On Hillary’s Femininity (And How She Misused It)

Hillary Clinton‘s campaign may come to an end this week. And, on the eve of a decisive primary, we can’t help but wonder if she made a fatal mistake: downplaying her femininity.

No doubt Mrs. Clinton’s womanhood has played a pivotal role in this campaign, but usually on other people’s terms. Conservative pundits have repeatedly assailed her as an ambitious she-beast. Rush Limbaugh often refers to Clinton in less-than-flattering, testicularly minded terms. Tucker Carlson called Mrs. Clinton “castrating,” a proverbial fear for most American men. And the male of the species isn’t alone in taking on the Senator.

Who could forget the infamous cleavage upheaval, when National Review online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez derided the Senator for revealing too much chest while on the job? Clinton’s campaign seized on the moment, biting back at Lopez’s irresponsible gender card. Advisor Ann Lewis bit back in a fundraising email, writing: “Frankly, focusing on women’s bodies instead of their ideas is insulting. It’s insulting to every woman who has ever tried to be taken seriously in a business meeting.” Too true.

No candidate’s gender, race or religion should be used to derail their efforts. While it’s unseemly for talking heads to use Clinton’s gender against her, it may have been prudent for Clinton to have highlighted her feminine wiles – or, at least, biology – to her advantage.

Barack Obama hasn’t explicitly used race during his campaign, but the historic weight of his race has very often been used to celebrate his landmark candidacy. The frenzy over Obama’s groundbreaking ascension may have eclipsed the relevancy of Clinton’s own impact. Here we have a woman – a strong, smart and perfectly capable woman – who has a tangible shot at the White House. Clinton’s candidacy is just as historic as Obama’s. Many people forget that, however, and Clinton doesn’t work too hard to remind them. In fact, she often downplays her womanhood, as when she backed out of a Vogue photo shoot lest she appear too “feminine”.

The snub led Vogue editor Anna Wintour to blast Clinton – and the media:

Imagine my amazement, then, when I learned that Hillary Clinton, our only female presidential hopeful, had decided to steer clear of our pages at this point in her campaign for fear of looking too feminine. The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying. How has our culture come to this? How is it that The Washington Post recoils from the slightest hint of cleavage on a senator? This is America, not Saudi Arabia… I do think Americans have moved on from the power-suit mentality, which served as a bridge for a generation of women to reach boardrooms filled with men. Political campaigns that do not recognize this are making a serious misjudgment.

She’s talking to you, Hillary.

While we haven’t heard every single one of Hillary’s campaign speeches, we can’t pinpoint any time the Senator – or the media’s coverage – has highlighted the cultural importance of Clinton’s candidacy. In fact, it wasn’t until last week that we heard Clinton herself note the relevancy of her political trajectory.

The comment came as Clinton spoke with The News Hour‘s Judy Woodruff. Toward the end of their exchange, Woodruff asked Clinton, quite simply, “What would be different about having a female president?” Woodruff’s inquiry isn’t new, of course, but Clinton’s frankness and candor are something worth discussing. Said Clinton:

Oh, I don’t even think we can adequately imagine the difference it would make. It would be the shattering of the highest and hardest glass ceiling. And it would send such a message of hope and opportunity to every little girl, to every young woman.

That’s probably the most common thing that people say to me out on the campaign trail. There’s two things, actually. One is that, you know, people say, “Well, I’m here because of my daughter,” or, you know, “My little girl just learned that we’ve never had a woman president and, you know, I want her to know she can do anything.”

I mean, it would be a very deep change in how people see themselves and who is able to fulfill this position.

Jim Crow laws aside, women didn’t get the right to vote until well after black men. Women continue to make less compared to their male counterparts and women face more physical abuse than men. Having a woman run for the White House, then, strikes at the heart of one of the States’ most tenacious forms of discrimination: misogyny.

Clinton eschewed this point for too long in her campaign, however, thus depleting it of its power. Had Clinton highlighted her historic role – rather than her work during her husband’s administration – she may have captured some of the revolutionary spirit sapped by Obama. She didn’t, though, and racial divides came to dominate much of the primary season, making Clinton’s candidacy seem like just another seasoned politician’s presidential push, not a woman pushing against centuries of oppression.

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  • emb

    This is the problem for a female candidate for president in the US: The inherent sexism of our society (even more deeply ingrained, I think, than racism–remember that black men won the right to vote decades before women). So Hillary was pretty much screwed from the start: If she ran as a Woman, she would be denounced as a radical feminist. If she ran as feminine, she’d be denounced as weak and frail and lacking aggressiveness. If she ran aggressively, as a fighter (which she is doing), she is denounced as not feminine enough. If she tries on all those hats (as male candidates try different personas) she would be denounced as a chameleon, without a center, drifting with popular tides.

    I like Hillary, and I think she’d be a good president, if she could quiet the seething, abnormal loathing that she arouses in many voters, who have been brainwashed by an unending onslaught of lies, innuendo, baseless rumors, and character assassination aimed at her for the last decade and a half. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard, during this campaign, the phrase “I really would like a woman president; just not THIS woman.” It’s unfair and disappointing.

    If not THIS woman, then which one? I fear it’ll be a long time before American can get over its cultural sexism (probably arising from our puritan roots, like so many other of our major national character flaws; Australia got the criminals, and we got the wild-eyed religious loonies. Thanks, Britain.) and find a woman who passes our unpassable character test, the unwritten Constitutional requirement for the presidency: have a penis.

  • Damoclese

    This is precisely why Barak Obama has such wide appeal. We have moved on as a country. He not only de-emphasized race, but called us to lay down our “differences as weapons” card. No more race card (even though racism still exists). No more gender card (even though sex and gender discrimination still exist). The American people have grown weary of fighting one another. This is a Lincoln moment, not a McCarthy moment. And don’t forget the horrid things that have come out of the Clinton campaign: stoking ant-islamic sentiment while falsely painting Sen. Obama a Muslim in email and photo; race baiting by husband Bill (who I think wants to ruin her career anyway) in South Carolina and Hillary Clinton dismissing it as “just getting carried away” before apologizing to the African American community a week ago when her bacon is on the line; stoking racial tensions between African Americans and Latino American’s with Hillary Clinton’s pollster, Sergio Bendixen, interview with The New Yorker in which he stated that “the Hispanic voter – and I want to say this very carefully – has not shown a lot of willingness to support black candidates” which was proven to be false but affirmed by Clinton herself. And as to your remarks on women and African Americans and women getting the right to vote at different times, well that’s just very telling–do you want revenge for this cruel twist of history that paved the way for all equality in voting? By the way let’s talk under representation today:
    “A record number of women serve in the U.S. Congress. Currently, 13 women (10 Democrats and 3 Republicans) serve in the U.S. Senate, while 61 women (43 Democrats and 18 Republicans) hold seats in the House of Representatives. Four of the Senators and seven Representatives are serving their first terms in Congress. The 13 women now in the Senate are: Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jean Carnahan (D-MO), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).” http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa121198.htm

    There are 41 Black Congressman and 1 senator (Barak Obam, by the way). Also, a number of those Black Congressional members are women.

  • beefy

    the american people have not grown weary of fighting one another. there are some who will never lay down the race or sexism card.

    and if obama were to really back up what he had to say (differences as weapons), then why on earth isn’t he in support of marriage equality? or is it okay to play the gay/straight card?

  • Megs

    The number of black women in congress is 11. That is little more than 2%. There are no black women senators. Hillary has spoken many many times of the “unlevel playing field”, and handily dismisses the advantages of being rich and white.
    Carol Mosely Braun is the only black woman senator in American history, and I don’t recall Hillary or other white women defending her, when Rush Limbaugh would play the theme song to ‘The jeffersons’ (We’re Movin’ On Up) when he referred to her, and went on to say she was better suited to be a ‘washerwoman’ and described her falsely as a ‘welfare queen’. Yet, to hear Steinem, Jong, and others; you’d think black women were handmaidens of patriarchy for not standing up for the warmongering Hillary.
    There have only been FIVE black senators altogether.
    Note to whites: Downplaying the devastating undertow of racism, will not win you sympathy or votes from black people.

