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January 09, 2008

Comments

The sad thing is that I've got 20 years on you (going back to, say, the Carter administration), and I've seen the same number of truly inspiring politicians that you have.

I guess I worry about the theory being sexist in itself. Those polls were supposedly, I guess, talking to likely voters, but a huge number of voters were undecided. Yes, it is possible that the undecideds were most swayed by very recent events, but the media seems to be wrong all the time, so I'm not gonna bother to come up with theories that could be based on a pile of quicksand.

But why oh why should we believe this theory? I'll tell you why people are pushing this theory. Because it is the only theory they have. Because it is the theory that accounts for a 10 point-shift in a single day. Because it gives all those pollsters something to say to rationalize what would otherwise expose the breakdown of their methodology.

And that's what I think this is: media butt covering.

I don't believe the theory. What's the evidence for it? It's just another explanation coming from people who have a hit list track record at providing good explanations.

'hit list track record' was meant to be 'horrible track record'. My dictation software betrays me sometime.

"Her past positions are strong evidence of what she’ll do in the future"

Probably, but her cherry-picked contextless past positions aren't.


BTD at TalkLeft argues that both HRC and Obama will be forced left now - also citing this.

Ara, it may not be proof, but on liberal and left-wing weblogs there is a lot of traffic from women (and men!) angry at the treatment Clinton got in the last few days. Even those who feel much more strongly about her policy defects than Publius does have been very hostile to it, with a combination of anger, disgust, and weariness that I find very familiar. (I've felt some of it myself.) I know two New Hampshire voters, and one of them mentioned it as a thing he thought seriously before in the end casting his vote for one of the others. So there's at a minimum a plausible context.

(I'll take the liberty of repeating what I said in the previous thread.)

At first I was disappointed with the result tonight. Then I tried to console myself with the thought that it was only a few percentage points.

They I thought -- this is actually pretty awesome. I still think Obama can pull it out -- and man am I hoping he will -- but then I remembered that my nightmare scenario was Hillary coasting to the nomination and then getting annihilated in the general election, a la Kerry. And now that we might be facing a nicey-nicey evangelical nutbag again in Huckabee (Bush has convinced me that you can't write off the fundamentalist freaks, nor the cravenness of the rest of the party in supporting them) or someone who's not a complete windbag in McCain (not that I agree with most of his policies, but he's not a dunce), that becomes very important. I wasn't even that comfortable with Clinton versus The Romnoid or Giuliani The Conqueror, so the prospect of a mildly threatening candidate is even more of a concern.

But right now that worries me less than it did just two weeks ago. Kerry's problem -- and Clinton's too, up 'til this point -- was not engaging, not being human, working off polls, etc. Gore made the same mistake. Clinton finally, blessedly, got something of a clue, and that shifts the whole dynamic of the race. This is about the Presidency, after all. Clinton a month ago didn't stand a chance in the general; Clinton in the last week could actually win the Presidency. In retrospect, I feel like her unfavorables might have been less about Hillary-hate than revulsion at the robotic brand of politics that's typified so many ridiculous Democratic losses.

Both Obama and Clinton raised my opinion of them in the last week; since I was already gaga over Obama, now I've essentially devolved into worshipping him (and wow do I want him to win), but it feels so. Incredibly. Relieving. To feel so less worried about bobbling the general election by nominating a genuinely good person who for some reason acts like a robot when put in a race, like we did in '00 and '04. I feel that if Gore or Kerry had been given a fright like Clinton was in Iowa, they would have taken a more humanized approach to their campaigns and things would have turned out very differently.

(Gore especially -- more than anything else watching that Spike Jonze video of him before the election and seeing that warmth that he didn't display until he'd lost; what a wonderful man. It makes me sad on a personal level that he lost. He has such a good heart and he was treated so unfairly, largely because he couldn't break out of his own shell...)

Anyway, if nothing else Obama has clearly altered the political landscape already -- it seems to me that his approach has almost forced Clinton into acting the way she should have been acting all along. And he did it in a way that's kept the discourse civil; the flip side of the robo-candidate strategy has been the ever-present circular firing squad, and Obama's managed to raise the level of discourse beyond that somewhat, and Hillary, to her credit, stepped up to the challenge. Now that's some hope right there.

I'm actually looking forward to the rest of the primary. On one hand, if the Clinton campaign returns to politics-as-usual, I don't think they'll beat Obama regardless. But if they step up to the plate, it'll be good for the party as a whole. Either way, the Democrats win.

There's nothing wrong with opposing Clinton for legitimate reasons -- there are plenty of them, and I know more than a few women who oppose her and support Obama for the same reasons you do. But things had reached such a crescendo of misogyny in the past few days that I think women reacted sanely -- they realized that the attacks weren't on Hillary's position on the war, her chumminess with K Street, or her Iowa tableau (the "Bridge to the 20th Century," as more than one wag put it), but on her gender. She was too screechy. She wasn't emotional enough. She was too emotional. She wasn't "strong." She wasn't "tough."

The final polls were pretty right on for Obama. There was a slight drop-off from the final polls for Edwards, who was stupid enough to hit Hillary with a not-so-thinly-veiled criticism.

The polls dramatically underestimated Clinton's support.

This was, I think, women (and their allies) standing up to misogyny, saying that Hillary may deserve to lose -- but not because of her genotype. And good for them -- it was a line that needed to be drawn. And while I'm not a Hillary backer myself, I was glad to see her win tonight; it was a nice right cross to the media and punditocracy. Onward.

Bruce Baugh: Thanks. How recent is this chatter? The boobtube press pick it up immediately. Do you see signs of this venting before or after the media picked it up?

I saw an ABC news clip about it yesterday, which was actually entirely positive. Do we really think this swung what must've been 10,000 votes, even though there's no real reason that animosity towards the press for being unfair to the candidate should translate to switching one's vote to the candidate?

If you accept that sexism against Clinton is a legitimate reason to vote for her, don't you then HAVE to vote for her? In theory you can admit it and then construct an argument for someone else, but every sexist has some sort of justification. Almost no one goes into a voting booth thinking "I hates me some wimmins!"

Isn't a vote or argument for anyone else a de facto vote for patriarchy and the glass ceiling? Isn't acknowledgment of the sexism without support for the candidate ultimately dismissal in a pretty wrapping? At what point does acknowledging the sexism become a cover for advocating and voting the sexism? I don't have answers for these questions but I hope someone does, because if the backlash story really gets legs, they'll be brought up a lot I think.

Well, I don't think her victory tonight is entirely a response to the overall sexism of the campaign and the especially ridiculous coverage of her over the past few days, but it certainly helped (and a good thing too, in my opinion, though like you, I'm an Obama man).

I think we simply cannot overlook her campaign's ground game in New Hampshire. A turnout like she got, the margins of support in certain key demographics, this isn't coincidence this is straight up organization, preparation and tactical execution on game day. When the dust settles, I think you'll see that the biggest key to her victory was a textbook perfect endgame in the final 48 hours.

But let's face it, sexism does play a part and I can't help wondering if they realizes that they could use a bit of media jujitsu to turn the media's predictable responses into their gain.

Regarding her administration in waiting, I'd like to point out what strikes me as an upside to me, and that's getting Wes Clark into the cabinet, hopefully as Secretary of State. I think he's on the short-list for any Democratic President's administration, but since he's stumping for Clinton, he's got the best chance there.

Like I said, I'm for Obama and I think for the same reasons you are: prior to his Keynote speech in 2004, I watched speeches he gave and suddenly realized I was jealous of the residents of Illinois that they had the opportunity to cast a vote for a candidate whose words echoed my own (less eloquent) thoughts. After Iowa and some very encouraging (but flawed) poll numbers, I finally let myself believe his path was set and I'd get to vote him into the presidency. Seeing that it would be tougher than I hoped has sort of brought me back to earth. It took a couple of hours, but I eventually remembered that though I prefer him, voting for Clinton would still be a vote for a candidate I believe in, and even that is a rare privilege these days.

Ara, the background criticism of media coverage and its sexism with regard to Clinton has been there from the beginning. But it spiked very abruptly in response to the story the other day about her "breaking down". So yes, I do think it made the difference in pulling in several percentage points' worth of uncommitted voters.

I actually quite liked HRC before the phoney tears stunt, which made me want to puke, it was just so Romney-esque (except this stunt actually worked). It's rather alarming that the Democratic Party might still really blow this election yet.

While I would love to see a woman president, I never see the media pointing out that HRC is as crappy a feminist candidate as can be - her husband was the president for god's sake. This is less Maggie Thatcher than Eva Peron.

To clarify, I don't think that gender wasn't part of why Clinton's political bonafides have been sold short; while Gore's attachment to the Clinton Administration made some logical sense (he was VP, after all), Hillary's doesn't. As her detractors (me among them, at times) have pointed out at length, she shouldn't be able to take credit for Bill Clinton's successes; but neither should she be forced to live in his shadow.

