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Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 20:12 | SYDNEY
Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 20:12 | SYDNEY

Helping someone else crack the glass ceiling

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21 July 2008 12:03

I usually trust the political writings of The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Patrick Healy, but in Sunday's paper they made a big mistake. The article in question is a pacy account of the various characters in the running for the vice presidential nominations of the two major parties — the Senator Joe Bidens, Governor Charlie Crists and so on.

Halfway down the piece they come to Senator Hillary Clinton's chances:

Democrats said they thought it was less likely now than it was a month ago that Mr. Obama would choose Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York as his running mate, though they said she remained in consideration and that she was being vetted.

So far, so good. I argued in June that by the time Obama came to make the decision about his veep, there'd be so much enthusiasm surrounding his candidacy that the pressure to appoint Clinton as his running mate would have lessened. Nevertheless, it certainly makes sense to keep her in the frame for the moment, make sure her papers are in order, and so on.

Then comes this clanger:

If he does not choose Mrs. Clinton, several Democrats said, it would be difficult for him to name any woman — like Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, someone for whom he has had warm words. Both Clinton and Obama advisers said such a move could create a backlash among women who supported Mrs. Clinton.

Surely this is incorrect. No-one could suppose that the Clintons or their supporters could be so selfish as to wish to deny another woman the chance (at this point, a very good chance indeed) of becoming Vice President of the United States — and down the track, President. Indeed, Senator Clinton would have bragging rights if Obama were to put Sebelius or some other woman on the ticket. Clinton would know she had made a female pick feasible, indeed politically desirable.

If Nagourney and Healy (or their sources) are correct, that would mean the Clintons would prefer to see a man get the nod over a woman. It would mean that they are erecting barriers against other women being elected to high office. After Senator Clinton's rightly celebrated concession speech, in which she urged women to 'always aim high', this simply cannot be right. So, in the best traditions of American journalism, I look forward to reading a correction in tomorrow's paper.

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