Feminism, Media

Lynn Harris and Connie Schultz on Clinton, So I Don’t Have To

Faithful readers know how much I love Lynn Harris. And today, I love her even more than usual, because she’s already done all the ranting I wanted to do on the day of the primaries that will make or break Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

First, there was her lovely article in Nextbook last week, and today, she’s got a related post up at Broadsheet that says everything I wanted to say as Clinton makes what might be her last stand. I love it when other people do the hard work for me. Especially smarter and funnier people.

Here’s Lynn:

This election, people, is not about women vs. women, or feminists vs. feminists, of whatever school. (Some NOW chapters endorsed Clinton, some Obama. Steinem and Pollitt split their votes. There you go. Plenty of room.) There are plenty of excellent reasons to vote for either Democratic candidate, few of which need be informed by race or gender or any of that in the first place. How refreshing that, as far as the prevailing sense goes, we have choices to be so passionate about (choices to be passionate “for,” not “against”).

But. If Hillary supporters are pissed off, and maybe even taking it out inappropriately on their Obama friends, I’d say we have reason to be… We are frustrated. Not necessarily because we expect or demand that all women (!) must vote a certain way. Not necessarily by the possibility of an Obama win, but by that of a Clinton loss. And not just by that potential loss — which, I should underscore, is not a done deal, even as the orchestra tunes for the ritual dance-on-grave — but by (some of) the reasons that may be behind it….

We are frustrated that diversity of opinion among women — as if we’re all on one big giant Listserv (“Who are you voting for? And what are you wearing? OK me too bye!”) — is so often reported as “division” in the first place. (Even in articles about why Clinton supporters are frustrated!)

We are frustrated because it really would be pretty great to have a progressive woman president. Sue us.

Emphasis mine. Rawk.

Also whichever way the votes go today, and whomever you’re supporting (if you’re supporting a Democratic candidate at all), please take a moment to read this essay by Connie Schultz on why feminists should still support the concept of Clinton’s run for the White House, even if they aren’t voting for her:

I don’t think every woman should support Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman. Smart women disagree all the time, and that has never been more obvious than in our heated discussions about Clinton.

I do, however, think every woman should support the notion of Hillary Clinton. That means judging her by her record and her plans for our future, not by her marital stamina, her choice in suits or her version of femininity. Even if we can’t support her as a candidate, we ought to acknowledge the history that she is making — for us and for our daughters and granddaughters. And we ought to point out to them that making history sure has a downside.

She goes on from there to list just a small handful of the misogynistic swipes people have taken at Clinton over the last several months, ending with the women who have shredded her in a new anthology — and explaining in just a few words why that shit needs to stop, no matter how much you fucking love Obama:

Katie Roiphe writes that she has “yet to meet a woman who likes Hillary Clinton.” Lorrie Moore calls Clinton “a freak.” Amy Wilentz declares that Clinton’s recipe for chocolate-chip cookies “sounds awful” and that when Chelsea was a newborn, Hillary’s hair was “a wreck.”

On and on they go, bruising and battering the only woman to do what they — and the rest of us — could only dare to imagine.

All the while, 11-year-old girls watch.

And learn.

Shapeling Dems in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island, please go vote today if you haven’t already. And please tell your children how fucking historic that vote was, whichever way it went.

62 thoughts on “Lynn Harris and Connie Schultz on Clinton, So I Don’t Have To”

  1. Unfortunately I can’t read the Lynn Harris article because my work computer has an ad blocker on it, which means I can’t get a Salon daypass until I’m on my personal machine. But damn, it’s nice to see some intelligent discourse about this for a change.

    I do wish Clinton hadn’t handed John McCain his general election ad for free, though (McCain has experience, Clinton has experience, Obama has a speech he gave in 2002). While unlike most of Daily Kos I do understand that she was NOT endorsing McCain so much as outlining his potential campaign strategy and how she would fit into it versus how Obama would, I mean, gah, bad choice of words there. Make the fucker work for it a little bit, at least.

  2. rawk is right. i’m by no means a clinton supporter but i definitely support “the idea.” it pisses me off to no end when i hear stuff like my friend’s sister saying “i can’t staaaaaand hillary. i feel like she’s gonna, like, call me up in the middle of the night and tell me to clean my room.” this, from a 27-year-old woman.

    PS, kate, i was recently aggrieved to learn that my mother watches chris matthews once in a while. i informed her nicely that she needed to stop if only to maintain her place on my pedestal. she agreed.

  3. I honestly don’t understand all the negativity around Clinton, especially from people who are essentially in the same place she is, politically. I remember the misogynistic hatred directed at her when she dared to get involved in a real policy issue as First Lady. That came mostly from Republicans. But, what is with the Obama supporters? I’m supporting Clinton for now, but if Obama gets the nomination, I’ll happily vote for him. They’re the best set of candidates I’ve seen. Either one of them would be a great nominee, and either would make a good president. I have nothing but respect for both of them.

    It’s one thing when you see sexist idiots yelling “iron my shirts!” It’s another when other women – even women who call themselves feminists – seem to be trying to “put her in her place.” What is it? Some kind of weird internalized oppression? Help me out here, social scientists.

  4. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my little sister wherein she said that women were too emotional to be president. I feel that my ability to control my emotions in that instant and not bash her smart ass I know everything film student head against the wall were a perfect example of how that is untrue.

    (I love her but my whole family always thinks that they are right. It is better if we just never discuss anything serious.)

    For this reason I DO support Hillary Clinton’s run for president. And in fact if the “Magical Unity Pony” that is Barak Obama wasn’t so appealing I would probably have ended up voting for her. Unfortunately for Senator Clinton she is in a race against a really appealing opponent. That is not to say that she isn’t appealing, but she does not seem to have the strong youth appeal of Obama.

    Obama’s platform of change, while seen as being less substantive than Clinton’s campaign perhaps, really strikes to the heart of what a lot of young voters want right now. People are sick of the bush administration, their inability to admit mistakes, to listen to opposing viewpoints and their corruption. Barak’s campaign has capitalized on that and positioning himself as the antithesis of George Bush. He is not as heavily involved with lobbyists and he has spent less time being exposed to corruption in Washington than Hillary. I really think he would be tough competition for any longtime Washington insider at this stage.

  5. I don’t support Senator Clinton’s campaign. I can’t.

    She voted for the Patriot Act, twice. She voted for the war in Iraq. She has not taken action against the policies of torture. She did not take action against the liquid scare. She consistently shows by her voting choices that she opposes things I care about. She is very consistent, more so than any of the remaining candidates… but it’s consistent opposition to civil liberties and human rights. As a woman, this scares the hell out of me.

    Senator McCain and Senator Obama are not *much* better, but they do have voting records that are at least a little better on issues that matter to me.

    None of the candidates is perfect. But I really hope that women will take advantage of the Washington Post’s archive of Senate votes to see what the candidates they’re considering voted for. There are links to the actual text of the bills, and you can see whether the measure passed or failed. The legalese can be heavy going, but it’s usually pretty easy to figure out if you agree with the gist of a bill or not. Finding that archive was the best thing to come out of the campaign for me.

  6. “Some kind of weird internalized oppression?”

    The short answer is yes.

    Although, clearly — and certainly not to split hairs — it’s not so weird, is it?

  7. I have to agree with Torrilin. I don’t oppose the ‘concept’ or the ‘idea’ of Hillary Clinton as president, I simply disagree with her voting record. She has not taken a strong enough stand against Bush’s policies and has actually voted for bills and legislation that I vehemently oppose (Iraq war).

    Obama is the best choice, in my opinion, and also the most likely in my opinion to trounce McCain. That’s why I voted for Obama (and will caucus for him tonight). I would not mind an Obama/Clinton ticket however.

  8. I’m with Torrilin (mostly – I don’t agree statement that McCain would be any, if “not *much*” better – I think he’d be much worse, in fact – especially on women’s issues, but also on foreign policy). I struggled with choosing my vote this election (my state already had it’s primary), because I really love the concept of having a female president, and hate the rampant misogyny that’s been directed against Clinton. I nearly voted for her just to spite Tweety et al. But she’s too darn conservative, too beholden to corporate interests and too caught up in the politics of fear and fear-mongering (vis. her latest video). Obama isn’t perfect either, and I don’t like the “just trust me” game he’s playing, especially regarding women’s issues. But I think he has potential to turn things around. I hope. If Clinton gets the nomination, I’ll be thrilled – as I told my mother the other day (who’s irrationally despised Hillary Clinton since the 90s, but is coming around), somebody needs to go first, and her run is drawing attention to the rampant misogyny that is still acceptable in today’s society. Hopefully people will begin to own up to this and change, as they have (though with widely varying degrees of success) with other prejudices. Again, I hope :)

  9. And really — not to rant on — but as a woman of lots of colors, I’m just jadedly shaking my head at the same ol’ same ol’.

    Because if Senator Clinton doesn’t get the party nomination, you’re gonna just love the debates both at Daily Kos and electorate as to why Senator Obama is both “too white” and “too black” to be a good Presidential candidate.

    Think I’m joking? If he wins, just remember I called it here first.

    This is America. As a nation, we have a heavy anti-intellectual bias and certainly don’t want to take any time away from watching AI to debate candidates’ stances on issues.

    After all, they’re not our stances. We don’t have stances on issues. Why would it matter to us?

    Where do you think you are, the EUC or something?

  10. I do not support Hillary Clinton but I wholeheartedly endorse her run. I would vote for her if she took the nomination, although admittedly it would not be with as much exuberance as I would have voting for Barack Obama. I’m distressed by how many Obama supporters are playing the gender card when, right around the corner, the race card is waiting to catch us. What goes around comes around, bitches. (And I use the term “bitches” without any consideration for their gender. ;))

  11. The intangible “idea” of a woman president is sometimes hard to convey. As Obama has swept his way through the last dozen or so primaries, I found myself becoming more and more distressed. After the last, I’ll admit my husband found me crying. When he asked why, I finally managed to tell him what I’d been thinking – if this woman loses, what next? It seems we have so few women in positions which will propel them into the national spotlight (with the possible exception of Condoleeza Rice, who utterly terrifies me), who can we turn to? I cried because, for the first time, it hit me that for all my hopes and dreams, I may not live to see a woman be president. Admittedly, I’m only 43 years old. But it took us from my first election in 1984 (when I was proud to vote for the first female vice presidential candidate from a major party) to now to put a woman in place who could truly capture a nomination. And even Geraldine Ferraro wasn’t on a winning ticket.

    The other part I find frustrating is I believe she’s being passed by for the wrong reasons. Many accept that there are knee-jerk reactions to HRC – much of which, despite protestations to the contrary, I attribute to sexism. However, the longer the campaign continues, the more I find myself frustrated by Obama. And this is difficult, since I sang his praises to all my friends after his speech at the last convention! But his message of “change” is simply too nebulous. And I believe it is deliberately so. Because if you put a dozen people in a room, each will define change differently. And if you don’t tell them what you mean, each will believe you speak for them when you seek change. Yet Obama donates money to the campaigns of superdelegates, he changes his mind on funding for Iraq, he plays the blame game when giving stump speeches, he trades on his political capital to get things done for the people of Illinois, and when the day is done, his ideas for the direction of this country are essentially the same as HRC. How is this “change?”

    I used to want to be the president when I grew up. Now that I’m grown up, I just want a woman to be president.

  12. Yes!!! Well said!

    Let me also add that disappointment about a Clinton loss is also a fear of history repeating itself.

    When Fredrick Douglass told Ida B. Wells that the causes of men came before the causes of women it was 50 years until women gained the right to vote.

    I’m not willing to wait another 50 years. And with the glass ceiling still so firmly intact, how long will it take to cultivate another woman with the prestige, the experience, the political capital AND the desire and drive to be president?

    These traits and factors are accepted and cultivated in men but women have to fight to obtain them and then have to defend their right to have these traits.

    Obama is a wonderful candidate and though I have my issues with him, I would and will if the situation arises vote for him.

    But from my perspective, this is our chance, our opportunity to break the glass ceiling once and for all. And we’re not asking anyone to break it for someone who can’t do the job. We’ve got a qualified candidate and I just can’t imagine wasting this opportunity.

  13. I don’t support Senator Clinton’s campaign. I can’t.

    Well, no one asked you to. But seriously, if you think McCain would be better on civil liberties and human rights, you’re out of your fucking mind.

  14. FemmeKnitzi.
    Personally I’m not that worried about history repeating itself this time.

    I can’t even begin to see how HRC could be our last chance to see a female president in the next 50 or even 10 years. There are 11 women who have served as governors since 2001, and 16 female senators in office right now, an all time high.

    Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the house. I would be surprised if she didn’t make some kind of move towards the presidency during the next election cycle. Also Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas has recieved a trickling of recent media attention, and so there is some possibility there. Condi Rice is secretary of state for goodness sake. She could certainly be an option for the republicans next cycle as well.

    But quite frankly, before we worry about a woman as president I would like to see a more representative proportion of women and minorities holding public office period. My biggest concern if HRC is elected is that people will suddenly think women are equally represented in the government. YAy Feminism is no longer necessary But even if she is elected we will still have a mostly male supreme court, senate, house, and group of governors. One president does not a representative government make.

  15. Rawk rawk rawk.

    Those quotes do a nice job of summing up my frustration. I have NO IDEA who I’m voting for – we haven’t had our primaries yet, and I’m not being coy, I straight up can’t decide yet. Things are ugly.

    But it sure doesn’t help that I can’t have a conversation with anyone about unnatural and unfair prejudices in this campaign without someone shutting me down by saying “well, it’s not that important,” or “well, there are other reasons to vote against that candidate” or “well, there is a problem, but the response to the problem has been completely overblown!”

    All of those answers are BULLSHIT. And everytime I read someone calling out the bullshit, I say RAWK. Three times, apparently.

  16. I have been amazed at a lot of the misogynist BS that has been running around the airwaves…and the issues about Barak’s whiteness/blackness has already started bandying about.

    I do think that it’s wonderful that Hillary is running. I’m pretty sure that my mom voted for her (she loves Hillary).

  17. A few months ago I blogged about Ann Coulter bashing Clinton by saying she had fat legs. My referral logs list about 80 searches a month on average for “hillary clinton legs.” It seems there is this very odd demographic out there with a fetish for Hillary’s legs.

    Meanwhile, I have had absolutely no hits whatsoever from people who want to know about the health care policies of either Hillary or Obama, both of which I have blogged about in the past.

  18. I voted for Hilary today. I took my 8 year old son into the booth with me. He found it incomprehensible that this is really the first time a woman candidate has made it so far. That made me happy, and sorta hopeful.

    Thanks for posting this.

  19. Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the house. I would be surprised if she didn’t make some kind of move towards the presidency during the next election cycle.

    Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if she did, since she’ll be 76 in 2016 (and 72 in 2012, if she did want to try and oust what we hope will be a sitting democrat).

  20. I do have to wonder where the locus of misogyny would land if there were 4 or 5 women running for president of both major parties instead of only one. I am hoping that all the irrational hysteria and nonsense that’s been flung at Clinton will not scare off women who want to run in the future. I have no problem with Clinton being taken to task over things that actually matter — in fact, I expect it. But all this “hairstyle” shit, all this “she reminds me of mom telling me I can’t have the car keys” shit, all this “if she was such a great leader why couldn’t she keep her husband from cheating” shit — boy, that’s a lot of shit. You have to wonder how many women would want to subject themselves to it.

  21. I don’t live in any of the voting areas, but my father lives in Texas, and he will almost certainly vote for Hillary today, since his overall preference for this election is as follows:

    1. Huckabee
    2. Clinton

    I don’t understand it either.

  22. But seriously, if you think McCain would be better on civil liberties and human rights, you’re out of your fucking mind.

    No fucking kidding.

  23. I admire Hillary Rodham Clinton, but I’m a Democrat and she is a Republican on almost everything that matters to me except women’s rights and reproductive rights. I also think she has political liabilities affecting her ability to get the independent vote that edges Obama in for me .

    Of course I really want Kucinich still, because I’m a social democrat.

  24. My father and I are prone to unpleasant conversations. But one of the single most unpleasant and angry conversations we have ever had stemmed from a letter to the editor in our local paper. This is the letter.

    I was horrified. I was saddened. This girl was 13, and this is what she thought of women. This is what she thought of herself.

    My dad? Didn’t think it was that bad. Even thought she had a bit of a point, on the terrorism thing.

    I yelled at him. I don’t think I’d yelled at him like that since I was 14. I yelled at him about how this girl had been taught self-hatred and it was in no way right or not that bad!

    He said he didn’t think it was self-hatred. That he thought it was just her believing she had a specific role, and accepting that role.

    I was shaking I was so mad at him. “I agree that women can do many things, but” is what this girl sad. BUT. In my city there is a girl who truly believes there’s are things after the but. Things that women can’t do. She believes that, as a woman, there are things she can’t do. That is the ultimate is self-hatred. Believing what you are is essentially incapable of major roles?

    I am an Obama supporter barely. He pisses me off sometimes. I don’t think he is perfect. I don’t think Clinton is perfect. I think both are way better candidates that McCain.

    But I would be very happy, as a woman, to see Clinton, or any woman, get the nomination.

    Because they always told me when I was little that I could grow up to anything, president, even! And that was, you know, nice and all.

    But you know what would have rocked?

    If they had been able to go, “You can grow up to be anything! See?” and then shown me a woman who grew up to be president.

    I think we need more messages like that out there.

    Because there’s a 13 year old girl in my city who thinks that women can’t be in charge. And that? Is really, really fucked up.

  25. It is kind of nice to be in the UK where this has less of a headache-inducing immediacy.

    However, I agree with the general point-that no matter how crappy any (or all) of the candidates may be, it’s still pretty amazing that there is a woman (and an african american, for that matter) in a serious competition for the presidential nomination. it’s been, what, far less than a hundred years since either group could even vote, let alone reach such a position. Regardless of their atual political stance, the fact that Clinton and Obama are even in this position is something worth celebrating, if only in a minor way.

  26. BTW, I am actually a US citizen, and I’ll be voting by mail when the time comes…I’ve lived here too long to vote in the primaries, though, so I don’t get as much of a say in who actually makes it.

  27. I love your post. I’ve been ranting about this for awhile…both Obama or Clinton would run circles around the guy in the Oval Office now. But even among Democrats it has to be a big mud slinging my side is better than your side campaign…more so among supporters, than the candidates themselves, fueled by the media trying to get a headline. My primary is April 22nd (Pennsylvania) and if the media doesn’t keep saying that “this primary might be it folks1” then I will have my say then.

  28. You know what? I (like practically everyone else) wanted to be president while I was in elementary school, and DAMN, I’m excited that there is a woman running for president. Even if she gets knocked out in the primary, it’ll be easier for the next woman.

    I’m hoping.

    Maybe I still want to be president. I’m only 25; I’ve got time to decide. :)

    I disagree with Clinton on too many policy issues to vote for her in the primary, but if she’s the Democratic candidate, I won’t even hesitate before I vote for her. And why is it that when a man wears pants and a jacket made out of nice matching material, it’s called a ‘suit’, and when a woman wears the same thing, it’s a ‘pantsuit’ and a topic of derision? Argh.

  29. Stephanie – maybe because a woman in pants (wears the pants in the family, etc) is considered a ball-buster and heaven forbid we have a ball-buster in the White House (unless he’s male, of course).

  30. Time-Machine, that is a SAD letter – especially coming from such a young girl.

    My grandmother (in her 80s) doesn’t believe in a woman president because of her religious beliefs – women should never rule over men.

    My mom (in her 60s) would agree with the young girl that a woman cannot be president because other countries do not respect women.

    But, uh, I thought this was the United States. We play by the rules of equality, right?

    Besides, PLENTY of women have led countries – here is a nice list of ’em:


    Somebody needs to inform that young girl.

    I like Obama, but I’ll vote for Clinton if he doesn’t win the nomination. It would totally rock to have a female president!

  31. But seriously, if you think McCain would be better on civil liberties and human rights, you’re out of your fucking mind.

    I guess it depends on what you consider “civil liberties” and “human rights.” Neither of them are big on letting me keep the fruit of my own labors and neither of them believe in allowing free political speech.

  32. What really makes me shake my head are the people who complain about what an awful, mean, dirty campaigner Clinton is and how they’d pick McCain over Clinton because they hate her so much for being a big meanie. Talk about naivete, they haven’t seen anything yet. Clinton is tickling Obama with a feather duster compared to what the GOP is going to pull on him in the GE. They will go after his entire family, not just him. They will push-poll and distort and just flat-out make shit up, it will be relentless and brutal. With Clinton, they’ve already pulled everything there is to pull; Obama, as Liss so succinctly put it, is fresh meat.

    And no, I don’t think it would piss off most of the Hillary-haters half as much if a man was saying and doing the exact same things. Sorry, but I don’t.

  33. Ditto to all of that, Meowser.

    And it can’t be said enough: you can give me any reason you like for picking McCain over Clinton, and it’s your vote, but do NOT fucking tell me you are a tried and true democrat committed to progressive principles, and you would pick McCain over Clinton. ‘Cause either you’re lying or you’re woefully fucking ignorant about McCain. Bleh.

  34. Jeebus Crispy, Time Machine.

    I guess Brittany’s teachers and parents aren’t teaching her about Benazhir Bhutto and Golda Meir.

    Or hell, even Amy Pascal. (Sony Pictures is a country, isn’t it?)

    When I was about 11, before my past became so colorful, I was sure of 2 things, I was going to be valedictorian of my high school class, and I was going to be the first woman President of the United States.

    One out of two isn’t bad.

    But I think it’s really all about the belief.

    Senator Clinton would never have come this far if she hadn’t believed the exact same thing when she was 8, 16, 24, 32, at the Rose Law Firm, in the Governor’s Mansion, and First Spouse.

    I am sure she has believed her whole life that she could and would do this. (To contrast, I don’t think Mrs. Ferraro felt as strongly.)

    I’m tempted to write back to Brittany and say: If you want to limit yourself, be my guest.

    But don’t speak in such global terms as to crush the dreams of the rest of us.

    (Plus my usual snarky self — because I remember how self-important I was @ 13; I truly knew everything — says, “OK, Missy Thing. Let’s define your terms. ‘Confirm decisions?’ What does that even mean?? If you can’t articulate your thoughts unambiguously, then go back and sit in your room and write your little screed again and again until you can. That’s all.”)


  35. hotsauce, do these people forget than our Secretary of State is a WOMAN? Despite person opinion of Ms. Rice, she hasn’t had trouble having talks with Muslim countries.

    Do these people forget than women DO RULE in Muslim countries? Ugh – I hate ignorance.

  36. Great wins last night, huh?! I love how Chris Matthews (who seems just a smidge more fragile and thoughtful these days) et al credited Tina Fey and Amy Poehler with Hillary’s win in Ohio and even quoted Fey, alluding to her “Bitch is the New Black” speech on Weekend Update a couple of weeks ago.

    That’s correct mainstream journalism, Saturday Night Live is now making our political decisions for us. That MUST be why Hilary won Ohio.

  37. But, as an addendum to that: Thank you, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, for being women who DON’T talk shit about Hillary. Yous some classy broads.

  38. I was shocked and dismayed how much sexism was alive and well in America. So shocked and upset I did a english essay about it.

    On the hopes that when I had to read it out loud or do peer reviews or even have my professor read it that it would open some eyes.

    I support Clinton and like Obama and I would vote for either of them but prefer Clinton first. Reading that little girl’s letter I am so saddened..haven’t we gotten past all of that? Was I really that naive!?

  39. Not to say that the male candidates are 100% fabulous, by no means. But here’s my trouble with Clinton, and you are welcome to disagree with me.

    Clinton has been using her husband to campaign for her, and has presented her role in his administration as a large part of her qualifications.

    But her husband was impeached for lying under oath, not just about sex, but as part of a sexual harassment lawsuit in which he was accused of being the harasser. Whether you believe that he sexually harassed Paula Jones or not, she had a right to pursue her grievances against him in a court of law. And he did not have the right to decide to lie about his actions when examined in that court. Men have lied about sexual harassment or diminished it’s damage to women forever, and it is an insult to any woman who has ever been the target of a harasser to diminish the importance of lying while providing testimony. Lies like that keep women who have been harassed from getting the justice they deserve. What he did was not “just lying about sex”, as so many people said when excusing his actions. He lied about sexual harassment that he may have committed. A completely different choice, and an action that is very, very anti-woman.

    Hillary Clinton made her own peace with Bill. She stayed with him. Fine. That’s her choice.

    But by using a man who perjured himself in a sexual harassment proceeding as a campaigner, arguing for my vote, she loses my faith in her ethics and in at least one small area of her feminism. I can’t trust him, and because she does trust him, I can’t entirely trust her.

    And I don’t think that this is an example of unfairly holding a woman responsible for the actions of her husband in a way that one would hold a man responsible for the actions of his wife. If one of the male candidates had a wife who had been shown to be unethical, particularly if those ethics were damaging to women, and then trotted his wife out to campaign for him, I’d have just as much of a problem with that.

    Ok, I know many of you will disagree with me and that’s fine. But I just had to get that out there, because it really really bothers me to not feel comfortable supporting our first viable woman candidate, and then to feel as if others see my discomfort as being anti-feminist. Because I feel that my discomfort is VERY feminist, in that I want nothing to do with a candidate who is so vocally supported by an unapologetic, serial sexual harasser.

  40. O.C. I actually 100% agree with you. As I told my boyfriend last night, I don’t know if I really want our first female president to have a husband who is famous for getting blown in the oval office.

    For all that I think Clinton was a good president and the whole thing was vastly overblown, I still get an icky feeling about it. I can hear the ‘Man behind the president” commentary already.

  41. Because I feel that my discomfort is VERY feminist, in that I want nothing to do with a candidate who is so vocally supported by an unapologetic, serial sexual harasser.

    I think most of us acknowledge this, we just don’t think it’s the end of the discussion. Because as bad as sexual harassment is (and most of us have experienced it in some form, and think it’s bad), if it comes down to Clinton vs. McCain…well. McCain wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade, supports abstinence-only education (which increases abortion rates), has admitted that he has no idea what the Violence Against Women Act says, and in all probability, being an older conservative gentleman with a history of ethical “poor judgment,” he’s done his fair share of disrespecting women. And that’s not even taking into account the fact that *no candidate will be you.* You will not find a candidate that does everything you want or that stands for everything you stand for. If you can’t deal with that, and prefer not to vote, then you will get the democracy you deserve, which will be another 4 years of tax breaks for the rich and removal of human rights of women and civil rights of LGBT. That really is the logical conclusion of “wanting nothing to do” with Clinton if she’s the Democratic candidate, and no amount of feminist hand-wringing will change that.

  42. Cassie:
    OK, maybe “wanting nothing to do” with Clinton overstated my position. If she’s the Democratic candidate I will vote for her over McCain. I’ve just gotten tired of reading so many blogs and editorials that imply that any opposition to Clinton, especially opposition by women, is necessarily rooted in sexism. I think there are some reasons to oppose her candidacy that are rooted in feminism.

    Too many times in recent months I’ve felt like I’ve been whacked on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, “Bad feminist not to support Clinton! Bad bad!!! *whack*”

  43. I struggled with who to vote for right up to primary day, and then decided that if I really, truly couldn’t decide between Clinton and Obama then it was OK not to vote at all. I’ll be voting in the real election for whichever takes the nomination. I would like to see a woman as president, and I’d like to see a POC as president.

    My struggle has been between liking Clinton’s policies slightly better than Obama’s, versus that I honestly think that Obama is more electable and can’t take another eight years of a Republican in the White House. There are a large number of people in this country, Democrats included, who HATE her and will do anything to prevent her from obtaining the presidency.

  44. I overstated as well – that sounded more aggressive than I meant it to. I think we’re both tired of the rhetoric – there is so rarely a logical discussion about this. You’re hearing , “Support Clinton, because you both have ovaries!” I tend to hear, “Clinton did this and this, which is most intelligent people realize is much better than McCain, but Clinton can’t be trusted! I mean, she’s acting like a politician!!!” As far as I’m concerned, neither is really honest – we shouldn’t white-wash her into the perfect candidate, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that a non-perfect candidate is all that we’re going to get. And I think most feminists can agree that either Clinton or Obama will be light years better for women than McCain, no matter how much he might be fun to have a beer with. Sorry about sounding so frustrated, I didn’t mean to take it out on you.

  45. Politics suck. I’m not a very good Republican, but I’m a really bad Democrat. I can’t find it in me to support either major party, and I don’t like the majority of policy statements of any of the major candidates.

    That said, there’s a part of me trying to consider this race from an historical angle. I don’t like any of the three, so I’m left with a male WASP, a black man, and a white woman. Which one will set the best precedent from the perspective of 20, 30, 50 years from now. Well, I think we’ve had enough of the male WASPs; another won’t make a difference. 30 years ago, I’d have said (were I around) that a white anything is almost certainly more electable than a black man. Oops, boy was I wrong.

    Seems we, as a country, are less racist and sexist. You think that doesn’t make sense, because we (those of us born after it all) tend to judge the beginning of the end of racism from the 1950’s and all the civil rights actions of that time. When you look at it though, no matter how hard it was for them, the had the legal, acknowledged right to vote more than a half century before women got it. They stopped being property decades before women did. And a black man has more of a chance at the presidency because he is a man, than a woman does, because she “thinks with her hormones.”

    OC: You say that Clinton is hard to trust because she is using a lying, cheating, sexual harasser to campaign for her? Why is she using him? Well, what would happen if she didn’t? What would happen if she had stood up to the country and said, “If all he had done was cheat on me, I’d still be there, but he lied about it to deny another woman her chance at justice, and my ideals will not stand for it.” She would have been remembered, forever, as the woman who just couldn’t get over her husband cheating on her. Her morals would have assumed to have been an excuse only so that she could attempt to justify politically ditching her husband for cheating on her. She never, ever would have had a chance. And the same goes for him not campaigning for her now. If he isn’t up there doing that it will be assumed that he thinks she isn’t really the best candidate. There would obviously be “something wrong” with her if her husband didn’t support her publicly. Your points are still entirely valid, and, from a feminist perspective, I still find it hard to trust her, but, at this time in history, she doesn’t have another choice if she wants to be president.

  46. I won’t be voting for Clinton because I’d like to see some real changes after this administration. That said, I’m proud to see a woman in the race who may have a shot of actually becoming president. In some way I’d like to see her succeed and make positive changes (not that it will be hard after Bush’s time in office). It would be great to show this nation that women are quite capable of being president of the United States. In general reminding women and men alike that women are capable of more than we’re likely ever given credit for.

  47. While I have a long list of reasons for choosing Obama, I respect and admire Clinton’s smarts, ambition, and take-no-prisoners attitude. And I agree completely that it’s bullshit to rip her to shreds for not being Soccer Mom For President (no offense intended to soccer moms).

    I voted and caucused for the Ds in Texas last night, and saw something that – while I grinned the whole time I marked my ballot for Obama – completely plucked my heartstrings. A spry old lady – 80 if she was a day – finished signing in for caucus and walked away from the table (slowly, on a cane). But she stopped and turned back to a clerk, beaming, to say: “I will see a woman president in my lifetime.”

    Whether or not it’s Clinton, I hope she has enough years ahead of her to be right.

  48. My eighth grade class made Barbara Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies all the way back in ’92. Hillary’s were the kind with oatmeal. They blew Babs’ out of the water.

  49. Seems we, as a country, are less racist and sexist. You think that doesn’t make sense, because we (those of us born after it all) tend to judge the beginning of the end of racism from the 1950’s and all the civil rights actions of that time. When you look at it though, no matter how hard it was for them, the had the legal, acknowledged right to vote more than a half century before women got it. They stopped being property decades before women did. And a black man has more of a chance at the presidency because he is a man, than a woman does, because she “thinks with her hormones.”

    I am not American and I haven’t lived in the US for several years, so I will not judge if the US is really less racist than sexist – if it is even possible to compare the strength of racism and sexism in a meaningful way. However, I think it is certainly not enough to only compare the chances of female vs. black presidency candidates or when Blacks and women got the right to vote. My home country, Germany, does have a female head of government at the moment, yet, in a lot of subtler ways sexism is alive and well there, and in some sectors possibly stronger than in the US (for example, German universities have a far lower percentage of female professors).
    While it is possible that a black man might have better chances to become the next American president than a white woman – how does the situation of the average black man compare to that of the average white woman in the US? This is not only about things that are relatively easy to measure, such as income or education level, but also about how much a black man or a white woman has to conform to white, male culture in order to be taken seriously. Additionally, the female stereotype has traditionally been quite ambiguous – for example, women are seen as less competent, but also on average more likeable than men. I don’t think this is true to the same degree for the black stereotype.

  50. When you look at it though, no matter how hard it was for them, the had the legal, acknowledged right to vote more than a half century before women got it.

    Legal, yes. Acknowledged, not necessarily. Given how hard some white people have worked to keep African Americans out of the voting booth in every election since then, but especially those before 1964, that is not a winning argument.

    Sexism and racism are both very much alive and well, and I’m not interested in playing Oppression Olympics here.

  51. Uh, hello, Carol Mosley Braun ran for president. Twice. Of course, it doesn’t count if it’s not a “credible” run, does it?

  52. Queendom is asking the right questions. It’s silly to conclude that our country is less racist than sexist based on the Hillary vs. Obama race. Frankly, I’m not sure why people seem attached to trying to figure out which prejudice is stronger. To the extent that’s even possible, I’m not sure where it gets us. But if one insists on making the case that the country is more sexist than racist, one must at least try to compare the relative situations of black men versus white women in the country generally. But, even if you look at the race itself, the gender/race dynamic is more complicated than black man versus woman. Hillary Clinton is benefiting from her white skin privilege in some very obvious ways. She might never have been elected Senator (and she certainly would not have been elected Senator from NY) had she not been First Lady and given that all of our First Ladies have been white, she owes being in the presidential race at least in part to being white. Similarly, Obama owes his presence in the race at least in part to having been born a man. In this country, there is lots of interplay between sexism and racism. This is one of the many reasons why the very concept of a “viable” non-white female presidential candidate seems so far off to most of us. Obama’s maleness “balances” and “makes up for” his blackness and Hillary’s whiteness serves the same function against her femaleness; and I would bet anyone here several months salary that whichever one of these two wins the nomination will choose a white man as a VP running mate.

    As for black men getting the vote before white women, I don’t even know where to start. It is impossible to honestly analyze why black men got the vote before white women without mentioning the granting of the vote as partial redress for the evils of slavery. Also, it’s not at all clear that continuing to deny black men the right to vote would have caused white women (or women of any other color) to get the vote any earlier than they did. The disenfranchisement of women was distressingly common in “democracies” in through the early 20th century. Finally, before women got the vote in 1920, the vast majority of black people lived in the South. For these black people, voting was more than just “hard,” it was impossible or punishable by death. And as we all know, a substantial percentage of black men and women were denied the right to vote or maimed or murdered for daring to do for decades after white women were safely exercising that right.

  53. Of course, it doesn’t count if it’s not a “credible” run, does it?

    No, it really doesn’t. Clinton is the first woman ever to win a single primary, let alone get close to actually winning the nomination. Yes, Carol Moseley Braun has run, and Shirley Chisholm has run, and Cynthia McKinney is running now. But seeing as how none of those campaigns were ever truly viable, Clinton is still blazing a whole new path.

    Now, the fact that those campaigns weren’t/aren’t viable raises a whole lot of questions about the intersection of racism and sexism — important questions that are getting shoved aside in the whole black man v. white woman contest we have going on right now. But that’s a separate issue from whether Carol Moseley Braun’s runs were equivalent to Clinton’s. They just weren’t.

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