Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The incredible shrinking moniker

Back when Bill Clinton was a politician in Arkansas, his wife was Hillary Rodham. But in order to satisfy her husband's ambition (oh, I forget--it's okay if it's a man), she changed her name to Hillary Rodham Clinton, a desperate and stupid thing to do (but not as stupid as a woman running as councilman). Now she has become just Hillary Clinton in all of her official statements. Only she has really become just "Hillary." No one says "Barack" or "John" or "Joe," but almost every commentator and news show caller says "Hillary."

Clinton is partially to blame for this. When she ran for senator in New York, some of her campaign signs said Hillary. It's possible she did this in order to distinguish herself from the other Clinton, or perhaps to appear warmer, since she is constantly accused of being cold. Or maybe some consultant told her it was feminine. Or all of the above--who knows?

Back in the 50s, supporters of General Eisenhower wore buttons that said I Like Ike. It was a nice, snappy slogan that also made the general seem approachable. But when commentators discussed the candidate, he was always "General Eisenhower." In theory, there is nothing so wrong with Sen. Clinton being known on the campaign as "Hillary," but I do not trust this phenomenon because a first name on a woman is very different from a first name on a man. The second is personable, while the first seems to belong to a senatorette.

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6 Comments:

I was disappointed when she took his last name. I'm disappointed now. She can say she did it for the politics -- which is what she said at the time -- but what does it say? Last week my daughter asked me, in 2007, why I didn't take her father's name. This kid I've been raising as a feminist since before she knew the word still asks that question. Clinton put herself into their camp when she made that move; she aligned herself with their rules. She's playing their game now. delagar

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 AM  

Clinton's name, Edwards' haircuts, Obama's unchallenged lies about his religion--really, I have to take a deep breath to deal with any of them. I'm not a bit sorry I can't vote in the Democratic primary.

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