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Strong, able and ready

September 05, 2008

Re "Wrong message, wrong woman," Opinion, Sept. 4

Gloria Steinem's invective against Sarah Palin is strikingly reminiscent of the criticisms launched against Barack Obama by Hillary Clinton supporters only a year ago.

Before the Iowa caucuses, many contended that he wasn't "black enough" and that a young, wealthy and well-educated man of mixed race who disavowed the 1960s' divisive identity politics could never connect with African American voters.

Steinem is sounding a lot like Jesse Jackson did in July during his infamous live microphone slip, revealing herself to be increasingly irrelevant and, most of all, painfully aware of her rapid transformation from rebel to relic.

There are still very legitimate questions about Palin's experience and her reform record, but what her candidacy shows more than anything is that a strong woman can stand up not only to the culture that once sought to repress women physically and professionally, but also to that which today seeks to repress them intellectually and politically.

Samuel Eckman

Washington

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Why is Hillary Clinton in any way more qualified in the area of foreign policy (or anything, for that matter) than Palin? Because Clinton happened to be married to a husband who was elected president, and she was so attached to power that she inexplicably stuck by him while he cheated on her over and over again? Because she presided disastrously over a proposed health plan and was then cut out of policymaking by her husband for the balance of his time in office? Because as a senator she was given intelligence and swallowed it whole and voted for the Iraq war?

When has Clinton ever had to deal with world leaders face to face on her own? After Wednesday night, can any unbiased observer conclude that Palin wouldn't have what it takes? Frankly, if I were Putin, Ahmadinejad, Assad, Chavez, Hamas or Hezbollah (or, of course, Joe Biden), I'd be nervous as hell.

Peter Rich

Los Angeles

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