Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE SECONDARY CONVERSATION....The "gender card" accusation against Hillary Clinton following Tuesday night's debate seemed like pretty weak tea to me, but Garance Franke-Ruta made an interesting comment yesterday about the broader topic:

The primary political conversation that occurs in public is led by men, who still make up more than 80 percent of Congress, op-ed page writers, political talk-show guests, etc. But that doesn't mean women don't have any opinions or have nothing to say. What women have instead of a public conversation is what I've come to think of as "the secondary conversation" — an ongoing conversation with other women, in private, where they feel they can speak freely about their lives and their place in the world without fear of being penalized or stigmatized for saying what they actually think. Clinton to date has been a master of dog-whistle politics in evoking the common tropes of that secondary conversation without making it too apparent or jarring to her male listeners.

The only reason we're talking about this now, Garance says, is that Hillary's latest effort was slightly less subtle than usual, which made it "jarring to both women adept in the art of deflecting attention from their difference and men used to pretending the whole gender-inequality problem has been solved."

Maybe so! But that would make a fascinating blog post or magazine article, wouldn't it? We're all used to thinking of coded appeals to evangelicals or racists, but not to women. Those usually seem more overt, like appeals to environmentalists or tax cutters. So how about a few examples? I'd be fascinated to find out when and where Hillary has made these dog whistle appeals before, unbeknownst to the rest of us.

Kevin Drum 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (124)

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Comments

Every President in US history got the job by playing the male gender card.

Further, any objective analysis of network and cable news reveals that the male gender card is played, traded, and collected 24/7/365.

Posted by: JoeCHI on November 3, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

GFR is always at her worst when shilling for Hillary.

What they actually think? I barely understand women as it is, even the one I've been with for years, and I'd welcome women standing up and saying what they think so we can have a good conversation about it.

Posted by: MNPundit on November 3, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

HealthCare. (men dont' really care about it enough to really inform themselves).
Iraq. Hillary is straddling a fence with sharp points on it because she knows that women are ch more likely to be pro-drawdown. Women want their children NOT to die in war, no matter what the reason. But , Hillary needs to also bery careful not to antagonize the traditional male.

Bill. Hillary has a side conversation with every woman who's ever been cheated on by her husband. hillary is saying to these women, we know women's lib is out there, but we also recognize that sometimes, we must maintain appearances in order to heal fully. I think this is the crucial one for Hillary. She is living a life of cultural conservativism by NOT divorcing her philandering husband. Is it to remain "electable"? No. I think she really is living a life of a role model. The best way to win against a philanderer is to keep him close, not far away.

Posted by: Chris on November 3, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Since even a well-informed political junkie is likely to pick up on all of the dog whistles, I think the blogosphere ought to make a priority of identifying them regardless of source and, well, blowing the whistle on them. Perhaps in time the old-fashioned media would take more interest as well. The result could be more open and transparent politics.

Posted by: Ken D. on November 3, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kate Michelman, former head of NARAL, consultant to Edwards, on Rachel Maddow last night, said that Hillary should stop playing the gender card.

Observation: Modern Mainstream feminists for Hillary say she wasn't playing the gender card. Modern Mainstream Feminists against Hillary say she was playing the gender card.

Conclusion: Modern Mainstream feminists have no underlying philosophy, and their measurements reflect that.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Corrected post; sorry.

Since even a well-informed political junkie is UNlikely to pick up on all of the dog whistles, I think the blogosphere ought to make a priority of identifying them regardless of source and, well, blowing the whistle on them. Perhaps in time the old-fashioned media would take more interest as well. The result could be more open and transparent politics.

Posted by: Ken D. on November 3, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I know what GFR is saying here, but isn't "being penalized or stigmatized for saying what they actually think" what's supposed to happen when people disagree with you in an open society? Hell, our main complaint about the current administration is that they aren't being penalized or stigmatized for saying what they actually think often enough.

