Politics

The Feminist Mistake

It wasn't sexism that sunk Hillary Clinton

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The end of this interminable Democratic primary was to be inevitably followed by a week of incoherent postmortems detailing the real reasons for the demise of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). How could it be that Mrs. Clinton—a woman of significant experience, possessing that Clintonian political acumen—flamed out so dramatically?

Recall that back in 2005, Dick Morris, the prostitute-loving former adviser to President Clinton, prophesied that "as of this moment, there is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is on a virtually uncontested trajectory to win the Democratic nomination and, very likely, the 2008 election." But Republicans need not despair, Morris wrote, because "her victory is not inevitable. There is one, and only one, figure in America who can stop Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

The following year, conservative columnist John Podhoretz played the dangerous game of premature political prognostication as well, with the release of his book Can She Be Stopped? Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States…Unless. In fairness, it would have demanded Nostradamus-like powers of prediction to imagine Clinton upended by a junior senator from Illinois, peddling a particularly audacious brand of hope.

But for many obituarists it wasn't the finely-tuned campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) that dashed Clinton's plans of resettling into the White House. Nor was it her deeply unpopular vote to authorize the Iraq War. Instead, the answer was more obvious: An electorate—and pundit class—imbued with sexism, both conscious and unconscious, conspired to keep a women out of the Oval Office.

In the wake of her defeat, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof lamented that, like Obama's effusively praised speech on race, Clinton failed to start a similar conversation about gender. Indeed, "In polls, more Americans say they would be willing to vote for a black candidate for president than for a female candidate." This is true, but Kristof fails to note that the differences are slight. According to a recent poll conducted for The Washington Post and ABC News, 88 percent of respondents said that they were either "entirely" or "somewhat" comfortable with an African-American president. When asked about is they were comfortable with the prospect of a female president, the number dipped slightly to 84 percent.

As political commentator George Will recently observed, Americans would quite assuredly vote for a woman, it's just they weren't particularly interested in voting for that woman. But the modern woman-hater, Kristof explains, is a rather different breed: "The catch is that abundant psychology research shows that we are often shaped by stereotypes that we are unaware of." In other words, many might think they were rejecting Clinton based on a set of political criteria, but Democratic primary voters might, in fact, be struggling with a seething sexist subconscious. (Kristof's subconscious, of course, is more Betty Friedan than Harvey Mansfield.)

Over at The Nation, it was the back-slapping cable news fraternity that was activating our subconscious sexism. "Hillary Clinton's loss has renewed critiques that American political media is slanted, sexist and dominated by men," wrote Ari Melber, the magazine's "Net movement correspondent." "While Clinton and Obama broke barriers in the Democratic primary, swiftly dispatching white male senators with more government experience," Melber huffed, "the race was still refereed, scored and narrated by white male commentators," because "the elite opinion media continues to employ, groom and promote a commentators corps that is disproportionately white and male." (As one commenter on The Nation's website dryly noted, Melber's own magazine, a 180,000-plus circulation purveyor of elite opinion, is also disproportionately staffed by sinister white men.)

The Nation's Katha Pollitt went one further, arguing that "Clinton drew out the nation's misogyny in all its jeering glory and put it where we could all get a good look at it." Yes, the entire nation's misogyny. Pollitt called out MSNBC's left-wing host Keith Olbermann as the Archie Bunker of the punditocracy, citing his hyperventilating attacks on Clinton as an example of "men's terror of women." And those members of the sisterhood, such as Washington Post style writer Robin Givhan, who made snide comments about Clinton's sartorial deficiencies, were engaged in rank "female sexism."

And it was only a matter of time until former Clinton's campaign manager Mark Penn raised the specter of sexism. As Clinton forged ahead, all but eliminated from the race, Obamaphilic pundits and members of the Democratic party beseeched her, for the sake of unity, to accept the inevitable. "No male candidate," Penn told GQ, "has ever been told to drop out. Ever."

