The Tears of a Candidate

IN 1972, the campaign of Democratic candidate Edmund Muskie came to abrupt end when on a snowy day in New Hampshire when he emotionally tried to defend himself from personal attacks. He spoke amid a snowstorm and snowflakes were hitting his face during his emotional statement. To the untrained eye, it looked as if Muskie was crying. That was it for Muskie’s presidential bid. How could America ever elect a President who cried or showed emotion?

Fast forward to 2008.

Once again, we are in New Hampshire and witnessing another emotional moment. Only this time, it’s Hillary Clinton who appeared to be on the verge of tears when asked about how she was holding up during these grueling days of campaigning. Her answer and her emotional display has become the buzz in political circles and the lead story on all the news broadcasts.

But instead of it being the downfall of her campaign – a la Muskie – some are wondering if this is the turning point for her suddenly slipping Presidential bid. It’s amazing to see how far we have come as a society that we are not only seriously looking at a woman as our next President, but we are also looking at emotion as a strength rather than a weakness.

However, in showing both our partisanship as well as our cynicism, there are many wondering aloud if the whole thing was a calculated move on the part of Hillary’s camp. A last desperate attempt for votes and to appeal to the human side of New Hampshire voters.

I don’t know and I don’t care. However, I will say this: I want my candidates to show that they are just like me. That means sometimes showing their frailties, whether it be sadness or anger. I want to know that – in some way – perhaps my leaders feel the same things I feel when confronted by great tragedy or great joy.

I’m not saying I’m voting for Hillary Clinton based upon what I witnessed. I’m merely saying that I wish more of those running for office would drop the shield of the standard blue tie and the canned stump speeches and really tell it like it is. Really tell me how you feel instead of telling me what you want to hear.

Photo Courtesy: ABC News

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