Streams

Madeleine Kunin on Pearls, Politics, and Power

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Former Vermont Governor and Ambassador to Switzerland Madeleine Kunin says that there aren’t enough women involved in politics. She shares her ideas for how to attract a new generation of young women to political leadership in her new book, Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead.

Event: Madeleine Kunin will be speaking and signing books
Thursday, March 27 at 7 pm
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street (at Stanton Street)

Weigh in: Do you think American politics would be very different in more women held elected offices?

If you can't see the video click here

Guests:

Madeleine Kunin

Comments [57]

eva from spiritually? Newark

MCH,
I feel emboldened to discuss Hillary on a civilized level, as you suggest.
I was an Edwards supporter, and now am backing Obama.
I am very concerned about the big-money donors to Hillary.
Obama's grass-roots method is much more like Dean's, and truer in flavor to Edwards' campaign, which was the best of old-school Democratic politics. The Clintons have proved to me that they don't care about the party, which needs serious rejuvenating help right now, they only care about retaining what little power they have left.
I think Obama, based on his grass-roots organizing and impressive use of technology and reach with the young, has the chance of really asking the American people to get PERSONALLY involved in addressing the serious infrastructure problems in this country. He has the chance to rejuvenate the party, AND the country.
I don't deny that a lot of people have a bad gut reaction to Hillary, in the way they wouldn't have to Nancy Pelosi or Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer - all three are tough ladies, with real clout. The difference is that those three ladies made it ON THEIR OWN. And men respect them because of that.
I cannot vote for a woman who got to the senate on her husband's coat-tails, and who disparaged so many other women (and men) along the way. Also, HRC's mismanagement of her own campaign? NOT inspiring to this woman.

Mar. 28 2008 02:07 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

Hi al fair:

I respect your dislike for her and understand it as well. I wish that more people could just talk about her on a civilized level, whether they support her or not. Some of the hysterical comments about her are really over the top, and I don't really think she has committed any sin that warrents that treatment. Unfortunately, most people seem to react with their guts and not their heads, which is why we get the government we deserve over and over and over . . . sigh!

I'm interested in your far lefty mom. Where does she stand on the issues (like health care, the war, mortgages etc.)?

Mar. 27 2008 03:46 PM
al Fair from brooklyn

i know there was sentiment against her, though i think some of that was not republicans, since far lefties like my mom were pretty angry about her too. but i didn't spend much time upstate then (or ever really), so i'll defer to your assessment.

in all honesty, i don't think she would make a bad president. i think she'd be fine at it, like most of the candidates. but i do not like her and i don't think she would have had a better chance at winning an office in any other state.

Mar. 27 2008 03:40 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

Hi al fair:
I don't know how much travelling you did upstate in '00, but there were billboards all over reading "Hillary Go Home!" There were websites such as stophernow.com set up. In '06 there were a number of news stories chronicling the phenomenon that no one in the New York Republican Party seemed to want to run against her. (See #49) Once she was in, she did work with Maloney on this and a number of other projects that did not get a lot of attention. Probably not that interesting to most people.

I do think that it is legitimate to criticize her as a "carpetbagger" however, the record once she was elected is not that bad if you look through it carefully.

Mar. 27 2008 03:17 PM
al Fair from brooklyn

what is a gut reaction?

Mar. 27 2008 03:14 PM
chestinee from Midtown

Governor Kunin just said it, it's a gut reaction.

Mar. 27 2008 03:03 PM
al Fair from brooklyn

i don't think the republicans in upstate new york were exactly her enemies. if you look at the general voting tendencies of new yorkers, and the people who tend to hold offices like governor and senator, even new york republicans are very middle of the road. which is exactly what hilary is.

i don't know that she would have beat giuliani, but she wouldn't have had a chance in other races. she either moved because she thought she could win, or because she really wanted to run against giuliani. she certainly didn't run for new york senate because new york and its needs are anywhere near her heart. either way, i find it, and her, offensive. she also moved to a part of the state that is both nyc and upstate. she could have moved to the actual city, but chose not to. she could have moved to actual upstate, but chose not to.

Mar. 27 2008 03:00 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

I don't know about her moving here because "she knew she could win." At the time Rudy Giuliani was running against her and it looked like a fairly competitive campaign until he withdrew. I was unenthusiastic as well. But then I watched in surprise as she went into enemy territory for her; upstate New York, deep into Republican territory and managed to somehow create enough allies up there that they could not even find a credible candidate to run against her in '06.

