In which I Talk about Something other than Fat

I don’t usually write much about politics, because there are so many bloggers out there doing it better than I could — including every last one of my co-Shakers. But after last night, I need to talk about Hillary. So I’ll just start by quoting people who do it better than me.

In a post that fanned the flames of my burgeoning crush on him (sorry, Al), Jeff Fecke said about Hillary’s New Hampshire win:

Some will criticize this as misguided identity politics, but they’re wrong. Oh, it’s identity politics — women in New Hampshire and throughout the country recognized that Clinton was being attacked as a woman, and came to her defense. But it’s far from misguided.

And in comments on Liss’s post about why Maureen Dowd needs to shut up even more than usual today, we have this exchange.

It amazes me how strong Hillary has to be to deal with this sexist bullshit day in and day out… Last night I was watching “Hardball” and Tweety and Pat Buchanan were talking about Hillary “breaking down” while Rachel Maddow kept trying to interrupt, sputtering, “but why did no one make a big deal about Romney tearing up on at least three occasions during this campaign?” Seriously, it’s this type of shit that just may make me vote for her. Perhaps that’s what occurred to the women of New Hanpshire as well…

CC,

You’ve alluded to one of my concerns about Hillary: we may elect out of empathy a candidate we don’t actually agree with on the issues. She’s arguably the most conservative Democrat in the race judged by her policy positions.

OTOH, Liss has half-convinced me that HRC could advance the feminist cause more just by being president without regard for her policies.

Constant Comment sums up my feelings last night, and Nightshift sums up the debate I’ve been having with myself since Hillary announced her candidacy. Hell, since before she announced her candidacy. Almost two years ago, when I was still writing Pointless, Incessant Barking instead of Shapely Prose, and my blog had about 12 readers, I wrote this:

I’m not saying there aren’t good reasons to dislike her. I’m saying there aren’t good reasons to despise her the way so many do–that shit is directly related to her being a woman who doesn’t know her place. A woman who has the gall to believe she deserves to apply for any job she’s capable of. A woman who knows exactly how smart she is and acts as if that should bloody well count for something. A woman who has not backed down in the face of more than a decade’s worth of brutal public criticism.

We don’t know what to do with a woman like that. We keep telling her what her place is, and the bitch just won’t listen! It makes a lot of people nervous. It makes me unutterably grateful. I hope like hell she gets the nomination, regardless of whether she wins. Sure, if she loses, they’ll say it proves you shouldn’t send a woman to do a man’s job; that’ll smart. But they’ll say that if she wins, too, every single time she makes a human mistake. They’ll say it, one way or another, every step of the way. What I admire so much about her is that she never, ever believes it. The power of that, of her simply staying in the goddamned game, is tremendous. And it’s something this culture needs to see a hell of a lot more of from smart, talented women.

If you click through and read the whole post, you’ll see I actually said, in writing, “I would honestly rather see her go down fighting like mad than see a Democrat get elected.” *cringe* I don’t think that was really true then, and it’s certainly not now, but that’s evidence of how furious I got at all the “Hillary shouldn’t run — she’s not electable!” bullshit that was around before she announced her candidacy — and which continues, in some measure, to this day. Because it is and always has been incredibly difficult to separate legitimate criticism of her policies from the misogyny, conscious or unconscious, that drives so much anti-Hillary sentiment.

Since the race got started, I’ve kept quiet about the part of me that really wants Hillary to go all the way. For starters, I think Edwards and Obama are both terrific candidates — and yes, from a policy perspective, both of them speak more to my personal values. The day after Iowa, I was so pissed off at the way Edwards’s second-place finish was being completely ignored by the MSM, I sent money to his campaign as a symbolic act — the first time I’ve ever done that for anyone. But I am actually still undecided about whom I’ll vote for on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Tuesday, because the truth is, I would be happy with any one of those three winning — and I’d also be disappointed by any one of those three winning, because it will mean the other two lost.

I would love to vote for a man who’s vowed to stand up to corporations and fight for working people, and who always impresses me as being just about as genuine as politicians can get. I would also love to vote for a black man who has the ability to make me — and a whole ton of other people — feel hope, and a passion for the political process that actually matches our passion for the country that’s been stolen from us by thugs. And I would definitely love to vote for a brilliant woman who’s weathered decades of abuse from her opponents and is still standing, still smiling. I have reasons to vote for all three, and I have reasons not to vote for all three. As many others have remarked, it’s an embarrassment of riches. And that’s an incredible feeling.

But — setting aside that I live in Illinois and thus a vote for anyone but Obama will be just another symbolic act — I have to choose one. And I have not yet decided which one it will be — just like a substantial percentage of voters in New Hampshire hadn’t, as of two days ago. But you know what? If my turn to vote in the primaries had come yesterday? It would have been Hillary. No contest. For exactly the reasons Jeff talks about in his angry woman post, that CC talks about in her comment, that we’ve all been talking about since last night.

Which brings me to the other reason — quite honestly, the main reason — I’ve kept quiet about my love for Hillary: it’s a terribly unfashionable thing to admit around the liberal blogosphere. She’s the most conservative candidate! She sucks up to corporations! We don’t vote with our vaginas! It’s insulting to assume women will vote for her just because she’s a woman! All true, don’t get me wrong. And yet, I’ve still always kind of wanted to vote for her.

And that’s mostly because she’s a woman. And so am I.

As Jeff said, it is indeed identity politics — but it’s not necessarily misguided. The sexist shitstorm that’s been raging around Hillary for the last week (let alone the last year, the last 15 years) just reinforces what I’ve felt in my gut all along: electing a woman president would be a radical, transgressive, transformative act, even if she’s a relatively conservative candidate. Watching the stunned looks on the pundits’ faces last night, hearing all the, “My god! How could we have gotten it so wrong?”s, was like Christmas for me, quite frankly. A good 20 percent of me would like to see Hillary get the nomination solely for the pleasure of watching Tweety lose his goddamned mind. No loftier reason than that.

In fact, Chris Matthews’s Hillary hate, in particular, has been fascinating me — and driving my secret cheers for her — all along. Because it’s not just that he blatantly hates and fears the concept of a woman president; it’s that he seems so utterly baffled by it. You’re telling me, there are people — men-people — who would honestly consider voting for a laydee? No foolin’? You’re serious about this? But… I DON’T GET IT! She hardly smells like English Leather at all! That sense that he’s just totally confused by all this — a woman’s running, and it’s not actually some colossal prank — affects me so much more than his nakedly sexist remarks or his desperate need to refer to every vote cast in America for Water Commissioner, Dogcatcher, or Homecoming Queen as an anti-Hillary vote.

It’s not just that he doesn’t think a woman’s fit to be president; it’s that he — no doubt representing many American men — still can’t even fathom how that could be a real possibility. And that’s the kind of thing that makes me want to pull the lever with my vagina. (Not that there’s a lever anymore, but “fill out the scantron thingy with my vagina” wasn’t as funny.)

At the end of the day, I — like Hillary — am a Chicago girl. Which means, among other things, that I am certainly not shocked and appalled by the very idea of a Democrat who sucks up to corporate interests. It also means I’m equally cynical and pragmatic when it comes to elections. I don’t believe there will ever be such a thing as a candidate who truly represents my values, because anyone who truly represents my values would never go into politics. So I believe in voting for the person who, in my opinion, will do the most good and/or the least harm, and who actually stands a chance of winning.

I haven’t yet decided if I think that’s Hillary, out of the top three. But it damn well might be. And if she gets the nomination — whether I vote for her in the primary or not — I can tell you right now, my overemotional, girly ass is going to blub when I cast a vote for the first woman president. Because, even if it’s not the thing that matters most to me in this election, you’d better believe it fucking matters.

It matters like whoa.

133 thoughts on “In which I Talk about Something other than Fat

  1. So, I’m conservative. Came of age in the Clinton years and hated it, but after watching the Democratic debate on ABC, I find all of my gut supporting Hillary. Watching Obama and Edwards, slap each other on the back, like frat boys, made her more attractive, more real to me.

    That sounds like gibberish, but I haven’t quite sorted it out in my brain — my gut is just chanting Hillary. Hillary. And I’m a little scared.

  2. I gotta tell you, I’m sick and tired of people who HATE Hillary. Give me a concrete reason to hate her, and I might consider it, but at this point you can say she rubs you the wrong way; you can disagree strongly with her politics . . . but hating her without a good reason (she personally stole your bike in 8th grade?) annoys me, and smacks of misogyny.

    Also, I’m a little bit sick of ‘independent’ voters who whine that none of the candidates or parties represents their personal world view. Well, duh! Just because I’m probably going to vote for Obama, does that mean that he Personally Represents my World View? No; it might mean that he’s close enough, or it might mean that I think he’d make the best president, or it might mean that he’s the least of the pack of evils. You will never find a politician who represents perfectly your world view, so get over it. Call yourself ‘independent’ if you want, but realize that every single registered voter in America is an ‘independent voter’. Some of us may choose to align primarily with one party or another, but I don’t decide what’s right in the world by what the Democrats believe. I decide first, and then I figure that the Democrats are close enough. (Perhaps the Greens are closer, but I don’t live in a place where they’re a viable party.)

    I may be overstating things by deciding that most voters make decisions that way, but still.

    OK. End rant. Sorry. :)

  3. A-fucking-men. Ten years or so ago, I really disliked Hillary. At this point, I’m so enraged by the shit being thrown at her that I’d personally usher her into the White House.

    grrrrrrr

  4. If either Hillary or Obama won the general election, I would blub like a baby for the baby step forward we would take. Of course, if *any* Democrat wins, I will sob for sheer relief that the nightmare we’ve been enduring is over. If we end up with a Old White Protestant Man again, it will only show our fear of change.

  5. What you said. No, seriously. Last night I was all “YAY!” and then “Woe, Obama! ” and then *crush on Edwards* and my head is spinning in that good way.

    *sigh*

    Whyohwhycan’t they powershare???? WAH.

  6. Kate, I don’t have any intelligent political banter to contribute, but this post was SWEET! Even if Hillary is, in a sense “taking one for the team” I think she is making great progress for all of us!

  7. Hell yes!

    I’m not even supporting Hillary (although I will be soon, when Edwards drops out), but I’m tired of hearing women being forced to justify their support for her (“No, heavens, it’s not because she’s a woman!”).

    For me? Once Edwards is out of the race (and I’m supporting him for precisely the reasons you outlined here), I’ll be supporting Hillary Clinton because I want to see woman in the White House.

