The Woman in the Pants Suit

By Bobbie Kirkhart

Hillary Clinton is a strong, pragmatic politician. Moderately hawkish, she cast a meaningless vote to support the Iraq War, which she now regrets—though she still proclaims her support of the war in Afghanistan.

Hillary of the Many-Colored Pantsuit
Hillary and her ubiquitous pants suit

Indeed, her public persona—her tone of voice, her posture, the ever-present pants suit—gives the appearance of confidence and command. She has always been assertive, many say to a point of presumption. She started running for the Senate when she was still our First Lady. No other president’s wife has vied for public office. From the time she became the first woman full partner of Arkansas’s most prestigious law firm to her stint as a Secretary of State who advocated “smart power,” she has built a résumé that could only happen with exceptional ability and driving ambition.

She opened her 2008 presidential campaign boldly, declaring: “I’m in it to win it.” She did not talk much about her work for the powerless within our nation, and there was a lot to talk about, beginning with her post law-school days when she studied children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center. She also didn’t mention that when she was listed among the 100 top lawyers in America, she did pro bono work in child advocacy.

Hillary Children Books
Read Across America Day: First Lady Hillary Clinton and Congressman Steny Hoyer

We saw little reference to her respected scholarly articles on children’s rights, and she rarely mentioned her first book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. She touted her experience on the Senate Armed Services Committee more than on the Special Committee on Aging.

The pundits note that she’s now talking about domestic issues, where she champions the rights and needs of the weak: women, children, immigrants, minorities, the poor. She brags about being a grandmother and jokes about dyeing her hair. “She’s running as a woman this time,” they remark with amazement.


Hillary has a very good chance of becoming our next president, and the mavens of political prognostication ask, “If she’s elected, which Hillary Clinton will we get?” It should be obvious. She’s never done anything half way. We’ll get all of her: tough, slightly bellicose, and compassionate.

If you’re interested on Hillary’s take on a variety of issues, click here.

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Bobbie Kirkhart is vice president of the Atheist Alliance of America and serves on the board of Camp Quest, Inc., a summer camp for children of freethinking families. She is a past president of the Atheist Alliance International as well as a frequent contributor to U.S. freethought publications.