Mar. 27 2008 02:39 PM
al Fair from brooklyn

chestinee: i think what you aren't considering, is that this radio program was specifically talking about hilary. that's why this thread isn't full of obama and mccain bashing because we are addressing what the woman being interviewed was saying about hilary clinton and her lying.

we don't need to equal opportunity bash at every occurence of discussion of a presidential candidate. if we're talking about all the bad that bush has done, we don't have to spread out a laundry list of every bad thing every other president has done.

i also think it's easy to hide behind sexism when hilary is discussed. yes, sexism -is- at play, but that doesn't make every criticism of her and her campaign a result of that. but it -is- the reason that she is the only female candidate this time around. because there -are- more qualified, better suited women out there but they are not considered viable candidates because they don't have the public presence that hilary has. and that public presence has everything to do with her marriage to a president, not her career as a senator.

do you live in new york state? i'm always surprised at new yorkers who are not offended by her moving here just because she knew she could win. she picked a state where she could become senator, instead of working for a state she actually had some connection to. that is incredibly offensive to me as a new yorker.

Mar. 27 2008 02:28 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

#47 and #48. I agree wholeheartedly. Let's look at the actual records. For example:

Hillary Clinton worked very hard with Rep. Carolyn Maloney for get additional health benefits for the workers injured during the 9/11 aftermath.
Hillary Clinton co-sponsered an anti-flag burning amendment.

Barack Obama co-sponsered the most extensive ethics reform to date in the Senate.
Barack Obama has refused to take a postion on repealing the "gag rule," the rule in women's clinics abroad that receive US money that they cannot even mention the word "abortion."

John McCain along with Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took a stand against Pres. Bush on the use of torture.
When the bill finally passed in a watered down form, allowing the president to define "torture," he caved and supported that bill.

All flawed. Take your pick.

Mar. 27 2008 02:07 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I don't see what's so unreasonable about that... We consider ourselves to be more civilized. We think we're at the height of progress, and yet we've never had a woman President whereas countries like Pakistan have had female leaders. If they can have a female President, then surely we can too. And if a woman STILL can't get elected because she's a woman in the USA, then we are far off the mark from the most civilized country in the world. That was my point. I'm sorry if it appeared that I was suggesting anything else.

Mar. 27 2008 01:52 PM
chestinee from Midtown

I think a lot of the Hillary bashing on the part of a great many people has to be masked something else because no matter what there is on record she doesn't deserve such intense reactions. You would think she were some kind of despot! And people don't want to think they aren't rational, but I think they are not rational or fair in their treatment of Hillary, never have been. She doesn't have her husband's or her rival's excellent political instincts (and both of whom are equally flawed, being people) but that doesn't make her evil incarnate or inept. I do believe she cares a great deal but is not so good at getting this across - where there are many who don't care a whit but manage to convince people that they are devoted public servants and not megalomaniacs. We get terrible information. Even from NPR. Anyone who has ever lived in another country knows this.

Mar. 27 2008 01:51 PM
chestinee from Midtown

we must be ready for a female president if third world countries can have one...

Mar. 27 2008 01:42 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

What comments did I make regarding women in general that you found "patronizing"? I criticized Hillary in particular, I said we need to beware of a hereditary Presidency, I criticized the cowardice of Senate Democrats who voted to give GWB the power to invade Iraq, I said I want to see a woman President (although not Hillary), and I said that there needs to be more women involved in national politics. So you tell me... which part offended you?

Mar. 27 2008 01:36 PM
chestinee from Midtown

Paulo - many luminaries throughout history have asked astrologers what they think (and why not? their information is at least as good as what we get from most media, and contains no hidden agendas, it's just math) - and I find most of your comments regarding women pretty darn patronizing.

Mar. 27 2008 01:31 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

Sorry, al oof. I meant I am with you #41.

Mar. 27 2008 01:10 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

#40, I am with you. Kucinich rocks! The most consistant truth teller out of the lot of them.

Mar. 27 2008 01:06 PM
al oof

mch - denis kucinich.