Many women are co-associated with their husband such that they aren't seen as having an independent existence, and that's just flatly wrong. But in this case, I'm not sure where that crosses the line into sexism from just not giving Hillary the benefit of the doubt -- frankly, like Gore, I had less problem giving her the benefit of the doubt than that neither of them seemed to earn it.

Gore is a great person and politician independent of Bill Clinton, as is Hillary. But they both hid behind stale political personas -- Gore finally got it, but too late. I'm hoping that Hillary got it this week. I'm much more comfortable applauding her for distinguishing herself as she did than blaming her treatment on some vague speculation about the general misogyny of the electorate.

I find this vague speculation about implicit sexism hurting Hillary just as distasteful as the equally specious hypothesizing about implicit racism hurting Obama. It's undoubtedly true in some cases, but we'll never know how much, and it's demeaning to blame their failures on this putative fifth column. What's important is that they've both let their personalities shine through, and how that's made them less prone to caricature. In each case, their individuality has been the best possible response to stereotyping. They should be credited for their courage, not painted as the victims of some unidentifiable discrimination.

Fearfully Anonymous: No, sexism isn't a trumps-all consideration. It's important, and the kind of self-scrutiny Publius is doing is very important and worthwhile. But there are, after all, bad female candidates as well as bad male ones - there was, for instance, no feminist obligation to support Thatcher.

Ara, something I left out that may help you in evaluating where I'm coming from and whether I know anything. :) Disgust with media manipulation is very close to universal among the Democrats and likely Democratic voters I know. The sense of having been yanked around too darned much is all over the place. So it doesn't take a whole lot of specific triggering event to produce some action on it - it's like having water at 200 degrees. Boiling it won't be much work. I have been expecting to see moments where that disgust coalesces around some particular irritation and produces a distinctive backlash.

I understand that, and I agree with it personally. What I'm asking or trying to ask is more basic. Judging from your name, you're male; as am I. What gives you and I, as men, the right to make the determination that it's not a trumps-all proposition, even in regards to our own votes and support?

I ask, because I grew up around the kind of feminism where it very much was, and I'm not sure I've ever been able to argue myself past that proposition in a way I found satisfactory.

What gives you and I, as men, the right to make the determination that it's not a trumps-all proposition, even in regards to our own votes and support?

I ask, because I grew up around the kind of feminism where it very much was, and I'm not sure I've ever been able to argue myself past that proposition in a way I found satisfactory.

The answer is that there's no "determination" to be made -- as you obliquely suggest, the problem is that the claim of implicit sexism is almost always non-falsifiable, and thus a political non-starter. Like institutional racism, it's incredibly difficult to address in the aggregate (cf. the affirmative action debate), and a hollow criticism at best in an individual case.

In either case, since we're talking about "implicit discrimination," the entire point is that even if this is the problem, no one will cop to it. So not only is the accusation itself definitionally unprovable, it invites histrionics and and demagoguery that usually impede any sort of constructive action at all.

Fearfully Anonymous: I listen to women whose judgment I trust and see how they go about reconciling conflicting imperatives. Same as with anything else that I may need to act on but am not in the best position to make a well-informed assessment all by my self.

Hillary is the victim of sexism on the part of at least some individual voters, for sure.

That said, I think the charges of media sexism are overblown. Firstly, a male candidate with the same defects would be covered just as unfavorably (see, for example, Kerry, John). Secondly, a lot of voters do find her manner grating, condescending, and schoolmarmish - regardless of whether or not that response is conditioned by sexism, it's there. It's not a media creation. Thirdly, she brings at least some of this on herself by constantly playing the gender card. Nobody, including the media, likes to hear it intimated that they're motivated by sexism any time they say anything mildly critical. Note that nobody's accusing the media of veiled racism against Obama, perhaps because he has steadfastly refused to make race an issue the way Hillary has made gender an issue.

Personally, I'm offended by the intimation that I'm a sexist because I'm critical of Hillary, and it makes me much less likely to vote for her (not that I was likely to in the first place). I'm critical of Obama and Edwards as well.

Hillary is the victim of sexism on the part of at least some individual voters, for sure.

That said, I think the charges of media sexism are overblown. Firstly, a male candidate with the same defects would be covered just as unfavorably (see, for example, Kerry, John). Secondly, a lot of voters do find her manner grating, condescending, and schoolmarmish - regardless of whether or not that response is conditioned by sexism, it's there. It's not a media creation. Thirdly, she brings at least some of this on herself by constantly playing the gender card. Nobody, including the media, likes to hear it intimated that they're motivated by sexism any time they say anything mildly critical. Note that nobody's accusing the media of veiled racism against Obama, perhaps because he has steadfastly refused to make race an issue the way Hillary has made gender an issue.

Personally, I'm offended by the intimation that I'm a sexist because I'm critical of Hillary, and it makes me much less likely to vote for her (not that I was likely to in the first place). I'm critical of Obama and Edwards as well.

Mr. Baugh- thanks for that answer. The perspective I'm trying to reconcile is often one which doesn't acknowledge conflicting imperatives in a case like this, but if they are acknowledged your answer is probably the best I've heard.

It's funny- this race has on the Democratic side three contenders all more progressive than most of the serious candidates of my lifetime; and yet despite that the debate both in the MSM and elsewhere is so much less radical left than I'm used to that it's almost disorienting to seriously follow the proceedings. It's just a wholly different set of assumptions.

Leftists do worship their leaders, don't they? Only pausing to occasionally falsely accuse their opponents of that thing.

Pah.

This is less Maggie Thatcher than Eva Peron.

Eva Peron was a promising young politician whose own career got put on hold when she married another politician? I didn't know.

(Margaret Thatcher was a chemist who married an extremely wealthy businessman, who was retired by the time she became Prime Minister.)

There are substantive reasons to object to Clinton. That her husband was President before her isn't one of them.

Xeynon: Secondly, a lot of voters do find her manner grating, condescending, and schoolmarmish - regardless of whether or not that response is conditioned by sexism, it's there. It's not a media creation.

Of course it is, unless these are voters who've personally met Clinton and talked to her. Otherwise what they're getting is what the media says about her "manner".

Personally, I'm offended by the intimation that I'm a sexist because I'm critical of Hillary

Not because you're critical of Clinton. Because the reasons you've outlined in this comment for being critical of her are all sexist ones.

I find it slightly fascinating, in a distasteful kind of way, that the basic pattern of media attack on the three front-runners for President is sexism against Clinton, racism against Obama, and homophobia against Edwards. (Which last demonstrates neatly that you don't even have to be gay to suffer from homophobia...)

In terms of prejudices it's acceptable to be public about, racism is the least acceptable, homophobia is the most acceptable, and sexism falls in between: which interestingly seems to mirror the acceptability of the candidates in the media - Obama, Clinton, Edwards.

Eva Peron was a promising young politician whose own career got put on hold when she married another politician? I didn't know.

(Margaret Thatcher was a chemist who married an extremely wealthy businessman, who was retired by the time she became Prime Minister.)

There are substantive reasons to object to Clinton. That her husband was President before her isn't one of them.

You're contradicting yourself. So she put her career on hold for her husband (not very emancipated), and now has rejuvenated her career by explicitly associating herself with her husband's achievements (not very emancipated). She is, in short, a lousy feminist model. Maggie may have married well, but her political career was entirely of her own making. Not that I adore Thatcher, but still.

And even if RHC wasn't a fatally flawed feminist role model, she also brings the baggage of dynasty with her, which in itself is probably enough to undermine whatever positive aspects she brings to American political culture.

The fact is, the sexism charge seems largely concocted to me, and even if it's not, her campaign's eagerness to play the gender card stands in marked and unpleasant contrast to the Obama campaign's non-use of the race card. The Clintons are certainly canny politicians (the almost-tears has to have been Bill's idea), but RHC victory will be a travesty IMHO.

byrningman: She is, in short, a lousy feminist model.

And if there were a woman whose career had been a great feminist model running for President, that would be relevant. There isn't.

And even if RHC wasn't a fatally flawed feminist role model, she also brings the baggage of dynasty with her

No, she doesn't. Neither of her parents were President before her.

The fact is, the sexism charge seems largely concocted to me

The fact is, while there are substantive criticisms to be made against Clinton, the mainstream media criticisms are all sexist. Complaining that her manner is that of a "schoolmarm" is sexist: complaining that her husband was President so she ought not to be is sexist: complaining that she gave up her career to further her husband's is sexist: complaining that she's "playing the gender card" is sexist.

None of these things are relevant to how good a President she would make, and yet, they're most of what we hear.

I'm going to go with an all politics is local. Clinton had the better, more established infrastructure than Obama did; she had the local establishment firmly behind her, which, according to NPR this morning, had spent the last week blanketing NH with leaflets discussing Hillary's unwavering support for a Woman's Right to Choose and painting Obama as more wavering. NPR's commentator even noted that Hillary's national team probably had no clue what the local group was doing, thus emphasizing the all politics is local narrative.