  8. As usual, I love your posts. This one was particularly interesting for me because your feelings about Hillary (the identification, the gravity, feeling that voting for her/her winning the nomination will change so many important things) are the things I feel when I advocate for and contribute to Obama. (I’m black, by the way) Identity politics gets a bad rep most of the time, and it’s interesting to see how the same identifications can lead to different, genuine conclusions.

    For me, the icing on the delicious, yummy donut in supporting Obama is that he was against the abomination that is the Iraq war from the beginning. I take issue with some of his positions (e.g. wearing his religion on his sleeve a bit too much) but that he was on the right side of one of the biggest moral questions that this country has faced in the last decade makes me even more proud to support him.

    I was near tears with disappointment last night, even though I firmly believe that it would have been horrible in the long term for Iowa to have decided it all and I think we still have a long way to go before this primary is decided. I was surprised to find myself reacting so emotionally last night and it’s nice to see why in words, although of course I had some idea.

    I will definitely be crying when this primary is over. I hope it won’t be out of sadness.

  9. Stephanie,

    There are reasons to oppose Hillary. Sadly, there are many people who oppose her for sexist reasons who don’t know what they are, but they do exist. My top three are her support of the Iraq War, her support for declaring Iran’s army a terrorist organization and her support of a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

  10. There are reasons to oppose Hillary.

    Janis, absolutely, but I think Stephanie was making the same distinction I was between opposing her and hating her.

  11. Ditto. I’m a progressive through and through, so I’m not fond of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy stance and ties to corporations and her representation of the status quo, so until now I’ve been torn between Chris Dodd (c’est la vie), Barack Obama, and John Edwards. I’ve also worried about her electability, because I’ve seen both the (general) misogyny and the very specific Hillary-hatred closer than I’d care to. My own mother, of all people, absolutely DESPISES her, for reasons I’ve never been able to determine. I finally asked her over Christmas, and she made a half-hearted claim that she didn’t think a woman leader would be respected internationally, particularly in the middle east. Hello, Benazir Bhutto! (this was a few days before her assassination) Hello, Margaret Thatcher!, and Sonia Gandhi!, and Fatemah Javadi of Iran!, and Angela Merkel!, and heck, why not, Condoleeza Rice! (though I doubt she’s respected, it probably has more to do with her ties with Shrub), any of the other hundreds of female leaders listed here: http://www.guide2womenleaders.com//women_state_leaders.htm

    But frankly, I think it comes down to misogyny plain and simple, and a projection on her of their misogyny towards all women, and it makes me sick to watch Tweety’s convulsions (ok, I don’t watch them, but just READING about them is enough to make me ill!). And for that reason, I do hope she makes it. Personally, I think I’d prefer to see her share the ticket with someone more progressive – either Obama or Edwards – in either the prez or VP role. But it’s about time we brought this residual sexism into the open so it can be faced head-on and, hopefully, dealt with.

  12. OK, I was being nice. I hate Hillary for those three reasons, among others. I do understand your point, Kate, and Stephanie’s as well, however. There is lots of Bill and Hillary hate that is completely insane and not rooted in any reality. It seems to be an outgrowth of the hatred that many right of center Americans have against progressive and non-religious or non-Christian Americans in general. There are many people who just know that they hate Hillary Clinton and can’t give you reason the first as to why.

  13. My gut and other organs have been for Obama ever since his “I am an imperfect vessel for your hopes and dreams.” speech… after so many years of “STAY THE COURSE!” and people I try to think of as intelligent saying, “Sure, we’re headed straight for the rocks but if the man we put in charge of steering touches the wheel it makes us look weak and stupid.”, it was exactly what I wanted to hear. The policies I’ve heard since then have let my head follow my gut’s lead.

    But while I’m for Obama, but I’ve never been against Hillary, and I wouldn’t be sorry to see her win, the nomination or the general election. If we’ve learned nothing else from the past nigh-unto-eight years, it’s that one president can only do so much damage and everybody’s term ends sooner or later. Whatever policies she might implement that I’d disagree with, Hillary’s tenure in the White House would ultimately be a good thing.

  14. What Kate said. Those are reasons to oppose or disagree with her (ones I happen to agree with, although I like her environmental policies so far), not to HATE her.

    I am not a fan of Huckabee; his persona rubs me the wrong way; I disagree with him on every single policy point, and last but not least, I do not trust his ability to separate religion from politics . . . but I wouldn’t say I HATE him.

  15. Oh Kate…

    Can I hug you?

    I feel like I do when I wander through Barnes and Noble and wind up with more books than I can reasonably carry, let alone buy (I usually plop down on the floor and array them in front of me to figure out which one or two are going home with me). You mean we only get one Democratic nominee? We can’t sew the three of them together and widen the doorways in the White House? Really? *cries*

  16. I use the word hate in the common, colloquial sense. I probably shouldn’t throw that word around so much, but I’ll be honest in saying that I do and it’s a common thing for people to do. I don’t actually HATE her in the sense of wishing ill upon her or being unwilling or unable to empathize with her. I think she’s been treated terribly by the MSM (e.g. Chris Matthews) and I genuinely feel bad for her that she has to fight such retrograde sexist attacks in fing 2008.

    I would offer her help if she were on the side of the road, would feel sympathy for her if she were struck by an illness, etc. But IMO, if you want to talk real hate, her support of the Iraq war was 1,000 times more hateful in the true sense of the word and more consequential than my hatred of her.

  17. penguinlady, on January 9th, 2008 at 6:04 pm Said:

    If either Hillary or Obama won the general election, I would blub like a baby for the baby step forward we would take. Of course, if *any* Democrat wins, I will sob for sheer relief that the nightmare we’ve been enduring is over.

    Ditto. I’m still not sure who I’ll vote for, but I won’t be too disappointed, unless one of those kookoopants wingnuts on the Republican side win. Then I’m going underground.

  18. Thank you for this. I feel the same way. I am an Obama supporter, but I got such a thrill when Hilary won last night, such a thrill that for a second, just one goddamned second, the old boys media club (which, btw, includes Maureen Dowd) just shut the fuck up out of stunned surprise. OF COURSE the headlines this morning were “blaming” Hil’s win on the fact that she “cried.” But I agree with this analysis much more: Tear Gate put people over the edge. Maybe it made people–especially women–say, “Enough! We’re not going to let you beat her head in anymore just because she’s a woman!”

    And I also totally agree that voting for a woman is a transgressive act. And maybe, if this media shitstorm keeps up, maybe if Chris Matthews doesn’t learn some fucking manners, maybe I just will vote with my vagina as well.

  19. Don’t be silly–Maureen never needs to shut up more than usual, just always. She hopes that if she hates wimmen as much as the boys, they will make her an honorary boy. Pathetic.

  20. Quoted you for truth on my livejournal.

    If either Hillary or Obama won the general election, I would blub like a baby for the baby step forward we would take. Of course, if *any* Democrat wins, I will sob for sheer relief that the nightmare we’ve been enduring is over.

    I’m not so sure about *any* Democrat, but I’ll take Edwards, Obama, and Clinton in that order, if we’re going mainstream. I’ll take Kucinich any day. The ‘cranky old ex-hippie bastard’ demographic needs some love.

    Is it odd that I’m annoyed with everyone calling her Hillary in the same breath as calling them Obama and Edwards? I know calling him ‘John’ is confusing, and plenty of people call him ‘Barack’, but I guess even with the Bill-or-Hillary confusion, it still feels a little… I dunno. Disrespectful or odd.

  21. *stands up and claps*

    I am a Hillary supporter, and I feel that it has everything and nothing to do with my anatomy, but feel that many of my peers can’t seem to separate the two. This is a source of endless frustration for me. I don’t see why someone who hates Hillary because she is a woman should have any more credibility than someone who votes for her for the same reason. Anyway, you are much more eloquent about this than I, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in anyway.

  22. Is it odd that I’m annoyed with everyone calling her Hillary in the same breath as calling them Obama and Edwards?

    No. Part of me feels the same way, except that all her campaign posters say “Hillary,” and it does make sense when she’s the second Clinton running for prez in a generation. I think it absolutely IS partly sexist, but I also think it’s partly just practical, like referring to GWB as “W.” to distinguish him from his dad. So I’ve let that battle go.

  23. Kate, this post is spot on. Not least because I basically feel exactly the same way. I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for in the primary, because I feel drawn to them all, and I can’t figure out which impulses to go with.

    I guess I’d say I’m most likely to vote for Obama, but you know? Last night, when Clinton won NH, I was happy, because I still want her to be in the race. I don’t want it to be over after one fucking state. It’s also weird feeling like what I do in the ballot box might be affected by what happens the day before; like you, I said yesterday that if I’d had to vote in NH, I likely would have gone for Clinton because the “oh nooooes HALP she cried!” bullshit was pissing me off so much.

    I have such an odd feeling about Clinton. I don’t want to vote for her, but I want her to be the nominee. It’s driving me batty.

  24. I have such an odd feeling about Clinton. I don’t want to vote for her, but I want her to be the nominee. It’s driving me batty.

    Totally!

    Also, this:

    You mean we only get one Democratic nominee? We can’t sew the three of them together and widen the doorways in the White House? Really? *cries*

    kinda sums up my feelings.

  25. I’m a New Yorker, and a bleeding heart liberal, and I’m a Hillary fan. I’ve watched her move to the center in the Senate… I’ve watched her make votes and choices I don’t necessarily agree with… and I’ve cheered her. Because this is a woman who knows how to get the job done. She knows how to work with Republicans and knows that getting something done sometimes – often – means compromise. When it comes down to it, my personal views probably align more with Edwards or Obama. But I can’t help but think that Hillary would know how to get things done in the White House, could work with both sides of the fence, and could hit the ground running far faster than either of them, given her eight years of experience there. (And I truly believe that being married to the President for eight years is fantastic prep for doing it yourself.)

    My favorite moment of last week’s debate is when she said, “Change is hard work.” I’m so sick of hearing meaningless statements about “change” and “hope.” She brought it back to reality – it’s not an ideal, it’s a reality. But it’s hard.

    I’m also sick of those who “hate” Hillary. And those who think she’s “cold.” And those who get on her case for staying with Bill. Their marriage really isn’t our business. I don’t get it… but I don’t have to.

    In my ideal world, it would end up a Clinton/Obama ticket. He could bring the youth and warmth that the media says she lacks, and she could bring the experience and policy. Plus, 4-8 years of VP-dom would line up Obama for the presidency quite nicely, and he’d get there when he’s older and more experienced. It seems that northern candidates always think they need a southerner on the ticket (don’t know why, doesn’t have seemed to help Kerry), so I don’t see it happening… but I like to dream.