  • Damoclese

    Dear Beefy,
    The American people, have grown so weary of it, they are voting for Obama in droves. Whether they are weary enough depends on OH and TX. As to Gay Marriage: In fact, Obama’s position is to repeal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act that unfairly curtails the impact of gay marriage in other states–besides MA) and allow all states to implement Gay marriage that want to. As a constitutional law professor he understands that this is precisely how “Loving v. Virginia” destroyed the ban on interracial marriage. For those not up to speed, marriage is the province of States not the Fed Gov’t. By permitting states to allow gay marriage with no DOMA, the states will begin a cascade that will eventually allow it everywhere (one or two states will probably hold-out for a decade). He is for equal treatment on the tax code so even if your state doesn’t recognize you as a married couple you can claim your partner on your taxes. Also, he will not impose a Federal Ban on marriage and is against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Now what about Hillary? She’s not for gay marriage. She likes DOMA and Don’t ask Don’t tell. Not a peep from Hillary on the tax code. It takes more to support equal rights than marching on Pride Day. In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize his constitutional expertise is ideal for this time.

  • Damoclese

    Tell it Megs! Americans, in general, have a distaste for fair-weather friends. To be so quickly thrown under the bus by Bill in SC woke a lot of African Americans up to the nature of their relationship with the Clintons (many reports have only glossed the rift that has opened). African Americans supported Bill and Hillary so forcefully, that the impeachment proceedings not only did not end Bill’s career, but paved the way for Hillary’s run in NY (with Rangle pulling the strings). Why else is Bill’s office in Harlem? You cannot fool me twice. Pinning equal rights on Hillary will end with tire tracks on your back as you watch the rear bumper of “history” fade into the sunset. Savvy gay activists and voters are starting to see this.

  • hisurfer

    The only real mistake I saw her campaign make was letting Bill Clinton hog the limelight for a few fatal weeks – and in turn letting him focus on race issues. She ran a strong campaign for a long time, remember?

    But while Obama and Hillary *appear* to try to transcend race and gender, don’t believe for a second that either campaign ignores it. Obama seemed to become much more ‘black’ for Super Tuesday (the gospel rallies, his manner of speaking changed, the Jesus references). I am sure that that was calculated, if only because his campaign seems well polished and isn’t leaving much up to chance these days.

    Side note to the above comments: asking which is worse, racism or sexism (or homophobia) is a false question, and so any answer you give will be inherently wrong. It assumes a linear progression from ‘oppressed’ to ‘equal’ that doesn’t exist.

  • Megs

    YOU tell it, Damoclese! Loving that Loving v. Virginia ref. Hillary’s tippy-toe around glbt issues is astounding, when you consider the level of her support from that same community. And what of the ‘feminism’ of warmongering?
    I don’t get that or her.

  • Damoclese

    Gald you liked it Megs. I have watched the Clintons pretend to espouse movements whenever convenient, seem to co-opt them only to jettison the whole deal once the public eye is turned. This is how Hillary got in trouble with the war. She was reading the tea leaves to her Presidential run and thought the public eye would turn elsewhere. It never has. She’s right about one thing, “actions speak.” Her actions bespeak conservativism. That whole centrist democrat thing was suspicious from day one, like “compassionate conservative”. And, as to Hisurfer, my point on the false dichotomy of race/sex/gender discrimination was already referenced in my bit on the “cruel twist of history”. But I will point something out to you Hisurfer: why is it a play for race when you go to a African American audience and play music that African Americans listen to? Perhaps he should have played Heavy Metal? And why should race be ignored in order to transcend it? Remember, Obama did not rune with the blessing of the traditional Black leaders, who were in Hillary’s pocket. He was elected by IOWA. That his manner of speaking, well isn’t that evolution on the campaign trail? Transcending does not=ignoring. It means “to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits.” He recognizes the limits of race and is so far overcoming them.

  • rjb

    Am I on glue? Hillary is currently leading in Ohio and neck and neck in Texas. This race is not over and the media created story line that it is is just that a story. They are creating drama and suspense. Hilary is very much still in the race.

  • Robert

    Democlese and Megs, you are both wrong. So many points to address, so I apologize for the swift change to each.

    First, as to South Carolina, Jesse Jackson came to Bill’s defense and said that his comments were not at all racist. So to say that Bill blatantly used racist language is inaccurate. I know of many African Americans who came to his defense. (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/jackson-not-upset-by-clinton-remarks/)

    Second, the co-chair for Obama’s national campaign is harassing superdelegates with gems such as this: “If it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?” (http://www.talkleft.com/story/2008/3/1/125939/7809) Who is race baiting? Who transcends what?

    It’s also a mischaracterization to claim the country is overwhelming responding to Obama. Take a look at the numbers. Hillary is leading in Democratic voters, and she has garnered nearly 50% of the popular vote. Many of Obama’s victories are in states that traditionally go Republican. There is no guarantee he’ll win in a General. It’s hardly as clear cut as you make it seem.

    If you think state by state gay marriage is fabulous, you’re naive. There must be a uniform and consistent message, either from the Congress or from the Supreme Court. I suspect Obama’s support for this would be lacking, as even you note. He frames his opposition to gay marriage within religious terms. (Dobson much?) His proximity to evangelical beliefs is rather frightening to me. At least Hillary does not overtly invoke religion when she cites her disagreement with gay marriage. Indeed, I feel as though the latter would be more easily convinced through activism. Political beliefs are easier to change, religious beliefs are not. (Also, Obama has never been to a gay pride parade, and he refused to have a picture taken with Gavin Newsom.)

    And Megs, you don’t think Obama will tippy toe? Did you read his open letter? When he ended it by saying that he would not compromise on his promise to compromise? When he said he would listen to the raving evangelicals? Yeah, that’s what we need. More air time for them to spew their hate speech. We need a fighter, not a compromiser. Speaking of, he plans to appoint Republicans to his cabinet. Such as Hagel–one of the MOST conservative political figures in the country. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3466823.ece)

    Obama rises above nothing, though he would do his best to convince you. His recent discussions with the Canadian ambassador concerning NAFTA are proof of this. Not to mention is use of sexist language to Hillary.

  • Steve

    Blacks are not the only ones with a valid argument in identity politics. As much as some of you may hate to admit it, Hillary is doing something that is also incredibly historical. It is unnerving to see so many people try and downplay the significance of this moment for women.

    And it also truly is unnerving to read so many people who have distorted Clinton’s beliefs in order to make Obama seem more appealing. For the record, neither of them support gay marriage, both support civil unions, both want to repeal DADT, and both want to leave the power of marriage to the states, and if recognized by the state to receive federal recognition and benefits…and as much as we may hate to admit it, DOMA kept the notion of a federal ban of marriage off the table. We can bitch and moan about inequality, howver, to achieve equality there is a game to be played, and Clinton knows how to do it. Hate the game, not the players, and Obama is not going to make the game go away, and honestly would rather have someone on our side who truly understands how it works.

  • Robert

    Thank you, Steve. I’m glad to see not everyone here has been persuaded by Obama’s lovely rhetoric.

  • Steve

    And Robert…I love you, couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Robert

    And, for the record, she did address (in very inspiring words) the historic nature of her candidacy on the night of Super Tuesday.

    “I want to thank all my friends and family, particularly my mother … who was born before women could vote, and is watching her daughter on this stage tonight.”

    Her recent ad in Texas plays on the historic nature of her candidacy: 1 million women for Hillary. It’s on her website, too.

    Frankly, I think that the very existence of this article demonstrates how far the country has to go in terms of sexism. I’ve never seen a piece written on how a candidate has failed to claim his masculinity. It’s a shame.

  • Mary-Lynn Cheney

    She has a tin ear…

  • afrolito

    Hillary has made many mistakes in her candidacy, but they pale in comparison to the onslaught of media hatred heaped on her from the beginning. As the first poster stated, there has been nothing she could do right in this hostile environment.

    What’s really scary to me (and sad) is how the left has bought into the evil Hillary diatribe hook and line, in order to justify supporting Barack. In reality there’s really very little difference in either candidates positions, but listening to some of the gays here (and elsewhere), you would think Barack was our Moses.