See Stop playing the gender card! and
Let's See What You've Got, Babe
.

Also, if you don't think the fact that people don't like hearing Hillary talk is relevant to whether she'd be a good President, well... all I can say is that I disagree completely. Charm and oratorical skill are HIGHLY relevant skills for the job of President.

Publius, I great appreciate this soul-searaching post, but I think you should consider some reading homework. I am not a fervent supporter of Hillary Clinton. Until recently Edwards was my first choice. Katha Pollitt, the brilliant Nation writer, who should usurp that pathological harpy Dowd, renounced her support of Edwards this week. Both Obama and Edwards helped make up my and other feminist minds because they did not denounce the sexist attacks directed at Clinton. I am sure Michelle Obama would have been delighted to write his speech. Some of her wonderfully frank remarks about her husband compound my uneasiness. Once again a brilliant woman chooses to cut back her career to further her husband's ambitions and take care of her children. I don't believe that happened to Cherie Blair. Obama's not making that speech was a huge blunder and might have cost him New Hampshire.

It seems not to have occurred to commentators that the huge turnout could have been older women rather than youthful supporters of Obama.

I would embark on a serious reading of feminist classics. That might undermine your conviction that the sexist charges were concocted. Don't be too ready to belittle Steinem's old-fashioned feminism, My generation of feminists must have been unsexy cylons who smashed the eternal patriarchy in 30 years. In Battlestar Galactica, virtually the entire human race had to be obliterated before a woman become president, and she was more of a hawk than a dove. She also had to be portrayed as dying from terminal cancer to undermine her authority and accentuate her vulnerability.

Obama's use of the racial card is exquisitely subtle and understated, as it must be. Hillary's demonstrating her feminism is not playing the gender card.

Women are tortured all over the world. I know many illegal immigrants who care for our children and tenderly help our elders, They are among the most oppressed people in America. Many have left their children in Latin America to care for American children and elders. Some are virtual slaves, enduring horrifying exploitation because they are terrified of being found out and deported. Home health agencies usually charged the patients twice as much as they pay the caregivers. Some of the dedicated women who helped cared for my mom for 5 hours a day faced three bus rides to get to my house. We wound up paying for Long Island Railroad tickets to improve their commute. Many agencies make no effort to place caregivers nearer to their homes. They don't even bother to provide an accurate map to the client's house. Very few of home health aides and should not be expected to work in Long Island homes inaccessible by public transportation. Banning illegal immigrants would have a devastating effect on New York's professional class. I look forward to continuing this dialogue.

One of my daughters, who has been questioning herself just as you have, speculated that my unconscious baggage, dumped on me because of the terrible discrimination I had endured, led me to see sexism that wasn't there. I assured her that after absurdly long years of being shrunk and several years shrinking, I doubt my baggage was unconscious. Would she speculate that about a black women who had suffered both sexism and racism all her life. The absurdity of comparing sexism and racism is that one half of people of color endure both.

Xey: Also, if you don't think the fact that people don't like hearing Hillary talk is relevant to whether she'd be a good President

I have no idea if people "don't like hearing Clinton talk". All I've heard is media reports claiming people don't like hearing her talk, and reports from people (who rarely claim to have attended an event at which she spoke) who repeat what the media tells them. As 2000 and 2004 demonstrated, though, people tend to vote for the best candidate regardless of what the media is saying about them: though a concerted media campaign of negativity and lies can get a popular candidate down to the level where the Republicans can rig the election against them.

Charm and oratorical skill are HIGHLY relevant skills for the job of President.

Not, however, overriding ones.

Hmmm, previous post got eaten. Jesurgislac, I have to take issue with you saying that every criticism I made of Clinton was sexist.

First, how is pointing out that the media gave John Kerry all kinds of hell for some of the same reasons sexist?

Second, I don't need the media to tell me about Hillary's manner - all I need to do is watch her on tv. She talks to me like she's lecturing me, and I don't like being lectured or condescended to. A lot of people I know feel the same way. Note that I'm not calling her shrill, as some did in response to her supposed "meltdown" in the debate - that, I agree, is an unwarranted criticism. She was completely in bounds there. But she is a stultifying speaker, and that has nothing to do with her gender. I don't like hearing Kerry or Gore speak either, for the same reasons. Conversely, I enjoy hearing Maggie Thatcher. It has nothing to do with Hillary's gender and everything to do with her personality.

Third, the gender card - there is absolutely no way you can argue she hasn't played it repeatedly, and without provocation. She never fails to mention the fact that she's a woman running for President. I don't like the identity politics component of this, but it would be only mildly annoying if she didn't insist on having it both ways by appealing to women voters on the basis of her gender while insisting that we respond to her ideas, then screaming "sexism!" when some have the temerity to do so critically. The bottom line is, you wanna play with the boys, you better be ready to rumble with the boys.

As a libertarianish independent, I was unlikely to vote for Hillary to begin with based on policy grounds. But her conduct during this campaign - particularly when compared to that of Obama, who has been, contrary to her claims, all about issues - has sealed the deal. The only way I won't abstain or vote Republican if she's the Democratic nominee is if the Republicans find a way to clone Hitler and put him on the ballot.

And Edwards - pointing out that he's good looking, well-coiffed, and has a great deal of personal charm is homophobic? Whuh? Now you're really stretching.

redstocking: I don't believe that happened to Cherie Blair.

:-D Well, actually: Both Cherie Booth and Tony Blair were involved in the Labour Party, and both were interested in a career in politics. When Tony won an election and got into the House, Cherie focussed on law: had they both been MPs, they wouldn't have been able to have a family. Cherie Booth, as a successful lawyer, was certainly making more money than her husband was before he became Prime Minister, but once he became PM, she could not become a judge - which is the natural next step for a QC - because an apparent (or a real) conflict of interest might arise. Further, there may have been issues and conflicts with the expectation that Cherie Booth would be available to be Tony Blair's trophy wife/First Lady - which is not a traditional role in British politics.

I highly recommend The Mermaid and the Minotour: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise by Dorothy Dinnerstein. It was republished in 1999, but was originally written in 1977. She argued that the patriarchy will endure until men take an equal role in raising very young children. Otherwise powerful women will usually evoke childhood resentments against mothers and fear of losing your autonomy to an overpowering harpy. Women as well as men will be affected. I worry to what extent younger women see Hillary as their hopelessly out-of-date mothers who neither understand nor support them. Feminism had devastating effects on their young lives. I have seen many marriages collapse under the strain of endless bickering about sharing house care and child care equally . Many of their mothers might have not been around as much as they needed her. Unless you are very rich and can hire a full-time nanny who becomes part of the family, I am mystified how both husband and wife can pursue the 60-hour-week that seem to have become the price for great professonal success and still care for their children.

The mommy wars drive me round the twist. Early feminist emphasis was on changing society so mothers and fathers could share equally in childcare. That goal seems to have faded into the the mists of ancient history.

Xey: I don't need the media to tell me about Hillary's manner - all I need to do is watch her on tv.

Er, if all you know of Clinton is what the media lets you see, you are letting the media tell you about her "manner". Aren't you? If you want to know what her manner is without media filtering, you need to attend an event at which she's speaking. Have you?

Third, the gender card - there is absolutely no way you can argue she hasn't played it repeatedly, and without provocation.

Because none of the Republican candidates have spent any time at all playing the gender card? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

She never fails to mention the fact that she's a woman running for President.

Yes. She is. And none of the Republican candidates running for President have failed to play the gender card of making clear they're men running for President.

while insisting that we respond to her ideas, then screaming "sexism!" when some have the temerity to do so critically.

Crap. If you were responding to her ideas, that isn't sexism. But the mainstream media criticism has not been criticism of her ideas: it's been sexist criticism ignoring her ideas.

And Edwards - pointing out that he's good looking, well-coiffed, and has a great deal of personal charm is homophobic?

Yes. Criticism of Edwards has focussed on claims he's "effeminate" - as explicitly as Ann Coulter calling him a "faggot" to laughing conservative approval, as implicitly as talking up the price of his haircuts. Homophobic.

I'm really disappointed that Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards didn't/weren't able to give their husbands a little more/better guidance. Does anyone have an insight why that may have happened? I know the campaign doesn't give a lot of breathing space, but I would have thought EE might have been able to at least prevent that crap coming out of Edwards mouth.

I fail to see how byrningham's post is sexist.
Pointing out that she shamelessly relies on her husband's political clout is not sexist, neither is calling her teary eyed media stunt phony. Supporting her primarily because she's a woman or because there are sexist undertones in the media coverage is sexist. If HRC cannot transcend and rise above these issues the way e.g. Angela Merkel did, then she's the wrong candidate or maybe the US is not ready yet or both. (To me, both HRC and Edwards are already disqualified because of their Iraq vote, but unfortunately the democratic electorate seems to have all but forgotten about that.)

There are a couple reasons I'd rather have Obama or Edwards as President than I would Clinton.

