and we have a school system that is not so worried about giving tests as in making sure our kids can learn.

"I believe that our tax system should be fair for everyone. It is wrong that people making $50 million a year on Wall Street pay a lower percentage of their taxes than as teacher making $50 thousand dollars in Florida.

"I believe it is time for us to begin to bring our troops home from Iraq as carefully and responsibly as we can.

"I believe it is important we do everything to promote better relations in our hemisphere with all of our neighbors and that we continue to support democracy in Cuba.

"And I believe that we can, working together, feel pride and progress in our country again. You are giving me a tremendous gift, not only with your votes, but with your trust, because I believe that public office is a trust, and I will get up every single day, worrying about you, your families, your future.I think it is time we again have a president who put the American people first and that is what I will try to do.

While the agenda is unexceptionably Democratic, the language and emphases are stronly gender-inflected. Hillary seems to promise 'universal prekindergarten' not only for our children but for all of us. In fact in Hillaryland, everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten: we all play fair, we're all secure and taken care of, we have good neighborly relationships, and we're watched over by a president who will get up every single day worrying about us, our families, our future and who, like every good mother, earns and treasures our trust.

Not that there's anything wrong with any of this. George Will would deride it as a nanny state vision, but most Americans seem to believe again that the state should ensure universal healthcare, fair wages, a fair tax code, and even, in a competitive world, universal pre-k. But I wonder if we're in for another swing of Hillary's persona pendulum, from commander- to worrier-in-chief.

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