    Barack will not (can’t) end the DOMA.
    He will not repeal DADT.
    We will not be marrying by some federal law.

    Oh, and as a black person, i’m so sick of white people and their bullshit about Barack “trancending race”. Just becasue some of you like him enough to throw a vote his way in primary, does’nt absolve you or the country of racism. If he wins the presidency, great, but it does’nt “heal” 500 years of slavery, racism, and segregation. He is not the “magic negro” or a messiah.

    As far as Hillary goes, if tuesday is her last stand so be it. I think she could have been a wonderful president, but she never stood a chance against the blinding sexism and misogyny of this country. I hope she takes a nice long vacation. She deserves it.

  • Rehorakthy

    “Jim Crow laws aside …”? Jim Crow laws are THE point. If you are going to make historical comparisons about who has/had it worse, please make sure you are not rewriting history in order to make your point.

    40 years after women were given the right to vote, black men were still being murdered for TRYING to vote, and people of all races were being beaten and blown up for similar activities.

    The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. Prior to that, white women were some of the individuals administering literacy tests and collecting the poll taxes that prevented Black, Hispanic, and Asian women from voting.

    I don’t say that in a negative way. That is the unbiased, historical truth. Similarly, there were Black women who marched in support of 19th amendment and white women who lost their lives fighting for the right of Blacks in the South to vote.

    America is at its best when we work together to solve the problems facing this nation. Some people become so imbedded in the pathologies of “identity politics” that they lose sight of that fact. You can call that “lovely rhetoric” if you want, but there is not a single successful social justice movement in this nation’s history that was achieved without the participation of people of different races and genders.

    And Robert, Jesse Jackson doesn’t speak for all Black people. Just because he and a handful of media appointed “leaders of the Black community” take a position, it doesn’t mean that all Black people think the same way.

    Happy Super Tuesday II

  • Robert

    No, Jesse Jackson does not speak for all black people. That is true. And I never implied otherwise. However, the previous comments had made it seem as though the black community unanimously decided that Hillary and Bill were racist people. That they had thrown black people under the bus. My point in mentioning Jesse Jackson was twofold: (1) Bill’s remark compared Obama to Jackson, so I thought it relevant to mention what Jackson had to say concerning the whole situation; (2) I wanted to give an example of a prominent black leader defending what the comments deemed undeniably racist.

    You really blew what I said out of proportion, and you neglected to place my comment in the context of this thread.

  • Damoclese

    Dear Robert,

    To your point: “I’ve never seen a piece written on how a candidate has failed to claim his masculinity. It’s a shame.” Do some easy research. Geraldine Ferraro and several NPR correspondents have called Obama the “estrogen” candidate” because they feel he has co-opted many traditionally feminist positions.

    As to Jesse Jackson comiong to Bill’s defense: he is part of the Black leaders groups who did not orginally embrace Obama in the first place and is in Bill’s pocket. Anyone remeber Monica-gate and how Jesse counseled Bill after Hillary tried to lie on Monica and before Jesse got caught doing the same thing? Jesse said it but it don’t make it so.

    As to the co-chair for Obama’s national campaign, well that was said by lewis as ana example and not a quote. You are overstating the case.

    As to the “mischaracterization to claim the country is overwhelming responding to Obama,” you have the track record to deal with. An insurmountable delegate lead. More states one. More money. And a record 1 million donors. Hillary used to be inevitable remeber?

    As to the “state by state gay marriage” strategy, your fright and your religious conflation, well clearly your fright is coloring your judgment. No DOMA is better than DOMA. IF DADT was so great then tell it to the gay military in the shadows. Leadership not lip service is needed. Putting out clear position papers is the way for a candidate to do that. Hillary loses that argument hands down. Also, you misrepresented that it was my belief that Obama was pro-gay marriage. he clearly is not, he just has the best position for our community. By the way, I like Gavin, I met Gavin at the DNC in Boston and guess what? Nobody wanted their picture taken with him. Many feel he caused the Bush victory by making the regional MA gay marriage decision a national issue before the courts could settle the matter.
    Also, not all evangelicals are homophobes.

    As to “His recent discussions with the Canadian ambassador concerning NAFTA” well the person in the meeting and the Candaian gov’t deny this. The only one harping on this is the person who wrote the memo. Hardly proof.

    There is more top political life than grabbing crumbs from the table. Americans are proving they are brave enough to grab the whole pie.

    Also, lest I forget, Steve you stated that “Blacks are not the only ones with a valid argument in identity politics”. Clearly you have missed the point. Black people in America are listening to someone who is telling BLACKS to forget identity politics. It’s not about him. It is about our neighbors in IOWA talking to their sisters and brothers in Harlem. That is an old conversation that needs to begin again instead of the bitter silence that has wounded this nation. Now Hillary could have subsumed that conversation within her own feminist perspective and been at the top of an Clinton-Obama ticket. Instead she attacked everyone who voted for Obama, belittled the need for healing and told us that it’s just as historic to vote for a woman as an African American. That is why there won’t be a Clinton-Obam ticket and that is why her campaign is rolling around in the mud.

  • Robert

    Identity politics are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future because we, as human beings, are constantly interested in our identities. When you say, “I’m gay” you’re revealing more than your sexual orientation. You’re revealing political attitudes about the presence and role of alternate sexualities in society. You may not like it, you may try to fight it; but, the politicized nature of sexuality (and race and gender) is somewhat out of our hands. The discourse has been going before we entered the world and it will continue long after we’ve left it.

    “Lovely rhetoric” is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I study Literature! But rhetoric requires a plan beneath it–a purpose, a goal. The two are necessarily linked. In my opinion, the plan that Obama seems to have underneath his rhetoric is naive and doomed to fail. He wants to work with the neoconservatives and conservatives, but they don’t want to work with a progressive agenda. He’s going to have to compromise when it comes down to a gridlock. At which point, he has already lost. His unity destroyed. I suspect, when he does have to compromise, the progressive agenda will be on the losing end. He seems to underestimate just how obstinate Republicans can be.

    Personally, I don’t think Hillary will take that shit. And, if she does have to compromise, I think she’ll do it such that the progressive agenda ends up ahead.

  • Rehorakthy

    Sorry … one more post.

    People, please do some research. The Clintons pissed off the media in the early part of Bill’s first term. The media doesn’t dislike Hillary because she is a woman, they dislike her because they know her.

    Plus, who wants a president that is going to complain about how unfair life is all the time? “Experience” would seemingly dictate that one would learn from the mistakes of the past. However, 1st there was the “vast right-wing conspiracy” to control the media. Now, the media is hostile toward her for undisclosed reasons. I’m confused. Is the right controlling the media or is it being controlled by sexist Obama supporters?

    Afrolito does not speak for this Black person. I am ready to work with anyone willing to lead this nation TOWARD healing.

    Obama has the vision to provide that leadership and a plan–other than overt cynicism, identity politics, and the politics of victimization–to fix our nation’s economy, end the war in Iraq, invest in green technologies, improve education and provide healthcare.

    When there are so many similarities between candidates, character matters. In her decades of public service, Hillary has been a polemic and divisive figure. And please don’t give the me the, “if she were a man it would be leadership, but because she is a woman…” crap. If Hillary is so proficient at playing the “game” as one poster previously pointed out, then why is her only response to bad publicity “Poor me. I am such a victim. Everyone is out to get me”?

    Obama has been attacked and has handled himself with dignity and poise. Accusations of bad behavior have been leveled against both camps, but, again, with positions being so similar and allegations of foul play being leveled against campaign staff, it boils down to who has that extra something to cross the finish line. Hillary has failed that test over and over.

  • Damoclese

    Thank you Rehorakthy. I could not have said it better myself.

  • Robert

    Democlese, you seem to have an affinity for spin.

    I cannot seem to find any article that uses the phrase “estrogen candidate” except for one reference to an SNL skit. That hardly seems applicable. Please provide a link to the article you have in mind, and I’ll kindly acknowledge your point. (Although, the larger point that Hillary has been the target of great sexism still stands.)

