Hillary Clinton is now on Twitter.
This woman looks for trouble, I swear.
As has been widely reported with the breathless rush of an alien sighting, Clinton’s Twitter profile reads, “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…”
Funny and coy. God help her.
Pundits are parsing every word. Not everyone is thrilled with Hillary Clinton.
In other breaking news, my dog, Franklin, is wagging his tail. Again.
Slate’s John Dickerson thinks Clinton’s timing may be off. “If redefining the role of elder-stateswoman is not her intent and that ‘TBD …’ (to be determined) was a flirtation with speculation about her presidential hopes, perhaps she should step away from the keyboard,” he wrote. “It’s too early.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd noted that BuzzFeed listed six — count ’em, six — changes Clinton made to her Twitter profile in the first hours after she activated her account. For example, Clinton switched the order of wife and mother, hence nipping in the bud once and for all the nonexistent rumor that she was once an unwed mother. She also added the word “glass” before “ceiling” to distinguish her from Superman, who can plow through concrete.
Tweaking her Twitter? Clear evidence that Clinton is calculating and obsessed, to paraphrase Dowd.
Or she’s just like the rest of us, to quote all of my friends. “You try summing up your life in 160 characters,” said those of us who never have been Secretary of State and First Lady.
Back to the glass ceiling. The Washington Post’s Emily Heil used this same metaphor to report that a construction crew has been called in to expand the women’s restroom off the U.S. Senate floor. They’re doing this to make room for the historic number of female senators.
Think about that. One-fifth of the Senate, where Clinton once served, is now women. I have no idea how many of them tweet, but I’m sure some male blogger is all over that one. Thank goodness, too. This whole woman thing is out of control.
BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith dismissed Clinton’s Twitter debut as a dated and desperate attempt to telegraph, “I’m not old.”
He also suggested two young men as bright, shiny alternatives to Clinton: Cory Booker and Marco Rubio.
Booker is the mayor of Newark, NJ, and has yet to prove he can win a Senate primary.
Marco Rubio is a U.S. senator. He’s also an anti-choice Republican. Boy, will he woo the Hillary crowd.
Smith is 36. “Two years younger than my son,” I said when I called him. I realize I sounded like a reprimanding mom in pointing that out, but he took it in stride. After talking to him, I have no reason to think Smith will make a habit of attacking Clinton for her age rather than for her ideas, but his post triggered some bad memories.
I’m in no mood for another round of small-minded men with big forums who make a sport of bashing the broad. We went through that during the Democratic primary in 2008, as was masterfully chronicled by Rebecca Traister in her book, Big Girls Don’t Cry. If these guys think Clinton’s Twitter account is news, wait’ll they see how women — including those of us old enough to be their mothers — use social media to call out sexism this time around if she runs for president.
There is plenty of fair criticism of Clinton, but attacking her for her age is not a winning strategy. With age comes experience. She is still the only woman to come close to winning the Democratic primary for president. She also is different from the Hillary Clinton who ran in 2008, in ways we don’t yet know. Logging 956,733 miles traveling the circumference of the world 38 times to visit a record 112 countries as America’s chief diplomat changes a person, regardless of age or gender.
Contrasting her to President Barack Obama is not a winning argument, either. There are millions of Americans — particularly women — who are willing to vote for Obama and for Clinton. We don’t see them as opposing forces, as the old vs. the new. Their life stories contribute to the same exhilarating narrative of hope and change.
The majority of American voters were thrilled to elect the first African-American president.
The question looms: How many of them want to make history again?
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine. She is the author of two books, including …and His Lovely Wife, which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.