I get it that Hillary Clinton is unlike every other presidential candidate in American history, not just as the only serious woman contender, but also as the wife of a former president, but: srsly? Todd Purdham implies here that grandmotherhood is going to so delight and derange Clinton that she’ll toss her last chance to run for president out the window.
We’ve had other presidents who were near relatives of previous presidents in American history three times before–the Adamses, the Roosevelts, and the Bushes*, not to mention the many brothers Kennedy who ran for president between 1960 and 1980–and clearly, in these cases the whole family is implicated in campaigns in a way that’s different from other presidential campaigns. But I don’t remember the media running stories in 1998 about how George W. Bush might not run for president because he might have to miss his daughters’ high school prom night, do you? (Oh, yeah: The media were all about the presidential blow jobs back then.) Mitt Romney’s dozens of grandchildren were never presented as a reason for him to kick back and let 2012 go by without him, although I recall several stories emphasizing the comfort his large family could give him after his loss.
We know from early modern European and American history that post-menopausal women are figures who were and are cruelly caricatured and mocked for their continued existence in spite of their sexual and reproductive irrelevance. And that’s not the worst that can happen: for at least 500 years and probably more, the evidence suggests that women in old age suffer more from poverty when compared to their male peers. Post-menopausal women were accused of witchcraft more often than fertile women in both European and American history.
The granny issue is a new stupid distraction, but I suppose it’s better than the other loathsome projections the media laid on Hillary Clinton from 1992-2008: “sister Frigidaire” the lesbian; the murderess who killed her lover, Vince Foster; the calculating bitch in the marriage of convenience; the Vagina Dentata; and so on. I guess the sexual danger of Hillary Clinton is less plausible now that she has a 35-year old daughter who’s about to make her a grandmother, but grannywatch is yet another attempt to trivialize or diminish the candidate.
*I don’t include Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison in this list of families. Although they were grandson and grandfather, the elder Harrison died just a month into his only term when young Benjamin was only seven. The short timespan of each man’s presidency (the younger Harrison served just one term) and the brief time in which their lives overlapped does not suggest a political dynasty.