Kathleen Parker: President Hillary just might save the world, you know

Via RCP, I think she’s kidding on the square, exaggerating a bit for effect but otherwise legitimately convinced of what she’s saying. Read her column and you’ll see that it boils down to two points. One: A woman president is more likely to bring peace because women are less warlike or something. (“Thus far,” she says of America’s 44 male presidents, “invasions, bunker-busting mega-bombs and killer drones seem not to be having the desired effect.”) That smells more like lazy stereotyping than hard science, but let’s grant that it’s true on average that women are less warlike. Is Hillary “average” in this regard? Her biggest liability on the left in 2008 was her vote for the Iraq war; she later enthusiastically backed O’s intervention in Libya as Secretary of State. She strained repeatedly during the primaries five years ago to get to Obama’s right on using military force, once vowing to “obliterate” Iran if they used nuclear weapons against Israel. Parker herself, for cripes sake, goes on to note that veterans of the famously hawkish Bush administration were pulling for Hillary over Obama because she was “better prepared to handle international challenges.”

If you’re tired of “invasions” and “mega-bombs,” she’s … not the obvious choice. And the irony is, Hillary’s positions on those issues were doubtless driven in part by her recognizing that a woman candidate for the presidency will be viewed more skeptically by some voters as a potential commander-in-chief than a man would, precisely because of the stereotype invoked by Parker here. Women leaders won’t use guns and bombs when necessary, the stereotype goes; they’re too soft, too interested in “dialogue” rather than protecting America’s interests. Hillary’s wisely sensitive to that and has tried to compensate accordingly. She might continue trying to compensate as president, in which case the “women are less warlike” rationale is, to borrow a word, obliterated.

Point two: Even in a column touting her as a potential savior of the world (which I guess is de rigueur for Democratic nominees now), Parker can’t come up with a solid achievement of Hillary’s to tout. Here’s the best she can do by way of actual accomplishments:

Rewinding the tape to 1995 at the U.N.’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, then-first lady Hillary Clinton empowered women as never before with just a few words: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”…

To millions, she is a role model and a warrior for women’s right to self-determination. As secretary of state, she continued the work of predecessors Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, who first insisted that women’s rights be part of our foreign policy, and then pushed further. Under Hillary’s watch, Obama made permanent the Office of Global Women’s Issues and appointed longtime Hillary colleague Melanne Verveer as ambassador-at-large…

Whether one likes or dislikes Hillary, few dispute that she has matured in her public role. Her résumécan be topped by few and the symbolic power of electing a woman president — especially this woman — can’t be overestimated.

She changed the world for women “as never before” by uttering a bromide about women’s rights at the UN, then continued the work of other secretaries of state in championing women’s rights. And she’s got a great resume. That’s the case for Hillary, world savior, such as it is. What you’re seeing in columns like this, and in the sort of messianism that greeted O in 2008, is identity not only as a substitute for major career achievements but as something actually superior to them. We don’t need someone with a track record of significant civic, business, or military accomplishments; we need someone who, by virtue of the historic nature of their candidacy and their own iconic persona, will somehow save the world purely by attaining power. It was unconvincing five years ago. It’s less convincing now.

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