President Precedent

From the CNN/YouTube debates:

QUESTION: … This question is to Senator Hillary Clinton. The Arab states, Muslim nations, believe it’s women as being second-class citizens. If you’re president of the United States, how do you feel that you would even be taken seriously by these states in any kind of talks, negotiations, or any other diplomatic relations? I feel that is a legitimate question.

CLINTON: … You know, when I was first lady, I was privileged to represent our country in 82 countries. I have met with many officials in Arabic and Muslim countries. I have met with kings and presidents and prime ministers and sheiks and tribal leaders.

And certainly, in the last years during my time in the Senate, I have had many high-level meetings with presidents and prime ministers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Pakistan and many other countries.

I believe that other countries have had women presidents and women prime ministers. There are several serving now — in Germany, in Chile, in Liberia and elsewhere — and I have noticed that their compatriots on the world stage certainly take them seriously.

I’m not a Hillary fan, but she might have pointed out that two of the most prominent majority-Muslim countries — Indonesia and Pakistan — have already elected female heads of state (Megawati Sukarnoputri and Benazir Bhutto, respectively). Then again, given the charges of corruption in Bhutto’s case and the fact that both of them were the daughters of former heads of state, maybe not.