First, the war. Like Publius said, she showed very poor judgment on Iraq the first time around, and hasn't really stood up against it or any of the numerous abuses yet. Which calls into question her judgment for future similar things. That's my biggest worry with her.

Second, the last 20 years have been Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush. Adding another 4-8 years of a Clinton is getting too close to warring families and aristocratic succession for my tastes.

Third, like Publius, I worry if she'll actually take advantage of the opportunity we have, and show how the Movement Conservative ideology of the Republican party is morally bankrupt and has been wrong on every important issue, and make some progress toward sanity. That worries me a bit with Obama too.

The fact she's irrationally hated by many Republicans, men and women alike isn't really as big a deal, because no matter who the Democrats choose, the Republicans are going to break out exactly the same Mad Libs Book of Slander.

novakant: Nate's comment, criticizing Clinton substantively: not sexist. Comments which criticize Clinton because of her gender: sexist.

Nate, Edwards showed equally bad judgment on Iraq.

novakant: Yes, he did. And that's a count against them. However, he, unlike Clinton, has come around and said he made a mistake. Which doesn't absolve him of that, but it does show that he has probably learned from it, and will be less likely to make the same mistake again. There's less sign of that with Clinton.

All of that said, any of the Democratic contenders would be orders of magnitude less likely to get us involved in another war than any of the Republicans (with the possible exception of Ron Paul. He has other crazy ideas, however.)

I like Obama's unity rhetoric, but I worry also that it makes it harder for him to investigate the numerous misdeeds of the Bush administration, or at least make Republican "hypocricial partisan" attacks, which will come anyway, more plausible.

Though none of the candidates have made much of a push to investigate the lies and torture and corruption of the Bush administration. I don't know why. I don't know why John Kerry didn't in 2004, either.

Is no one going to address Publius' four points of concern about Clinton? They are my reasons for hoping she is not the nominee. Four excellent reasons to not want her to be President, although I'm willing to believe her motives for #2 (not wanting to appear too liberal) are sincerely hawkish and not political posturing.
I'm not smart enough to grasp the linguistic constructs and meta-currents underlying the coverage of the candidates and much prefer primary sources--votes, speeches, c-span coverage, to insightful analysis--although I welcome it for perspective. My experience has been more blunt.
Yes there is sexism alive. One of my employees told me just yesterday as he was stocking beer that he joked that he was afraid the first time Hillary had PMS she'd be bombing everybody. When I replied that under that theory Bush must secretly be a woman too, because he's been pretty liberal with the bombs, he laughed and then surprised me by pointing out how Bush had squandered the $3.1 trillion Clinton surplus.
Yes there is racism. Later on in the evening, as I watched the results, one of my customers asked me if I thought this country was ready for a black president, then went on to tell me he'd heard Obama went to a church that did not allow whites and that Obama was a muslim.
I realize these prejudices are alive and well, at least anecdotally in SW Ohio, but that doesn't change my opinion of Clinton or lessen my caution towards Obama.
As for Edwards, my objection to him is that I feel his economic foreign policy would be as divisive and confrontational as the neo-con military posturing.

I don't have a vote in this matter, so it's slightly irrelevant, but can some of the pro-Hillary feminists explain: what positive reason would there be for women for voting Hillary rather than another candidate (as opposed to the negative reason that it will annoy a lot of misogynists)? What will she do for women that no-one else can? Yes, third world female immigrants (illegal or legal) are nastily exploited in the US (and the UK). But will HRC change anything about this? My impression is that she will not stand up in practice and do anything controversial.

If the argument is that you have to have a women president to prove something, prove what? If US voters can't work out yet that women are capable of leading nations effectively (post Thatcher, Merkel etc) when will they ever be? I consider one of the signs of slight maturity about British political life that people could simultaneously a) be impressed that David Blunkett could rise so far in politics (for those unfamiliar with him, he was Home Secretary and also blind) and b) nevertheless feel that he was a complete sh**.

for the record: i think it's really silly to try to psychoanalyze one action, taken independently, by nearly a million people.

has there been any polling done which says anything specific about NH (or Iowa) voters' feelings about the roles of gender and race in US politics ? or are we all just projecting ?

I have a comment held as spam if the kitty has a moment...

What really, really bugs me about these intra-Dem charges of sexism, is how much it's NOT based on what candidates actually did or said, but how the media characterizes it.

Edwards says that the POTUS needs to be strong (no disagreement, anyone that stands up to the GOP needs to be strong, and I think that Clinton is strong), and THE MEDIA spins that into a slam at Hillary, after they played 'gotcha' with both of them.

And all too many in left-blogistan buys into this media framing, and starts sniping at other dems.

The fact that we're now talking about sexism and including concessions like "though I’m not denying that sexism plays a role for many opponents" is evidence that the victim card can still be played, and effectively, in America. Bill Clinton, after all, owes his post-Monica presidency to the victim card. It's an old shtick, and it's enormously annoying that it's still working for them.

Whether sexism plays a role for any opponent of Clinton is irrelevant; the point, which Publius makes well, is that the Democratic party should not be eager to return to Clintocracy.

Look, I don't see many policy differences between Clinton or Obama, and I actually expect Obama to be just as aggressive on foriegn policy as Clinton would be. (A lot of people are confusing opposition to the Iraq war with opposition to all war; Obama strikes me, much more than Clinton, as a liberal interventionist at heart.) Obama's health care plan is, in my mind, marginally better than Clinton's. But, otherwise, there's not much difference. So, the question that you must ask yourself is, do you really want James Carville and Sandy Berger near the wheels of power again? Do you want to be talked down to, mislead, and abandoned where convenient?

You can dismiss all the above as the rantings of a McCain supporter -- and that's fine. I will tell you that a Clinton victory will make it very, very easy for me to vote R next round (unless Huckabee is the nominee, that is). So, perhaps, I should be rooting for her. But I'm not. I'd rather have a Democrat on the ticket that I might conceivably vote despite having policy differences with them.

Are there people who vote against Hillary because she is female? Of course.

Are there people who vote for Hillary simply because she is female? Of course.

Are both sexist? Of course.

Good comment cleek.

My own personal reflection on what happened in NH are pretty simple. A week ago, Hillary had a double digit or close to it lead in NH. After Iowa there was a dramatic shift. That shift was almost too much to be believed. It basically represented a 20 point shift in a short period of time. I think some poll respondents were caught up in the moment, so to speak.

I think both Hillary's strong performance in the debate and the "incident" helped many people to go back to their original opinions.

In fact, if we hadn't had the stupid polls to begin with, Obama's performance would have been considered very strong.

Personally, I prefer Obama, then Edwards then Hillary. I make that list based upon both policy preferences and my perception of their ability to actually lead the country once elected.

And I would take any of them in a heart beat over any of the Republican candidates.

A lot of Dems fear McCain. I don't. If I were a 527, or even running any of the dem candidates campaigns, I would just show the pictures of McCain and Bush having a birthday party while New Orleans and the Gulf coast were being drowned by Katrina.

Complaining that her manner is that of a "schoolmarm" is sexist: complaining that her husband was President so she ought not to be is sexist: complaining that she gave up her career to further her husband's is sexist: complaining that she's "playing the gender card" is sexist.

Actually, rather like the meta-irony of the Alanis Morisette song 'ironic', none of those objections are necessarily sexist, and thus your objections to those objections are reverse-sexism, and if you don't think her campaign isn't deliberately manipulating your instincts in that regard, you just got played.

Do you think it was fair to criticise the current the current president for being a dumb jock, for having a president as a father, for getting nominated on the basis of family connections rather than life achievements or merit or for stoking the existential fear narrative?

And then, there is always the

Bradley Effect

The term Bradley effect or Wilder effect refers to a phenomenon which has led to inaccurate voter opinion polls in some American political campaigns between a white candidate and a non-white candidate.[1][2][3] Specifically, there have been instances in which statistically significant numbers of white voters tell pollsters in advance of an election that they are either genuinely undecided, or likely to vote for the non-white candidate, but those voters exhibit a different behavior when actually casting their ballots. White voters who said that they were undecided break in statistically large numbers toward the white candidate, and many of the white voters who said that they were likely to vote for the black candidate ultimately cast their ballot for the white candidate. This reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well.

I wonder if this will extend to white women in the national election?

Democrats have only been succesful with Southern White Males as their headliners...at least since LBJ.

Is Mrs. Clinton considered a Southerner?

I fail to see how byrningham's post is sexist.

Thank you. It's a huge triumph for her campaign that they are getting so many people to perceive any criticism of her as sexism. However, it may well backfire in the long-run. The pseudo-tears incident was an act of desperation, and pure Bill Clinton. I felt like I was watching "America's first black president" (how neo-colonial is that bit of hokum btw?) instead of his wife there, the performance was so pitch-perfect. But they only pulled that out at the last minute to avert a catastrophic defeat in NH - they reason they did not use such tactics sooner is because there is so much longer-term risk in general election terms.

