In its just-releaseddissection
of Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign,The Atlantic
magazine notes that Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee urged the candidate to play the gender card following the much-admired speech on race relations by Barack Obama.
The time frame was last March and Hillary had just won the Dem primaries in Texas and Ohio, but Obama countered with his race speech, described by some as "historic," and the Clinton camp needed ideas.
Jackson Lee, one of Clinton's national co-chairs, "urged" her to "deliver a speech of her own on gender," writes Atlantic reporter Joshua Green.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Clinton wanted to follow Jackson Lee's advice, but her campaign remained divided on the idea, as it apparently was on practically everything else when it came to strategizing against Obama:
The campaign went back and forth for weeks. Opponents argued that her oratory couldn't possibly match Obama's, and proponents countered that she would get credit simply for trying, inspire legions of women to her cause, and highlight an issue that everyone in the campaign fiercely believed was hurting them—sexism. But Clinton never made a decision, and seemed troubled by the concern of Ann Lewis, perhaps her most venerable feminist adviser, who opposed such a speech for fear that it would equate sexism with racism—another contrast with Obama that Clinton feared she would lose.
So, since Sheila's advice wasn't followed and Clinton went on to lose the nomination to Obama, I guess no one can blame the local congresswoman from District 18. But go ahead if you want.
-- Steve Olafson