Former President Bill Clinton stumped for his wife, former First Lady, New York senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, hoping to garner a few votes for the Democratic Party presidential candidate in the first primary state. And at the end of his speech, he let the crowd know that the “glass ceiling” for women that everyone keeps talking about, the one his wife could possible shatter in 2016 by winning the election, wasn’t the only glass ceiling that would shatter.
Real Clear Politics reported October 26 that Bill Clinton, in concluding his stump speech in Des Moines, told the Iowa crowd, “There has been a lot of talk about breaking the glass ceiling. I want to talk about a barrier that has not been broken, allowing you to support Hillary for me too. I want to break a ceiling. I am tired of the stranglehold that women have had on the position of America’s first spouse — we are laughing, but this is serious. I would rather be looking to the future in America, than in any other country, but it depends on whether we take politics seriously and stop running each other down and start building this up.”
Yes, that is correct. Bill Clinton was not only stumping for Hillary Clinton for president but also for his own position as the First Spouse (Husband? Gentleman?). And joking or no, he’s absolutely right. Every president except James Buchanan, a lifelong bachelor, had a First Lady. (Side note: Grover Cleveland was elected a bachelor in 1885 but married a year later.)
But does Bill Clinton have a real chance of breaking that “stranglehold that women have had on the position,” that other glass ceiling? Although the campaign trail is a long one — there is yet a year to go before the general election — and nothing is certain in politics, Hillary Clinton does control a substantial lead in national polls at present. According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, she has a 22.8 percent lead over her nearest rival for the Democratic Party nomination, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.
In head-to-head match-ups (posted by Real Clear Politics), various polls show Hillary Clinton in close battles with several of the current Republican Party contenders. Up until September, she had enjoyed a steady run of poll victories over her GOP rivals, but a steady stream of bad press and fallout from both the Benghazi Embassy attack of 2012 (where a congressional panel just wrapped up a hearing last week) and the use of her private email server for conveying and storing missives while Secretary of State saw her strong numbers fade. Although she has won a few head-to-head polls of late, she has lost more.
So breaking any glass ceiling in 2016 will not be an easy task. For Hillary or Bill Clinton.