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Running backward in high heels

Posted 01-13-99

The San Francisco Examiner
Page A2

Other appearances:
990110pde. NOTHING DULL ABOUT THIS DOLE. The Plain Dealer. 01-10-99. Rob Morse. [Page D2, no graphics]

In an article about Elizabeth Dole's possibly bid for the presidency, Xena is mentioned in a list of "great women leaders" whom have scared men. Included in the list are Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, Boadicea, Xena Warrior Princess, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Dianne Feinstein.



   WHEN I heard that Elizabeth Dole was quitting the Red Cross to consider a run
for the presidency, I looked up the column I wrote on her speech at the
Republican Convention in 1996.

    "She walked off the podium and into the crowd like a cross between Oprah and
revivalist Aimee Semple McPherson, holding hands with Bob Dole's old
rehabilitation nurse and his Senate security guard," I wrote. "She didn't just
nominate Bob Dole. She blessed him. She raised him from the dull." 

    OK, she didn't perform that big a miracle at the convention. It later took
Visa commercials and Viagra. What Liddy Dole did at that convention was make
herself a candidate for president in 2000.

    At the end of that column three years ago, I wrote: "America needs a good
talk-show host. The other Dole and Kemp for president."

    I was just joking, especially about Jack Kemp, who's too emotional to be
president. Elizabeth Dole isn't.

    This is a woman who was May Queen at Duke University and graduated from
Harvard Law School in 1965, one of only 15 women in the class. You don't achieve
either of those things by being a wimp.

    Harvard Law never had room for Ally McBeals. The South always had beauty
queens made of polished steel.
It's always been my theory that the first woman president will be a Republican.
Do the math.

    Most of the men who say they don't want a woman president are Republicans.
But they'll take a Republican woman over a Democratic anything.

    Most of the women who vote Democratic will vote for a woman , some because
they'll vote for any woman over any man, some just to see what happens and many
because they've forgotten about Margaret Thatcher.

    That leaves fans of Al Gore, Tipper, in short.

    All the Republicans need to get the gender gap working in their favor is a
good woman candidate. A lightweight famous wife like Mary Bono couldn't cut it.
A powerhouse insider like Liddy Dole could.

    It may sound sexist, but for a woman to be a good candidate for president,
she should scare people, specifically men.

    That's the only way a woman can get respect from the half of the human race
saddled with puny Y chromosomes. Most great women leaders, Queen Victoria,
Margaret Thatcher, Boadicea, Xena Warrior Princess, Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Dianne Feinstein, have scared men to some degree or other.

    The deep, hidden secret of men is that we like to be scared by women. Many
of us, anyway.

    How else are we going to be kept in line? We don't know we're alive unless
there's someone telling us we're wrong.
The teacher I'll always remember from elementary school is the one who made me
sit in the corner with a peck basket on my head because I couldn't remember dry
measures of absolutely no use in a non-agrarian society.

    Can we imagine Liddy Dole making us, as a society, sit in a corner? Yes, we
can. In fact, that's why many conservatives would want to vote for her.

    The women I dated were more attractive, intelligent and ambitious than I
ever was. The woman who later became my wife gave me a lousy grade when she was
my teaching assistant at Stanford. Look, I was distracted.

    Can we imagine Liddy Dole being more attractive, intelligent, ambitious and
a tougher grader than her husband? Yes. We know who controls the Viagra bottle
in that household.

    My wife is definitely scarier than I am. She's the one you don't want to get
on the phone if you're a telephone solicitor.

    Can we imagine Liddy Dole reaming out Boris Yeltsin if he calls asking for
more free dollars? Da, we can.

    Can we imagine Liddy Dole pushing the button? Faster than Bill Clinton,
who's more of a zipper man.
Liddy Dole scares me too much, and not just because her politics are well to the
right of her husband's. Underneath her Southern charm and smarm is Antarctic
ice. Bob is the warm half of the couple.

    At the '96 Republican Convention, Liddy was talking when Bob interrupted via
closed-circuit TV on a big-screen.

    "Is he going to speak or am I going to speak?" said Liddy, pretending to
joke. We all knew the answer, especially Bob.

    At that moment in the Republican Convention, I understood how Republicans
must feel when they see Hillary Clinton.

    Both women are hard nuts, but one is a honeyed pecan and the other is salty
and dry-roasted.

   So you think Americans don't love tough women? A recent Gallup poll found that
the top five most admired women in America are Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey,
Elizabeth Dole, Margaret Thatcher and Barbara Bush.

    Any of them could have Arnold Schwarzenegger as antipasto.

    There's already one Bush in the race for the Republican nomination. Thatcher
is British. Oprah is in line for higher office than president.

    That leaves Hillary and Liddy, and Hillary is being floated as a possible
candidate for the Senate. Too bad they don't go head-to-head for president, and
give us a real and truly scary Clinton-Dole contest.

    My wife can write the columns.

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