Believe

Big Brown just lost the Belmont Stakes and with that, the Triple Crown of horse racing. I say, “Good for you, Big Brown. At least you are alive to tell the story.” One of his front hooves was cracked and I was scared that something terrible would happen and he would have to be put down. But his wonderfully sensitive jockey felt a tentativeness about him and actually “pulled him back”. Good and generous move.

I find Big Brown’s experience today metaphorically related to that of Hillary Clinton. Her speech earlier today was good and generous. If the Hillary we saw today had been evident during her campaign, perhaps the nomination could have been hers. Let me explain.

Gender differences DO exist. Period. Gender differences should not cause unequal treatment, unequal pay and unequal opportunities. Human beings should be able to overcome those obstacles. However, sexual differences play into many areas of our lives, especially popularity contests such as political races.

Let me use the Clintons as an example. When Bill was President, I had the opportunity of meeting him twice. His charm and charisma absolutely just dripped off of him. He could win over a crowd from 1000 feet away —– and he did. Bill’s attraction to the masses helped him use whatever tactics he wanted to win politically. Whether they were sleazy, dishonest or in any way inappropriate didn’t matter. His overriding appeal always won the day.

But that didn’t work with Hillary. She deliberately chose NOT to emphasize her historical run as the first woman to take a serious stab at becoming President. She instead stressed her experience, judgment and work ethic. No doubt, one would want a President to encompass these traits. But she was looking at the task FROM A MAN’S POINT OF VIEW, from Bill’s successful runs, using Bill’s political operatives, staff and tactics. This did not sit well for a WOMAN candidate. It did not translate well for her. What worked for Bill did not work for Hillary. So as much as one would like to believe that a woman can run a campaign just like a man can, and a two-termer to boot, she couldn’t. In her speech today, it wasn’t just the content that won the day; her deep gratitude to her public, her sincere offer of support to Obama and unity for the Party and her obvious vulnerability came shining through.

So gender differences DO matter; they should be recognized, celebrated and played up to the hilt. That is what empowerment is all about: making YOUR skills and talents, based on who YOU are (in this case, a woman and not a man) the main selling point. It was a major misconception that the Clinton campaign had. They DIDN’T need Bill. In fact, he messed up more than he helped. And I do believe that the biggest stopgap measure as to why Hillary will not be chosen as Obama’s running mate, is Bill. For all of Hillary’s intellectual talents, her huge capacity for hard work and her genuine love of this country, she missed the boat over the last 17 months because she, while always aware of and communicating to the public her historical run for the Presidency, did not acknowledge nor embrace and, in fact, denied, her place as a woman. She did not believe in herself as much as she believed in the process. In the end, she came up short.

But kudos to Hillary Clinton for joining the bandwagon today. Better late than never. Only time will tell, but if the Hillary we saw today is the Hillary that will help put Obama in office in January, her rewards will be spectacular not only for herself, but more importantly, for our country. I believe that if she follows the path she set out for herself today and acts on the vision and determination exhibited in her speech, the sky’s the limit for her. Sure she had to “pull back” today. But her being good and generous will work wonders for her future. And her coattails will be phenomenal.

So the two horse races today were remarkable.  Both Big Brown and Hillary Clinton have not only survived the day, and that is not always an easy feat or a gimme, but also will go on to thrive and prosper.  I hope the same for America.

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