If we concede to Penn the broadest possible definition of sexism, and acknowledge that Clinton faced real challenges as the first formidable female presidential candidate in American history, it is nevertheless remarkable how difficult he finds it to cite specific examples of gender discrimination. When asked by GQ "where he saw sexism," Penn upbraided Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for comments made about Clinton publicly crying in New Hampshire, saying that a "double-standard" was being applied to her because of her gender. While no other candidate wept in front of television cameras on the campaign trail (making it, I suppose, a single-standard), Penn surely remembers that the last candidate who cried during the New Hampshire primary—Democratic candidate Ed Muskie in 1972—never recovered from his supposed display of weakness. Whether or not this is a fair judgment of one's fitness for the presidency, it is difficult to claim that Edwards' comments were sexist. Recognizing that Penn was serving up pretty thin gruel, the GQ interviewer interjected helpfully that the subtle anti-women campaign was perhaps "hard to put into words."

But none of this "sexism" could be counteracted by organized, activist feminist groups, says writer Linda Hirshman. In Sunday's Washington Post, Hirshman mapped the fractious women's movement that failed to coalesce around Clinton's campaign. The absurdities and esoterica of the "millennial feminists" produced internecine warfare and factional fighting not seen since the Spanish Civil War. In the trenches of the gender war, the slights cited by Penn are deemed inconsequential, as is the candidate on the receiving end of them. Hirshman quotes one activist: "I…don't believe that simply putting a womyn's face where a man's face once was is going to solve our problems…by Real Womyn I am talking about womyn of color, incarcerated womyn, migrant womyn, womyn at the border, womyn gripped in violence, rape, and war.'" (For those whose university experience predated the ubiquity of Woman's Studies departments, the misspelling of 'women' is deliberate, a semantic kick in the patriarchy's groin.)

The Democratic primary was a lose-lose proposition for the image of American tolerance: If Senator Obama lost, ours was an irredeemably racist country. Senator Clinton lost, and we are infected by sexism. But whether viewed through the prism of radical gender feminism or a boy's club media conspiracy, the truth is considerably less complicated. The vaunted Clinton machine—devoid of fresh ideas and facing a dynamic, inspirational opponent—simply couldn't compete. Blame the media, blame the patriarchy if you so desire, but the truth is that Americans wouldn't mind a woman as president. Just not that woman.

Michael C. Moynihan is an associate editor at reason.

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  1. Sexism could have been a factor had she had the chance to run against McCain. But Clinton’s dramatic flameout was dramatic mostly because she insisted on creating the drama.

  2. I love, love, love watching Democrat infighting and the turning of their standardized attacks on one another. “You’re racist!” “You’re sexist!” Great stuff.

  3. Hilliary Clinton lost the election because she’s Hillary Clinton. I’d blame sexism as well before admitting that simple fact.

  4. I don’t understand this “flamed out so dramatically” business. When was that, exactly? When she was winning one of the two contests on the last day of the campaign?

    She basically tied Obama at the polls, and got more votes than any primary candidate of either party had ever gotten before. It seems a bit foolish to look at such a performance and start looking for a disasterous mistake.

    Maybe, like the Cleveland Indians in last year’s ALCS, she was a formidable competitor facing another formidable competitor, and somebody had to come in second.

  5. An acceptable female president … Three words:

    Christine Todd Whitman.

  6. The thing is Hillary lost to a woman, Oprah.

  7. I find myself agreeing with Moynihan: there simply isn’t enough sexism in the Democratic Party primary electorate for it that to explain the outcome. Quite the opposite.

  8. I thank you for weathering this storm of anxious masculinity and outright sabotage

    Oh my, NutraSweet. Delicious.

    I cannot understand living your life through the prism of any single obsessive focus like feminism (or libertarianism?). What a horrible way to live. Feministing would be depressing if it weren’t so hilarious.

  9. SugarFree,

    LOL!!! Thank you, this is my last post of the day before work. I was almost in tears from laughing.

  10. Joe she was winning those contests pretty much because Obama isn’t a strong a candidate as you think he is.

  11. In fairness, it would have demanded Nostradamus-like powers of prediction to imagine Clinton upended by a junior senator from Illinois, peddling a particularly audacious brand of hope.

    The man gets way too much credit for writing vague poetry almost 500 years ago. Nostradamus’ predictive ability lies in the ability of others to fit what he wrote into historical events. Believe what you like, but Nostradamus-like powers of prediction and $2 won’t get you much more than a large cup of coffee at Starbucks?.