Obviously, when this happens in an explicitly gender-focused context, that's unacceptable, but no one looking to participate in political discussion should do so without the anticipation that they're going to get disagreed with and possibly discredited as a result of voicing their beliefs. I think part of what annoys me about Hillary's "pile-on" narrative is that she's trying to do that while *also* claiming to be uniquely qualified for the rough-and-tumble of contemporary national politics.

Posted by: Daniel Munz on November 3, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hm. So far, four comments by four dudes. Five, counting mine. Here's hoping someone with more, er, directly relevant knowledge will chime in.

Posted by: Adam on November 3, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Adam's right. Regardless of all the DNA and cultural experiences we share, men are not qualified to discuss issues regarding women or their behavior. We get all squicked out because of that icky period thing and then our hatred just comes out.

I don't even know why they allow men to become doctors, psychologists, linguists, or well, anything.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

The best way to play the gender card is to have surrogates imply your male enemies are ganging up on you, leading them to attack you for it, only to demonstrate that you never said anything of the sort. A subtle form of triangulatulation.

Once again, HRC is having it both ways.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 3, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

The more men talk about Hillary the "female" and her fascinating femaleness, the more women are going to vote for her just to stick to you clueless bastards.

She deserves to be president, just for keeping her cool amongst you boys all these many long years.

God knows, I couldn't.

Posted by: wobbly on November 3, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Many thanks to JoeCHI for pointing that male politicians play their gender card all the time. Personally, HRC's speaking style makes me wince and I can't listen to her for long, so I'm not sure if she's been trying to play any cards with this little SWF. I've read about campaign events where she got women up on stage to talk about their financial problems, showing off her ability to listen (a woman thing) and that she really, really cares (another woman thing).

HRC been such a hawk I've been convinced she's been playing it "tougher than the guys" just to fit in -- as any woman must in a profession where women are a small minority. So I've wondered if she's really that hawkish and will calm down once in office, or if she'd feel the need to continue to play tougher than she really is, which could be devastating.

I started this campaign rabidly anti-HRC and don't like how ugly her campaign is. I'm voting for Obama. Still, I have come to respect HRC and think she would make a better president than the GOP guys, barring any tendency to order more pre-emptive invasions. I just have to respect someone who can take 16 YEARS of mudslinging and misogyny and personal smears and still be on her feet and going for it.

Rebecca

Posted by: Rebecca on November 3, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

There's a game called "your turn in the barrel". We witnessed the Democratic Party put their leading candidate in the barrel. Then, we watched as they attacked that candidate with the moderator's assistance. Did anyone really come away from that debate with any confidence in the Democrats ability to unify and govern the country?

Posted by: Lyle on November 3, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on November 3, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Really? This sounds like the kind of idle speculation we might expect from David Brooks on one of his trips to the far side of the imagination. How can this be proved or disproved?

Posted by: daveb99 on November 3, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal Dem woman here. I don't read GFR. Didn't hear Michelman on the Rachel Maddow show. But I did watch the Tuesday debate and have followed the post-debate debate pretty closely.

Obama got it right, I think, to state that Clinton doesn't get to complain about mistreatment at the hands of the guys because she's a gal. It was bad form for her to complain. It was bad judgment to agree with whoever advised her to frame it this way. It was bad advice from the adviser.

Like a lot of women, I've been there, talking and arguing with the guys. I've had to deal with the usual guy insults of dismissive eye-rolling and so on while they blather on with their wide shoulders and persuasive deep voices and about zero knowledge. It makes me mad and I get even the next time with better arguments and more evidence. That's something almost every politically engaged woman deals with.

But Clinton wasn't subjected to offensive guy antics over glasses of wine or during dinner conversation about politics. She was singled out in a nationally televised debate because she's been crowned (wrongly, I think) the inevitable Dem nominee. This creates frustration for those polling below her--men (they happen to be men) who want to be president just as much as she does--and maybe more. And so she got questions about her policies and where she actually stands on the issues. This is where the devastating Edwards campaign video ("The Politics of Parsing") comes in to play.