    I want to see her be the nominee. I want to see her win. But already, her campaign is historic, and I appreciate that she’s out there, taking the hits and showing that a woman can do it.

  26. I remember reading awhile ago that research showed that women were more often given the role of CEOs in sinking corporations/businesses. I can’t remember where.

    That’s stayed in my head, watching my favorite candidates. I’m all about Obama, with Hillary as a second favorite. (I’m Canadian, so that doesn’t mean much.)

    However, I’m petrified that with Republican created economic disaster coming down the pipe: subprime meltdown, rollback of consumer spending, neg savings rate catching up, and no funds left at the Government level to New Deal out of it – what with the two pronged war going on and years of double-book deficit spending – well, I’m petrified that this election will go to a black man or a white woman and then…

    And then it will be Their Fault.

    Although I think both Hillary and Obama are brilliant, I don’t think either can stop this train. It’s been 2 wars and 12 years of Greenspan in the making.

    From up in Canada, I sort of wish McCain takes it, actually. He won’t, but I can wish. It’s not because I’m Republican – hell, I’m well WELL left of the democrats, who seem more like Canadian conservatives than Canadian lefties. But if I were American, I’d be a Democrat, I’m sure.

    When the shit fan gets turned to full, I don’t imagine McCain would declare martial law and make like Stalin. Or I hope not. But at the same time, I think it will get bad before it gets better, and maybe the people who made the mess should be responsible for cleaning up.

    Of course, I could be paranoid. I started watching the subprime thing 4 years ago, though, and it’s a little alarming.

  27. Aww I fricken loved this post–mirrored a lot of what I’ve been feeling. There’s just this crazy feeling of being wrapped up in making history if we elect a woman president that I can’t let go of. I mean, how awesome would that be?! Of course, she’s not my *fav* but then again, none of them are. I’d be pretty okay with either of the front runners (Obama or Hillary) getting the nod. I think my main goal now is to prevent any Repub. from even having a chance at the White House which is why the more I think about it, I’d love to have Huck get the nomination so the Dems can annihilate him in the Nov. Election. McCain is what scares me. He could really screw things up.

  28. But I can’t help but think that Hillary would know how to get things done in the White House, could work with both sides of the fence, and could hit the ground running far faster than either of them, given her eight years of experience there. (And I truly believe that being married to the President for eight years is fantastic prep for doing it yourself.)

    I totally agree with all of the above. The ability to get shit done is another thing I value more than speeches that make my heart flutter.

    Which is not to say I don’t think Edwards or Obama could get shit done — perhaps different shit, in different ways. But I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary knows exactly what she’s doing, and that’s a big point in her favor.

  29. (( OH! With Democrats in the House and Senate, I mean. Like, just not a *figurehead* that has a non-normative thing that could be blamed.))

  30. YES YES YES YES

    I’m so damn tired of people pretending that several hundred years of white dudes voting for white dudes is somehow identity neutral (white men are the DEFAULT, after all) but taking into account Hillary’s being the first viable female candidate is just silly. Bullshit.

    And I would vote for any of the top 3 dems at this point, but I don’t get all the flack Hillary gets for being so conservative. Isn’t a big chunk of Obama’s platform that he will work with conservatives and compromise and such? So he’s promising to compromise (which I’m not blasting him for) and yet he also somehow gets held up as being the most liberal. How does that work? And Hillary’s a hawk, but Obama promises to bomb countries if we think Al Qaeda is hiding there and their governments aren’t being cooperative and that’s what?

    I mean, I’m a socialist-leaning, anti-corporate hippie type. I hate our two-party system. I hate the power that corporations have over our gov’t. And I’m for socialized medicine all the way. NONE of the dem candidates’ positions are radical. They’re all part of the system and that’s fine b/c that’s how things get done in our system. I just don’t get why she’s getting pegged as some conniving politico as if you can be an effective president without lots of insider knowledge.

  31. I think it absolutely IS partly sexist, but I also think it’s partly just practical, like referring to GWB as “W.” to distinguish him from his dad.

    That’s about where I am, I suppose.

    I’m just kind of glad that ‘Hillary’ can’t be shortened in any practical way. When Jennifer Granholm was running for governor in Michigan, people would call her ‘Jenny’ in this condescending tone. Everything from ‘Huh, Jenny looks good today’ to ‘Jenny doesn’t seem to understand the policy’. Nngh. To quote a friend, it made me literally angry with rage.

  32. I am not a political person, I have to admit, except regarding fat rights, but I cannot feel wonderful about any of our choices. I have never been a fan of Hillary’s, & I know one thing; if she is elected, things will be even more impossible in this country for fat people, as she is about the most fat-negative person out there. And Edwards, so I understand, wants to make it mandatory for us ALL to go to doctors & supposedly be good little citizens & do as we are told (which sounds like a one-way trip to fat concentration camps, though I hope I am wrong). Of course, Huckabee, the reformed fatty, may well be the biggest fat hater of the whole group. Romney apparently wants to turn us all into very conservative, obedient Mormons, putting religion in the White House. And Obama has made it clear that he is as ignorant & blind about matters regarding fat/health, etc. as most of them are. No one is more anxious than I am to get George (I have the IQ of a brussels sprout) Bush out of the White House, but so far I haven’t been too favorably impressed with ANYONE who might replace him.

    However, I agree that it is not fair to attack & discredit Hillary on the basis of her gender. There are too many real reasons. I wish that there were honest, decent, open-minded, enlightened, principled people who would run for public office, but I am afraid that politics is a profession which quickly eats people like that alive &/or corrupts them. I generally feel that whoever we elect in this country eventually sells out to the highest bidder & that the rights & needs of the average citizen, much less of the poor, old, disabled, etc., mean less than nothing.

  33. If I decide to go ahead and vote with my vagina, it will be my poltical vagina, informed by my political brain, and not just any ol’ vagina, that is doing the voting. So I’m with you, Kate. There’s nothing wrong with voting with one’s vagina.

    H. Clinton’s woman-ness may well get my vagina’s vote over Obama and Edwards -although in reality, I’m with Andrea up there, and kinda wish we could sew the three of them together. However, my vagina is intelligent enough not to vote for just ANY woman just because she also happened to have a vagina. My vagina would not vote for Angela Merkel, because my vagina doesn’t like Angela Merkel’s party, the CDU. My vagina wouldn’t vote for Condoleeza Rice or Maureen Dowd or Dr. Laura Schleissinger or Jenna Bush, because my vagina doesn’t respect those other people very much.

    The funny thing is, because neither my physiological being nor my identity is made up of pop-beads (although pop beads were way cool whne I was 5!), I can’t vote without my vagina, just like I can’t vote without my brain.

  34. I am afraid that my vagina has no role at all in my political beliefs. If I vote at all, it will be mostly with my fat activist sensibilities, & also from my beliefs that we are supposed to be free & independent people who have the right to live as we please & own our own bodies & that as long as we do not hurt others & we respect the rights of others to live as they please, the government/pharmaceutical corporations/diet companies/insurance companies/pseudoscientists/ & general nannies should have no control over our lives & that we should not be discriminated against or denied rights & access based on who we are, what we look like, etc. I guess that makes me a libertarian, but I really did think that the original idea behind the declaration of independence & that constitution was to guarantee personal freedoms. It seems to me more every day that the Powers That Be are stripping our personal freedoms away from us. I don’t see any candidates out there who are likely to change that.

  35. good post.

    as a white woman democrat, i’m pretty pleased with all three. obama is definitely getting my vote. hillary is a bit too conservative for me.

    but i’m delighted a woman is running and i respect her. i want obama to win, but if it goes to hillary, i’m cool with that. i don’t think edwards will win it, but if he does, ok then, i’m good with that too.

    my earliest political memories are of carter, a man i still adore and wish was my granddaddy (although i don’t think he was the greatest or most effective politician, i believed and still believe he was a good and honest man and he holds a place in my heart for that).

    reagan and bush sr.? ugh. that was a long-ass twelve years.

    then bill clinton. yay! those were happy years. i still wish he could run again.

    now we’re coming out of two painfully long terms with that dickhead bush son. i think he has done more damage to our country, and to our country’s reputation worldwide, then almost any other president ever.

    so i am happy to be excited about the nominees this year (i was pretty cool with gore, and sad and angry that that election win was completely and totally and illegally stolen away from him, and kerry really didn’t impress me much one way or the other).

    this year? it’s nice to finally feel i’m rooting for someone again.

  36. Patsy, bottom line, I think all the candidates are terrible on fat. I was trying to factor that in for a while, vis a vis health care plans and such, but really, every last one of them has blown it. So I need to look at other things.

  37. I don’t think about fat issues when voting, honestly. At this point being anti-‘obesity’ is like being anti-puppy kicking. People are worked up into such a state by the very idea of fat that any candidate who came out and said “I think this is all a bunch of overhyped nonsense” would be labeled a quack in a second.

    It sucks, but I think it’s how early gay and lesbian activists probably felt. They couldn’t vote their desire for glbt rights at first because it wasn’t even on the national radar so they had to work to get it on the radar.

  38. i tend to stay out of the early fray since i’m not a party-line person by any stretch. i’d vote for hil if she got the democratic nom. if bloomberg enters the race as an independent i might have to make a decision, though. i’d like to see a viable third option, and i also happen to think he’s fantastic. yet, in spite of all of this, i really want to see a woman hold the most powerful office in the world. criticize me all you want for voting with my crotch — i don’t care. girls rule!

  39. Good points, guys. We are not on the radar. I am also disabled, & I know that, while we have made great strides, we are also still quite marginalized. But of course fat people are the ones whom it is popular to marginalize & demonize these days, so anyone who runs for public office has to say (publicly at least) that fat is bad, unhealthy, & that he/she will do all possible to put an end to it.

    I guess I will have to eventually decide who seems like the lesser evil.

  40. Sorry if this sentiment has been posted elsewhere in the comments and I just didn’t see it, but…

    I have no problem with “identity politics” being responsible for Clinton winning the NH primary. White/Caucasian is a race, and male is a gender; it’s not like white males are the norm and all other human permutations are deviations from that norm. (Not that anyone who writes/comments on here thinks like this, but I think it’s a common oversight in larger, less thoughtful =) society.) To label “the woman” and “the black man” as “identity candidates” while letting everyone else just be “candidates” is like calling a novel set in urban America fiction, and labeling everything else ever written as regional fiction. The phenomenon of only having had white men as presidents up until now is identity politics in and of itself. It’s just that now we have candidates available for nomination who reflect a more realistic picture of actual Americans’ identities.