  12. Last night I called that the Boston Celtics would win the game straight up.
    It was obvious why, the are the better team, Kobe is OVERRATED.
    Two years ago I said the same thing about Hillary. She is overated, to phony, will say anything to get elected, when people get to know her, they would hate her.
    I was right.
    Pundits like Morris are schmucks, they go with the prevailing opinion so they never will be wrong. Wrong as defined not with the crowd.
    And Morris is especially bad when you look at his track record.

  13. You keep saying that, No Name Guy, but he got more votes than any other candidate had ever recieved, too, and is leading a National War Hero by a good margin. He must have something going for him.

    Terry, while some people clearly hate her, she won more votes than any other primary candidate to date. I thought she was Joe Lieberman, too, back in oh-seven – just coasting on name recognition, who would collapse when people really started paying attention to the contest. Not so much, as it turned out.

  14. Terry-

    She was overrated, true, but she pretty much was unbeatable. Then she started to say things of substance, unlike Obama’s approach of being the blank slate for everyone to reflect their best view of what ‘change’ consists of. Basically, she lost to herself, people heard what she was saying and compared it against their utopian reflection.

    I don’t understand this “flamed out so dramatically” business.

    That’s ’cause you’re a moron, joe.

  15. Hes leading a member of a political party that is downright despised by three points in the tracking poll.

    The generic Democratic ballot outperforms him by a great margin. Thats reason to think theres a problem.

  16. Those feministing comments were hysterical. Their worship of the office of the president – the big daddy who can give everything and take everything away – is comical.

    You’d think they would be focused on personal empowerment instead of celebrating that the narcissistic sociopath who gets to sit at the top seat in the hierarchy was almost one with a set of ovaries instead of testes.

    I guess they think being mugged is OK if it’s a woman doing it. 😉

  17. Just think how bad the fallout would’ve been if there had been an openly-gay Democratic candidate running with Obama and PIAPS. No Democratic eyes would have survived all the finger pointing.

    It’s hard to be a successful political party when your members group identity outweighs their political philosophy.

  18. Moynihan doesn’t get it. Kristof is right. There is a great deal of well-confirmed research about tacit biases. Clinton may well have been an unappealing candidate, gender aside, but to think that a woman doesn’t face an uphill battle in national politics is to defy reality. A successful female candidate will have to be a very special and very rare personality, combining likeability, competence, and authority in a way that is extremely tough to pull off. It turns out that in this race, Obama has the extremely improbable combination of traits that makes him a plausible candidate, despite the disadvantage of being black. His victory in the primary doesn’t mean that there is no racism, only that he won anyway. Hillary faced a similarly steep battle in overcoming prejudice, but was just outmatched. But to claim sexism has nothing to do it is just silly. It didn’t have everything to do with it. But it made a difference, and since this was such a close race, it really might have made THE difference. Anyway, Moynihan’s sadly typical-for-a-libertarian approach is one reason a lot of decent people who care about liberty don’t want anything to do with “libertarians”.

    Everyone, please do read Rod Long and Charles Johnson’s great essay on libertarian feminism.


  19. It’s hard to be a successful political party when your members group identity outweighs their political philosophy.”

    Amen. The Democratic Party is a party whose members are united by a shared sense of victimhood.

  20. joe,

    but he got more votes than any other candidate had ever recieved

    she won more votes than any other primary candidate to date.

    These statements cant BOTH be true.

  21. Maybe feminists could have been more effective in her campaign if they’d spend a little less time worrying about if Strawberry Shortcake is too skinny and dressed too sexy.

  22. Obama is the weakest nominee since George W. Bush. The Democrats are pathetic. At least the GOP merely stumbled into their nutcase nominee.

  23. If opposing the election of a megalomaniacal shrew makes me a sexist pig, well, all I can say is get yer biscuits in the oven and yer buns in the bed ?

  24. Obama is the weakest nominee since George W. Bush. The Democrats are pathetic. At least the GOP merely stumbled into their nutcase nominee.

    Which happened because the GOP is also pathetic. But yes, I agree that as the race moves into the real deal, Obama’s halo is gonna get mighty dinged if it even stays on.

