|March 16, 2010|
|'Crystalgate' is Sexist Swipe at Hillary Clinton|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The New York Post wants readers to believe that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is snubbing U.S. manufacturers, opting for a Swedish glassmaker to supply stemware for American embassies. |
That's right. It's as if the Secretary of State personally selected the patterns and purchased the stemware.
The piece smacks of sexism. Stemware is the last thing on Hillary's mind, which is focused on hot spots like the Middle East. Would the Post have delivered the same hammer if Bill Clinton was in charge of Foggy Bottom? Probably. Okay, what if the Secretary of State was another guy?
Of course not.
Hillary is a juicy target for the right-wing media. "CrystalGate" is bound to get major play throughout FOXland.
The real story? The decision to go with Sweden's Orrefors/Kosta Boda was made by a tiny interior design firm in Georgetown. One can bet that firm, Systems Design Inc., is more in tune with hot trends in design rather than the PR ramifications of a Swedish company manufacturing stemware carrying the seal of the U.S.
What's next? American flags? Remember George Bush's flag factory appearance in his campaign against Mike Dukakis?
Not reported by the Post: New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — both Democrats — already have protested the stemware award. They want to know why New York's Steuben Glass, which has been making glass in the Empire State for more than 100 years, was not given a shot at bidding for the contract.
"Whenever possible, our embassies and embassy residences should be showcases for American-made products, not foreign-made goods," wrote the Senators. They also noted that Steuben has supplied every White House since Truman and that New York State's hard-hit "Southern-Tier" sure could use the jobs that go with the $5.4M contract.
Gillibrand, who was selected to replace Clinton as New York's Senator, believes supplying glassware for more than 400 embassies and residences is exactly what the good people in Steuben County need.
A State Dept. spokesperson says Systems Design couldn't find a U.S. glass maker to provide the 100 percent lead-free requirement of the contract. Systems Design didn't look hard enough.
Steuben produces lead-free crystal. It deserves a shot.
Hillary has bigger things to worry about than this tempest in a crystal teapot.
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