March 23 2011
They are called the Amazon Warriors, the Lady Hawks, the Valkyries, the Durgas.
So begins Maureen Dowd's most absurd column of the years so far, a column about how Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and national security adviser Samantha Power took the president to war over Libya. Dowd continues:
There is something positively mythological about a group of strong women swooping down to shake the president out of his delicate sensibilities and show him the way to war. And there is something positively predictable about guys in the White House pushing back against that story line for fear it makes the president look henpecked.
It is not yet clear if the Valkyries will get the credit or the blame on Libya. But everyone is fascinated with the gender flip: the reluctant men - the generals, the secretary of defense, top male White House national security advisers - outmuscled by the fierce women around President Obama urging him to man up against the crazy Qaddafi.
How odd to see the diplomats as hawks and the military as doves.
"The girls took on the guys," The Times's White House reporter, Helene Cooper, said on "Meet the Press."
Is that really the level at which foreign policy is being conducted?
This is the ultimate infantilization of policy. IWF's old Women's Quarterly had a piece by Christine Rosen on women as leaders. The piece posited that women, far from being kinder and gentler, are more warlike than the guys. But we would never have made jokes like Dowd's when people are fighting and dying.
By the way, I see it differently: Hillary Clinton was pretty much finished as a political force, but she is trying to revive her fortunes by claiming that she influenced the president on Libya. This means that, if things go well in Libya, "sources close to Clinton" will claim credit for her. If things go badly in Libya, Barack, you're on your own.
Jonah Goldberg takes not of Dowd's column, and garners comments on The Corner.