Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first female president, was sworn in on Saturday. There were big parties. Condoleezza Rice was there, along with Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. Broadsheet loves Bachelet, a socialist, agnostic pediatrician and single mother of three who has vowed to make the needs of women and the poor in her country a priority and appointed a cabinet of 10 men and 10 women. As Broadsheet reader Karen M. commented here in December, "any ONE of her characteristics" -- that is, being divorced, a single mother, an atheist or a socialist -- "would prevent a woman being elected president here. Or even being taken seriously as a candidate ... And even a man could not be elected here if he were a self-professed [agnostic]. Not a chance."
Congratulations to President Bachelet and her cabinet and her family and to Chile. It's inspiring to see a qualified politician sworn in as a leader because of the strength of her beliefs and her ability to convince a nation that she has its best interests at heart.
Cough. Awkward pause. Cough.
So. Anyway. Anyone read the profile of former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner in Sunday's New York Times Magazine? You couldn't have missed his mug on the cover: He looked like he was preparing to eat you ... and then brush his teeth again. He's also the nervous Democrats' latest great white hope to derail the as-yet imaginary and premature ascendance of Hillary Clinton to the top of the party ticket. Warner is an NRA-courting hunter who supports the death penalty and parental notification for minors seeking abortions, and is against gay marriage. When, after a woman at a Democratic dinner party offered to educate him about abortion, he reportedly snapped at her: "This is why America hates Democrats."
But while Warner's too polite to crow about it himself, the good news is: He's got a penis! As Times writer Matt Bai observes, "A lot of voters may wonder if a woman can really be elected president, but they would most likely turn on any male candidate who was crass enough to imply as much." So Warner can't come out and say it. Writes Bai, "His manner suggests that he himself would happily call Clinton 'Madame President,' but he just doesn't think the voters he knows in Southside Virginia can ever be made to feel the same way."
I don't mean here to compare Hillary Clinton with Michelle Bachelet -- two politicians with very different ideas about the meaning of "electability." But how about the attitudes of the electorates they serve?