Leslie Crocker Snyder hoisted her granddaughter onto her hip, kissed her on the cheek and said, “Hopefully she won’t have to face the kind of discrimination that many of us had to face, [like] when the D.A. asked me for a letter of permission from my husband to go to the homicide bureau. She won’t have to do things like that–right, Vanessa?”
Snyder, the Manhattan district attorney candidate, has portrayed her campaign as a fight for women's rights. Yesterday, as she picked up the endorsement of the National Organization for Women, Snyder said that some person had expressed doubt to her that women face any disadvantages at all.
“I had to laugh a little,” she said. “Like there’s no glass ceiling out there? Come on.” Palms up, pumping toward the sky, Snyder added, “We have to keep pushing that glass ceiling.”
At other times, Snyder has used another phrase to make her point: the “old boys network.” Snyder defines it as “the establishment, a group of people–there can even be a few women in it now, it’s not necessarily all old boys–who know each other, have certain power, talk to each other, pick up the phone and tell people what to do.”
Snyder has used that phrase to explain why her main rival, Cy Vance, was endorsed by the New York Times, New York Post and Daily News, among other outlets.
During an an interview in Chelsea last week, where she campaigned outside of supermarket, I asked Snyder if she really felt that the exquisitely liberal New York Times–which endorsed her for district attorney four years ago–had abandoned her this time around out of some chauvinist impulse.
“Was it a chauvinist impulse? I don’t know. I just know that the old boys network is out there,” she said, raising her voice a notch.
The Times editorial said that Snyder has a “taste for publicity,” which Snyder said was misguided.
“They didn’t discuss the campaign at all, actually,” she said outside the Whole Foods. “I don’t know where that comes from. I mean, I had the worst cases in the city, you know, during my time as a judge. The Wild Cowboys. The Jheri Curls. The Natural Born Killers. And the newspaper covered them. That wasn’t at my request.”
The emphasis she’s put on her record of locking up violent criminals has prompted critics to suggest that she’s unprepared to deal with more complex white-collar financial crimes the next district attorney will face.
“Yes, maybe 80 percent of my cases were violent crimes,” she said, but “I dealt with a lot of corporate fraud…I had the Co-op case, I had the stock fraud case, I had a crocked lawyers case, insurance fraud, I had a lot of white collar–I supervised all the wire taps. So, I know white-collar crime.”
The tactical impetus for Snyder's gender-based argument is clear. She's running in a primary against two men–Vance and the outspokenly liberal Richard Aborn, who is backed by labor and an extensive list of elected officials.
(Feminist Gloria Steinem, who is supporting Vance, made a point of saying at a rally in Washington Square Park yesterday,"The point is not just to get a job for one woman,” she said. “Think about Sarah Palin.”)
Snyder said she'd leave discussions of strategy and predictions “to the political people.”
"The only way we’ll really know, I guess, is on Election Day,” she said.