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Tue, Oct. 22

Girl-power campaign hampers Hillary

It's been almost a year since that well-known political pundit Sharon Stone explained why Hillary Clinton couldn't win the presidency. "A woman should be past her sex-uality when she runs,'' intoned Stone. "Hillary still has sexual power, and I don't think people will accept that.''

I never figured out if this was a compliment or an insult to the 59-year-old senator. After all, Henry Kissinger once described power as the great aphrodisiac. Did aphrodisia shrink a woman's political power?

Of course, this was only one of innumerable pink grids put over Hillary's campaign. Before and after her announcement, media put out endless stories on whether America was "ready'' for a woman president. Every move she makes, every breath she takes, every outfit she wears, the media stalk her looking for clues to the female electoral cycle.

This was an inevitable part of being the First Serious Woman Candidate for President. And Hillary has said repeatedly, "The fact that I'm a woman, the fact that I'm a mom, is part of who I am.'' Her candidacy was bound to have a "You Go, Girl!'' edge.

It was no surprise that Hillary announced her candidacy in a Webcast from a living room decorated in Early Suburban Soccer Mom. It's no surprise that she's just launched a kind of girlfriend's social networking campaign. And it's no surprise to see her campaigning under the slogan: "Let the Conversation Begin.'' But something is happening on the long, tortured path to the first primary. Hillary's been de-sexed ­ excuse me, Sharon ­ de-gendered. She already is seen as less like the woman candidate for president and more like the establishment candidate. She's becoming less a messenger of historic change and more a messenger of old politics.

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