Time for another thought experiment (admittedly, one not far removed from recent and present realities). Imagine if the United States were facing an unprecedented financial-social crisis, the makings of which had been brewing for years and the solutions to which were far from obvious. Suppose the mood of the country favored genuine unity. Genuine unity, of the sort that Churchill asked of the British people as they faced years of grueling warfare against Nazi Germany; deep social cooperation to solve deep problems, not just starry-eyed rhetoric penned by a twenty-seven year old.
Suppose that the U.S. had a well-respected political leader available, one with a history of successfully addressing problems of social welfare, the sort of problems that the economic crisis will generate and exacerbate and which will have to be addressed if the the social - and therefore, economic- fabric of the country are to be restitched.
To this point in our thought experiment it might seeem quite obvious that the U.S. would turn to this leader. But now, include these variables: this leader is 66 years old and looks and acts consistent with that age; this leader is a woman; this leader is openly gay and has listed her domestic partner on official websites since such websites have been in place; this leader is a highly ambitious politician, somebody who sought to develop and cultivate her own political following, although also has shown the ability and willingness to work with and across political dividing lines.
Try to figure out which variable would most weigh against this person as the choice to lead the United States in time of such crisis.
Apparently, none of them are preventing Iceland from coalescing around Johanna Sigardardottir (right) as the Iceland's choice for its next Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, check this out: