Is Barack cheating on Hillary?

Rumor has it, Obama's checking out some other women for the V.P. slot. And some Hillary supporters are pissed.

Published July 31, 2008 6:55PM (EDT)

This just in from ABC News: Some supporters of Hillary Clinton's are angry about what they perceive as Barack Obama's infidelity. Yes, it's true. In his search for a vice-presidential running mate, the presumptive nominee may be looking at other women.

Rumors are flying that Obama's shortlist may include two-term Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius or first-term Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri (though McCaskill claims she's not being vetted) -- and some people are pissed. "Hillary Clinton is not a political Lego block, easily replaced by another woman candidate," said Allida Black, a former Clinton national fundraising committee member. "Women voters know this," she continued. "Hillary is not interchangeable."

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton and a longtime friend of the Clintons', agreed. "The selection of either one of those instead of Senator Clinton I would find completely incomprehensible," he told ABC.

Really? Am I the only person who finds this surprisingly offensive? Last I checked, no one has accused a presidential candidate of assuming all men are interchangeable just because he picked a guy as a running mate. Is it possible that Obama would not want to choose Clinton as his running mate not because she's a woman but because she's Hillary Clinton?

Davis continued: "If anyone thinks that picking a woman will simply placate Hillary Clinton's female supporters, I think that's very patronizing to women and I don't think that either Governor Sebelius or Senator McCaskill would disagree."

Personally, I find it patronizing for Davis to refer only to Clinton's female supporters (oh, how those PUMAs need to be placated). And I also find it ridiculous to assume that picking a different woman for V.P. would be patronizing to begin with. Wouldn't it be more so to assume that women are so irrational that they will not accept anyone who isn't Hillary Clinton? Isn't it sexist to assume that Clinton is the only female politican who might possibly be qualified to be V.P.? Isn't opening the field to more women a good thing? I thought a main goal of feminism was to encourage the idea that men and women have equal abilities, not that Hillary Clinton has some supernatural powers that allow her -- and only her -- to compete in the man's world of presidential politics.

As the country's first serious female candidate, Clinton made us consider the idea of a female commander in chief in a way we never have before. Even in defeat, I think she can be credited with helping warm America to the idea of having women in positions of serious power -- not to mention making a female vice-presidential running mate seem like a strategically smart campaign decision. Impressive accomplishments, and ones for which I'm grateful -- but they don't entitle her to a slot as a running mate. Thoughts?

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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