    “As to Jesse Jackson comiong [sic] to Bill’s defense: he is part of the Black leaders groups who did not orginally [sic] embrace Obama in the first place and is in Bill’s pocket.”

    Your argument doesn’t follow. Because “a beam of light” (Obama’s words, not mine) didn’t come upon Jackson, he is in Bill’s pocket? It seems like a non sequitur. What you’re essentially saying is that because he supported Bill he can no longer speak as a black person. Now, I’ll give you the benefit of a doubt and assume that’s not what you meant.

    “As to the co-chair for Obama’s national campaign, well that was said by lewis as ana example and not a quote. You are overstating the case.”

    If the superdelegate is claiming he was intimidated, then that is all that matters. The point I was trying to make was that the Obama campaign isn’t above using intimidation to garner votes, particularly against African American delegates. And this is not a singular matter. Many superdelegates have claimed the same thing, and the article I linked included a couple.

    “An insurmountable delegate lead.”

    She is still capable of winning the nomination. Assuming a total of 4047 delegates and superdelegates (that is without MI and FL) and using the delegate count at RealClearPolitics, Obama is leading by less than 2% in the delegate count. That’s hardly insurmountable, considering there are still a substantial number of delegates and superdelegates to be alloted (1379, again without MI and FL).

    My fright of the evangelical influence is quite understandable, and it isn’t coloring my judgment as much as it is informing it. The power of that segment of society is great considering their numbers, and to deal with them is (in my opinion) poor judgment. Religion should never be used to construct government policy. But I concede your point that not all evangelicals are homophobic. I apologize for implying that.

    As Steve mentioned, DOMA stemmed the tide that would have led to a federal marriage ban. I think that his noteworthy. DADT is a horrible policy, agreed. However, contrary to your belief that Obama will save us from it, he is not capable. It will take an act of Congress to amend the US Military Code of Conduct, which outlaws acts of sodomy. Gays and lesbians will not be able to serve openly until those codes are removed, even with the repeal of DADT.

    “As to “His recent discussions with the Canadian ambassador concerning NAFTA” well the person in the meeting and the Candaian [sic] gov’t deny this. The only one harping on this is the person who wrote the memo. Hardly proof.”

    The Obama rep, Austan Goolsbee, acknowledges he was there. There is the memo to substantiate the meeting. The news agency refuses to retract the story, claiming it to be quite true. I would say that rebuts your “hardly proof” sentiment.

  • afrolito

    Obama has never been attacked by the media, and i’ve never heard Hillary say “poor me. I am such a victim”. If she is divisive, it’s because the media made her into a divisive figure.

    No I don’t speak for you Rehorakthy, and you certainly don’t speak for me or any other black person. If you think the “healing” of this nation is embodied in Barack (or yourself), then you have rocks for brains, and will be sorely disapointed.

  • Robert

    No. 22 Rehorakthy:

    “People, please do some research. The Clintons pissed off the media in the early part of Bill’s first term. The media doesn’t dislike Hillary because she is a woman, they dislike her because they know her.”

    Oh, my! You’ve made me realize my errors! I was under the mistaken assumption that the media, under the policy of journalistic integrity, was supposed to give us unbiased records of candidates’ policies and statements! I see now they should be biased and tell us what to think.

    If the media doesn’t like a candidate, we also should reject that candidate. Perfect way to choose a president.

  • Rehorakthy


    Being gay and black are part of who I am. They do not define me. Some people chose to limit their potential based on how society defines them and what others tell them should be important to them as someone who is gay, black, or a woman (for the purposes of this conversation).

    My politics are not limited by labels or my subjective observations based on the box in which I choose to place myself.

    My politics ARE defined by what I believe to be the inherently good nature of the human heart and my vision of what I want the world to be

    I think our respective views on life are indicative of the differences between the individuals supporting Clinton and Obama.

    For the record, HIllary caved on healthcare, and she has NEVER EVER stood up for herself against the conservatives-neo or otherwise. When attacked she complains about how unfair things are and changes her position to match the latest polling data. How many times has she changed her campaign strategy over the last few months? Kerry was the last Democrat to do that and lost to a candidate a dirty sock should have been able to beat.

    Obama has remained constant.

  • Robert

    “Obama has been attacked and has handled himself with dignity and poise. Accusations of bad behavior have been leveled against both camps, but, again, with positions being so similar and allegations of foul play being leveled against campaign staff, it boils down to who has that extra something to cross the finish line. Hillary has failed that test over and over”

    While I agree that both candidates have been attacked, the numbers are against your seeming argument that the attacks have been equal.

    I direct your attention to these two studies and an article.


  • Rehorakthy


    I do speak for myself and alot of middle class blacks who choose to honor the accomplishments of EVERYONE, white, black and otherwise who have made it possible for me to be where I am today. Racism exists. But if having rocks for brains means that I am willing to work with like minded people to fulfill the legacy of my predecessors, then so be it. When you get tired of being bitter and looking for payback, you are welcome to come hang out with those of us focused on doing more that complaining. The way I honor my ancestors and those who have lost their lives in the fight for social justice is by offering solutions.

    Geesh, if you and Robert are typical Hillary supporters, I finally understand why she is going to be sitting with the other Senators when Obama is sworn in as president … LOL

  • Robert

    No. 27:

    You didn’t address my points. Instead, you deferred discussing Obama in order to talk identity politics.

    I never said that your identity as gay or black should be the only defining trait. However, it’s naive to think that you can just “will away” the implications of being gay or black in our society. Whether we choose it is irrelevant, we live in a community of people. The idea that the individual has full control over his or her own identity is foolish because there are social factors that shape how we behavior and how we perceive. It’s just true.

    Manliness and womanliness; gay culture; race: so many things are informed by social context that we can’t always control.

    For example, you’re on this blog discussing the relationship Obama has to the gay community. You’re talking about gay causes that you can’t control alone: DADT, marriage, etc. These issues are bound up in the gay identity: you don’t see other groups fighting for it because it is unique to a queer mindset. (Even straight people fighting for it. It is based on queer ideals.)

    However, a century ago, the issue of marriage was bound up in the racial identity as people fought for interracial marriage. Identity shifts, it changes, and it’s not necessarily fluid. Your view that identity is not everything and my view that identity is important are not mutually exclusive. It’s a false dichotomy.

    “[…] she has NEVER EVER stood up for herself against the conservatives-neo or otherwise. When attacked she complains about how unfair things are and changes her position to match the latest polling data.”

    She has stood up for herself. But when she does, people call her a bitch, call her shrill or claim she’s whining. Or, as Chris Matthews said, she’s a kneecapper.

  • Robert

    “Geesh, if you and Robert are typical Hillary supporters, I finally understand why she is going to be sitting with the other Senators when Obama is sworn in as president … LOL”

    I’ve been nothing but courteous in my responses. And I could say that if all Obama supporters are as condescending as you are, his campaign of unity will never come to fruition because it will alienate many, many people. Evidence of this is already visible on many blogs.

    I fail to see how ridiculous I am for pointing out inconsistencies in Obama’s claims in a respectful and evidenced-based manner.

    I also fail to understand why I should be derided for claiming an identity of being gay (among other identities such as student, queer, human) which you seem to be engaged in.

  • Rehorakthy

    Hey Robert,

    I neither implied nor said things were equal. I said Hillary has a record of treating journalists like crap, both as first lady and as a Senator. If one were to buy into your argument, it is only human nature that the media is now hostile toward her. After all, she has been hostile toward their identity.

    Suggesting that I am voting for a person because they are favored by the media would imply that I voted for George W. He courted the press during the 2000 campaign, and several books have been written about how media complacency and favor for the president contributed to public support for the build up to the war in Iraq. “All the President’s Spin” is an especially good book that documents the manipulation and bullying that went into the Bush Administration’s 6 year honeymoon with the press.

    You are right. Hillary has gotten alot of bad press, but it is not because she is a woman. It is because she DOES NOT know how to play the game successfully.

    BTW–The idea that the media is fair and unbiased is not consistent with the advent of the 24-hour news cycle or the stranglehold major corporations have over the industry. Remember, Disney, General Electric and Viacom produce our news.

