...that's the debate right now on all the radio stations that I tuned to while driving into the office this morning. Of course the reason it came up was because of Hillary Clinton's emotional outburst when she was asked about the stress of campaigning.
One morning DJ asked if it was a sign of weakness, another asked if emotion is appropriate on the campaign trail. The DJ who asked if it was a sign of weakness had his co-host inflamed slightly - she doesn't think it was weakness at all, but a sign that Hillary is human, sensitive, emotional. Not a political robot. Someone called in and said that she's just as bad as Howard Dean (with his way over the top "wooo" in the last campaign); another said it was Hillary just working the mostly-female crowd that was there and that she's just evil.
Now, I don't know that she's evil and I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of Hillary or any other candidate. But I do have to say that while she cried she handled the emotion rather gracefully and it shows that this is personal for her. That could work for and against her, but only time will truly tell the story.
Now, back to emotion. Should a Presidential candidate (or a President for that matter) be able to show emotion? Edmund Muskie years ago shed a tear over his wife being attacked in a newspaper article and that's attributed to his fall from grace years ago. Howard Dean was uber-exicted in the last election ticking off the states that they were going to and then Washington DC where they'd take back the White House ("whooo") and that branded him as a crazy man. Now we've got Hillary choking up and sniffling during a speech.
I don't think it's emotion that's going to hurt her though. I think it was the question that she faced. How was she handling the stress - that's a question that most politicians are going to sidestep carefully, and Hillary answered it straight on. With tears. For a lot of men that's going to be a total sign of weakness - after all, being President is a stressful job, right? And if the Commander in Chief cries when she's stressed out, is that going to be good for the country?
Well, I think that crying would be a heck of a lot better than blowing something up in another country when the President is stressed out, but to say that would be stereotyping a male President, now wouldn't it? But if he cried he would be considered weak, right? Just like Hillary is being typed by some of the radio callers in the SF Bay Area: "it's just like a woman to cry".
Excuse me? You mean to say that there are more mouthbreather males out there? They're all in hiding and only come out when it's safe on the radio and they're anonymous? If that's the case, and if you take this cross section of the population as an indicator for the rest of the country, then Hillary doesn't stand a chance, and neither does any male candidate who shows the slightest sign of weakness. We're just going to continue to have chest pounding Presidents even though the big call is for Change.
Change. We need Change. Everyone needs Change. We attempt to change our President every four years, our cars every two years (well some folks do...), and our underwear every day. So, then, based on just the emotion shown alone, wouldn't having a President who has shown emotion on the campaign trail - no matter who it is - be a nice change?