  25. NutraSweet, you must troll Feministing to take a break from sci fi novels.

  26. Ergonomic Slingshot,
    I don’t think anyone here is saying that it made no difference.
    I think it made a difference, but I think there were other factors that made more of a difference. That you can point to a number of factors that might have been able to cover the difference does not lead to proving that they all individually “caused” it.

  27. As much as McCain keeps hitting my values with a baseball bat, I think he’s going to win the election pretty easily. Too little there there with Obama. “Better the nut you know” strikes me as a much more likely vote than “I love inexperienced mystery meat”.

  28. I don’t understand this “flamed out so dramatically” business. When was that, exactly? When she was winning one of the two contests on the last day of the campaign?

    It was over by that point. Clinton’s campaign was already dead, nobody told it to stop moving though.

    She basically tied Obama at the polls, and got more votes than any primary candidate of either party had ever gotten before.

    Uhhh, you are normalizing to the population right?

  29. As much as McCain keeps hitting my values with a baseball bat, I think he’s going to win the election pretty easily. Too little there there with Obama.

    I dunno…McNasty clearly represents the status quo, and people are emphatically not happy with the status quo. Folks are clearly looking for someone on a white horse. Our best hope is that Obama is not the idealogue he appears to be…

  30. While as a feminist I find many of the hypersensitive antics of the movement – “womyn” and “wombyn” and so on – a bit unnecessary and silly, the underlying fact that women still face a great deal of subtle bias as to our “proper” place in the world remains. And of course, it’s not as though feminism is the only movement to get caught up in semantics and minor details.

  31. the underlying fact that women still face a great deal of subtle bias as to our “proper” place in the world remains

    I would say that women face a great deal of blatant discrimination in the rest of the world. North America is probably the best place on the planet to be a woman.

  32. I…don’t believe that simply putting a womyn’s face where a man’s face once was is going to solve our problems…by Real Womyn

    We are myn, hear us laugh…

  33. joe-

    You’re both right and wrong about her strength in the final stretch of the campaign. On the one hand she kept winning elections. On the other hand, it was clear for a few months that she’d never be able to win them by enough votes to win the nomination. In the final stretch she was winning half the battles but never had a chance at winning the war.

    It’s one of those half-full/half-empty things. A person who fights a close battle is strong. A person with no serious chance at winning is weak. A person with both things going on is a conundrum.

  34. North America is probably the best place on the planet to be a woman.

    ESPECIALLY A HOT WOMAN.

  35. ” there simply isn’t enough sexism in the Democratic Party ”

    Joe,

    Sexism abounds in the Pinko wing of the Ruling Party. It is the only reason that Hillary was even considered a serious candidate in the first place.

    -jcr

  36. BTW, to give credit where credit is due, I congratulate Bill Clinton for his brilliant work in torpedoing Hillary’s campaign.

    -jcr

  37. I don’t think Bill had much to do with Hilary’s failure. She had lots of negatives all by herself, many more than her husband IMO. Bill was the only reason she ever got to where she is. Which is, of course, sexist in it’s own way.

    Thoreau points out correctly that she was strong, despite having no real chance. It’s clear that she was performing OK, but the trend was not in her favor, and her performance came at incredible cost. She had to pull out all the stops, engage in lots of negativity, go into personal debt, all just to tread water. Compare that with her opponent.

  38. But to claim sexism has nothing to do it is just silly. It didn’t have everything to do with it. But it made a difference, and since this was such a close race, it really might have made THE difference.

    So what you’re saying is, Democrats are a bunch of sexist, racist pigs. Check.

  39. The auto-ads pay off again! The right margin is now sporting an ad from Diva Village! Perfect.

  40. Oh, and what all the Democratic pundits are saying when they complain about this sexism is that Democrats are a bunch of racist, sexist pigs who are easily influenced by the mind-numbing talking heads on TV. Now I think I have a more complete picture.

  41. robc,

    They can both be true, because they both compare the votes each candidate received this year to past candidates.

    They both out-polled every other candidate who ran for a party nomination before them.

    Gee, Other Matt, looks like your intelligent analysis has spawned its usual flood of responses. You sure are respected and appreciate here, huh?

    Steve Verdon,

    Yes, normalized for population. And that fact that the contest had already been decided just demonstrates that she had a large enough base of support to turn out and deliver a win even then.