    I don’t think the press could have done a more backhandedly positive thing for Clinton’s campaign if they tried. They attacked her for being a woman, and women voters saw through the bullshit and flocked to her support. There should be a movie. With a beautiful, tear-jerking soundtrack…

    Thanks to all the bloggers and commenters here; reading this every day is like strength training for the mind and soul. =)

  41. In Michigan it doesn’t really matter who I vote for in the dem race; our delegates have been yanked to slap the wrists of our idiot state committees for jumping the date. What bothers me most about Clinton is that all the democratic candidates, back when they first started, made an agreement to take their names off the ballot in any state that jumped the date set by the DNC. Michigan jumped. All the candidates took their names off the ballot, as agreed, which probably hurt them right in their delegate-craving souls….except Clinton. She broke the agreement at the last minute and left her name on the ballot. So her’s is the only one.

    I would LOVE to see a woman in the White House. I get pissed off at the subtle (and not-so subtle) sexist jabs at and around her in the race. (A good case in point is that she’s always “Hillary”, while the others are “Obama” and “Edwards”). If Obama wasn’t running, I’d take her as the least-of-evils amongst likely politicians just to see that barrier come down! But I personally don’t think that she stands up well against Obama in personal integrity. She’s been a politician too long. I do think that just the fact that she’s a major candidate raises that glass ceiling. Hopefully next time we’ll see it fall. In the meantime, I’ll keep hating how she’s treated, without liking her any better :-)

  42. omg, I KNOW!!! All of this media-fabricated likability silliness just keeps reminding me over and over again of the times, in my professional life, when I’ve had to choose between being seen as likable and being seen as competent — a choice the fellas never seem to have to make. It makes me like Hillary more and more. And I’ve been having all these moments over last few days when I’ve realized, “Huh… I can almost start to imagine what it might be like to have someone kinda like me in the White House. Far out!” I mean the woman discusses PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION on her campaign site, for crying out loud. And when she said she found her voice I almost stood up in my living room and cheered. Because I’ve struggled to find my own voice – as a lot of us have, I surmise – and I have *never* seen that struggle put out there on a national political level. It absolutely gave me chills. Jiminy Christmas, is this how well-connected white dudes feel all the time?

    I guess it is identity politics, in a way… if by “identity” one means “the issues I face on a daily basis by virtue of my gender but have never even really seriously believed could be taken seriously by the POTUS.”

    btw, I’d love to be convinced that Obama’s not that bad on gender… I was turned off by the fact that there is no “women” page on his site AND the “families” page is all about fathers. (If he’d had no “women” page because he rightly thought that so-called “women’s issues” ought to be a concern of both men and women, I’d have quit grad school to work for his campaign; but the lack of any mention of FMLA or wage discrimination ticks me off.) Also didn’t his campaign put out some video about why women should vote for him, that appealed to all sorts of gender-essentialist and male-normative stereotypes about how women are “different” – more nurturing, more protective of children, etc. (Like I said, I’d be glad to be proven wrong, since I still think he may end up president.)

  43. But I personally don’t think that she stands up well against Obama in personal integrity. She’s been a politician too long.

    My problem is, part of me is too cynical to have any faith that Obama’s personal integrity will stand throughout his career as a politician. So on that count, I see it as sort of like adopting an old dog vs a puppy. A puppy’s all sweetness and light, and if everything goes well, you can train it to be exactly the kind of dog you want. But if everything doesn’t go well, you might have a nightmare on your hands. With an old dog, you know exactly what its adult temperament is and what its flaws are from the get-go. Clinton may have been spoiled by politics, but at least she’s unlikely to get even more spoiled if she’s president, you know? What you see is what you get, even if what you see is somewhat unsavory.

    That’s why I’ve only adopted older dogs so far, and why I’m leaning toward Clinton today, anyway. But man, I do love puppies.

  44. Please realize…regardless of what the popular vote may end up being, it is the electoral college which ultimately decides our fate. Which is sad.

    I plan to vote for Hilary. I agree with a few of her policies and that’s more than i can say for any other politician.

    Either way though, i think we are going to end up with a precedent-breaking president, and I would rather have Barack Obama there instead of Hilary if it meant that we would be free from the Republican tyrrany in office.

  45. I think it absolutely IS partly sexist, but I also think it’s partly just practical, like referring to GWB as “W.” to distinguish him from his dad.

    Probably… but Bill isn’t running for president this term, it should be pretty obvious in context who’s being referred to. I think it is mostly sexism… here in Canada we had a woman, Belinda Stronach, run for leader of the Conservative party, and while the other candidates were “Mackay” or “Harper”, she was “Belinda”. It drove me nuts (as did the constant comments about her appearance… yes, she is an attractive women. But when an attractive man runs for political office we don’t talk about his looks constantly.)

  46. “I guess that makes me a libertarian, but I really did think that the original idea behind the declaration of independence & that constitution was to guarantee personal freedoms.”

    If you were Canadian, it might make you a socialist or an old progressive conservative. (We too have the neo-con authoritarian movement in our midst.)

    But American political discourse always confuses me because with government resources there is always the sense of government control or intervention. Left is always conflated with authoritarian, whereas those are two different axis.

    For example, I had one year parental leave at 55% pay (17 weeks for birth moms specifically; 35 weeks for primary caregivers of whatever gender or adoptive status), but I was not required to prove anything but the introduction of a child into my family unit, nor was I requested to stop calling Stephen Joesph Harper, my Prime Minister, a neo-con douche-hound. On the internet, no less. There was no mandatory child-rearing classes, there was no breast feeding demand. And I am not *required* to take that money.
    Etc.

    Certainly for some services (welfare) there is government scrutiny, but that is not true for others (libraries, fire departments, health care).

    The idea that government resources allow, necessitate, or justify government restriction on personal freedom is authoritarian, which hangs out on both the left and right sides of the spectrum.

  47. Clapping!! Thank you for a great post!!!

    Mia: my earliest political memories are of carter, a man i still adore and wish was my granddaddy (although i don’t think he was the greatest or most effective politician, i believed and still believe he was a good and honest man and he holds a place in my heart for that).

    totally me too! :-)

  48. My problem with Hillary is that she is mistress of saying anything to get votes. I’m not sure whether she is really as religious as she says; I’m not sure she really gets poverty; I’m not sure what to think of her marriage. (And on that last one, someone mentioned Bill and Hillary’s marriage is nobody’s business but theirs…well, given that tax dollars were spent on Bill’s impeachment, partially because of his infidelity, I think it’s become everybody’s business.)

    What I’d love to see is an interview where she admits she isn’t religious, that she truly feels for those less fortunate than she’s ever been, that she either is still truly, madly, deeply in love with Bill or that it has been a marriage of convenience (or dictated by his religious beliefs) all these years. But none of those things will happen. Not when First Spouse is part of her argument of why she was ready for US Senate or the Presidency.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will most definitely vote for her if she’s the nominee. But I have too many misgivings to vote for her at (Colorado) caucus.

  49. Kate, you have ripped the thoughts right out of my head, right down to my preferences, my dislike of her politics, but really really wanting to elect her just because they say we can’t. In spite of my politics. In spite of the fact that I’ve been very calm about picking my candidates all this interminable primary season. The minute they went apeshit on her, like they’d been waiting and waiting and waiting to see her trip and then it was time to rip at her and howl over the body, that’s when my feminist-meter went into the red and I got tipped from my “treat her like every other candidate” to “side with her against all these misogynist assholes”.

    I like Obama. I like Edwards. And I’m still angry with Clinton about her Iraq vote and her sabre-rattling re: Iran. And up until a week ago, she was my last choice for the nomination… but damn, I’m pissed, and I kind of want to see her win now, if for no other reason than the now-obvious fact that this will mean that for at least four years, we won’t be able to pretend that feminism is a dead issue. If this is making other women as pissed off as it’s making me (and it’s making me REALLY pissed), we might end up having the third wave turn into a damn tsunami.

  50. I live (and vote) in Germany, so I’ve been through the whole “Can a woman lead the country?”-bullshit. For those who don’t know, our head of state is a woman, Angela Merkel (kira mentioned her above).

    Even though I disagree with Merkel’s political views (she is from the conservative party, while I’m liberal/left), I still voted for her during the last elections. Was it because of the “woman solidarity, rah rah rah”? Actually, no. Sure, I’m pleased that we finally have a female chancellor, but I mainly voted for her because I felt that she could make a change and bring Germany (and its economy) back on track.

    But the beating Merkel has had to take (and still takes) is unbelievable. There were so many debates about her style (or lack thereof), not wearing makeup, being too cold, being too logical (she has a Dr. in physics), not having enough charisma for the media etc. *rollseyes*
    On the other hand, the former chancellor Schroeder was constantly being bashed on for being too “girly”. There was a minor scandal when it was found out that he *might* be coloring his hair (ZOMG!!!1111!), he was criticized for being a “media chancellor” (loving the limelight), bla, bla, bla.

    Regarding the US election: Since I have dual citizenship, I could vote in US elections as well, but I have no idea who I’d vote for, out of the exact reasons that Kate stated. All three would be fine with me. *shrugs*

  51. It sucks, but I think it’s how early gay and lesbian activists probably felt. They couldn’t vote their desire for glbt rights at first because it wasn’t even on the national radar so they had to work to get it on the radar.

    Yes. You think the idea of marriage equality — let alone actual same-sex marriage — would have been something even the most left-wing of Democrats would have dared to bring up 30 years ago? The very idea would have made people laugh. Laugh. Even 20 years ago it would have been considered fringe-wackaloon stuff by most people. Even 10 years ago no one would have dared try to run on it even if they secretly believed in it. That’s how quickly things can change.

    But right now, we are way, way, way, way ahead of our time here on the Fatosphere. So far ahead that it’s almost like co-existing in two parallel universes. At this point I’ll settle for a candidate that doesn’t make it all about fat people being lazy, weak-willed slobs. I’m fairly confident that all of the Democratic Big 3 subscribe to the “obesogenic environment” theory rather than the “fat people are all just useless indolent pigs” one, and believe that preventative health care and a salad in every pot and sidewalks and bike paths for all will Solve the Problem. We know better here. But shit if we’re not pretty much the only ones in the world who do.

  52. One more thing:

    From the very beginning, my Hub and I have agreed that one of the major bonuses about having Clinton win the White House would be seeing ol’ Bill being the first First Gentleman. I can just see him loving every minute of it. I bet he would serve tea.

  53. ARGH. ARRRGH.

    I was hugely disappointed in Edwards for picking on Hillary for her so-called tears, and thought better of Obama for not doing so.

    Silly me.

    This is much, much worse. Now she’s being cast as not weak, but a monster, someone who cries over a question about her appearance but feels no pity for the victims of Katrina. I don’t care if you’re in a fight for the presidency, that’s a horrible thing to say about anyone.