As pointed out elsewhere (and perhaps in this thread, I've been reading a lot...) Obama's and Edwards' poll numbers were pretty much spot-on with final results. Some combination of events resulted in greater-than-expected turnout for Clinton (speculation about which I find interesting).

I don't think this is a big loss for Obama, and I just gave him money.

Crap. If you were responding to her ideas, that isn't sexism. But the mainstream media criticism has not been criticism of her ideas: it's been sexist criticism ignoring her ideas.

OK, so because she's a woman, she should be the first presidential candidate ever to be judged solely on the merit of her policies, rather than shallow caricatures of her personality?

As von demonstrates, the responsible moderate vote of "mass death for fun and profit" is still strong.

People will still vote for mass death when their "tribal sense" is frightened. McCain is willing to sing songs about killing thousands of Persians and the responsible "moderates" are still scared.

Obama is not part of the "real" reasonable tribe and I doubt Mrs. Clinton will look like she is part of the tribe when killing looks to be the "responsible" option.

LJ:but I would have thought EE might have been able to at least prevent that crap coming out of Edwards mouth.

Appearantly he clarified.

I definately see a lot of sexism in the coverage of Clinton. There was plenty in Merkels campaign too IIRC - lots of remarks about how cold she was, how plain she dressed. She started with a hugh lead and in the end barely won. But in my experience a lot of men don't recognize sexism easily. I have a quite emancipated man but I still have to point it out often and explain in depth before he realizes something is not gender-neutral.

I'm still more Edwards, but though we have to wait till February it seems to be a choice between Obama and Clinton. Clintons domestic policy seems better, Obama seems to be the best candidate for foreign policy. Clinton comes across as hard working and knowledgeable, Obama seems to be more visionairy. Both have flaws - and both are a lot better than any of the Republican candidates.

I am truelly suprised at how much of the right-wing smears about Hillary are repeated by democrats and I still have difficulty seeing how Barack can stand for radical change - but at the same time can be seen as a uniter who reaches out to the conservatives.

"There are substantive reasons to object to Clinton. That her husband was President before her isn't one of them."

I don't agree. The presidency isn't something to be passed around the family. It was *a* legitimate reason to oppose Bush II and it is *a* legitimate reason to oppose Clinton II. You can argue that it isn't reason enough to vote against someone, but it is a legitimate reason.

"The fact she's irrationally hated by many Republicans, men and women alike isn't really as big a deal, because no matter who the Democrats choose, the Republicans are going to break out exactly the same Mad Libs Book of Slander."

I don't think this is correct. My family has four children and my 2 parents. At Christmas we talked politics with them and their spouses. Previously all 8 Republicans. My parents will almost certainly be voting Republican again, and I think your comment may be correct as to them. Of the six children+spouses five of us said we would vote for Obama if given the chance against any of the Republican possibilities though one said he would consider McCain if he were an option. None of us would vote for Hillary.

It is anecdote. But there you are. So Republicans may bring out 'the slime' but that doesn't mean it is all equally effective.

And as for why we might rationally vote for Obama but not Clinton other than sexism? How about the fact that she is on a stated crusade against conservatism and feels she has been fighting against *us* for at least 15 years while Obama disagrees but doesn't seem to hate?

byr: OK, so because she's a woman, she should be the first presidential candidate ever to be judged solely on the merit of her policies, rather than shallow caricatures of her personality?

You admit, then, that you were judging her on a shallow, sexist caricature of her personality?

Wouldn't it be great if the blunt sexism used to caricature Clinton actually backfired and the media realized they had to quit never judging a candidate on the merit of their policies?

It's a huge triumph for her campaign that they are getting so many people to perceive any criticism of her as sexism.

Crap, again. "Any" criticism of Clinton is not perceived as sexism. Absorption and regurgitation of sexist comments made about her by the media is perceived as sexism - by more women than men, evidently.

If a black person told you a comment you'd made about Obama came across as racist, would you tell them to shut up, as a white person you know much better than they do what's racist and what isn't?

Men telling women that they're wrong when they perceive comments as sexist comes across as exactly as stupid as that.

Didn't read all the posts, so please excuse repetition. My beef with Ms. Clinton's treatment has been all along less one of sexism (tho' this definitely is in play) than the facile, puerile, self-serving acceptance of the thuglican evisceration of her character, of their unconscionable, cowardly, degraded sliming of her person (and her daughter, for that matter). Far too many 'progressives' and otherwise supposedly thoughtful types (like, say, Andrew "Hey, me too!" Sullivan) I know and read have adopted or coopted the stance of "HATING Hillary" as a means of showing their bonafides, as an anti-establishment stance which absolves them of the guilt of supporting a mainstream Democratic candidate, or shows their steel (see? I’m tough! look how tough I am!), or maybe lets them cathect artifacts of their mommies refusing to breast feed, or whatever. What it really shows is how truly malleable Americans (or, more precisely, humans) are in the face of unrelenting character assassination. Long story short: the thugs have, until yesterday, successfully scapegoated (in the sociological sense of the word) Hillary Clinton, and made it safe for a whole passel of weak-willed part-time and full-time sycophants to get their bile off on this country’s appointed ni**er.
From the decayed, abhorrent, seething mass that constitutes modern conservatism, I expect nothing less. It’s when supposedly thoughtful or liberal folks start spouting off on how much they “f***ing hate that bitch” that MY bile starts to rise, and I start to get very, very angry. It ain’t about sexism. Well, of course it is, but what it really is, the corrupted aspect of self that “sexism” provides convenient cover for, is that everyone – EVERYONE – who ever dipped into the corrosive sulphurous pool of thuglican manufactured Clinton hatred has to face the fact of what a tool he or she truly is, and how he or she consciously or unconsciously participated in the oldest game in the relational aggression book, the game that every “in” junior high school girl plays when she emotionally destroys the “out” girl in order to bolster her own fragile self-image.
So to all those who ever camped at the “hate Hillary” campsite, however briefly, THIS is what ya gotta answer for. Ugly, ain’t it?

Sebastian: How about the fact that she is on a stated crusade against conservatism and feels she has been fighting against *us* for at least 15 years while Obama disagrees but doesn't seem to hate?

Now, I realize that "But they started it!" isn't really a well-thought-out argument, but. When Bill Clinton took office, the Republican media machine had an apoplexy. The entire time the Clintons were in office, both Bill and Hillary were attacked on every level possible. They were accused of drug running, murder, corruption, and treason on a daily basis on radio, TV, forwarded emails, and newspapers. The Republican Congress spent the entire rest of the Clinton presidency digging into every "scandal", no matter how ludicrous, unimportant, or patently false. Then they tried to impeach Bill Clinton based on a denial of sex dug up in a fishing expedition on an unrelated charge.

And the whole time, the Republican Media Machine attacked Hillary Clinton too. She was called communist, lesbian, heartless, robotic, crazy, a bitch, power-mad, etcetera. For the entire duration of Bill's presidency. And then the same attacks were brought out when she ran for the Senate, and again when she's running for President.

This has continued to the point where even otherwise reasonable conservative-leaning people, like my girlfriend, get into irrational anger and call her "that Clinton Bitch", and are convinced she's going to "declare herself President for Life" or something.

So if she says she's been fighting against conservatism for 15 years, it's because she HAS. She has been attacked and slandered for 15 years, constantly.

And I fully expect, no matter who gets the Democratic nod, the same kind of thing will happen to them. There's already that "Obama is a stealth Muslim!" crap (ignoring the fact most Muslims aren't terrorists) which is fairly prevalent, as I can report from personal experience from the single political argument I had over the holidays.

Sebastian: How about the fact that she is on a stated crusade against conservatism and feels she has been fighting against *us* for at least 15 years

I agree with Nate: the conservative crusade against the Clintons has been a consistent a factor since the Clintons took office as the conservative crusade against equality for LGBT people.

To sum up this entire thread.

1.) Sexism is bad
2.) Hillary Clinton would probably be competent as President, but nobody seems to think she'd be really great or anything, just better than any of the Republicans (which is not nothing, but), and she won New Hampshire because women were pissed off at the media and stuff
3.) John Edwards is a bad person for making sexist remarks about Hillary
4.) Barack Obama is a bad person for not coming to Hillary's defense when she was being attacked by sexists (despite, you know, Hillary's camp pretty blatantly suggesting he was a Muslim In Hiding, among other things)

Anything else?

Someotherdude writes:

As von demonstrates, the responsible moderate vote of "mass death for fun and profit" is still strong.

Ah. I note in passing that I support McCain and, like Pavlov's dog, you respond with caricatures and generalities about me and the regarding the "responsible moderate vote". Enjoyable, but not particularly on point.

Men telling women that they're wrong when they perceive comments as sexist comes across as exactly as stupid as that.

You didn't address this to me, but, let me chime in: In general, I agree that women perceive certain comments as sexist that men may not perceive as sexist. (And, presumably, vise versa, but that's neither here nor there.) How is that relevant to whether the comment is actually sexist?