    RC, you do realize that Anja didn’t write a word comparing cultures, right? And that North America is probably the best place on the planet to be a woman. is not a refutation of anything she wrote, right?

    thoreau,

    Just because she couldn’t beat Obama tells us nothing about her absolute strength, just her strength relative to his.

  42. Rocky lost to Apollo Creed, but it was close, in the first movie.

    Were we supposed to view that fight scene as demonstrating his weakness?

  43. Joe, Obama is not a strong candidate.

    Neither was Hillary, once people started actually voting.

    It blows my mind that as despised as the Republican Party is, the Democratic nominee is within the margin of error. Against Bob Dole Part II, no less.

  44. joe-

    I actually mostly agree with you, although I do think that her real strengths (and the psychological imperatives of fighting a good campaign: constant optimism and willingness to fight till the end) made it harder for her to recognize that she was weak in the only way that counted: She wasn’t as tough as her opponent.

    That’s why I can’t join the crowd of people who scoffed at her for not dropping out. Although my dispassionate outside analysis is that defeat was assured, the facts on the ground were that she was winning elections. When you’re winning something, it’s hard to conclude that you’re losing.

  45. You keep saying that, No Name Guy. The only evidence you offer that Hillary was a weak candidate was that she lost to Obama, and the only evidence you offer that Obama is a weak candidate is that he barely beat Hillary.

    It blows my mind that as despised as the Republican Party is, the Democratic nominee is within the margin of error. In one poll. Rasmussen has had him up 5-8 for a week, and the RCP average has been over 4.

  46. Joe, the generic Democratic ballot is like +15. They’re poised to sweep congress. You don’t find it disheartening that the nominee is running so far behind the generic ballot? Some people have issues with Obama.

  47. thoreau,

    Once again, you are simply taking the observation that she came in second as prima facie evidence that she was weak.

    And once again, I’ll observe that this only tells us about her relative strength, not her absolute strength.

    You know what lost its only battle? The Bismark.

  48. Wait, check that. Not “lost its only battle.” “ended up losing in the end.”

  49. And much like the Bismarck, Hillary Clinton would’ve won 12-16 years prior.

  50. Nice, NNG.

    Were I a Clintonite or a Nazi (you in the back, put your hand down), I’d retort with “or if it had been a fair fight.”

  51. Female Democrats and black Democrats will soon put aside their differences and remember how much they hate us and want us to die.

  52. Well credit is due to Obama in that he is most definetely not fighting the last war.

    He understands correctly that this race won’t come down to Ohio or Florida (states McCain will win), but instead it will come down to Virwado (Virginia-Iowa-Colorado). Upper Midwesterners and white collar professionals in the exurbs do like the guy, even if white working class voters and retired Jews in Florida don’t.

  53. “Upper Midwesterners and white collar professionals in the exurbs do like the guy”
    I’m a white collar professional in the exurbs, and I don’t. This race will depend on Obama convincing enough people it’s their “change” he will be implementing while maintaining the leftist base he has always enjoyed.

  54. “that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before”

    I don’t get it. If it was glass, wouldn’t the light shine through regardless? Is she saying that it is stained glass like in a Catholic church and blocks the light? Did she want to be president or pope or both?

    Not that any of it makes a difference because no matter who wins the election, we, the people lose.

  55. I don’t get it. If it was glass, wouldn’t the light shine through regardless?

    Actually, if it has that many cracks in it, the light won’t shine through it nearly as well as it would if the glass was flawless.

  56. what bothers me is that no one here is mentioning how barack obama has had to deal with racism on his campaign and is focusing on how hillary clinton suffered gender discrimination.

  57. 1. Notice that a heck of a lot of feminists were pretty pissed off at Hillary as well. (There’s been a ding-dong fight going on between two generations of the feminist movement. A lot of younger feminists are furious at being told they “have to support Hillary” by their older sistern. (well, they’re not “brethern”, are they?))

    2. I think the term “flamed out” comes from Hillary starting off with all the cards in her hand at the beginning and playing a very very bad round of poker with them.