Mar. 27 2008 01:01 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

#36. I'm glad to see that you have "done that." But then you go on to talk about personality, etc., etc. I am more interested not in who you are against, but who you are for. You of course have every right to support whomever you want for whatever reason you want. I'm just saying that I have seen very little empirical evidence here for any of the rather negative comments. They all lie, they all waffle, the all "misspeak," and you don't have to look very hard to find it in the record. If you are looking for the one who lies the least then you really will be splitting hairs. Unless you just go in for the hyperbole you hear in the babble here and elsewhere. By the way, anyone who studied GWB's record in advance of the election could have predicted almost everything he did in office. Too bad more people didn't do that.

Mar. 27 2008 12:59 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I'm sorry I can't offer the same kind of insight as someone who throws out unsubstantiated insults and consults an astrologer for her political opinions.

Mar. 27 2008 12:59 PM
chestinee from Midtown

And Paolo I smell a woman hater (or maybe a Neanderthal, except they had exceptional vision.)

Mar. 27 2008 12:54 PM
ab

MCH,

I have done that...which is one reason I am not for Clinton.

However, the "personality" does matter. We have suffered under almost 8 years of a president who is completely stubborn, lacks any sensible judgement, lies to the public, has an inability to work with others of the political spectrum which has resulted in one of the most disasturous and in my opinion criminal and anti-democratic presidents in history. Therefore, I can't see how anyone can dismiss personality as if it weren't oe the most important issues this election.

Hillary has been very Bush-like in her refusal to admit she made a really bad call in her vote for the war, she has lied, she has displayed a tendency to resort to dirty opportunistic in my opinion almost republicanesque swift-boat style tactics in her campaign...has shown an arrogance at times which betrays a sense of entitlement to the Presidency.....yeah....sorry, I don't want another 4-8 years of that nonsense!

Mar. 27 2008 12:53 PM
chestinee from Midtown

Oh dear well this is a Hillary hating crowd. here is my question. What ELSE would you be doing if not participating in this discussion. Politicians are politicians, and lying is part of the process. I am embarrassed for her, that she felt the need to go too far with that story, taht her insecurity shows in such a sad way.

I often like to check in with the astrologers for their take (it's just math) - the last one I read on Hillary is that some part of her chart says she is all about serving but the part that indicates her popularity is empty. She said this early on,at Vassar, that she was something like a "devoted misanthrope."

I think my generation dropped the ball and the following generation is too cynical to believe anything good can happen (so my gen X friends tell me) - but really it is not the politicians or their genders or their races - it is a complacent "we." We are listening to a radio show in the middle of the day, not out doing anything we want politicians to do for us or making big noise at least.

Mar. 27 2008 12:53 PM
ab

#30

I totally agree, that analysis suffered from a ridiculous degree of tunnel vision.

Mar. 27 2008 12:46 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

This is not an endorsement of any candidate but I have to wonder in light of most of the comments posted here, how many people have really taken a thorough and thoghtful look at any of their records in the Senate, specifically. Most of the comments here seem to go to the spouse or to some aspect of the personality. Seems to me if we are going to get past racism and sexism we should be looking a lot more closely at what the candidates in question have done, not so much what they say now. This goes for all three of them.

Mar. 27 2008 12:46 PM
Glenn from Manhattan

That Clinton and Schumer voted for Iraq shows they are professional politicians who want first and foremost, to be re-elected ad nauseum, not do the right thing for the American people.

Mar. 27 2008 12:46 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


You know, I bet if you suggested to this woman that a largely white population in a particular state was a reason for Obama's loss there, she'd dismiss it out of hand as absurd. But just because a state hasn't elected as many women as another state, Hillary only lost there because of sexism. It's absurd. People are completely incapable of viewing something outside the view of "us and them".

Mar. 27 2008 12:44 PM
ab

#25

Obama, has NOT based his "capability on being black". Quite the opposite. Don't confuse FOX news propoganda with the actual message of the candidate.

That being said..yeah it looks like McCain should just move in...the democratic promary is a mess and has turned into a battle in the mud (which I think Hillary's campaign has to take more responsibility for-which is one reason she is unfit). The Dems split as the Repubs are becoming unified.

Mar. 27 2008 12:44 PM
mike from midtown

#25

Agreed, McCain moves into White House.

Sadly.