Why, oh why, does anyone have to justify not liking HRC (or anyone else, for that matter) if that dislike is as much personal as it is political?

I don't have to wait for the MSM, I can turn on CNN and simply watch her speak to find that I DO find her shrill and schoolmarm-ish... Hell, I am old enough to remember Cheech and Chong's 'Sister Mary Elephant' routine, and she brings it to mind. Further, I can't support someone who fund-raised with Rupert Murdoch.

I am also old enough to remember when hope wasn't just a campaign buzzword OR a place in Arkansas, but a feeling one had when one heard Martin, John or Robert speak.

I hear some of that in Obama, a pinch in Edwards, NONE in Clinton. I don't feel hopeful when I listen to HRC and that is more than enough to kill any active support for her on my part.

If you think 'feeling good' isn't one of many good reasons to support a candidate, you probably haven't felt the need to wash your hands after exiting a voting booth.

Sebastian alludes to my main reason for opposing a Hillary candidacy: it would be a huge gift to the Republican candidate. In an election in which Republican voters are disaffected and in which all of the R candidates are disliked by some portion of the Repub base, why gift them with a Dem candidate that they can rally against? Hillary hating may be based mostly on lies and bullshit, but it's kind of a hobby for many Republican voters. I know of several Repubs in my family who will probably stay home on election day because they are unimpressed with their party and its candidates, but will go to the polls just to vote against Hillary if she's the nominee. I don't think this is a minor concern, especially considering the lack of any serious policy differences among the Dem candidates. Obama and Edwards just don't have the downside she does.

I would appreciate more feedback on my post.

So if she says she's been fighting against conservatism for 15 years, it's because she HAS. She has been attacked and slandered for 15 years, constantly.

I don't disagree with this, but one thing that bothers me is the thought that she has changed because of this. Her tenure in the Senate has seemed to be an exercise in fitting in with the power structure rather than fully utilizing the larger soapbox she came in with. Her hawkishness and her previous positions on Iraq seem to be part of this.

Someone earlier mentioned that Obama's rhetoric on hope and bipartianship might curtail investigations into the Bush administration. Yet it seems to me that HRC is more constrained in that fashion because anything that she does would be spun as revenge seeking.

Also, thks to Dutchmarbel for the link.

Pub, you captured perfectly many of my own objections to Hillary, and why they are not, in most cases, about her...but what surrounds her.

I'll add that I do NOT think she will be freed from the cautiousness she's exhibited as a Senator once she reaches the White House. I think everything she's done for the last ten years has been in preparation for becoming President, and the Clintons are surrounded by legions of people equally invested. None of that will change in Janary 2009 because she finally is President. They/she will still need to win a second term.

Yes, to a degree that is true of all the candidates, but she embodies it and embraces it. Seeing Terry McAulliffe's face again this weekend for the first time since Howard Dean replaced him as DNC chair was like stepping in dog shit. That guy should have been tied to a tree and left for the wolves, but he'd be appointed Chief of Staff in a Clinton Administration. It's the scum that will float back in in Hillary's wake that has long been the single biggest reason I think she must be stopped. My excitement for the possibility of Obama is more recent, but Hillary's key flaws have been around for years, and she shows NO sign of recognizing them, never mind correcting them.

There was plenty in Merkels campaign too IIRC - lots of remarks about how cold she was, how plain she dressed. She started with a hugh lead and in the end barely won.

Oh please, Merkel was taken very seriously by everybody ever since she cleaned up the whole financial mess in the CDU and dethroned Schaeuble. Her faltering during the campaign wasn't due to sexism but to several astonishing mistakes, such as mixing up gross and net income on prime time television, letting a shadow minister propose a flat tax and plagiarizing a Reagan speech. Some people made fun of her appearance and manner, but by god that was nothing against the constant ridiculing of Kohl's accent and pear shaped head and body.

It's a huge triumph for [HRC's] campaign that they are getting so many people to perceive any criticism of her as sexism.

And why any self-respecting woman would want *that* kind of triumph is beyond me.

Since I am male, and therefore unable to truly understand my own culture and my fellow female human beings, I hereby quote a comment I liked from a young woman named Grace, who left it over at MY's place:

One of the big problems for Gloria, and by extension Hillary, is that this brand of feminism doesn't resonate with younger female voters. It is certainly a generational divide -- I'm well aware that my mother puts Hillary's campaign in a different context than I do, and it's largely due to the feminist backstory. I have no problem admiring Hillary for being an outstanding public servant and brilliant woman -- I think we'd be lucky to have her in government for years to come. But I get overwhelmingly irritated hearing her tout her First Lady experience (not elected office! Gah!), I'm turned off by any effort to make me think she's being ganged up on by mean boys, and I am absolutely unswayed by the opinion that I either owe Hillary or the feminist movement a presidency. I had the advantage of growing up as a girl in a post-feminism world, but that also means my vantage point's very different from my mother's generation. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but the 60s warriors may not get the payoff they were hoping to witness. The generation that benefited from their struggle has a different idea of what the world needs.

My rude comment in the other thread about overbearing baby boomers was from a perspective like Grace's. I don't discount the contributions of boomers, and I certainly don't think they/we'll be - or need to be - irrelevent anytime soon. But do you ever consider getting out of the way and letting other people have their moment? After all, the people who came after have to deal with your unfinished business - and there's a LOT of that.

Win a few elections, dear. Win a few fights.

When your generation can boast the kind of accomplishments the Boomers can boast about - civil rights, environmentalism, feminism - then you can declare them irrelevant.

I'm 50 years old, dear. If your generation (and mine) is reponsible for those advances, it's also responsible for the 25 years of extraordinary Reaction we are (I hope) at the tail end of. Of course, generational sniping is ridiculous. But it's hard to remember that sometimes because some of you are abidingly insufferable. The weakness of left activism as a political force in the 60s and 70s had a lot to do with the activists taking themselves entirely too seriously - not a light crtiticism at all. And that phenom. seems to obtain to this day.

Boomers are not irrelevent, but your/our Big Vanguard Moment has passed, as has HRC's. Her politics are more appropriate to the late 80s or early 90s. I kind of admired her until it was clear that she had no core rationale for running for pres. other than the fact that she's a woman. That, and the reasons publius mentioned, particularly foreign policy. I'm revolted every day by the adolescent sexual/gender attitudes of the American press, which is nothing new, and doesn't insult only women. I'm not going to vote for HRC because of it.

"There's already that "Obama is a stealth Muslim!" crap"

Played by the CLINTON campaign don't forget. Don't try to pretend that is just a conservative ploy.

And the drug dealer one was purely her campaign too. (And surely you don't believe that was an accident, do you?)

"Now, I realize that "But they started it!" isn't really a well-thought-out argument, but. When Bill Clinton took office, the Republican media machine had an apoplexy."

Even if the Clinton's were totally innocent in all slime-doing at the beginning, I don't see what that has to do with the fact that at this point she feels she cannot talk to/deal with/do anything other than fight with anyone who is a conservative. That includes me, so I can't vote for her. Obama isn't that and voting on that basis isn't sexism.

I would appreciate more feedback on my post.

I think that would be good. It articulates the very concern that many posters are dismissing on this thread and others.

liberal japonicus: I agree, to an extent. No matter which of the Democrats gets elected, if they do, any investigations will be spun as "revenge" until, and probably even after foul deeds are discovered. It probably will be stronger with Clinton, but a few word changes and then the same accusations could (and would) be leveled at Obama and Edwards.

Edwards seems the most likely and able to fight back against that at the moment, especially given the press's inclinations.

But I could be wrong, and none of them have made it much of an issue, nor have the Democrats in Congress done anything either. Which is one of the ways they most disappointed me.

I think "sexism" is actually a really difficult thing to find in onesself. I appreciate that publius took the time to really think about the issues at hand and make sure that he thought what he thought for rational reasons, and not some visceral reaction to a woman leading.

To backtrack the thread a bit, I think the reason that Xeylon's reasons for not liking Hillary Clinton can be defined as more sexist is because they are based, almost entirely, on visceral reactions. That is not to say that having any negative visceral reaction to someone is inherently sexist. But there is no way to know if those reactions actually are sexist. (I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense.)

The fact is, that in our society, men are portrayed as leaders. It is men that we see leading our armies, our countries and mostof our corporations, and because of that a lot of Americans are unintentionally sexist. Though they don't necessarily hate women, they have a hard time thinking of a woman as a leader, they react negatively to strong women in a visceral way. They don't mean to, and I'm sure they don't even realize why they are doing it. They "just don't like her" because she is too much like a man, and that threatens their understanding of the social order and is hard for them on a visceral level. Though on an intellectual level they may not mind the idea of a woman leader, when a woman actually gets down to leading she is "nagging" and "lecturing" because the only context they have for a woman being in charge are mothers and school teachers.

I don't think feeling that way makes someone a bad person, because our society has trained them to be that way. But I do think we all have an obligation to really examine our feelings carefully when it comes to "reactions."

