One of the cleverer ways of asking Hillary Clinton if she’s running for president has been to ask whether she’d go by “Madam President” or “Mrs. President.” And would Bill Clinton be “first gentleman”?
Now Hillary’s found a way to answer the question without answering what people really want to know. “Speaking hypothetically,” Clinton said during a keynote speech in downtown Toronto, the husband of a female president could be called “first man” or even “first mate.”
The comments, which came Monday as part of a promotional tour for her new memoir, Hard Choices, may be maddeningly coy. But they’re significant in that they mark the beginning of a conversation that for too long has only been the province of women: what title to use.
Female lawmakers on Capitol Hill have long struggled with whether to go with the gender-ambiguous title of “congressman” or use the gender-specific title of “congresswoman.” Does choosing a gendered title convey more pride in one’s sex or is such specificity merely a distraction? Does the term “chairman” confer more gravitas than “chairwoman,” and if so, isn’t that problematic? What about just going by “chair”? (National Journal interviewed a dozen or so female lawmakers on the subject earlier this year.)
Like so many questions that should never have been “women’s questions” to begin with, this one suits men very nicely. Hillary’s suggestion of “first mate” stands in contrast to the more traditional “first gentleman,” which is the title Marcus Bachmann, husband of former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, always suggested. It also sounds unbearably corny.
But hey, at least someone is finally asking the question.
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"Wikileaks published more than 8,000 documents purportedly taken from the Democratic National Committee Friday, just days before the start of the party's convention in Philadelphia. The documents included briefings on off-the-record fundraisers and candid photographs."
Hillary Clinton "is widely expected to announce her choice" of vice president "in an email to supporters while on a campaign swing in Florida on Friday afternoon." The consensus: it'll be Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, although Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are also said to be in the running.
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.