(Michelman is a supporter of John Edwards, and we're honored to have her post on OpenLeft. - promoted by Matt Stoller)
Remember the commercial:
We've come a long way baby.
Well, have we? That's the question American women need to ask themselves.
We earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.
We are 48% more likely to live in poverty than men.
17 million adult women lack health insurance.
Millions of us struggle to balance jobs and the needs of our families.
A long way? Not nearly long enough.
But now that we have the first viable female candidate for president of the United States, things will get better for women, right? Her candidacy will positively affect public perception regarding women in politics and business - and that change will benefit all women - even the women struggling in dead end jobs, scrapping by on minimum wage, raising their families on their own?
Not so fast.
As women take a second look at the candidates, now that attention is focusing more on the issues and how each of the candidates would lead, how they would make decisions; now that making a choice is becoming real, less about celebrity, more about being president, legitimate questions are being raised about Senator Clinton.
And we're all learning something.
When unchallenged, in a comfortable, controlled situation, Senator Clinton embraces her political elevation into the "boys club." She is quick to assure listeners she is plenty tough enough, that she's battled tested, ready to play be the same rules as the boys.
But when she's challenged, when legitimate questions are asked, questions she should be prepared to answer and discuss, she is just as quick to raise the white flag and look for a change in the rules. She then calls questioning, 'attacking;' she calls debate among her peers, 'piling on.'