Does anyone know which (if any) of Bill Clinton's political policies/views/approaches Hillary Clinton has repudiated or criticized?

Is it not legitimate to connect her politics to Bill's when Hillary was clearly part of the political team during his Presidency? And since she appears to be hiring on most of the same people?

IMO Bill Clinton was horrible for the poor/middle/working class (the "good" fortune of being in office during a bubble should be discounted). Looking at the policies: "free trade," welfare reform, etc, it seems to me an important concern.

So let me get this straight:

Hillary has better domestic policy proposals, but somehow the domestic policy calculus swings to Obama?

Hm.

Sebastian, the "stealth muslim" crap has been circulating on conservative email lists and websites and blogs for more than a year now. A search on Google for "Clinton stealth Muslim" only finds references to a Clinton volunteer forwarding the same bogus email on to some people back in December. I've heard references to her campaign mentioning it, but can't find anything other than that. Perhaps my Google-fu is weak.

The only mention of drug dealers I made was to the Republican Spin Machine calling the Clintons drug dealers back in the 90s. The adviser who made insinuations about Obama being asked about drug dealing was forced to resign. As opposed to the media mouthpieces and even elected representatives who repeated all of the most slanderous lies against the Clintons in the 90s.

None of which is any particular defense of those even being issues, which is one of the reasons Clinton is my last choice for candidate.

My point is simply this. She feels like she's had to fight conservatives for 15 years, because she's had to. If "t this point she feels she cannot talk to/deal with/do anything other than fight with anyone who is a conservative" it's largely because that's all conservatives and Republicans have wanted to do to her. I don't entirely buy that that IS all she knows how to do. And while it's not always the most useful or tactically best way to react, pretending to be shocked, SHOCKED that Hillary Clinton feels as if she has to fight Republicans is downright ridiculous

Looking at the policies: "free trade," welfare reform, etc, it seems to me an important concern.

Yet she captured the blue collar vote. Look, some of his policies were bad, some neutral, some good. But there were some definite strong points such as making college and grad school more affordable, EITC and improvements in health care coverage, etc.

lawyers...always parsing. eric - i don't necessarily think her policies are BETTER, just that they're very good, just like obama's. from what I understand, her health care plan is a bit better. but my larger point (perhaps inartfully expressed) is that i don't think she'll put forth the effort to enact the bold policies she proposed. i'm basing this on her past history.

i don't know obviously whether obama can, but i think (1) he'll try to be bold; (2) his elections will create more favorable conditions.

let me know though if that doesn't make sense

Why would he try to be bold, when he has explicitly promised not to be bold?

His whole formula is based on bi-partisan compromise and unity. His policy proposals are weaker tea than either HRC or Edwards. He's been adopting the GOP talking points with respect to Social Security and Medicare.

He might have more favorable conditions, but I question what he would do with those if he found them.

He says "change" a lot, but his actual policies represent less change than Edwards and, domestically, Clinton. In terms of foreign policy, his policy proposals and votes amount to the same amount of "change" as Hillary's (with slight variance) - and less than Edwards.

Also: her energy policy is greener.

Something mentioned on NPR or CNN this a.m. in passing: Clinton's campaign passed out a flier mis-stating Obama's position on abortion rights. Could that have been a factor?

I would be disappointed in Clinton if that's true.

Otherwise, yes, she has suffered from misogynistic glee all this week from the pundits and it has been pretty nauseating.

"Yet she captured the blue collar vote."

Eric, my impression was that the blue collar vote was going to Edwards, though Hillary appears to be having more success with the blue collar political institutions.

The coverage last night said that Hillary beat Obama badly on the blue collar vote. I don't know what percentage Edwards got (he should have got more whatever it was since he is the strongest in this regard), but I do know that Hillary beat out Obama.

Men telling women that they're wrong when they perceive comments as sexist comes across as exactly as stupid as that.

It's pretty offensive to imply that I am stupid and a misogynist. As a feminist, I have to say I am dismayed that in 2008 someone would publicly insist that any woman gets to arbitrarily determine what is or is not sexist without feeling to need to explain and defend that decision in open, rational debate.

You have also implied that HRC should be judged by different criteria than her male peers, and that any women is obliged to vote early and vote often for her purely on the basis of her gender.

I hope I am not violating the posting rules by concluding from your arguments that you are a lousy feminist. That sort of thinking consigns issue groups to marginal tokenism.

"And while it's not always the most useful or tactically best way to react, pretending to be shocked, SHOCKED that Hillary Clinton feels as if she has to fight Republicans is downright ridiculous"

Who is shocked? I'm not shocked at all. I'm stating what *is*, I'm not being surprised by it. I'm not shocked that my sexually abused friend has all sorts of problems establishing dating relationships, but I'm not trying to set him up on dates with my friends either.

Are we supposed to respond to redstock’s 7:23? I really can’t because it doesn’t have much to do with why I wouldn’t vote for Hillary. Redstock seems to be saying in that comment that our society has made being a woman with a career really difficult unless you have enough money for a nanny. The Clintons of course did have that kind of money, so I’m not sure I get it.

As far as emotion-playing goes, I think you are all missing how hard Obama has to avoid every getting the ‘angry black man’ label—putting limitations on him just as difficult as those that you think Clinton has to work under. It is just that Obama negotiates those limits better than Clinton does.

As for experience, I don’t buy the “being a First Lady should count as experience” argument. It isn’t. And I’m not saying that Obama has vastly more experience than Clinton. I’m saying that her pretense of having vastly more than him as a reason to vote for her over him is more spin than substance.

Also I think playing the sexism is so much worse than racism concept is a crock. There was a female vice-presidental candidate long before the still-never-happened black one. There was a female Speaker of the House long before the still-never-happened black one. And if we expand to other Western countries, where is the racial minority analogue to Thatcher or Merkel? Again I don’t think that minority-identity politics is a great reason to vote for someone, but if you insist on playing that game I don’t see how Clinton has a better claim than Obama.

The difference between Obama and Clinton and their allegedly limiting identity groups is that Obama tries to reach past racial politics and say “I’m a good candidate [full stop]” while Clinton tries to make feminism a large and explicit part of her appeal: “I’m a good female candidate and it is about time that a female won”.

Both personally and politically I believe that the former is better than the latter.

von: You didn't address this to me, but, let me chime in: In general, I agree that women perceive certain comments as sexist that men may not perceive as sexist. How is that relevant to whether the comment is actually sexist?

Unless you're trying to devalue female perceptions of sexism against male perceptions of sexism, I think your question was answered in the preceding sentence.

Sebastian: Even if the Clinton's were totally innocent in all slime-doing at the beginning, I don't see what that has to do with the fact that at this point she feels she cannot talk to/deal with/do anything other than fight with anyone who is a conservative. That includes me, so I can't vote for her.

If you have no problem voting for a Presidential candidate who feels that he can do no other than treat you as a second-class citizen, why do you have a a problem voting for a Presidential candidate who feels that if you treat her with hostility and aggression, she's not going to assume you can be won round by conciliation? Y

byrn: As a feminist, I have to say I am dismayed that in 2008 someone would publicly insist that any woman gets to arbitrarily determine what is or is not sexist without feeling to need to explain and defend that decision in open, rational debate.

As a feminist, I'm wearily resigned to the fact that in 2008, men will publicly insist that women are no better at identifying sexism than they are, and will claim that women attempting to explain what they mean by sexism aren't trying to have an "open rational debate" but are... presumably, we're doing something odd and feminine, but obviously, since we're women, when we state what we mean we're not being "open and rational", are we?

The statements that Obama's goal is compromise and that his propsals are weaker tea than Clinton and Edwards are untrue.

I think Obama's problem is that he is making speeches to the nation when he needs to be making speeches to Democratic primary and caucus voters. Party activists tend to be very issue oriented and a "shoppin list" kind of speech is reassuring to them. if a the candidate doesn't stand up and say, "I did all of this and will do all of that," the assumption becomes aht he/she has done and will do nothing.

The fact is that Obama has an excellent track record (Hilzoy posted a summary, Matt Stoller did a comparison of Hillary and Obama on net nuetrality, the Obama site ahs info) and anyone who wishes to know his past accomplishments and future plans can find out.

There is a lot of pent up anger , entirely justified, in my opinion, on our side and I think there are many who want a candidate who displays that anger. Obama doesn't. It is unfair and incorrect to assume that just because he doesn't act angry that he will be a collaborator as both Edwards and Clinton were during the dark days of right wing ascendency. His style is to present his ideas the way Hilzoy does and ANdrew did--respectfully, in a way that allows people who would normally disagree with him to agree or at least like him. There is nothing in his past legislative record to indicate that he will cave in or compromise, only that he will be consistantly civil and respectful. Clinton has a well documented record of caving and compromising; so does Edwards but he seems to have learned his lesson. In any case it is a mistake to jump to the conclusion that just because a person doesn't have an angry, polaraizing style, that person will be spineless. One might as well make that argument about Hilzoy.

