"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Don't Cry For Me, Iowa City Presidential Precedent

Written by: Brian Deines
Edited by: Olga Z
Joboja Staff Writers

She has caught a lot of flack over "the tip," "the planted question" and John McCain's "how do we beat the bitch?” but Hillary Clinton remains the front-runner in her bid to be the first female president of the United States.

And a historical precedent already exists for Hillary Clinton winning the presidency.

For one, Cristina Kirchner, the first woman president in the Western Hemisphere, was just elected in Argentina by a huge landslide and will replace her husband, Néstor Kirchner, as president.

That power couple has obviously been compared to the Clintons. But Argentina itself has a precedent for power couples, namely Juan and Eva Perón.

The world knows her as Evita. And it was she who shattered notions in the 1940s—not just of women in politics—but also of how politics are played.

Evita—beautiful, glamorous, strong and patriotic—was Jackie Kennedy on roids.

The difference between Eva Perón and Diana is that Evita was more than just the Princess—she also ran as her husband's vice president.

Wildly popular, she would have won but died young of cancer at 33. She has since been mythologized in Argentina and by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

You could compare her myth to the Kennedy myth—that glamour, that power—but Madonna never made a movie about the Kennedy’s and if she did, she wouldn't play Jack.

Madonna has more than Stones

"Bobby Kennedy called him 'the most decent man in the Senate', which is not quite the same thing as being the best candidate for President of the United States. For that, he would need at least one dark kinky streak of Mick Jagger in his soul."

Hunter S. Thompson, on George McGovern in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

This might have been the first time the now-popular notion that the president must be a rock star was published.

Since then, the celebrity-politician has become not just common (Reagan and Schwarzenegger to name two) and not just effective, but a necessary part of getting elected.

Everyone has their detractors, but the cult of personality (and apotheosis) has surrounded power since Alexander the Great made himself a living god. For women, you point to Elizabeth I or Catherine the Great. But the modern model is Eva Perón.

What Elizabeth I proves, and Evita supports, is this notion provided by Perón biographer, Julie Taylor:

"In the images examined, the three elements consistently linked—femininity, mystical or spirituality power, and revolutionary leadership—display an underlying common theme. Identification with any one of these elements puts a person or a group at the margins of established society and at the limits of institutional authority. Anyone who can identify with all three images lays an overwhelming and echoing claim to dominance through forces that recognize no control in society or its rules. Only a woman can embody all three elements of this power."

For the male candidate, cult of personality is apparently as easy as adjusting your sticky-finger and posing like a rock star; sometimes to great effect (see JFK, Che Guevara).

But if history is any gage, for Hillary there appears to be an opportunity to tap into the wild, powerful, and seemingly uncontrollable forces of nature.

Eva Perón had it. Cristina Kirchner has it. Benazir Bhutto has it.

But does Hillary Clinton have that streak, that Madonna in her?

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