    Grrrr. And I almost liked Obama.

  54. I watch Chris Matthews religiously, but last night he could totally suck my dick with his rabid anti-Hillary rants.

    (That’s how we girls say it — Chicago style.)

  55. Do I “like” Hillary Rodham Clinton? No, I don’t – BUT I will support her and contribute, etc. to get her the nomination and elected president. And here is why: Many of the people who have been trashing the US Constitution and trying to get rid of reproductive rights in this country are also the people who were involved in Watergate – Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld being two of them. What connection does Hillary Rodham Clinton have to Watergate?
    “During 1974 she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.[49][50] Under the guidance of Chief Counsel John Doar and senior member Bernard Nussbaum,[32] Rodham helped research procedures of impeachment and the historical grounds and standards for impeachment.” (Wikipedia)
    Hillary Clinton has been a target of the Right and the GOP for more than 30 years, ever since she helped to bring down Dick Nixon. The reason we got all of these guys BACK in the white house in 2000 is because a) Ford pardoned Nixon – so there was no effort to impeach the rest of the people in power at the White House, and over the 25 year period since Watergate, Cheney, et al. have been working in the shadows (and sometimes openly) to maneuvre themselves into a position where they could get back in – the second Bush campaign was their opening, since George W. was willing to be a vessel for them to exert power – as long as no one actually asked him to do anything, he was compliant. Because Cheney et al. were not impeached after Watergate, they could come back into government. And that is why I support Sen. Clinton. I am hoping that if she is nominated, that she will win and when she wins, she will call for a full investigation and will give Nancy Pelosi enough spine to put impeachment back “on the table”. Because believe me, people, if Cheney, Gonzalez, and all the rest of these guys (and girls – I’m talking to you Harriet Miers) are not impeached – they will just crawl back into their holes during the next administration and come out again to try to take over again…and THIS time, I think they just might get their way.
    And why do I think Sen. Clinton would be the tool that this country needs to excise this cancer? Because I don’t like her – she is not nice. She doesn’t blather on about nebulous belief structures like “hope” and “change”. We don’t need “hope” and “change” – we need someone who is going to come in with a constitutional mop and bucket and clean out the rats and get us our rights back.

  56. I generally feel that whoever we elect in this country eventually sells out to the highest bidder & that the rights & needs of the average citizen, much less of the poor, old, disabled, etc., mean less than nothing

    Wow, Patsy. Thats…um…really negative. I can understand where it comes from, but, uh, hope can be a powerful thing.

  57. Being a New Zealander, I’m rather on the outside of this whole debate, though I’m following it avidly. But I have one question/complaint/niggle. Why, oh WHY do friends and foes alike insist on referring to her by her first name, while all the male candidates get called by their surnames? When she already has to fight SO DAMN HARD to be treated as a viable political choice, with a clear track record of voting and policy, surely her supporters owe it to her to refer to her the same way they refer to EVERY other candidate? There’s a lot of power-play tied up in the names and titles we use to refer to people. Perhaps it’s just laziness (“do we call her Clinton? Or Rodham Clinton? – oh, let’s just stick with Hillary, Rodham Clinton sounds too feminist”) but I feel like its more than that. If it was just her supporters it wouldn’t bother me so much, but because it appears in the mainstream media too, I just don’t believe it’s friendly familiarity.

  58. BTW, did you read Steinem’s take? I can’t remember if Jeff linked it and I’m lazy.</i.

    Steinem’s article sounds great until you start thinking about things like Jim Crow laws, the demographics in U.S. prisons, and the fact that people can be black and female at the same time. She’s dead-on about the craptacular way Clinton is being treated by the misogynist media, but that doesn’t mean the same assholes aren’t racist as well, just a little more covert about it.

  59. BTW, did you read Steinem’s take? I can’t remember if Jeff linked it and I’m lazy.

    I didn’t like it. I don’t think it’s helpful at all to compare oppressions and say: “We have it worse”. (She said that wasn’t what she was doing but… it totally was.) And you know, I have see Obama accused of being a divider (he goes to an all black church! How devicive!), and I have seen him and his supporters accused of playing the race card – Lord, have I ever.

    And I don’t see how the fact that Obama wouldn’t be taken seriously as a Presidential contender if he was a woman is supposed to show that sexism trumps racism. You could just as easily turn it around and point out that Clinton wouldn’t be taken seriously if she was black – does that mean racism trumps sexism? No. It just means that the combination of racism and sexism trumps either racism or sexism on their own, which, duh.

  60. Sorry kate, I skimmed quickly to see if it had been addressed, but I must have missed it. Feel free to delete my post if you want.

  61. “I would be happy with any one of those three winning — and I’d also be disappointed by any one of those three winning, because it will mean the other two lost.”

    That right there is why I can’t decide who to back. I want all three of them to hold hands and co-president together! That’s gross but it’s true. I like all three.

  62. I can’t help it. I actually get misty at the fact that we have great, viable candidates, a woman and someone of mixed race, making a serious run at the white house. The fact that both these candidates are here and dominating makes me SO happy!

    And I even love that I have a hard time choosing between them. It feels really really good.

    For the first time in my life, I feel like I need to stand next to my candidate(s) and protect them. I’ve actually considered running for public office myself! Crazy.

  63. Aaa!!! Get out of my head!

    I have nothing to add. Nothing at all. I even did the same as you – made my first campaign contribution ever to Edwards on the strength of being angry at him being ignored in Iowa, and am now rethinking that. Agree on everything.

  64. There are reasons to oppose Hillary. Sadly, there are many people who oppose her for sexist reasons who don’t know what they are, but they do exist. My top three are her support of the Iraq War, her support for declaring Iran’s army a terrorist organization and her support of a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

    i agree with janis, and yet, and yes, i agree with every word of your post, kate. every last word. i don’t even support hillary, but felt deliriously happy when she won last night. and, like you, i could totally see my little hand slipping up the her name and putting a cross there, against my better judgment, in NH. i’m not ruling it out in this here state where i live, either.

    i hate that some people (the-people-we-all-know-about) call her hillary, but i love calling her hillary myself. since i can have it both ways, i am.

  65. I can’t help but think that Hillary would know how to get things done in the White House, could work with both sides of the fence, and could hit the ground running far faster than either of them, given her eight years of experience there. (And I truly believe that being married to the President for eight years is fantastic prep for doing it yourself.)

    I couldn’t disagree with this more. Being First Lady is not a policy position. I really, really resent the claim that Clinton is somehow more “experienced” because she spent eight years serving tea to ambassadors. (Yes, she tried to participate in health care reform, but that was an unmitigated disaster, and after that she had to back down.) All the glee that people were showing above imagining Bill with doilies as First Gentlemen goes to show exactly how little Hillary’s First Lady “experience” should mean.

    When Howard Dean was a presidential candidate, his wife, a doctor, kept up her medical practice and stayed the hell out of the limelight. That, to my mind, is the feminist way to go – she didn’t subordinate her career to her husband. I don’t feel the need to make a feminist heroine out of Hillary Clinton, who’s riding on her husband’s accomplishments – not to mention war-mongering. I’ll wait for Nancy Pelosi to get her turn, thanks.

  66. I really, really resent the claim that Clinton is somehow more “experienced” because she spent eight years serving tea to ambassadors.

    Wow, way to parrot the Republican talking points.

    When Howard Dean was a presidential candidate, his wife, a doctor, kept up her medical practice and stayed the hell out of the limelight. That, to my mind, is the feminist way to go – she didn’t subordinate her career to her husband.

    Yeah, and there’s a slight difference between being the spouse of someone campaigning in the primaries and actually being the spouse of the president. Her law career wasn’t exactly a blip.

  67. Incidentally, Judy Dean was ripped apart by the press for not being “supportive” enough and for daring to think that her job had any importance.

    Senator Clinton was a lawyer, a political mover and shaker, an advisor and a frickin’ senator.

  68. she didn’t subordinate her career to her husband.

    Well, her career was not a *political* career in the first place! If Clinton wanted to be a senator, should she have somehow refused to be First Lady? Good lord.

  69. I would love to have a woman president. However, Hilary has been shaky on her positions and not agressive enough. She also initially voted for the war in Iraq. It seems like she is letting the Republican attacks get to her. I also am not fond of her crying the day before yesterday, it was completely innapropriate! Personal emotions should be kept private. The crying is not helping her case at all.

    On a brighter note I think Hilary Clinton is a bright woman who has for the most part done a good job in the senate. I think it is awsome that a woman is so close to becoming president and if she wins the nomination I will support her (not old enough to vote in next election) but I will do everything else I can.

    But things have not been easy for Barack either, there have been chain emails sent out claiming he is a “terrorist” and Fox news reported that he attended a madrassa (sp?)(muslim indoctrination school) in the Philippines. Oh, and Republicans like to bring up the fact that his middle name is Hussein.

    I am Barackin’ the vote(well as much as I can), but if it comes to Clintonin’ the vote I will do that too.

  70. I also am not fond of her crying the day before yesterday, it was completely innapropriate! Personal emotions should be kept private. The crying is not helping her case at all.

    Are you kidding me? A) She didn’t even cry. She choked up, and only just. Watch the video, if you haven’t. B) She choked up while talking about how important this country is to her, which I completely respect. C) Before that totally unremarkable moment, all anyone could talk about was what a cold, unfeeling, robotic bitch she was.

    So, um, I disagree.

    And btw, for the record, I totally believe racism has harmed Obama in similar ways. That just wasn’t what this post was about.

  71. People – men and women – need to stop thinking with their crotch and look at all the positives and negatives the candidates offer. And the reaction their election would cause.

    We’ve had to deal with umpteen years of mean-spirited political bs. The worst of those years began with Clinton’s inaguaration in 1993. The pundits politely call it “partisanship” but it’s far too personal to be that.

    If Hillary is elected, then we will have to endure 4 more years of the same crap we’ve had to deal with for the past 14. Enough already. It is time for America to stop being at war with itself. It’s time our political races became more than just an opportunity to swift boat candidates. That will never happen if we do not take this opportunity to move beyond Hillary.

    That opinion has nothing to do with her gender. Is it time for a woman to be president? Absolutely. But Hillary is not that woman. Margaret Chase Smith would make a better president than Hillary with cause fewer negative moments and she’s been dead for decades.

    Please, please, please, PUHleeeeze! No more Clintons or Bushes in the White House!

  72. People – men and women – need to stop thinking with their crotch and look at all the positives and negatives the candidates offer.

    ‘Cause that’s what Kate is totally doing. And all other women who vote for Clinton! Read this before you go on complaining about people voting with their genitals.