    Journalists are wonderful people (most of them hate the corporate culture by which they are now bound), but they have very very long memories. If you lie to them, mislead them, or treat them poorly (HIllary being guilty of the later), they remember.

  • Rehorakthy

    Robert … lighten up. You saw the “… LOL” right? That means I was joking around. Feel free to tease me. I don’t mind.

  • Robert

    The media is supposed to treat candidates fairly. Just because Hillary may have treated the abstract structure of media poorly, doesn’t mean individuals should be slamming her with all manner of unfair, sexist and gross treatment.

    The media should have checks and balances in store to prevent biases from appearing. If it’s not supposed to be unbiased, why do we bother to point out when they say something racist or sexist or untrue?

    The fact is, a lot of people get there information from mainstream media. Even if you don’t, a lot of peopel base their views and judgments on what the media “reports.” It has a duty to be truthful.

  • Robert

    You’ll forgive me, I hope, Rehorakthy. But most bloggers on the main progressive blogs (HuffPo, CrooksandLiars, TalkingPointsMemo) treat us Hillary supporters as uneducated and irrational people who are as vile as our candidate. I’m a little sensitive in my support for her, and I wish people online would engage in kind and compassionate dialogue instead of the usually rabid back-and-forth. Not saying that you have done this. On the contrary, it’s been pleasant. Just that one comment struck a nerve–I apologize.

  • Rehorakthy

    I am No. 27.

    If I overstated your position, then I apologize. I just don’t share your views. I believe if a person is smart enough to acknowledge the social context in which he or she is cast, then they can choose not to be limited by it.

    I have not discussed DOMA and the likes. I think you are conflating various posts.

    I think you are a wonderfully intelligent person, but I think that some of your arguments are factually incorrect. It’s not personal, but when identity and political views are so closely wed, people often mistake discourse as a personal attack.

    BTW … “kneecapper” is an insult. Go back to the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding saga. Capping Kerrigan on the knee was a criminal tactic used by her bf to cripple her competition in order to increase her chances of winning. People who are scrappy or, more important, demonstrative of integrity are not called kneecappers. However, they are, as in the case of Harding, often referred to as “bitches” and much worse.

  • Damoclese

    Yea!!!! Robert has a soul! LOL!! That was a joke Robert. Don’t flame me! Sorry, but I’ve been looking for that interview with Ferraro and the two feminists and a journalist on NPR it was on the Media and Hillary Clinton. There sit is really not well laid out so it’s taking a while. Never fear, I have not forgotten and will be responding to your post point for point . . . with backup.

  • Rehorakthy


    I totally understand. Again, I am enjoying this, and I applaud you on keeping the discussion out of the realm of the banal and parochial. My comment about being smart was not meant as a dig. It is just my opinion.

    I do however stand by my assertions that some of your arguments are factually incorrect. For example, the media in not in the truth business. They are in the news business. It is up to us as informed voters to seek out multiple sources, which I am happy to see that you do.

    But the facts are that Bush courted the media and won their favor. Hillary has mistreated individuals within the 4th estate. Over the course of 8-12 years. Some of those individuals are now the editors who assign stories, who will cover them, and, to a degree, how they are covered.

    Instead of recognizing and acknowledging errors, Hillary and other choose to accuse others of being racist and sexist. Similar to the way you dislike being dismissed for your views, if a person is a woman or a minority, they cannot dismiss claims that they are behaving badly as racist or sexist.

    Racism and sexism do exist, but Hillary is a multi-millionaire, former 1st lady, and Senator. She is ill placed to claim that she is being oppressed. She knows how the game is played. She can either be better at it than her opponent or she can lose. It really is a disservice to people who are being oppressed by race and gender bias for Hillary to make such claims from her ivory tower–especially when her own bad behavior can be sited as a reason for the animosity being directed her way.

  • Robert

    The kneecapper comment: Chris Matthews referred to Hillary as a kneecapper. Why? Because she called MSNBC out on its blatant sexism. And they were being VERY misogynistic. Just take a peek at MediaMatters: they’ve documented the wave of sexism from that network. Yet, she should be punished for doing this? It was wrong of HER to point out the sexism? I don’t see how this is at all legit.

    Also, I think it’s a non sequitur that, just because she’s wealthy, she is somehow free from sex discrimination. That’s obviously not the case when journalists have free reign to say things like:

    “[T]he reason she’s a U.S. senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That’s how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn’t win there on her merit. She won because everybody felt, ‘My God, this woman stood up under humiliation,’ right? That’s what happened.”


    Her performance has been described as “good enough for women who wanted to vote for her anyway.” [Both quotes are from Chris Matthews]

    You’re saying that Hillary can’t claim to be oppressed. But this coverage goes unchecked, and it influences other voters. Just because she’s educated and wealthy doesn’t mean she’s free from societal conceptions and attempts to demean her based on her femininity.

    I’m a white man who is educated and middle class. Do I get to claim I’m oppressed because of my sexuality? I’ve never been physically abused. But I have had to deal with people type casting me based on sexual and gender models. I may not be as discriminated against as the poor homeless queer youths in some larger cities, but that doesn’t mean I’m free from its effects.

    And to say that because you recognize social contexts means you’re free to ignore them isn’t entirely true. Let’s take a basic example pertinent to the gay community. The obsession with body image. There’s an ideal in the gay community: I recognize that as a social context in the gay community. Here, however, is where two problems arise: (1) despite knowing that it’s an artifical construction of male beauty, I still feel at times ashamed of my non-Adonis body; (2) despite recognizing this construction of male beauty, other people still judge me according to it.

    This is just one example, and it may not effect you in anyway. But, let’s be honest: we are born into a social context and, without it, we wouldn’t know anything. We are conditioned in so many ways. And I bet, if you gave your life a hard, hard look, you’d realize that we’re conditioned in so many ways.

    That’s why psychological studies show that women are less likely to vote for a candidate that is a woman or has feminine features WITHOUT knowing anything about them. They’re more likely to blindly vote for the male candidate. The study is entitled “Transformed Facial Similarity as a Political Cue: A Preliminary Investigation.” It was conducted by Jeremy Bailenson at Stanford University.

    Another, more controversial example, would the gay subculture exist at all if it weren’t for heterosexuality? I would think not, since gay culture is a response TO heteronorms in most ways.

    To say that you can just rise above social context by willing it neglects just how deeply embedded we are in it. In one significant way, it neglects the influence other people have on us: we don’t have meaning, we don’t have purpose, except from the interrelationships we build.

    [Unless you practice a traditional Western religion. Then I suppose there is a way to escape this argument by referring to some essential spiritual core that is constant and free from the world. But I don’t accept that idea.]

  • hisurfer

    “Racism and sexism do exist, but Hillary is a multi-millionaire, former 1st lady, and Senator.”

    And yet, with all that, she still has to deal with sexism.

    Obama, for the record, is also a multi-millionaire and a Senator. Would you say he lives in an ivory tower also? I bet he still has to deal with racism too.

    A few random thoughts:
    – It wasn’t just “black folk” who were offended by Bill Clinton’s tone in S. Carolina. This white guy & Hillary-supporter cringed all on his own without anyone telling me too. It was an ugly moment, and beneath the dignity of his office.

    – To Afrolito (no. 17) – I think it would be incredible to have a black president, and I would be thrilled to know it happened in my lifetime. And though I think a lot of other caucasians feel the same, it’s funny how vehemently I’ll be told that it’s not about race, it’s about “change,” if I say this out loud in front of (white) Obama supporters. It’s like, we’re not allowed to point out that, hey, the dude is black.

    – We can only wonder, if Hillary had taken a different approach, if we could have had a Clinton/Obama ticket. I can’t see it happening now. Too bad. At least we’ll still have her in the Senate. Someone will still need to fight once President Obama realizes that smiling and saying ‘let’s play nice’ won’t cut it once the right wing ideologues go on the attack. Which they will. “A new style of politics” needs to come from them.