    3. Can’t we just be allowed to vote against Hillary because we think she’s incompetent? Where does feminism come into it? (I’m also voting for Obama because I think he is the ONLY candidate out there, except maybe Bob Barr, who honestly believes in and reveres the Constitution. He’s the best chance we have of getting our civil rights back. (If you people think that Barr is going to be anything more than a protest vote, you must be smoking something.)

  58. Let me try to explain me to all the people dismissing sexism. I was supporting Hillary. I can never vote for Barack Obama.
    I am exploring John McCain’s campaign.
    When I come to a site that’s more right wing than I’m used to, I’m coming to learn. When I see little remarks that belittle women, I see the same ‘jocular’ attitude the left exhibited non-stop.
    I’m appalled that the article quotes The Nation on sexism. The Nation as an authority on how women should be treated? The same Nation magazine that in 2007 published 149 women and 491 men?

    http://thirdestatesundayreview.blogspot.com/2007/12/nation-featured-491-male-bylines-in.html

    I came here because McCain’s making a real effort with women voters and I thought this would be a good place to find out if the right was any better than the left?

    There are a few comments that made me feel maybe Reason was a site I could enjoy. But there are a lot of comments that really didn’t.

    I’d be surprised if I was the only woman from the left stumbling across this post via Google and coming in with an open mind.

    This isn’t my home and you’re free to act here however you want. But you should be aware that there are a lot of Democratic women who are not going to vote for Barack. And we are looking for somewhere online where we can find out about McCain and where we can be comfortable.

    I didn’t find that here in most of the comments. That may be my fault. But just tossing that out there. I’ll try to visit another article tomorrow.

  59. Ive been looking at all the threads
    and noticed that economist seems to
    be going batshit insane. in one thread
    he talked about how there should be a
    civil war if obamas elected and in
    another he posted a bunch of times calling
    another poster a fucking douchebag
    and saying he was going to kill him.
    Cant they ban him from this website or
    something?

  60. Mandy:

    Why do women complain so much?

  61. But you should be aware that there are a lot of Democratic women who are not going to vote for Barack. And we are looking for somewhere online where we can find out about McCain and where we can be comfortable.

    Until someone can explain this to me, I’m just going to think…you know…

  62. It wasn’t sexism that killed the Clinton campaign, it was her. There are many people in this country (try getting off the coasts) who don’t recall the Clintonista ’90s group hug so fondly and were not looking for a repeat — yeah, start reminding everyone who’s lost a manufacturing job since 1993 that we should “return to the prosperity of the 1990s.” Plus, “Senator from New York” doesn’t resonate very well in the Great Plains, Rockies, and South.

  63. One time I was walking through a vineyard and I got some grapes off the vine and the grapes were sour. I’m just saying, personally, if I were a disillusioned Democrat, I would fucking vote for Bob Barr because…

    When I see little remarks that belittle women, I see the same ‘jocular’ attitude the left exhibited non-stop.

    No Republicans are sexist? You’re seriously buttressing my idea tha a lot of people are Dems or Repubs because “they don’t like the other guy”. But if you never had a good reason to vote Democrat…[shrugs].

  64. Are their more sex related comments about Hillary Clinton, race related comments about Barack Obama, or age related comment about John McCain on H&R threads?

    I imagine that McCain and Clinton are close to tied with Obama a distant third. That doesn’t prove sexism is more prevalent or acceptable than racism, It could be attributed to the fact that Hillary, like McCain, is not a likable person.

  65. “No male candidate,” Penn told GQ, “has ever been told to drop out. Ever.”

    Ralph Nader. Every election.

    “Hillary Clinton’s loss has renewed critiques that American political media is slanted, sexist and dominated by men,” wrote Ari Melber, the magazine’s “Net movement correspondent.”

    But let McCain call the “American political media” liberal, and the same sources will declaim them paragons of impartial fairness.

  66. Mark Penn is a mark-ass buster and emblematic of what I hated about the Clinton campaign.

  67. “How could it be that Sen. Hillary Clinton-a woman of significant experience”

    She is the wife of an ex-president who bought her a Senate seat. She has done nothing of note in the Senate. She has no experience, executive or otherwise, and her sole claim to public attention was by way of her marriage. To pretend she is a feminist degrades women.

