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The politics of piling on, Hillary-style

November 1, 2007 |  8:12 pm

Here we go with the Hillary Clinton gender card. For weeks she's been going on television shows not watched by hairy men and talking with a genderly wink toward her fellow females about the kinds of things that all women know they go through when they work in a male world. You know what we mean. The glass ceiling. Being judged by your clothes or makeup. Being unfeminine when you make a tough call.

And the audience members nod sympathetically. And, polls are showing, it's working as more women soften their image of the former first lady and have become Clinton's largest single group of supporters.

Today, she returned to her alma mater, Wellesley College, and said, "In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys' club of presidential politics."

And at the same time Clinton's campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, was dispatching an e-mail to the front-runner's supporters around the country claiming that the Democratic presidential race has entered a new phase since Tuesday's debate.

"On that stage in Philadelphia," Doyle writes, "we saw six against one. Candidates who had pledged the politics of hope practiced the politics of pile on instead.... She is one strong woman. She came through it well. But Hillary's going to need your help." And there follows the standard plea for money.

All the candidates are going to use any excuse to ask for more money, naturally, especially if they can portray themselves as under attack. And it's just a thought. But when there are seven people on a debate stage competing for the nomination, isn't it six against one for each of them?

--Andrew Malcolm