  • M Shane

    I’m not sure about the assumptions made earlier that Hillary dressing effeminately would be a distraction from her ideas. As far as I know, Women generally dress for each other, not for men–that’s a pretty old assumption. If she dressed fashionably like a corporate woman & had ideas, she’d be doing what it takes for men and women. Men dress for men in the same way. Check out, with straight men who notices whether you’re wear ing an Armani or a cheap fabricated suit: men. The issue is one of those separate but equal ones that people assume have some other subliminal significance: many be for a lesbian.

  • Bill Perdue

    The Democrats weren’t defeated in 2000 by Gores inept campaigning, or because people actually liked Bush’s politics, or by Nader or the Monica factor. They were defeated by the rightwing politics of Bill and Hillary Clinton in 2000. They got another dose of the same camouflaged rightwing politics from John Kerry, especially on the war question, in 2004.

    If Obama defeats Clinton it won’t be because she’s a feminist victim of misogyny, it’ll be because she’s linked o Bill Clintons DOMA, NAFTA, DADT, union busting and he own pathetic pandering to extremist right wingers. It’ll be because she’s a handpuppet for insurance companies and HMO’s. It’ll be because she supports the genocide in Iraq and is content to let GI’s die for Texaco. It’ll be because her party, led by her own campaign manager Barney Frank, preemptively struck down ENDA and ditched it and the Matthew Shepard Hate crimes laws so the Democrats wouldn’t be associated with GLBT equality. It’ll be because she’s supported Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, Bill Clinton’s welfare cuts for the poor and deregulation of corporate predators. It’s because she’s cynically opposed to same sex marriage equality.

    Hillary’s Clintons problem is that people know too much about her. Obama’s advantage is that people don’t know enough about him – yet. For instance they don’t know that there are no substantial differences between him and Clinton or in a larger arena, that the differences between the Democrats and Republicans are cosmetic at best. They both support the war, NAFTA and union busting and as they recently demonstrated, aren’t about to pass to tolerable antidiscrimination, hate crime and hate speech legislation unless we mount a massive campaign to fight for them.

    Barak Obama’s problem is that if he gets elected people WILL figure him out soon enough and then they’ll be hell to pay. The election of either Clinton or Obama will contribute greatly to the demise of the Democrats. Honest activists can only look forward to doing all we can to speed that up by putting them on the spot by demanding full and immediate equality. Incrementalist can join the Republicans, where they belong.

  • Michael Bedwell

    Damocles has his head so far up the Dali Obama’s ass that he must be typing with his toes—and given the location of his brains it’s not surprising that he can’t tell Obama shit from Shinola about DOMA. Obama’s playing you/us for a fool and getting away with it because of the laziness of gay media who have failed to look behind the curtain of his false “superiority” on DOMA and his REAL positions on relevant law.

    Don’t believe me? Try reading carefully the ABC News interview at the link below with Obama supporter, mentor, and his Harvard Constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe, an expert on the subject who has authored several books and argued multiple cases before the Supreme Court.

    In short, he reveals that:

    1. Obama supports any state’s right to legally ban gay relationships or recognition of those from other states regardless of what they’re called and after DOMA repeal. “Obama believes states should be under no obligation to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.”

    2. The legal precedent that existed prior to DOMA permiting states to do whatever they want would remain in effect despite repeal. “Obama believes a long-recognized public policy exception to the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause exempts a state from having to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state which runs counter to its own public policies. He wants to fully repeal DOMA, however, because he [simply] views the statute as ‘ineffectual and redundant’, in the words of Tribe. ‘Marriage is not something that states have ever been obliged to recognize if it’s been against their own public policy’, said Tribe, who has testified on the subject before Congress.”

    3. “Same-sex couples … are neither better nor worse off with DOMA repealed” – Tribe.

    SEE: http://www.abcnews.go.com/print?id=3468949

    Though the interview was set up by the Obama campaign, in reaching so hard and unsuccessfully to bash Sen. Clinton for a so-called “symbolic insult,” Tribe apparently accidentally revealed far too much about Obama himself and he was whisked back to the Obama Borg hive before he could do more damage. ASK YOURSELF why you haven’t read the facts before.

    As for Damolcles’ Obama Spin on racism, Obama was playing the race card, or more precisely the antigay race card in South Carolina with McClurkingate months before any accusations—all based on self-serving spin—were leveled at the Clintons.

    SEE: lesbian BLACK minister Irene Monroe’s October essay, “Obama the vote-whore with ‘ex-gay’ at his side” at:


    But a scare later on convinced them that just dangling homohater Donnie McClurkin in front of a few thousand black South Carolina voters might not be enough and that they needed to actively Swift Boat Sen. Clinton with false charges of racism. Not only is Jesse Jackson a passionate Obama supporter, but it was Jesse Jr., who launched the first direct attack on Sen. Clinton the morning after she rose from the political dead in New Hampshire.

    JJ, Jr., went on MSNBC with his “analysis” of Sen. Clinton’s “tears that melted the granite state” and accused Sen. Clinton in her “melting” of not “crying for,” not caring about the victims of Katrina [read BLACKS] “particularly as we head to South Carolina where 45% of AFRICAN-AMERICANS will participate in the Democratic contest….”

    WATCH his demonstrably desperate and arguably retarded “analysis” at:


    And they did it more and more in a variety of ways, such as the list of allegedly racist things said distributed by Obama’s South Carolina campaign rep, and the media with their Obama Man Crush piled on and soon the Clintons were crucified for everything just this side of little black baby killers.

    Finally, Obama’s decency was rekindled and he publicly stated in Nevada that he didn’t think the Clintons were racist and he wanted his supporters and staff to stop saying they were. But the damage done by the dogs he’d let out stuck as illustrated above.

    And the wagons circled and the man who had won his first candidacy for office [Illinois Senate] by default by simply eliminating all his competition suddenly reversed the wide numerical lead Sen. Clinton had held with African-Americans who had previously yawned at the idea of Obama’s Presidential candidacy—without having changed a single position that would benefit their lives.

    “A close examination of Obama’s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.
    The day after New Year’s 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama’s four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.”

    SEE: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070403obama-ballot,1,57567.story

  • Bitch Republic

    Barack Obama does NOT have such wide appeal, although the mainstream media (and Queerty) sure tries to make it seem that way. If he had as much appeal and momentum as they like to claim, he’d be up much more than 92 delegates. Obama is only 0.07% ahead of Clinton at this point.

    Hillary Clinton will not end her campaign this week. Sorry haters.

  • Megs

    Wow. This post has really blown up since I’ve been out. I think it’s been a remarkably civil discussion, despite the heat.
    I think that even the Hillary supporters, and no, I am not one; have to acknowledge that it is not only the Obama supporters who fear another clinton white house. Hillary will energize the “right”. In fact she already has. Limbaugh is urging his supporters to vote FOR her in the primary. Anything to keep this very popular new candidate off the ballot in November.
    Obama energizes young and new voters and people eager for change. To pop that balloon would be a shame. To refer to them as cultists is a silly zero-sum game where they are either characterized as apathetic, or now, under the thrall of a gutless genie.
    I don’t like Hillary. I’m a middle class, middle aged, black woman in her district. I voted for her as senator, and would not do so again. She is ineffective, and disingenuous.
    Her current fusillade is reflective of this. Nasty, mendacious, and self-serving, she has forgotten who the enemy is, and has never gotten over the essential ‘unfairness’ of politics: they are popularity contests.
    I hope I’m not attacked for my perspective, but I willingly claim it as my own. I speak for no one else. But I know there are many who agree with me, and that means a great deal to me. It means there are others who would like us to get to a place in this nation and this world where we aren’t at each other’s throats. I can’t see that happening with Hillary.
    Don’t hate. Appreciate.

  • hells kitchen guy

    Did Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Benizir Bhutto, Indira Ghandi or any other woman elected head of her government emphasize (or even mention) her “femininity”? Don’t think so.

  • Robert

    Megs, this is what I don’t understand:

    “It means there are others who would like us to get to a place in this nation and this world where we aren’t at each other’s throats. I can’t see that happening with Hillary.”

    How is Obama going to usher in this peaceful and harmonious government? What basis do you have for believing it will happen? It implies that all we have to do is reach out to Republicans and they’ll follow. The only way the Republicans will accept Obama, follow his lead and bring about a new “working-together” postpartisan political system is if Obama gives up on a progressive agenda altogether. Otherwise, you can bet that those Republicans will be vicious and obstinate.