  68. But you should be aware that there are a lot of Democratic women who are not going to vote for Barack. And we are looking for somewhere online where we can find out about McCain and where we can be comfortable.

    Oddly enough, the top headline on the Boston Globe this morning was about the McCain campaign’s efforts to attract Hillary voters who are still bitter about Obama’s win.

    Man, talk about your coincidences? I mean, what are the chances that someone who has never posted here before would show up with an anti-Obama/pro McCain comment about Hillary voters on the same day that the McCain campaign is pursuing an identical message?

  69. Sink…sank…sunk…? Doesn’t this outfit have editors?

  70. Man, talk about your coincidences? I mean, what are the chances that someone who has never posted here before would show up with an anti-Obama/pro McCain comment about Hillary voters on the same day that the McCain campaign is pursuing an identical message?

    I appreciate what you’re saying, joe, but what kind of poor sap would take that message over here? There are feminists here, sure. There are Democrats. But I truly do not believe that there are any regulars here gnashing their teeth and beside themselves about Hillary’s situation in particular. Don’t they know that Libertarians are used to failure?

  71. Don’t they know that Libertarians are used to failure?

    Truer words were never spoken.

  72. Would I rather vote for an African-American or a woman?

    Simple, screw the collectivist facts about race and gender and vote for the individual. If you say things I want to hear and that don’t violate my rights or the rights of those around us, I don’t care if you are asexual and purple with pink dots.

    The collectivism in this country is enough to make anyone with an IQ higher than their shoe size sick.

  73. The latest controversy around the racial slurs against Obama and the sexist remarks about Hillary, proves in effect what we’ve always known to be true: democracy is political entertainment. The masses simply can’t get enough; we’ve had a disastrous war in Iraq that is leading nowhere, an economy that’s about to go into recession, increased ethnic conflicts and several reports of corrupt lobbying, yet we insist on more.

    http://www.corrupt.org/articles/politics/alex_birch/democracy_is_political_entertainment

  74. Art POG,

    Astroturfing is a clunky exercise. Hit all of the top X-number of political websites.

  75. joe,

    I hear that. Clearly.

  76. …an economy that’s about to go into recession…

    “About”? On earth we’re far passed that.

  77. Sexism most certainly played not only A role in HRC’s candidacy, it played THEE role. But in a different manner than most would think.

    Were she NOT a female, she would never have been considered Presidential timber in the first place; would never have been considered a legit candidate for Senator of NY either.

    She was the above because, and ONLY because, she was/is the wife of William Jefferson Clinton.

    The next female contender will not have to play the Eva Peron role: she’ll run because of who SHE is, just as Thatcher, Mier, and Merkel did.

  78. There are several comments here that echo a common refrain that Hillary Clinton’s political opportunities have only come through her marriage. While these are not her only credentials (attorney, senator, etc.), the undeniable privilege she gained from her marriage is no different than the many, many men whose political careers are made possible by being related to politicians. How many politicians have fathers in politics? While it is unfair that family connections allow such easy access to power, to denigrate this link for her more than for men with family privilege suggests a sexist devaluation of the role of wife (as opposed to son, nephew, etc.)

  79. Well, I view sexism as incidental to the reality of the campaign situation, however prominent a role it may have played throughout the course of her life. And despite the unfortunate (for her) end of her campaign, I still view Clinton as a pioneer.

  80. I did not read the entire linked poll but with what I saw more people will have a problem with McCain’s age than either Obama’s race or Clinton’s gender.

    Also I did not see any questions asking if the polled would be more likely to vote for a woman because she was a woman or a black because they were black. Talk about soft discrimination, the polls only assume racism can be directed at non-whites and sexism can be directed at women. I wonder what John Edwards thinks about that.

    The truth is Clinton was helped by being a woman and Obama is helped by being black. Women and blacks are much more concerned with gender and race than white males are at this point in our history.

  81. I’d like to thank the article’s author for a masterfully subtle Betty Friedan reference in his title.

    As for Mrs. Clinton, THANK YOU THANK YOU Federal Dog for saying something that I was shocked no commentator ever uttered during her campaign.

    WHAT experience? I was constantly astounded to hear refrain that over and over, with not a lick of substantiation.

