Requiem for a Campaign.


As I watched the first serious presidential contender with ovaries withdraw from the race over the weekend, I felt tremendous disappointment, not because I supported her campaign (I‘m riding on another campaign’s bandwagon), but because it’s, apparently, not quite time yet.


Earlier in this campaign I wrote a column that mentioned my family’s trip to Washington, D.C. two summers ago when we made a stop at the U.S. Capitol, and visited the beautiful Rotunda. Gazing at the historic paintings and statues throughout the building, my daughter Abbey, then 7, asked me, “Where are all the ladies?” At that point, our young female tour guide directed us to the ladies “in the tub” statue featuring the Suffragettes and an unsculpted corner which, our guide said, was waiting to be molded into the likeness of the first female president.


Two years later, the possibility that a sculptor might be called upon to get to work on that famous statue doesn’t seem like a distant pipedream. A recent CBS Poll found that 69 percent of those responding said that after watching Senator Hillary Clinton campaign for president, they believe a woman commander in chief will be elected in his or her lifetime. The same percentage of people also said that, despite the criticism of the media’s coverage of the New York senator, that Clinton’s candidacy has “made it easier for other women to run for president.” A former chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations told the Boston Globe, “For the first time in history, we can see that a woman can and will be president.”


New York Times columnist Gail Collins -- who said she thinks Clinton lost the Democratic race to Senator Barack Obama because “Obama ran a smarter, better-organized campaign” -- assessed the dissolution of Clinton’s campaign and credited her effort with changing people’s minds about what women can do. “Her campaign didn’t resolve whether a woman who seems tough enough to run the military can also seem likeable enough to get elected,” Collins wrote. “But she helped pave the way. So many battles against prejudice are won when people get used to seeing women and minorities in roles that only white men had held before. By the end of those 54 primaries and caucuses, Hillary had made a woman running for president seem normal.”