“Is the United States ready for a woman president? Yes, of course. The only superpower in the world is lagging behind many countries that have ended the male monopoly on political leadership.
“Chile recently elected Michelle Bachelet as its first woman president. She’s a pediatrician and a one-time political prisoner of former strongman Augusto Pinochet.
“In Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated last month as that nation’s first woman president. In Finland, Tarja Halonen won re-election in late January as president.
“Germany’s new Chancellor Angela Merkel has already touched base with the leaders in Washington and Europe.
“Two prominent U.S. women who ran for the presidency but did not get to first base were Maine’s Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith in 1964 and New York’s Rep. Shirley Chisholm, a Democrat, in 1972.
“Without a doubt, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., the former first lady, is angling to return to the White House but this time as boss. There are signs that the Republicans are worried about this possibility. It’s not exactly the kind of “swift boat” attacks that were waged in 2004 against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry — that will come later. But Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, launched the opening attack when he said on ABC-TV that Clinton “seems to have a lot of anger” and a “very left-wing agenda.”
“In response, Clinton suggested the Republicans wanted to divert attention away from their “devastating budget cuts” and “the nightmare” of the confusing prescription drug program along with “many other failures.”
“For now, Clinton is running for re-election to her Senate seat in New York, where she is considered a shoo-in. She also has accumulated a multimillion-dollar campaign war chest that will give her a good start in 2008.
“Once regarded as a liberal, Clinton has been moving to the center. A signpost in that direction is her co-sponsorship with Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, of a bill banning flag burning.
“Even Democrats who would gladly support her for the presidency tend to pin a “can’t win” label on her. But they are wrong. …”
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