    It’s time our political races became more than just an opportunity to swift boat candidates.

    And what the hell does this mean? Clinton’s vulnerable to “swift boat”-ing? So she shouldn’t be the nominee? What the fuck ever.

  73. People – men and women – need to stop thinking with their crotch and look at all the positives and negatives the candidates offer. And the reaction their election would cause.

    Good grief, do you think people like Kate, fillyjonk and the commenters here aren’t looking at the positives and negatives? We’re all clearly intelligent people. That we might indulge in “identify politics” (you know, like white guys have for several hundred years) is a reflection of a serious social issue. Sexism is real. That a female president – even one who is not as liberal as some of us would like – would do a great deal to combat sexism is a definite consideration.

  74. Your post gives me a smile and food for thought. (I would have enjoyed it more without the swearing.) Thanks for writing.

  75. People – men and women – need to stop thinking with their crotch and look at all the positives and negatives the candidates offer. And the reaction their election would cause.

    You have got to be kidding. Men are not accused of “thinking with their crotch” when they support male candidates. This post is ALL ABOUT how voting for a woman is not some magical vagina rainbow connection, and if you don’t get that, I suggest you read it again.

    And are you blaming Clinton for “swift boating” — i.e., a dirty political tactic used by the extreme right to demean John Kerry in 2004? Because blaming Clinton for that makes zero sense.

  76. This post is ALL ABOUT how voting for a woman is not some magical vagina rainbow connection

    SM, kill me like that again. It was wonderful.

  77. Here’s my plan. Whenever anyone tries to tell me I shouldn’t vote for Hillary ‘just because she’s a woman’ I am going to point out to them I am FIFTY TWO YEARS OLD and this is the first time in my life I have had the glimmer of a chance to vote for a woman for President and not have it be a useless gesture or a joke.

    If the fact Hillary is a woman weren’t a historical precedent, if I’d had… let’s get not get too crazy here… a one in four chance of having a female nominee offered to me by the two parties THEN the ‘don’t vote for her because she’s a woman’ people might have the tiniest bit of a point.

    Same thing goes for Obama. Yes, both these candidates are remarkable, history in the making stuff. And frankly, that’s appalling. It’s 2008 and it’s a big deal to have candidates for President who aren’t white men?

    /sarcasm mode on

    Why that’s awful! Next thing you know they’ll be wanting to be treated like citizens! Or even like (drops voice to a whisper) like people. With, you know, rights and voices and opinions and stuff!

    /sarcasm mode off

    I could live with any of the three as nominee; Clinton, Obama, or Edwards. But would voting for an actual viable woman candidate for President before I am too old to get to the polls under my own power gladden my heart? Oh hell yes.

    Plus, you know, every time Hillary gives Chris Matthews the vapors, an angel gets its wings.

  78. Plus, you know, every time Hillary gives Chris Matthews the vapors, an angel gets its wings.

    Truer words have never been spoken.

  79. Just de-lurking for a moment to say that you brought me to tears with this post. Damn, if you ever decide to run for office yourself, let me know, willya? ‘Cause I’ll come running joyfully.

  80. I would class myself as a strong Hillary opponent, actually, because socialized medicine gives me the willies. But I can empathise with what you say about how much it would mean to have a female president, and if she were elected that would be a consolation to me even as I was cut off from medical care and told to go die from all my strange ailments… (Can you tell I have a cynical view of how the government would manage health care – cut costs by cutting out all the outliers? It’s what they seem to do in education…)

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll happen. Look at the Iron My Shirt man. Think about how many people probably chuckled at him rather than cringing. Look at how a relatively straightforward and calm response got reported in the media as an emotional breakdown. Think about how many people won’t track down the original footage, but will just hear about it from the news or their friends.

    The “foreign leaders will never take her seriously!” card has yet to be played, but I’m convinced it will be – and it will be the trump. Unfortunately, there are plenty of nations where the prevailing attitude is that NO woman deserves respectful treatment – and too many people in our own country will focus on our perceived need to improve our relations with those nations rather than the cost of doing so. This will make it hard for any female to be elected president for a long time.

  81. To ravenkim: “My political vagina” should totally be the name of a feminist politics blog. Soooo glad I didn’t have liquid in my mouth when I read that.

    Kate: I’m American, but I live in Europe, and even if I didn’t, I’d avoid shows like Crossfire or whatever it’s called like the plague, so I’m a bit out of touch with pundit wonkery. Could you please give me a one-sentence summary of why that guy gets referred to as Tweety?

  82. Sorry if I sounded negative, but I am 58 years old, & I don’t think I have ever heard of a truly honest politician…in fact, the term is pretty much an oxymoron. Perhaps Jimmy Carter came the closest to it, but virtually all of them make deals, make jobs for friends & relatives, & take stances on issues which are in the interest of the lobbyists &/or those who contribute the most to their campaign fund. It seems as if the whole political system is set up so that anyone with genuine principles is unlikely to succeed. The 21st century is not conducive to the rise of Abe Lincoln. I generally think of voting as an exercise in trying to choose the one I think will do the least harm.

  83. This post beautifully sums up my feelings on this subject. With the possible exception of my thought that if Hillary wins the nomination, I’d love to see Obama as her running mate. A term as vice president could make a big difference in the perception of his maturity and experience.

    This from someone who is, as much as it shames me to admit it, a reformed registered Republican. Though I haven’t voted Republican in…okay, pretty much since I first registered almost 20 years ago…I haven’t cared enough about a candidate to change my registration – until now. So maybe Hillary’s relative conservatism isn’t as big a mark against her in my mind as it is in most…

    When Bill was in the White House, I was NOT a fan of Hillary. She has, over the past decade, changed my mind. No, she is not a perfect candidate – no one is. But if we are going to put a woman in the White House, to set that precedent and put to rest that taboo, I’m more than willing to back her. She’s not perfect, but I do believe she can do the job.

    sauerkraut – I agree that it’s highly probable that if she is elected, her Presidency will be fraught with conflict and division. Nothing she does will ever be good enough; she will come in for more criticism and vituperative than any President in history, by the sheer fact of her gender – every other issue aside. It’s absolute bullshit, but it is also true. But I do have to say, I believe that will be true no matter who the first woman is to be elected. It is an unfortunate fact that a woman, in order to be accepted as a man’s equal, must in fact be a hundred times his superior. The same mistakes or weaknesses that are excused or even ignored in a man will be vilified and lambasted in a woman. She must be perfect if not better than perfect, and of course that is impossible. But that’s not really news to any of us, is it?

    So yeah, there’s going to be fallout. Change COMES with fallout, inevitably. That is not and cannot be a reason to eschew change. If we let it be, then we are sort of thumbing our metaphorical noses at the every woman who ever stepped out of the kitchen and burned her bra and every minority – be it by race, gender, or sexual orientation – who ever endured persecution, harassment or literal physical harm to drive change for OUR benefit.

    I’m not saying that if you don’t vote for Hillary you’re betraying the sisterhood. I honestly believe that everyone should vote his or her conscience. What I am saying is that it scares me that we might back down from change in order to keep the peace.

    And as for foreign leaders – last time I checked, there are one or two foreign leaders who actually ARE female. Yeah, it’s not the norm (yet!), but it’s not unheard of. It’s not as if we were putting a monkey in office (though it wouldn’t be the first time). And let’s face it, it’s not as though foreign leaders are taking our current leadership all that seriously…not to be flip, but honestly anything will be an improvement in that area.

  84. Democrats and I have irreconcilable differences, so I’ve never seriously considered any of them. However, the vote-for-her-because-she’s-a-her thing with Hillary has me worried. If you vote for her because you agree with her approach, then absolutely go for it, but as a woman in a male-dominated field (mechanical engineering) I’ve seen all too often the effects of women getting promoted (or hired) for their ovaries rather than their competency. It doesn’t do the feminist cause any favors, and it certainly doesn’t make things any easier for the rest of us ovary-having calculus lovers who actually earned our accolades. The outside observer usually can’t tell the difference so we all get tarred with the just-becasue-she’s-a-chick brush.

    Also, I feel like it’s proving the misogynists right about “emotional” women voters when people choose a candidate based on her gender rather than, say, her experience, policies, or philosophy. I keep hearing people arguing that being a woman somehow gives her a magically perfect perspective. Don’t get me wrong, Hillary kicks the asses, experience-wise, of practically everybody else in the field–but let it be for that reason, not her gender. Voting for someone because she “feels right” gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

  85. HolyFatman, I think you underestimate the popularity of this blog. :) So far, the Violently Angry At Myself traffic has been a drop in the bucket.

  86. Medea, I suggest you reread the post, the comments on this thread, and this post. To quote the latter:

    And if you are making that presumption—if you hear a woman you know to be politically astute saying, “I’m leaning toward Hillary now because she’s a woman,” and you say, “Well, choose her because she’s got the best policies, not because she’s got ovaries!”—you need to stop and ask yourself why you feel compelled to issue that caveat, despite its manifest insult to the intelligence of any woman at whom it is directed.

    It’s absolutely legitimate for Hillary’s sex to be one’s deciding factor, and no less legitimate than citing John Edwards being a millworker’s son who knows what it’s like to be working class as one’s deciding factor. Though, strangely, no one accuses anyone of overlooking all his policies if they honor his background thusly.

  87. I’ve seen all too often the effects of women getting promoted (or hired) for their ovaries rather than their competency.

    And how do you know they were hired or promoted because of their ovaries? Just because they’re not good at their jobs? I’m surrounded by incompetent men, but strangely enough, nobody says: “Oh, that guy is incompetent, obviously he was only hired based on being a man”. Nobody judges the ability of all men to do a job just because some happen to be incompetent.

    when people choose a candidate based on her gender rather than, say, her experience, policies, or philosophy

    That’s not what Kate or anybody else here is doing. People here are supporting her based on her experience, policies, philosophy and gender. Yes it would be stupid to say: “I really dislike this candidate, but I’m going to vote for her anyway because she’s a woman”. But what’s wrong with saying: “I like this candidate and I think having a competent woman President would do a lot toward lessening sexism in this country”?

    Voting for someone because she “feels right” gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

    You have to understand… not everybody thinks the same way you do. I’ve never really been one to make important decisions based on logic… I can be logical when I have to (I’m also an engineer) but when it comes to important decisions, instinct and feeling does play a huge role. It’s not a worse way to think. It’s just a different way to think. And I do think part of the reason logic is considered more valuable than instinct or emotion is because logic is considered a male way of thinking and instinct and emotion are considered female ways of thinking. And of course, female qualities are devalued. (Like the guy quoted on Feministe as saying that empathy and a desire to work things out peacefully are bad qualities in a President… what? Those are very good and valuable qualities, the only concievable reason to devalue them is because they’re considered feminine and anything feminine is automatically less valuable).

