May 4, 2006 12:32 pm


The Financial Times Observer reports about"Merkel's dance card" (italics mine):

German chancellor Angela Merkel has a packed schedule during her two-day trip to the United States starting today but, sadly for America's"power-Frauen", there is no time to meet the country's top female politicians.

The group which includes Hillary Clinton, have been bidding for a chat with Germany's first female chancellor since she took office last November, but have failed to win a time slot on this visit and on an earlier one in January.

Merkel aides insist that their leader is keen to exchange experiences about life as a woman at the top and that scheduling is the only problem.

One solution for the US women could, of course, be to ask the people who are meeting Merkel what she is like. On Thursday morning, for instance, she has a briefing with big cheeses from General Electric, Monsanto, Hewlett-Packard, Dow Chemical, Siemens and DaimlerChrysler. All chief executives and all, er, male."

I suspect that this little item was leaked(?) by Hillary and company as a pressure tactic."You are a woman and, as such, you owe us," seems to be the message. I assume Hillary believes that a picture with Angela will enhance her electability and, as usual, she goes after what she wants even if it means embarrassing a fellow woman leader. But Merkel is too savvy to let Hillary pressure her to agree to meet with one particular opposition presidential wannabe under the pretense that they are merely talking about gender issues.

Ironically, Hillary's whine comes a day after the publication of an op-ed by Rosalind Chait Barnett and Caryl James entitled Why are American women last to take the lead?" In it the writers complain about the excessive media focus on the gender of America's female politicians.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, for example, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination, has been called either a"witch" or"witchlike" in the media more than 50 times. There are constant innuendos about her sexuality - as evidenced by a book about her by former New York Times man Ed Klein. As critic Tina Brown pointed out in The Washington Post,"Every time Klein describes anyone female in Hillary Clinton's circle, you hear the clump clump clump of stereotype-lesbian footwear."

May I suggest that the fault, dear Hillary and company, may be not in the media but in yourselves, that you use your gender when it suits you and demand that the media ignore it when it does not.

Angela, like Condi, never demanded special treatment and never whined. Of course, the issue of Merkel's femininity was front and center during the elections. But her behavior since has earned the respect of her people and when the Sun published photos of her in a bathing suit, all of Germany rose in anger. Like the classy lady she is, Angela kept her cool and refused to sue. She enjoys a 69% approval rating.

Actually, the real two power women, Merkel and Rice will meet. They will not meet to discuss"their experiences" as powerful women. They will meet to discuss the real top issue of the day, the threat of a nuclear Iran.

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Nick L. - 5/4/2006

I have heard references about you that where by far worse? I'm always amazed when your kind takes to petty commentary only to tear people down rather then using you talents for good? And you think that Hillary's the witch? Back at you!