I get frustrated with Democratic activists who insist on viewing the candidate thruogh the narrow prism of their own desires. No one gets elected exclusively by the Democratic base. In order to get elected a candidate has to get votes outside the base. So I don't understand how people can decide which candidate they want without factoring the candidate's abiity to communicate with people outside the base.

I want our candidate to win. I want our candidate to bring new people to the party. I want our candidate to be able to help, and certainly not hurt, the down ticket races. Of course I want the candidate to be reasonable (as all three are) on liberal issues. I think that means Obama. It might mean Clinton, depending on how she evolves during this campaign.

But anyway the bit about OPbama being a compromiser or not standing for anything is unsupported by facts. Bottom line: he stands for communicating our values and positions respectfully to people who disagree in order to broaden our support and get agreement. That is standing for a hell of a lot.

Have I "insisted that women are no better at identifying sexism than men"? I know I have not, but feel free to read the threat to confirm. For the record, I believe the contrary to be true. I also believe (and this is where we disagree) that discriminatory behaviour or language is something that can be identified, defined and explained even to the perpetrator should he or she be willing to listen.

I'm not sure what I've done to merit being called stupid and misogynistic, other than disagreeing with you, and you certainly haven't identified any objectionable or sexist language on my part.

In sum, you're a serious liability to the cause you claim to advocate.

Xeynon: From what I remember about HRC's public style, I remember thinking between 92-94 that she was just awesome, great to listen to. And then something happened around 94, and she started sounding like she thought she was speaking to kindergartners (overcoaching of some sort, I think). And that made this very smart person completely impossible to listen to. That went on for a few years, but she got a lot better once she won the Senate seat, and she's been better ever since.

"I think the reason that Xeylon's reasons for not liking Hillary Clinton can be defined as more sexist is because they are based, almost entirely, on visceral reactions. That is not to say that having any negative visceral reaction to someone is inherently sexist. But there is no way to know if those reactions actually are sexist. (I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense.)"

Not only does it make sense, but I'd say you nailed it.

I'd go even further, recognizing that sadly (and happily, too), the cultural things you point out have an evolutionary basis (and an even more powerful one than racism).

I would appreciate feedback to *my* post! :)

Again I don’t think that minority-identity politics is a great reason to vote for someone, but if you insist on playing that game I don’t see how Clinton has a better claim than Obama.

Compare the percentage of minorities with the percentage of woman in other countries. Look at the percentage of women in politics. Maybe an international comparison? We are suprisingly number 4 and we still have political parties in parlement who won't allow women in governmental positions as an official guideline (freedom of religion, they claim). The US is number 41. Why are there no women in politics?

byrn: read Shinobi at 11:35 AM.

Von & Sebastian: McCain makes me shiver. I don't believe that people who contemplate voting McCain could vote for Obama. They differ on so many essential points.

I'd appreciate a feedbag on my hitching post.

There is nothing in his past legislative record to indicate that he will cave in or compromise, only that he will be consistantly civil and respectful. Clinton has a well documented record of caving and compromising;

His voting record in the Senate is just about identical to Clinton's on all foreign policy votes, and almost all domestic policy votes. Yet she caves, and he doesn't? Interesting.

For the record: he is better on net neutrality.

In any case it is a mistake to jump to the conclusion that just because a person doesn't have an angry, polaraizing style, that person will be spineless. One might as well make that argument about Hilzoy.

A mistake indeed but, um, who made that argument? Not me.

But anyway the bit about Obama being a compromiser or not standing for anything is unsupported by facts. Bottom line: he stands for communicating our values and positions respectfully to people who disagree in order to broaden our support and get agreement. That is standing for a hell of a lot.

That is not my "bit." My point is that Obama gets credited with being this great agent of change when, in fact, his voting record and policy proposals are almost identical to Clinton's. She, of course, is the dread status quo establisment candidate who is too conservative.

Further, Obama's actual policy proposals (Social Security, health care, energy policies) are further to the Right than Clinton's. They are, indeed, weaker tea from a progressive perspective. And that is, in fact, true.

His voting record in the Senate is just about identical to Clinton's on all foreign policy votes

Clinton (and Edwards) voted in support of the greatest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents - Obama didn't and, while he wasn't in the Senate at the time, spoke out publicly against it. I know that Democrats don't want to hear this anymore because now it's all happy days are here again primary fun, but I'll keep repeating it, because there has to be some accountability, even if it only means that people who have supported this blood soaked trainwreck, should not be eligible for the leadership of the free world.

byrn: read Shinobi at 11:35 AM

I'm not sure why that post is particularly relevant to me? I'd like anyone, please, to identify anything I've said about HRC that implies I am uncomfortable with the idea of a women president etc... etc...

The only criticism of her I've expressed here is that I think she is a problematic feminist candidate given that her campaign leverages her husband's success so much. Similarly, I consider John Edwards and, even more so, Al Gore problematic class warriors given that they both hail from the political or economic elite.

As far as I can tell, this thread's definition of a misogynist is someone who wouldn't vote for HRC as their first choice, no matter what their reasoning. I am doubly damned, since I am not even a US citizen although, now I think about it, I did vote for a woman (who won) when given the chance in my own country's presidential election some years back.

“If you have no problem voting for a Presidential candidate who feels that he can do no other than treat you as a second-class citizen, why do you have a a problem voting for a Presidential candidate who feels that if you treat her with hostility and aggression, she's not going to assume you can be won round by conciliation?”

You are being a bit obscure for other readers here. Better to be explicit: I believe you are saying that because I can vote for Republicans while being gay, I should clearly be willing to vote for Democrats while being conservative.

That doesn’t really make sense even in the abstract, but in this particular case it makes even less sense. In the abstract you seem to be saying that in your opinion ‘gayness’ ought to be more important to me that ‘conservatism’. That is a value judgment that you make which rather noticeably doesn’t track with mine.

On gay issues and particular candidates I look at practical effects. Bush wasn’t going to be particularly negative or positive for gay people and neither was the Democratic candidate—(remember the Democratic President, a Clinton, had just signed the anti-gay ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ with noticeably large Democratic Party support). As such I was able to make the choice on non-gay grounds. If I had been asked to vote for Helms or some such, that would have been a different story.

Here you are asking me to choose between a woman who has promised a never ending state of war against the Axis of Evil of conservatism and libertarianism and a man who doesn’t agree with them but thinks that continuing a state of war with them isn’t the best way to move forward. He believes, if you will, that understanding their culture and reaching out to them is better even if they express initial hostility and have done nasty things in the past.

But of course, I must have come to my conclusions via sexism, because as you note, Hillary is in fact a woman.

novakant:

FWIW, I think that is a completely valid point.

Redstocking: she argued that the patriarchy will endure until men take an equal role in raising very young children. Otherwise powerful women will usually evoke childhood resentments against mothers and fear of losing your autonomy to an overpowering harpy.

As I post this, I'm watching my 2 1/2 year old boy in my office while my wife goes to work (title 1 aid). He's in a great mood but wreaking havoc (i.e. trying to type on my computer, using my desk/chair/phone/head as a roadway for his matchbox, trying to use client files as a scribble pad, picking up my phone and talking to ?, etc.). Here, I'll let him type:

Jake:

;;l;;;';;;; t rtttttrtrtrrtrtrtrtrtrttttttrttttrtrtttrrrtrtrtrtsghghhhg

Since I left the Cars dvd at home, there isn't much hope for work in the office and I'll likely go home soon until my wife gets off of work. Funny how he has four older sisters and all he can think of is trains or cars.

Here's my read on the sexism issue: IT'S ONLY NEW HAMPSHIRE PEOPLE!! Why are we reading so much into an open primary from a tiny state at this point? The thinking is kinda like:

A(hard to predict New Hampshire voters) + B ("crying" on camera) + C (bad media HRC coverage) / D (open primary where even Clinton hating Republicans can vote for her to spite the more likeable Obama) = X (HRC's victory must be due to backlash at sexist treatment of HRC).

Huh?

While I don't dispute that we live in a sexist world and that some of the objections to HRC are sexist, HRC's candidacy should not become the cause celebre of the feminist movement because there is simply too much to not like about her that has nothing to do with her sex.

As an aside and for humorous purposes only, I address the fact that if the theory forwarded by Redstocking were true, I would think more of us would feel positively about HRC. My mother,for example (a loving but firm, kind, compassionate, stay-at-home mom) once kicked the crap out of a Husky that was attacking my 3-year-old sister (requiring a hospital visit for stitches). My brother and I were loading a snowmachine in the back of our Suburban when it happened and were somewhat trapped. Our little sister loved animals (and actually so did my Mom) and had gone over to the Husky who appeared friendly until it had her by the forearm and was tossing her around like a rag doll. It is family lore how Mom did a 4.4 40 yard dash in her post-five kids form and made the Husky to to the OTHER end of the leash and start to wimper.

So when I think of how my Mom would be as president . . .

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