    Heh, that turned out to be quite the screed.

  88. Unfortunately, I’m Canadian, so I can’t run :P

    Me too. I’m a dual citizen, but I was born in Canada, so I can’t run.

    Which is totally the ONLY reason why I wouldn’t.

    Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine for co-prez!

  89. I can’t have a political career, I’m a journalist! Why do you think I’m pseudonymous?

    Melmanda Marcewan for President!

  90. Oh dear. I didn’t get very far with that Violent Acres post before Sanity Watchers made me turn it off. Did you know you’re forcing kids to be fat, Kate? FORCING them? Gah, you and your liquid baby donut IVs running around those schoolyards.

    To sum up for those of you who might be curious: There’s no such thing as a fat working dog, and size acceptance is a tragedy, because the author lost 110 pounds and kept them off for over 5 years and therefore all of us should become working dogs and do likewise before we get the DIABEEETUS and pass it on to unsuspecting youth. I suppose there must be something further downpost about developing a taste for IAMS, but I’ll leave it to someone with a sterner stomach than mine to confirm.

    And this is apparently a wildly popular blog. Shudder.

  91. I really recommend that people not read the Violent Acres post or anything on the blog. Pandagon has done some fun things before with the blogger’s poisonous self-hatred disguised as antifeminism, so you should look that up if you’re curious, but it’s not worth reading it unfiltered. Even if the fatphobia won’t hurt you — and it’s basically too ludicrous and overblown to do so — the sheer intensity of the blogger’s self-loathing and attendant misanthropy is really staggering. I’ve felt burdened ever since I found the place, just knowing that there’s a woman out there who writes at such length about how much she hates herself, in the guise of hating everyone else. (I mean, I know there are lots, but you know what I mean.) Don’t take her unhappiness on yourself.

    I suspect we’re still more “wildly popular,” since the post she linked to hasn’t remotely outstripped Kate’s most recent post in terms of views, so let’s just take solace in that.

  92. Voting for someone because she “feels right” gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

    Eh. Whatever. Guys do it all the time but they couch it in terms of “inspiring confidence” or “seems presidential” or even (gag) “want to have a beer with him”. Of course, guys are allowed to think however they want, because they’re guys.

  93. And this is apparently a wildly popular blog. Shudder.

    Yeah, it’s a wildly popular blog with no comments section and no way to contact the author, who seems to write things for the express purpose of pissing people off, hence traffic.

    I only skimmed the post about how I’m endangering the rights of dieters and giving schoolkids teh diabeetus, but I did read the FAQ and holy shit… If you couldn’t have guessed from the post that this person is marinating in self-loathing? It’s all spelled out right there. Wev.

    This is an interesting read, btw.

  94. I’ve felt burdened ever since I found the place, just knowing that there’s a woman out there who writes at such length about how much she hates herself, in the guise of hating everyone else. (I mean, I know there are lots, but you know what I mean.) Don’t take her unhappiness on yourself.

    Good advice. Also, you’re much more charitable than I am. (This week.)

    My cynical ass is actually not completely convinced it’s a woman.

  95. Aaand, bringing the thread back from my own derail…

    Eh. Whatever. Guys do it all the time but they couch it in terms of “inspiring confidence” or “seems presidential” or even (gag) “want to have a beer with him”. Of course, guys are allowed to think however they want, because they’re guys.

    Excellent point, Sniper. (And excellent screed on the same topic, Becky.)

    And I’m reeeeeally sick of the “Don’t vote for Hillary because she’s a woman!” crap. The fact that we’ve never had a viable woman candidate before this says voters have been factoring gender into their decisions for, oh, 232 years. Why is it only a problem now?

  96. I believe that person behind Violent Acres is what I call a Glibertarian. They have all the easy answers – Be financially independent! Lose weight! Stop whining! Stop being ugly at me! Raise your children how I tell you!

    It’s very difficult to take such people seriously, but they are loud.

  97. Reading these comments has got me thinking about what it would be like to be the first woman President. If her treatment during these primaries has been any indication, it would be really really hard. I mean, I would never run for President because I couldn’t take that kind of constant scrutiny, but I think Clinton can if anyone can.

    I’m another person who’s having trouble deciding, and when it comes down to it I might just vote for Kucinich since his beliefs are actually closest to mind. But it would definitely warm the cockles of my heart to hear our President addressed as “Madame President.”

  98. The fact that we’ve never had a viable woman candidate before this says voters have been factoring gender into their decisions for, oh, 232 years. Why is it only a problem now?

    RIGHT. Same with race, although the coverage of that and the race-baiting involved is playing out differently. OF COURSE gender is a factor in this election, as it has been in every election ever. It’s just that this time it’s instantly visible to everybody and not just to feminists.

  99. Camille Paglia summed up my feelings about Hillary Clinton very well:

    Hillary’s disdain for masculinity fits right into the classic feminazi package, which is why Hillary acts like Gloria Steinem on catnip. Steinem’s fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary this week speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century. History will judge Steinem and company very severely for their ethically obtuse indifference to the stream of working-class women and female subordinates whom Bill Clinton sexually harassed and abused, enabled by look-the-other-way and trash-the-victims Hillary. … Hillary herself, with her thin, spotty record, tangled psychological baggage, and maundering blowhard of a husband, is also a mighty big roll of the dice. She is a brittle, relentless manipulator with few stable core values who shuffles through useful personalities like a card shark (“Cue the tears!”). Forget all her little gold crosses: Hillary’s real god is political expediency. Do Americans truly want this hard-bitten Machiavellian back in the White House? Day one will just be more of the same.

    Her comments on Barack Obama were right on target too.

    I hope my tags worked. :)

  100. It’s very difficult to take such people seriously, but they are loud.

    This sums it up perfectly.

    Kate, if it’s not a woman I will feel better. Well, not BETTER, but bad in a more familiar way.

  101. Yeah, and I can see how someone who cares so very, very deeply about children would post side by side a photo of a “mommy blogger’s” child and one who had Down syndrome, by way of “explaining” why the former wasn’t more popular in day care. That’ll make that kid way healthier, for damn sure.

  102. Debra, I really disagree with Camille Paglia. About pretty much everything, ever. But I know a lot of people hold that viewpoint, and she did articulate it well, I guess.

  103. There are MRA rants? That’s definitely a point against being a woman (though, sadly, it hardly settles the issue).

    It is also a point in favor of being a douchebag, but that was never in doubt.

  104. What in the name of undeserved tenure does Camille P. mean by “disdain for masculinity”? And what is a self-described liberal doing using the word “feminazi”?

    As far as I can tell, Senator Clinton’s biggest offence is having the temerity to run for office just because she’s a lawyer and a senator and a lot of people give her money and likeher politics. Jeez! And in an election year, too!

    Oh, and she has a vagina. That she probably votes with.

  105. And another thing!

    Hops of soapbox

    Senator Obama’s appeal is almost entirely emotional. So is Tancredo’s, although in a purely evil kind of way. So was much of Bush II’s. Reagan didn’t get elected because people looked at his record and thought, “this guy is a helluva policy wonk!”

    People. Have. Emotions. They use them. They always have. Even dudes!!!!

    Good grief. I don’t even like Clinton’s policies but if I hear one more gender crack I will send her campaign some money.

  106. Medea, I’d like to suggest something regarding your assumptions about a woman’s ability to do a job she received “because she’s a woman” (assuming you’re actually right about that). You say you’re an engineer, so I’m going to assume you know something about basic statistics and math.

    Okay, let’s do a little exercise. Take a population of 100 people, or 1000, or a million, whatever, equally divided into two subset populations A and B. That’s transparent enough in this context – we’ll say A are women and B are men. We’ll identically distribute both populations across class and economic status at birth, innate intelligence, and natural ability (I would hope you agree that women and men have similar if not identical natural ability and intelligence distributions!). Put them all on the same career track.

    Group A (the women) have less encouragement, often active discouragement, in pursuing their interests and goals from the time they are infants. They have to work harder to prove ability and skill because they are judged more harshly, they have less access to education and training, and they are less likely to get promotions because they are judged by a different (harsher) set of standards. They are trained from childhood not to negotiate on their own behalf for income or work flexibility, and negotiations they do undertake are viewed negatively and met with greater resistance than group B, so they generally start at lower incomes and have smaller promotions. Over a lifetime this results in significantly lower average income and job status. (Examples of how this actually happens are countless, so this isn’t really up for debate. This is how things are.)

    That sets the stage, and I’m sure you and everyone else has heard it all before. The point is that the members of group A that are qualified to reach higher job positions are a *much smaller* percentage of population A, than the members of group B qualified for similar positions within population B. Remember the identical distribution of innate abilities, intelligence, ambition, and the rest? This means that the few women that break through are a FAR more intelligent, harder-working, and more innately qualified group than the men that reach that status, though it is possible their level of experience or training is not equal to the men’s because of all the reasons I touched on above. The women who got those jobs “because they were women,” then? Are smarter and more able than the men that would have otherwise gotten those jobs. Food for thought. (Also, basic math.)

    Debra, history will judge Steinem and Clinton harshly because women are judged more harshly anyway, so that’s not saying much. And you’d think that as a women so often characterized as masculine because, you know, she does her job, Clinton could hardly be characterized as disdaining of masculinity. As many others have pointed out, her record is *hardly* thin. I also wasn’t aware her husband had been accused of sexual abuse, and if so that’s very bad and I sincerely doubt the Senator would ever have stood by and accepted it. How interesting to hold her responsible for his behavior.

  107. “Voting for someone because she “feels right” gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.”

    Actually, in recent years I’ve really come around to voting more based on character and instinct. Policies are great; platforms are nice; issues are important. I would never vote for someone who didn’t have several views in common with my own or who wanted to say,push through a federal death penalty or anything else completely against my beliefs. However, so many politicians get into office and can’t push through even a quarter of the issues they want; their bills don’t get passed, their issues never become action. To get things done takes a certain kind of character – the kind who can work with both parties, who knows how it works inside Washington, who can make a deal, who can display both intelligence and charm. In my opinion, there really is something to this idea of seeming “presidential.” I think it goes a long way towards a successful term.

  108. I also am not fond of her crying the day before yesterday, it was completely innapropriate! Personal emotions should be kept private. The crying is not helping her case at all.