Mar. 27 2008 12:43 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


Let's be clear: They knew Bush was going to invade. This had nothing to do with providing him with "diplomatic tools". As one comedian joked, "Bush and Cheney were practically picking out their desert fatigues". They voted for the war because it was just a couple years after 9/11 and not falling into line was seen as unpatriotic and cowardly. I mean, for God's sakes, we changed French fries to freedom fries! Obviously the country as a whole was not exactly in its right mind at that point.

It's easy to stick by your principles when they're not being challeneged. It only matters when you do it when there's a risk to doing so.

Mar. 27 2008 12:41 PM
Glenn from Manhattan

Both Schumer and Clinton voted for Iraq, and they are both experienced enough to know you do not do something so rash as to invade another country totally based on clandestine intelligence, which, like in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Iraq, was wrong.

Mar. 27 2008 12:37 PM
leonardo aponte from new york

it does not matter, Hillary will not get the nomination, they have -democrats- made such an idiotic mess out of this process that Mcain may as well move in to the white house tomorrow.

plus she keeps on making all this moronic "mistakes", like the Serbia one, she is sabotaging her own campaign. that being said she is a rather capable human being, sadly that is not her agenda. her agenda is that she is a woman like Obama is that he is black... the point is that if our leaders base their capability on gender or race how are we supposed to overcome as a hole?

Mar. 27 2008 12:36 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


I think the subject we really need to address is why we have such a small selection of capable women on the national stage who have the potential to be President. Do we perhaps need to build up the pool a bit more first?

Mar. 27 2008 12:36 PM
Seth

I'm very disappointed Ms. Kunin repeated Hillary's "mistake" explanation, and that she wasn't pressed on doing so.

Mar. 27 2008 12:35 PM
ab

#19

I totally agree.

Mar. 27 2008 12:34 PM
Maya from Brooklyn

Touche, Dan, well put!

Rwanda...wow, never would've guessed that.

Mar. 27 2008 12:33 PM
Glenn from Manhattan

re: #7 Sorry I meant - In the same way that Clinton's gender should not be a reason NOT TO vote for her, her gender should not be a reason TO vote for her.

Mar. 27 2008 12:33 PM
mike from midtown

The problem your talking about, regarding Hillary, I believe your labeling wrong. People think about a co-presidency existing between her and Bill mainly I believe because they fear, as we all should is a democracy, the establishment of a dynastic family rule. It is not that we fear women in politics, but we fear that woman, bc her bid speaks directly to the failure of our democracy. Bush Clinton Bush Clinton does not equal democracy.

Mar. 27 2008 12:32 PM
ab

#4

I know, I agree. Misspeaking is when you use the wrong word in the wrong context. Making up a WHOLE story with details that never happened is called LYING.

It's incredible how the media lets her get away with saying she "mispoke"

I would love it if we were to be open-minded enough to elect a woman president. It's not an excuse to vote against her...but it's also not an excuse to vote for her if she isn't the right woman. She's not the right woman.

Mar. 27 2008 12:31 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

al oof: Agreed.

Leo 2: And you bring up the interesting point about it being "her turn". That's one thing that really concerns me because I don't like the idea of the Presidency turning into a family business. I think we need a Constitutional amendment banning immediate relatives of Presidents from running for AT LEAST 20 years.

Mar. 27 2008 12:31 PM
Dan from Morristown, NJ

Being tired from a long campaign isn't an excuse for a story that's been repeated for months.

If Hillary can make a mistake like this because she's tired, do we really want her answering that 3am phone call?

Mar. 27 2008 12:31 PM
Jaime from Queens

Women are becoming relevant in politics now that they are not trying to be better men. The rise of Women in politics will go hand in hand with the change of perspective of society from power to cooperation as the means of resolving problems. We do not need bosses, we need coordinators. The female god head is one of benevolence, not vengeance and retribution.

Mar. 27 2008 12:30 PM
EricF

IMHO Sen Clinton's failure to acknowledge that her war authorization vote was an error is far more undermining than the vote itself.

Politicians are human and can be expected to make mistakes. Presumably one of the benefits of electing experianced politicians is that they've learned from their mistakes. Failure to acknowledge an error raises questions about whether the lessons of that particular mistake have been learned. More broadly, it may raise questions about the politician tends to learn from experience at all.

For a candidate running primarily on the basis of greater experience such doubts are unhelpful at best.

Mar. 27 2008 12:29 PM
al oof

dude, first husband. how is that flummoxing?