    Ok, I realize we’re supposed to dignify campaign (and White House briefing) talking points as though they weren’t completely manipulative, disingenuous propaganda out of some noblesse oblige… but still.

    She’s clearly someone who spent her education and career oriented toward political machinations. So what? That’s hardly the same as being a career legislator. Carpetbagging notwithstanding.

    Maybe it’s just me, but her tenure as an associate with the Rose Law Firm doesn’t particularly make her a stellar candidate for anything other than being a lobbyist.

    To imply that she somehow gained White House-level gravitas and competence through osmosis and marriage to that man strikes me as a brutally craven abdication of personal empowerment.

    (As an aside, I do realize that she, albeit illegally, attempted to promulgate a policy pet project while she was First Lady, with her star chamber healthcare follies, but it was hardly a grand accomplishment.)

    Maybe that’s what it means to be a feminist these days – it’s not about opportunity, it’s about disingenuously presenting reality in an effort to get what you want.

    I have too much respect for people to want to believe it though.

  82. Scott66,

    I used to, like you, consider an unwillingness to vote for somebody because of his age comparable to an unwillingness to vote for somebody because of their gender, sex, or religion.

    I was shocked by how how that number was – but then I looked at the crosstabs.

    Virtually no Mormons said the president shouldn’t be a Mormon. Ditto for women and African Americans.

    However, the % of respondents who said they wouldn’t vote for a 72-year-old man actually increased with the age of the respondent. People in their 40s were more likely to say that than people in their 20s, people in the 60s more likely than people in their 40s, and people in their 70s and 80s more likely than people in their 60s.

    The people who know the most about being black, female, or Mormon have no problems with those who share that characteristic being president, but the people who know the most about being old have a big problem with an old man being president. This gives me pause.

  83. OK, there is this. Older women seem to have lent their support to Hillary Clinton in larger proportion than younger women, and the obvious assumption I’m going with is that for older women there is a fear that this is the last best shot they had to see a female president in their lifetimes. For younger women, I think there is not such a sense of urgency. Society has made progress in eliminating sexism, and there is little doubt that there will be a female president within these young women’s lifetimes.
    As for sexism hurting Hillary Clinton, I am 1) not a Democratic insider and 2)Not a woman/feminist so I am prone to being tone-deaf to sexism (except in the most obvious instances). Even to an astute person, it can be difficult to distinguish at times between genuine sexism and hypersensitive overreaction.

  84. Black people liked Barack way better than women liked Hillary

  85. Hillary actually reminds me of Stephen Boyd’s character in THE OSCAR, only female and without the unintentional laughs.

  86. There’s an old joke about the Jewish mother who bought her son two ties as a birthday present. The next time he visited her, he wore one of the ties. The mother asked: “what’s the matter, you don’t like the other tie?”

    Same here. Of the two candidates, either the white woman or the black man had to lose–therefore “proving” how “sexist” or “racist” (depending on the outcome) Americans “really” are.

    Ah well.

  87. Not that woman. Ayn Rand, Elizabeth the 1st, Queen Isabella, Amelia Earheart…but not that woman.

  88. It wasn’t sexism, It was that her head was still in the 1990s – plus, Bill was seen as a loose cannon.

  89. That woman. . .
    That woman could be your mother.
    That woman could be your daughter.
    That woman could be your sister.
    That woman could be your wife.
    That woman could be your lover.
    That woman could be your best friend.
    That woman could be the only reason you get up in the morning and go to work or school.
    That woman could be the doctor or nurse who saves your life.
    That woman could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
    That woman, Senator Hilary Clinton, ran a crediable, well-funded campaign. She was beset by hateful people who said incrediably nasty and sexist things about her and women in general. The fact that those offenders weren’t punished is evidence of their sexism; just repeat a similar theme with a racial context and see what happens. Her campaign was a breath of fresh air and she herself embodied change. Too bad we now have granddad and Jr. vying for the top job. Not interesting…I am tired of the boys’ club and their nastiness and I don’t care how many other “that woman” people share their support. Unless I see REAL Change, a write-in vote for Hiliary Clinton will be my choice. Anyone who says it wasn’t sexism, is in a state of morbid denial and needs to be hospitalized and given presecrption mind-altering drugs.

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