    Look, I’m the same Laura who thinks that the First Lady title isn’t meaningful experience, and even I think this is a ridiculous charge. Mitt Romney has cried at least three times on the campaign trail, once when talking about his kids, and no one made a big deal about that. And the Camilla Pagilia article is disgusting.

  109. Sweetmachine, I’m not trying to communicate that “manifest insult”, and I don’t think most of the people here are begging the insulting question. I do, however, see it a lot in the world at large, and it seemed relevant to the discussion. The second person was convenient to the point–I didn’t mean to make it personal. Sorry to offend!

    That being said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that people bring some sort of argument to political discussions beyond their “feelings”. How is “because she’s a woman” different from “because she has ovaries”? Would not the same skepticism arise if I said I was going to vote for Obama “because he’s a man”? (And with considerably more vigor?) I think there’s a sublety I’m missing here.

    Assuming a person’s worldview based on their gender (or class) seems pretty shady. My dad was one of eight kids who grew up dirt poor from dirt poor stock. One might assume that he’d come out pretty Democratic (as some of his siblings did), but one would be dead wrong–he’s as Republican as they come. It’s what a person learns from their experiences, what they remember and what they forget and what they THINK, that matters. “Background” per se is useless, and frequently functions as a convenient shortcut around the (time-consuming) research into what people are saying and doing. Maybe it’s just a question of semantics: what I consider “experience” another person considers part and parcel of “gender” or “class”?

    Becky, when my interviewer tells me that it’s “great you’re here” because they’re “short on women”, I tend to look askance. I also don’t take kindly to a little pat on the head for making it through engineering school despite the VAST obstacles that MUST have been in my way, poor little lamb (or the ridiculous “you go girl” slogans contratulating me for doing no more than what any man would do in the same position). When I later see a supremely incompetent female in a position of power being plastered all over recruiting brochures, accoladed at luncheons, interviewed for trade magazines, and generally noised about, it doesn’t do anything to dispel the skepticism. Maybe my co-workers are more gossipy than yours, but I hear the same thing about the idiot men, too, this time framed in the known sexism of certain HR people rather than the known sexism of the quotas-that-aren’t-really-quotas.

    As for emotions, how does one go about having a prodicutive political discussion based on feelings? “Feelings” are a trump card in any argument–I can’t ask a person to defend them on rational grounds because they don’t have any, so the person never has to defend her position at all. It’s the ultimate shortcut to being in the right.

    Sniper, “men do it too” is not a good reason to do something, and I call it out when I see it in them, too. Kateharding, “because we’ve been sexist in the past” doesn’t seem like a great reason to be sexist now.

    Lynne, your argument has less to do with math than it has to do with broad, gender-based assumptions and (to my knowledge) somewhat dated information on the feminine experience. You’ve also fallen into the classic trap of using population-based statistics to make assumptions about individuals. Statistics tell me nothing about the dude sitting next to me on the bus, except in terms of probabilities with extremely low confidences. Sketchy, at best.

    I can’t tell you about the people you’ve met who where hired for their political significance, but I can tell you about the one’s I’ve met. They may in some cases have been harder working, but they were not qualified for the job (nor particularly apt learners), and no number of late nights at the office could make up for that. However, this is getting into affirmitive action territory, which is another mile-long post in its own right.

    P.S. This is the first online political discussion I’ve gotten into that hasn’t disintegrated into “nuh-uh/yuh-huh” or name-calling. I love you guys!

  110. How is “because she’s a woman” different from “because she has ovaries”?

    That one’s simple. What I’m talking about in the post is the effect of having a woman president in a sexist country. It’s not her ovaries that will cause change — it’s the fact that there would be a woman in charge, a woman who was elected to lead by the majority of Americans. Just as President Obama would change the cultural concept of what black men are and aren’t capable of doing, President H. Clinton would change it for women, just by being there. I think that’s incredibly important.

    As for emotions, how does one go about having a prodicutive political discussion based on feelings? “Feelings” are a trump card in any argument–I can’t ask a person to defend them on rational grounds because they don’t have any, so the person never has to defend her position at all. It’s the ultimate shortcut to being in the right.

    I completely disagree with you there. I think feelings are rational. We have feelings for good reasons. And frankly, I think it’s sexist conditioning that makes people think “feelings” are fluffy, throwaway bullshit, and only hard, cold logic can decide anything. Haven’t you ever made a list of pros and cons, only to realize you really wanted to take the option with the shorter pro/longer con column? Sometimes, that’s the right decision. And it’s because of feelings.

    I didn’t get together with Al because of logic; I got together with him because of feelings. That’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And frankly, I’m not a liberal solely because of logic; a lot of it’s because of feelings — anger, empathy, frustration, a desire for social justice. All of that girly, emotional stuff comes well before the logic of voting dem for, say, economic reasons.

    I just flat-out don’t buy that feelings must be set aside in order to make a good decision. I think few good decisions are made without factoring in feelings, because feelings are what make us human beings instead of computers. As HRC said in her infamous weepy moment, this isn’t a game. It’s about the future of our country. It’s about the real human beings who live here. I wouldn’t trust anyone who tried to determine where our country should be headed at this point dispassionately. If nothing else, I wouldn’t trust anyone who’s not angry as hell about what’s happened over the last 7 years. If you* can live here and not have all sorts of messy feelings about what Bush and co. have done to the Constitution, how they’ve handled the war, how they treat American citizens, let alone people in the rest of the world… well, I don’t want to know you.

    *I mean collective you, not specifically Medea-you.

  111. Sniper, “men do it too” is not a good reason to do something, and I call it out when I see it in them, too. Kateharding, “because we’ve been sexist in the past” doesn’t seem like a great reason to be sexist now.

    If every single man who behaved “emotionally” or irrationally was called on it every single damned time, I could live with it. As it is, my entire is libeled because one candidate displayed a tiny bit of emotion. That pisses me off. The fact that my entire gender is politically marginalized is an injustice that I can’t stomach. As I mentioned before, I’m not a supporter of Senator Clinton’s because she’s too much of a centrist for my taste, but if she does become president I will be pleased simply because it will be a slap in the face to the sexist culture – the sexist culture that refuses to treat women as people.

    Also, given the vagaries of Washington, I think she’ll do as good a job as any Democratic candidate, and will be a hundred billion times better than what we’ve got now, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  112. That being said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that people bring some sort of argument to political discussions beyond their “feelings”.

    People are bringing their argument. You’re just not listening to it. People are saying and have said that they feel voting for a woman will do a lot to reduce sexism and advance the cause of feminism in the US, and that to them, that is a worthy goal.

    It’s what a person learns from their experiences, what they remember and what they forget and what they THINK, that matters.

    I agree that having experiences doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll learn from them. But at the same time, you can’t learn from an experience you never had. Somebody who’s never been poor can’t really know what it’s like to be poor. Somebody who’s never been a victim of sexism can’t really know what it’s like to face it every day. Now, someone who’s been poor or the victim of sexism may not actually learn from that experience – but it’s at least possible that they did, unlike with someone who’s never experienced it. Does that make sense?

    or the ridiculous “you go girl” slogans contratulating me for doing no more than what any man would do in the same position

    The man doesn’t need encouraging slogans because the whole culture is his encouragement. Women are not encouraged by teachers, parents, the media, society at large, to undergo careers in math and science the way men are, and that’s why we need seperate groups to put out silly little slogans to provide them with encouragement.

    “Feelings” are a trump card in any argument–I can’t ask a person to defend them on rational grounds because they don’t have any, so the person never has to defend her position at all.

    Why does she have to defend her position to you anyway? Why do you have to argue with her about her decisions? (I ask because I generally find that very logical people are very argumentative, and sometimes try to have a debate/argument with somebody who really has no interest in debating/arguing with them.)

    I hear the same thing about the idiot men, too, this time framed in the known sexism of certain HR people rather than the known sexism of the quotas-that-aren’t-really-quotas.

    Okay – but you said originally that your co-workers see an incompetent woman who was (allegedly) hired based on her sex and extend that to assume all women are incompetent and only hired based on their sex. Do they make the same generalisations about all men? And why not, if not their own sexism?

    Also, what Kate said <3

    (Sorry this is so long. I recently left a message board I used to go to because of too much sexism and fatphobia – I really miss the discussion).

  113. Medea, I guess you could say that studies as recent as, say, 2003* and 2006 (i think) are “dated information,” but I personally think it’s pretty damn recent and relevant. Women (and you’re right, it’s broad, but if we’re talking about these things you have to be broad!), generally, broadly, face significantly more obstacles, period. MOST women are still paid less and hired less and promoted less – significantly so. There are two possible endmember explanations for these trends: women are overall dumber and less skilled than men and the system is fair; or the system systematically (heh) works against the women. It’s hard to deconvolve the two, especially when particular skills are learned, not innate, so the factors can work in concert. But I’d be surprised if anyone would disagree that the latter plays a huge role.

    Anyway, the math isn’t remotely fuzzy. If you rank a population by some arbitrary measure of intelligence or ability that’s relevant to the job in question, the top 2% of population A has to rank, on average, significantly higher than the top 10% of population B (with an even distribution). The only weaknesses I can see are 1) if you strongly believe essential difference is a major factor, or 2) if the top 10%+ of both populations level out at a maximum value (not realistic).

    If you’ve met people who aren’t very bright and just work their asses off instead, well, those things tend to compensate each other, so it’s not a rigorous argument. I hardly think a few anecdotal cases are a strong argument anyway; there’s no way to know if you’ve just known a couple outliers from the broader trend. It sounded like it was the implied broad trends being applied to the question of Clinton’s abilities, not the two people you knew and didn’t respect.

    In any case, the assertions that, “I made it through without any obstacles or difficulties, which means no one faces them; and I know some dumb women who got promoted, so affirmative action always promotes dumb women” are just a little problematic.

    *I returned these books to the library months ago, so I’ll have a hard time finding refs, sorry.

  114. In case anyone cares, there is a separate comment site for Violent Acres, http://www.violentacrestalk.com. I don’t have time since I’ve got way too many donuts to hand out on the schoolyards all day, but for those of you who are done with donut distribution duties and have the stomach for such activities, mazel tov.

  115. I’m already in a pissy mood, so I just want to say to Violent Acres:

    Kiss the fattest part of my ass.

    And feel free to drop your worthless carcass over a mountain while you’re at it.

  116. Hi, Kate.

    I came back to read this today, Super Tuesday, because this post clarified a lot of the ways I’ve been feeling through this campaign. At the core is this: electing a woman president would be a radical, transgressive, transformative act, even if she’s a relatively conservative candidate.

    I’m going to go vote now, and I’m going to do that radical and transformative act just because it is exactly that.

    And your post still brought me to tears. You rock!

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