Mar. 27 2008 12:27 PM
al oof

not to rant, but hilary clinton is a slimeball. she wants to be president more than she cares about the country. she wants to make history. she does -not- care about my well being, or yours.

Mar. 27 2008 12:27 PM
Rory Bernstein from Brooklyn, NY

I would like to hear what Ms. Kunin thinks about the current generation of women and the feminist movement: Has feminism succeeded in creating a generation of women who are going to be tomorrow's leaders?

Mar. 27 2008 12:26 PM
Leo 2 from Queens, NY

Paulo: I think this country is very sexist (especially the stablished media and the thugs the fill the airways - Drug Addict Rush Limbaugh anyone?) We should address these problems as a society.

But Hillary in this race has demonstrated that she is not ready to be a leader even though she might have more first hand 'experience' than Obama and I think more qualified than McCain. We should not 'hand' over the presidency to someone who lies and really practices a divisive, calculating form of politics just because it's her 'turn'. There are plenty of strong, decent women politicians who could be presidents - Janet Napolitano in Arizona, Gov. Sebelius in Kansas, Sheehan in NH, and the Governor of Washington State

Mar. 27 2008 12:26 PM
al oof

also, we are totally -ready- for a female president. but there aren't any female candidates running who are worth voting for.

Mar. 27 2008 12:25 PM
al oof

the title really says it all doesn't it? the conflation of femaleness as 'pearls' denotes a specific socio-economic status that, or course, all our lousy politicians have, and most come from generations of.

Mar. 27 2008 12:24 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, she blamed it to being overworked on the campaign... I say if being overworked causes you to accidentally make up a story that never happened to you, then you're senile and shouldn't be President. And if you admit that you lied about something that could so easily be proven false, then you're an idiot and obviously SHOULD be President.

Mar. 27 2008 12:24 PM
Glenn from Manhattan

In the same way that Clinton's gender should be a reason not to vote for her, her gender should not be to vote for her.

Clinton, as a person, forgetting her gender, has integrity lapses like TravelGate, Whitewater, the Foster affair and now many more coming to the surface in not sharing her financial statements.

This global 'sexism' as a reason to vote for Hillary smacks of 'racism' as a reason to vote for Obama. They are both just plain dishonest, trying to placate our own guilt of past discrimination with future suspension of reason.

Mar. 27 2008 12:23 PM
Tom from Soho

Hillary Clinton is just the wrong woman to be president. Why not another woman like Senator Diane Feinstein of California? She took over as mayor of San Francisco when Moscone was murdered, has shown balanced judgment and has gone on to serve well in the Senate. Hillary is the wife of an ex-president with a patchy record and has a lot more to prove before she qualifies-if ever.

Mar. 27 2008 12:21 PM
Leo 2 from Queens, NY

Leonard,

Hillary did not 'MISPEAK'. She embellished this story several times for the past 4 months where she has been adding 'vivid', 'clear' details of her landing in Tuzla.

I think she should have left it alone and made a general statement that they were warned that there could be sniper fire as the ground situation was not stable. But her 'mispeaking' several times was a deliverate attempt to embelish the story.

Mar. 27 2008 12:21 PM
Edward from Manhattan

I really don't put Hillary's success as being in the same class a Nancy Pelosi's success. Hillary is running as a surrogate for husband. Nancy Pelosi ran as her own woman. Hillary has a lot in common with "W" in that respect.

Also, if I have the hear that lie she told about her "combat" experience being referred to as "misspeaking" I think I'll scream!!!

Mar. 27 2008 12:20 PM
Talia from New Jersey

Hillary didn't misspeak. She lied. It was stupid but it's still a lie. My four-year-old makes up imaginary experiences all the time but he's four. By the time you're 61, you're supposed to know the difference.

Mar. 27 2008 12:20 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


What I'm hearing right now is that her gender is an EXCUSE for her wrong actions... Because she'd be viewed this way by people because of her gender, this justifies her decision to commit that bad act. Right. And that's supposed to move us forward?

Mar. 27 2008 12:18 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


When you take into account that there are a number of countries that are considered Third World or were until recently considered Third World that have elected female leaders, it would be pretty sad if we WEREN'T ready for a female President. That's not an endorsement for Hillary Clinton, but I don't think her gender should be a reason not to vote for her. I personally look forward to the day when there is a female candidate I would support.

Mar. 27 2008 12:12 PM

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