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{As webmaster/editor of the Nickel City Courier, I wrote this commentary about a Buffalo News feature “article” on Hillary Clinton circa 1999.}

In Buffalo, New York, we’re poorly employed, politically scandaled, and predominantly Democrat. Nobody’s perfect, but [the] Buffalo News once again has fell into lock-step with most other media to impose their political and social preferences as news or human interest.

bnhillA corner of our Sunday paper’s front page brought to us the familiar image of [[Hillary Clinton]], oh, excuse me, Hillary RODHAM Clinton. Our one-newspaper-town’s newspaper is generally reserved for our birds, or more specifically their cages, and against my better judgment (or more specifically that of my better half), I felt compelled to read the article, captioned “Why Hillary Matters … this first lady is an icon for a new age.” The cover of that section, pasted with Mrs. Clinton’s face, was titled “Hillary: We love her for all the wrong reasons.”

This was obviously not the hard news section, but I just had to know what all the fuss was about. Now I don’t follow the daily habits of our dignitaries (pardon the expression), but I do know that our area is demographically Democrat, and we were the first target on the President’s post-impeachment tour. I also know that even the cheering local loyals with their involuntary busloads of schoolchildren paused at some of the, let’s say, ambiguous orations.

I’m old enough to know that everyone knows the Clintons have had their share of troubles over the years, and the Republicans maybe actually were bent on getting even for that whole Nixon thing. But I am educated enough to know that I don’t have to be a registered anything to figure out when we are being subjected to crafty propaganda, or at least a skewed, almost “creative” compilation of a famous woman’s achievements.

As a warm-up, here are some highlights of this article, written by Margaret Sullivan, the managing editor of the Buffalo News and one of their former columnists. I only hope she forgives me if I ever meet her.

Between endless captions and quotes about Mrs. Clinton being a “trend-setter” and “post-modern” role model for women, these major assertions appear from the start: “Never has there been a first lady like Hillary Rodham Clinton … a first lady with the nerve to be more than a backdrop for her husband.”

Fortunately, there are enough people alive today who remember other women who became our chiefs by being married to someone white males would vote in for the Presidency. But these strong women in our history are not only forgotten, but ridiculed by Sullivan. In fact, it is obvious she has a staunch Democrat bias, because of all the First Ladies mentioned, she omits only the Democrats of the last decades from scrutiny.

“[Hillary has done] a litany of ‘firsts’ undreamed of in the docile days of Betty Ford and Barbara Bush. … [she was] the street-smart campaigner who was having trouble getting the hang of the Nancy Reaganesque I-adore-my-husband gaze,” and the humdinger phrase, “the days of the Barbara-Betty-Nancy style of the first lady were numbered.”

But my real concern that was strong enough to prompt this editorial was the genius presentation of Hillary Clinton (who is strangely never refereed to as “Mrs. Clinton” in the article, for feminist semantics or dissociation I do not know). She is being dressed in all the fashions of the victim-yet-faithful, strong-even-if-abrasive, desperately-needs-to-lead-the-free-world roles, and the “woman our daughters are practicing to be.” The author cleverly and cursorily concedes easily recalled negative matters, in an effort to create a hero-from-the-ashes epic that simply does not exist in this “role model” of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Nobody here’s claiming to know what it’s like to be a modern woman, and I have no intention of pointless debates about the virtues and vices of feminism, although Sullivan’s article has almost no content apart from waving the banner for that particular cause. I do claim that the “men are afraid of a powerful woman” nonsense is wearing pretty thin. At least it doesn’t apply to myself. I know the natural order of the sexes better than any card-carrying “Feminazi” as my wife calls those on that fringe — I wear the pants in the family and I have my wife’s permission to say so. And it’s always been that way until the textbooks in school told us otherwise.

We cannot encourage our daughters (or sons) to grab such a role model because of success and power in the political definitions. In some cases, and I believe in hers, these were achieved by rhetoric skill and brute support of its gullible consumers; perhaps more devious means of control and manipulation can be added to the list. Furthermore, such ‘success’ and ‘power’ does not make for a happy life in and of themselves, as we can guess Hillary will someday write in her memoirs if she hasn’t already.

The heading may have been right after all. With social programs and its structures out of control, with a nationally growing victim mentality and decline of real responsibility and necessary shame, Hillary Rodham Clinton may not be such a poor choice as an “icon for a new age.”

So I no longer remain silent against such norm-setting media, I beg America to look for better role models for men and women, and most importantly, I have my wife’s permission to say so.