    Paul Krugman in the New York Times today said it best; and, as the core of my views are here already, I’ll end my voice in this debate with an excerpt from his op-ed:

    “But Mr. Obama, instead of emphasizing the harm done by the other party’s rule, likes to blame both sides for our sorry political state. And in his speeches he promises not a rejection of Republicanism but an era of postpartisan unity.

    That — along with his adoption of conservative talking points on the crucial issue of health care — is why Mr. Obama’s rise has caused such division among progressive activists, the very people one might have expected to be unified and energized by the prospect of finally ending the long era of Republican political dominance.

    Some progressives are appalled by the direction their party seems to have taken: they wanted another F.D.R., yet feel that they’re getting an oratorically upgraded version of Michael Bloomberg instead.

    Others, however, insist that Mr. Obama’s message of hope and his personal charisma will yield an overwhelming electoral victory, and that he will implement a dramatically progressive agenda.

    The trouble is that faith in Mr. Obama’s transformational ability rests on surprisingly little evidence.


    If Mr. Obama does make it to the White House, will he actually deliver the transformational politics he promises? Like the faith that he can win an overwhelming electoral victory, the faith that he can overcome bitter conservative opposition to progressive legislation rests on very little evidence — one productive year in the Illinois State Senate, after the Democrats swept the state, and not much else.

    And some Illinois legislators apparently feel that even there Mr. Obama got a bit more glory than he deserved. “No one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit,” one state senator complained to a local journalist.

    All in all, the Democrats are in a place few expected a year ago. The 2008 campaign, it seems, will be waged on the basis of personality, not political philosophy. If the magic works, all will be forgiven. But if it doesn’t, the recriminations could tear the party apart.”

  • Megs

    Robert- I’m much more interested in what you have to say than Krugman.

    One of the things, that you may be able to concede, is that republicans have set the pace and timbre of our politic for a long time now. And EVERYONE is tired of it. If I can go out on a limb, I would say that the American public has become a little more sophisticated in its palette. It is not so willing to swallow what it easily might have in the past.

    So this wearier, snarkier being that is us, is wanting the opportunity to return, or at least pantomime civilization again. Anything that smacks of Roveian or Cheneyesque maneuvering is considered distasteful now. It should be.

    Things won’t remain like this, but it will certainly put the animal off its feed. The animal being this vile thing that America has become. The opportunity to be better at being us is present now. We should be courageous and accept the challenge. The options are not more inviting.

    Obama will make mistakes, he has already made them, and he will be held to the same type of skeptical fire that Hillary complains about. But he’s very smart, and I think he has the down and dirty Chicago ward politician in him. Yet, he moves with such grace, he even got the feminists to accuse him of estrogenic behaviors. That’s an interesting weapon. I like it. He is also only the 4th or 5th black senator in American history. So people who claim he doesn’t know how to do it are not looking at what he has already achieved.

    I’m not young. I’ve seen the optimism drained out of millions of people, and cynicism and hatreds realigned. Knowing it will happen again is not the deal; it’s knowing that someone or something always sets that negative shit in action. We can refuse to take the low road, and actually achieve a great deal in a relatively short period of time. We can show ourselves elements of each other that we’ve always been too busy wrestling, to actually understand. And look good doing it.

    Everything will never be done. But the opportunity to get a lot of things done is magnificent. I think we can do it. One of the things I like about Obama is that he says WE can do it. Hillary insists she’s the ONE who can do it. I don’t share her assessment of herself. She can’t even win, without resorting to some pretty foul stuff. And there’s nothing she or you or we can do about that.

    Consider that the stakes are too high to anoint her out of pity, or even if you think it’s her turn, even if you like her. Instead, we need to go ahead and win this popularity contest, and make this guy do our bidding. Because he owes us.

    Hillary doesn’t. She would insist that we owe her.

  • Steve

    I am not looking to anoint Hillary out of pity. Quite the opposite actually.

    I choose to examine her campaign, and I see that months after Hillary says it, Barack assumes the same stance on issues. I have taken the time to listen to Hillary’s full 20 minute speech giving George Bush the authority to go to war and see that it is not as simple as she voted to go to war. I look at the work she has done in Arkansas working for children, and the other incredible work that she has done for children’s health care on a national level and she was effective. I watch her in the debates and see that she has far more knowledge than Obama, and does not need to resort to talking about people that she has met in order to discuss an issue. She is capable of stating a problem, and stating a concrete way of getting there. I think that as president in a democratic congress she will be incredibly effective.

    I also see that Obama has tried to make Hillary’s lobbyist connections an issue, while he has equally as many, and like every other politician has the lobbyists to thank for his rise into the senate. I think he is very misleading, and he most certainly has received lobbyist money for his primary campaign. He also said that at the beginning of his campaign that should he get the democratic nomination he would only use public money to finance the general campaign, and now before he even has it he is going back on that promise. I find that also very dubious.

    I think it very foolish for Obama supporters not to recognize the role that the media has played in this primary. The majority of voters are not going to go out and look at issues, they are going to listen to the media(awful fact but true). Because Hillary actually has a history and a story the media was ready from day one to paint her campaign very ugly, while fully embracing the underdog story of Obama and giving him a lot more positive media coverage that Clinton. I don’t see how anyone can argue against this fact…I know some will but its a pretty weak argument at best.

    As a Clinton supporter I can most certainly say that Obama has run a great campaign. I am skeptical of his ability to fulfill his promises as he is not honoring them currently. I also will not say that should Obama get the nomination that I will automatically side with Obama, not saying I won’t either, but I don’t think that just because Obama gets the nom that he will get elected. And I think the GOP is ready willing and able to attack him and I think that that will be a serious shock to his system as he has had a very comfortable run so far.

    I know what I am getting with Hillary, as an educated voter I will not just let the media tell me what Hillary means when she says something and I like what I see, and there are a lot more people like me out there. “Don’t hate. Appreciate.”

  • Megs

    I know what I would be getting with Hillary too- I already have her. As a senator, she voted to go to war without reading the mere 90 pages of intelligence that would have doubtlessly informed her decision. She has named a few buildings and extended benefits for people after 9/11. Impressive? You tell me.

    I voted for her, by the way, and I would be loathe to do so again. Where are her tax returns? Why does she claim that she needn’t release them until she receives the nomination? Aren’t you at least a little curious about the massive wealth her and her husband have accumulated, far in excess of their lucrative book deals and speaking engagements? I am.

    I don’t doubt she has followers. I question whether they would still follow her if she were not a rich white woman married to a popular ex-president. If she were a white man, I think she would never have had a chance, with her record or her considerable negatives.

    It’s important that we don’t entertain baseless ‘facts’. Yours, that Obama has as many lobbyists supporting him as Clinton, is one. Clinton has more than Obama and McCain combined.

    Another is that the media played such a large role in Obama’s support, which is unprecedented. If that’s the case, why were all the polls so far off base? Where were the puppetmasters when he was filling stadiums, while they were readying her coronation?

    She also claims, in terms of Obama “talking about people he met”, that she knew more world leaders and was on good terms with the military. Really? Then why is she intent on the same isolationist strategy that has failed us miserably thus far?

    Further, if she knows so many people, why is she so viscerally disliked? You can’t deny the she is not only not winning the popularity contest, she is trying to bully her way into a party-destroying mud-flinging contest that will ultimately weaken either nominee’s candidacy in November.

    I don’t hate. I appreciate the opportunity to do politics differently, and she is insistent that her way will work better. It has not worked for a long time. I see her energizing the true enemies of peace, reconciliation, and diplomacy, and I don’t like that way. I’ve had it up to here, with that way.

    But if that’s what you want, I hope my candidate wins now, not just for me and those who think like me, but for people who think like you, too.


  • Steve

    The lobbyist support is not a baseless fact. Look at the information coming from the Federal Election Commission. He has received $86,000 from PACs, $9.5 from law firms, $338,000 from pharma. He has employed 3 major lobbyists in his campaign. And he has a very large network of lobbyists that we don’t hear about because they are not directly giving money to him. It is a brilliant strategy, by not “allowing” lobbyists to give money, he never has to declare who is really in his back pocket, but they are there.

