Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wellesley Class Sees ‘One of Us’ Bearing Standard

From The New York Times
The audio slide show on the NYT site is worth a listen: five thoughtful sets of reminiscences of and reflections on Hillary Rodham then and now. The enduring, unanswered question: "how her guarded and cool political persona is so different from the warm, funny and outspoken woman they know."

A few comments from the NYT story that especially moved me:

“What people now perceive as Hillary’s distance, the criticism that she’s cold and calculating, and does nothing without a focus group, finds its root in that she has had to be, for 25 years, in the spotlight, and in the shadow of Bill,” Ms.[Eleanor Dean] Acheson said. “I think she’s going to get more relaxed as this campaign goes, and show more of the personal qualities her friends have always seen.”...

“When she saw that something as seemingly innocuous as that cookie statement set off such a firestorm, it took me by surprise and it must have taken her by surprise, too,” said Cheryl L. Walker, a literature professor at Scripps College. “I think her strong commitments are the same, but she is definitely savvier, more cautious, and probably more cynical, than she was then. And actually, when she published her recipe, I made it, and it became the standard in my house, the ones my children liked best.”

Catherine Neal Parke, an English professor at the University of Missouri, said she saw her classmate’s life as a political and domestic allegory.

“She goes to a women’s college, gives that gangbuster graduation speech, then goes to Arkansas, continues her career in the stellar way, makes more money than her husband, has only one child,” Ms. Parke said. “Then she becomes the first lady, makes the cookies remark, tries health-care reform, but when it doesn’t work, she has to become the housewife of the White House, because that’s the required persona. Now that her husband’s out, though, she can go back to pursuing her own career.”...

Professor Colony and others sound rueful, too, about what they see as Mrs. Clinton’s political compromises. “She reaffirms for me the fact that as soon as you get into politics you have to compromise on your goals, if not your ideals,” the professor said. “It’s incredibly upsetting, but I think it’s a fact of life.”

No comments: