Now that it appears the race will end tonight, I have to say something about how misogyny has played out in the race. Much of the analysis has been too simplistic: some (especially in the media) attacked Clinton on the most despicable grounds because she was a woman. Yet I think something different happened. Democracies have an uneasiness with inherited power that affects women disproportionately. It plays out against those who are perceived to attain power by sleeping with powerful men, and who have the potential to reproduce new carriers of that power. It allowed the attacks against her to be manifested in the most degrading ways and portray her as the “wicked queen”. (Don’t get me wrong: the comments coming from the sidelines pale in comparison to the racial polarization coming from Clinton’s own campaign.) She ought to have run as the two-term senator from New York, not the carrier of her husband’s legacy.
June 3, 2008
January 8, 2008
I realized something funny: I’m not working Keene, New Hampshire this year! No standing in the cold, navigating rural roads to knock on doors, no driving to far flung rallies, no calling, no poll sitting (checking voter registration at polling station). I’m free to enjoy this year’s presidential campaign. And I don’t have to dread working against friends who support other candidates. Perhaps I’ll volunteer for the November elections: the weather is better, the campaigns are better funded, a little more united within the party.
It also means that I won’t have anything to say about the candidates–I’m committed to the inevitable nominee. Even though Massachusetts’ primary had moved to February 5, the impatience of some is already conspiring to whittle down the candidates as far as possible. I’m already annoyed that many of the “adults” of the Democratic Party–Biden and Dodd–dropped out. Richardson is still in, but as impressed as I am with him in government, he sucks at campaigning. I have no real preference among the remaining candidates.
It’s a tremendous shame. Voters expressed extreme frustration that contenders did not remain in the race as long as possible, so they might have a say in the Democratic Party’s nominee. Primaries were moved up, the primary season started earlier and became more compact. But what has happened: already, some would declare a winner based upon the first two contests! Isn’t there something fundamentally undemocratic about this? Important as Iowa and New Hampshire may be, could the race in one party be over by this evening–because party leadership (and media) will alienate anyone who dare challenge the frontrunner(s)? Can one oppose big mo’?
In my head, I’m angry. Momentum seems unconquerable, and if Obama wins tonight, he’ll be the inevitable nominee. In my heart, however, I can’t feel sorry for the one it hurts the most: Clinton. It’s easy to kick someone who’s down, but in the last forty-eight hours, her campaign has really pissed me off. I’ve already commented on her husband’s recent remark. It’s a bit ballsy to claim prejudice in a field chock full of the underrepresented. Claiming “media bias” seems far fetched as well. The sogennant MSM played up Clinton’s inevitability almost a year. Indeed, she enjoyed a largely positive portrayal until recently. Yes, she has more experience than Obama, but only fractionally, due to slightly longer service in the Senate. She may have been an active participant in the White House, but I doubt it rose to the Cabinet level (was she ever forced to testify on the Hill?). And yes, “change” is an ephemeral quality that requires some know-how.
Portraying herself as the “incumbent” democrat who would be the inevitable nominee undercut the spirit of the democratic process, and if she is on the losing side of the the argument now, whether its “inevitability” or “momentum”, she can’t blame anyone but herself. She indirectly encouraged voters to think that their choices would count for less if they did not fall behind the eventual winner. Unfair and undemocratic, but it was a game she played.