    And this does not go into the support he received before the start of the campaign.

  • Steve

    that would be 9.5 million from law firms =P

  • Robert

    Ironic, Megs: “It’s important that we don’t entertain baseless ‘facts’.”

    That whole post was filled with baseless accusations about how Hillary is only in this because she’s a rich white woman. Perhaps you should take your own advice?

    “Further, if she knows so many people, why is she so viscerally disliked? You can’t deny the she is not only not winning the popularity contest, she is trying to bully her way into a party-destroying mud-flinging contest that will ultimately weaken either nominee’s candidacy in November.”

    I like this tactic: everyone hates Hillary; therefore, Hillary must be deserving of hate. It’s not like anyone has EVER been hated unjustly! (Ahem, gays, blacks, women, lesbians, transsexuals.) Frankly, NO ONE is deserving of hatred. It seems counterproductive to Obama’s rhetoric of hope. But then, I’ve noticed that, for many Obama supporters, Hillary seems to be the singular exception to this mandate. Maybe because Obama participates in and allows this behavior? Some telling examples: “the claws come out” / “Periodically when she’s feeling down, [she] lashes out” / attacks on her character such as untrustworthy and scheming.

    And, in a manner of speaking, she did win two popularity contests: MI and FL. While I certainly think they were more than popularity contests, the fact that people got out and voted for her when they knew their votes weren’t going to count says far more about her appeal than you give her credit for.

    “Obama will make mistakes, he has already made them, and he will be held to the same type of skeptical fire that Hillary complains about. But he’s very smart, and I think he has the down and dirty Chicago ward politician in him. Yet, he moves with such grace, he even got the feminists to accuse him of estrogenic behaviors.”

    So, let me get this straight… You criticize Hillary for being a mean ol’ mud slinger but admire the “down and dirty […] politician” that is Obama. I’m wondering if there is a bit of a contradiction here.

    Referring to “the feminists” as a unified political body is fraudulent. No such thing exists.

    Someone else made this estrogen claim, without the story to back it up. So, if you’re talking about it, I should assume you have a link to the article? I would hope so, baseless claims do no one justice.

    Also, in your response to my previous entry, you failed to address MY question about WHY you believe Obama capable of fulfilling his plan for grand unity. WHERE is the evidence?

    [I guess I just can’t stay away. Especially when someone needs defending.]

  • Robert

    Steve, I think you and I may be lone voices here!

  • Megs

    Robert first:
    I agree with you that Hillary’s dislike is unfair. I don’t dislike her on face or gender; I dislike her Iraq vote, and what I have been able to determine about her character. I don’t like her campaign’s race-based strategy. I don’t like her unwillingness to acknowledge her mistakes, like her vote on Iraq and failure to read the Intelligence on such a vital issue. I also feel she has been a very ineffective senator. To put that in context; most of them are.
    Why is her dislike important? Because this is a popularity contest. She energizes the republican base. A prime example is Rush Limbaugh urging his supporters to vote for her, so McCain can potentially win.

    Hillary “won” Michigan and Florida, because she was the only one on the ballots. Both states violated the DNC scheduling rules, so their delegates were not counted. Candidates were forbidden from campaigning there, under the same ruling. Florida has asked to have another primary, and Dean has agreed to try to implement it, since Florida is willing to adsorb the cost of it. I don’t know what’s happening with Michigan.

    My “down and dirty Chicago ward politician” ref was an acknowledgment that Obama is not Christ returned, nor a naif regarding the dirty world of politicking. We don’t need someone soft and inexperienced, as many have accused him of being.

    The level of Hillary’s mud-slinging (lies about his faith, racist attacks, etc) can potentially be used against him as the Dem nominee in November. She should have more regard for the big picture, and not just her own standing. That’s another character issue I have with her– that she win at all costs, even if we all may lose with her.

    I agree with you about feminists not being monolithic. It was a poor choice of words on my part. I don’t consider Hillary a feminist. I consider myself one.

    Obama’s Money: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00009638&cycle=2008
    Clinton’s Money

    I have a caveat with the money as well. NO one (outside of a billionaire) can be totally clean about the money they raise for high political office. But that’s another discussion. I’m just giving you some cursory links.

    Obama as “girly man” or estrogenic. I read this, I believe, in the NY Times. I found a reference from the mclaughlin Sunday Scream Fest, but I may find the other and post it later.

    Whew, Robert!

    The proof in Obama’s pudding is his ability to energize hundreds of thousands of young people and others to vote. I see unity in them thar crowds, and I think it’s wonderful. He organized it, he produced those numbers, and he is the catalyst for it. If he were elected, I would hope those people would have an investment in holding him to the fire of his promises.

    Steve, I don’t dispute that both of them have dirty money. I don’t like Clinton’s refusal to release her tax returns, and I’d like to believe that we all want more transparency in all of our leaders’ financial dealings. Obama’s house purchase was not just a “boneheaded mistake”, as he said recently. It’s an ethical breach. So far, I believe Clinton’s ethical breaches far outnumber his. I don’t doubt his ability to catch up, but I would like to believe that the sheer numbers of his newborn supporters will demand more from him.

    Now that I hope I have revealed myself to be more than a glassy-eyed automaton; I hope you get what I’ve been trying to impart. Obama has a much greater chance of winning the general, and the people who support him are of a diversity I have not seen in many years. I like his pro LGBT leanings much more than Clinton’s, and I think he’s every bit as smart as Clinton.


  • Bitch Republic

    HURRAH! Clinton won in the 3 primaries tonight. Hillary has now won all the big states, while Obama can only win in the small states that don’t really matter in the general election. Obama is only ahead of Clinton by 0.055% now.

  • fredo777

    Bitch Republic, let’s not get ridiculous. All of the states “matter” when it comes time to tally the delegates.

  • Jeremy

    I’m here to defend Steve and Robert. I’ve been reading these comments piling up since this story was posted.
    First of all, since this is a queer site, can we talk about Obama’s crap voting record in the Illinois senate regarding homosexuals?
    He denied rights to partners of people employed by the state or school districts. And, he did a “no vote” on passing pensions on to survivors of deceased educators.

    Those two issues alone should make every single queer Obama supporter think twice.

    Additionally, in his short career as a state senator, he voted “Present” on 130 different bills.
    And he’s done it in the national senate, as well.
    Obama’s brand of copping out in order to appease everyone is exactly why I don’t support him.
    As an example see his unwillingness to denounce Farrakhan in the Ohio debate. (Speaking of, Farrakhan was actually named “Person of the Year” or some-such at Obama’s church.)
    I might not agree with all of Hillary’s stances on issues, but at least she has a stance and isn’t afraid of pissing people off.
    And what is up with him playing the race card with the black superdelegates? That is just deplorable.

    Obama is the chair of the subcommittee on Senate Foreign Relations and, by his own admission at the Ohio debate, has not had the time to convene the committee. Really? At a time when oversight for Afghanistan is paramount, he’s more focused on his career.
    Hillary, on the other hand, chairs the subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health and has convened it multiple times and had hearings. And she has attended the Armed Services Committee as a member.

    His claim that he never supported the war is also bogus as a July 27th 2004 article in the Chicago Tribune has him clearly stating, “There’s not much of a difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.”

    So, when it comes down to it, I’ll pick the candidate that actually has a voting record. The one who actually does the job she was elected to. Not the one who tries to placate everyone and as a result gets nothing done.

    Oh, and for the topic of the original post, Megs, I wanted to point you to a real feminist’s take:

  • Robert

    Bitch Republic’s excitement is not so misplaced.

    Even if Obama wins 65% of every remaining state, he still won’t reach the 2025. Same goes for Hillary.

    However, the states Hillary has won are states Democrats MUST win in November. Tallying their electoral votes, Hillary is just a couple shy of the necessary number to win the presidency. If she wins Pennsylvania, she has surpassed the necessary number, and she has won every big state (minus 1). Even if Obama wins every other state, he still won’t have the number of electoral votes necessary to be President.

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