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Do female politicians represent an 'ethical and pure' force?

By Carey Roberts
web posted April 7, 2008

Hillary Clinton has famously claimed that "Research shows the presence of women raises the standards of ethical behavior and lowers corruption." Ironically it's Mrs. Clinton who has now come under withering criticism as her ethical lapses and make-believe claims become legion.

Hillary ClintonHillary still hasn't come clean on where her $5 million campaign loan came from. She refused to release her Senate earmark requests, even after Barack Obama made known his list.

Most comical of all, she claimed that she and daughter Chelsea had to duck sniper fire during a 1996 trip to Bosnia. "We were basically told to run to our cars," Clinton told her audience.

Oh well, it made for a good sound-bite.

Betsey Wright, confidante to Hillary Clinton, once bragged that women represent an "ethical and pure force" in politics. And Hillary recently stated a female president would represent a "sea change in our country."

It's not just the lefties who are saying it's time for a housecleaning of politics as usual. And Jo-Ann Davidson, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has argued that "We have better public policy when more women are at the table."

There's no doubt that women bring a valuable perspective to the political arena. But do female politicians really exemplify an ethical uber-species?

One cannot do justice in a single column to the repeated misrepresentations that have marked Mrs. Clinton's career. A "trouble with truth-telling, I would think, is the constant aspect of her time in public life that is most troubling," reveals biographer Carl Bernstein.

Just consider the unending string of ethical lapses: her conflict of interest dealings at the Rose Law Firm, the cattle futures scam, White House travel-gate, her concealment of $120,000 in free ghost-writing services for It Takes a Village, Hillary's venomous attacks on Bill Clinton's sexual paramours – the list goes on.

And when Obama aide Samantha Power called Hillary Clinton a "monster," I couldn't help but think of Hillary's physical and verbal abuse of husband Bill and others.

Nancy PelosiOK, maybe Hillary isn't the most squeaky-clean politician in Washington, but what about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Fourteen months after anointing herself "the most powerful woman in America," where's the sea-change in the House of Representatives?

You will recall Pelosi promised to institute "the most ethical Congress in history." Then she turned around and named Rep. William Jefferson, caught with $90,000 funny-money in the fridge, to the Homeland Security Committee.

What about her pledge to end wasteful earmarks? No, not by a long shot.

And creating a culture of inclusive consensus-building? Not according to Senator Harry Reid, who revealed Pelosi "runs that place with an iron hand."

The verdict on the first female Speaker of the House? "Pelosi has emerged as a fairly conventional leader," the nonpartisan Politico newspaper recently concluded.

Look beyond the gender posturing and muscle-flexing and you'll detect the unmistakable scent of sexism.

Hillary often displays a wicked sense of humor delivered at the expense of members of the opposite sex. Once Mrs. Clinton recounted a sympathy note she received during one of the White House scandals that read, "Whenever you have trouble coping, just think of Snow White. She had to live with seven men."

Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee has openly called for male politicians to "step aside" while women move in to call the shots. Last Fall Texas Republican Kay Granger asserted, "It's important for men and women to understand that we [women] will decide this election" – a remark that sounds more like a threat than a prediction.

A February 5 editorial in the Christian Science Monitor announced grandly that "a woman leader governs differently than a man, bringing new perspectives and helping other women." That's a rather bizarre claim in light of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, multi-billion dollar programs that were enacted by men and designed to benefit mostly women.

But for a glimpse into the dark world of feminist gyno-politics, read Gloria Steinem's New York Times pity-party piece, "Women are Never Front-Runners."

Being the expert of Freudian psychology that she is, Steinem derides men because they "tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman." Playing the victim for all its worth, Steinem concludes that "Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life."

So as Hillary Clinton tells voters to forgive and forget her Bosnia folktale and as Nancy Pelosi's autocratic regimen reigns, we should recall that despite whatever other virtues they may possess, female politicos are cut from the same frayed ethical cloth as the rest of us mere mortals. ESR

Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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