Is Chief Raccoon Russert an idiot? Of course. Does he have a history with the Clintons? Yes. But her poor performance during the debate stands in pretty sharp contrast to how she and her supporters depicted it afterward. The dog whistle "heat in the kitchen"? That's cute and Trumanesque. But is it true?

What I saw was Clinton wilt in the kitchen and then complain about the heat all the next day. Very bad form. But that's just me. I watched Tuesday night wanting and hoping to like Clinton more than I do. I came away liking other candidates better. Heck, I think Elizabeth Edwards would be a better president than Clinton.

Posted by: paxr55 on November 3, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Subtle sexism permeates most professional relations between men and women. Hillary is judged through a different lens than the men and judged more harshly.

Various studies back that up, one recently found that women who try to negotiate for higher salaries at the hiring table tend to diminish their chances of being hired.

When we can get beyond this, I think it is time to talk about the "problem" of "secondary conversations."

Posted by: mcdruid on November 3, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

paxr55 wrote: "Is Chief Raccoon Russert an idiot? Of course."

Tim Russert is a bought-and-paid-for shill for the Republican Party.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 3, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

She's not whistling my tune, that's for sure.

I'm voting for Obama. Because he's a hunk, of course.

Posted by: KathyF on November 3, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is "uniquely qualified for the rough-and-tumble of contemporary national politics" because she has endured some of the most hatred-filled vitrol from the radical rightwingers and still appears to be rather normal. I do not understand how she is able to withstand all these really, really awful things that are said about her. I see nothing wrong with Hillary playing the gender card; men have been doing it forever. Digby has a good post on this.

I would like to ask Jerry just exactly what is a "Modern Mainstream Feminist"? None of those words seem to go together to give a clear picture of what the heck he is referring to. I personally am a proud Feminist whose coming of age was in the 60s; and, what equality women have now, I worked hard to achieve. I don't believe you can be a Feminist and mainstream yet. And, modern makes no sense to me.

The only way you can break down barriers set up in our society to keep certain people from achieving success; e.g., women, African Americans, etc., is to do what Hillary and Barack are doing. If neither becomes the Democratic candidate, it will be easier the next time for women and African Americans. This is a good thing.

However, I cannot answer Kevin's last question because I may be too old to know what those coded appeals may be or if they exist. I do my own research of each candidate and his or her stance on the substantive issues that are important to my life; and, make my selection based on that research.

Posted by: Mazurka on November 3, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, did anybody see the FLILF episode on the Daily Show?

Christ Almighty, I came home from my first job, which is in a factory, as a skilled laborer, making equal pay for equal work-something impossible to do in my mother's day, something achieved by second wave FEMINISTS like me and Hillary...

...got on the Internet and saw that crap (coming from the liberal side of the spectrum!), puked all over my work boots, cleaned it up, and then made dinner.

My second job.

I am quite at home in the kitchen. I'd rather have a beer with Hillary than with ANYBODY else on the candidate list.

It's a pity that people as confused as I am, people born with a vajayjay instead of a phallus ever got the right to vote in the first place.

Welcome to America. Everybody who shows up at the polling place gets to vote.

Even women.

Even angry white women.

Posted by: wobbly on November 3, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well, there are Second Wave Feminists, and Radical Feminists, and Equity Feminists, and Pro-Sex Feminists, etc., I am mainly referring to the Feminist Movement as defined by our top tier feminist bloggers and by the behaviors of NARAL and NOW.

A lot of this is just simple identity politics and "healthy" does of victimization. Like NARAL's endorsement of Lincoln Chaffee instead of his democratic contender. A lot of this is the bigotry and sexism where our modern mainstream feminist bloggers, continue to call the Duke Students rapists, and continue to point to their case as proof of how there are no false allegations. A lot of this is the victimization cards: bringing up children is really difficult and unappreciated, and yet NOW still lobbies for sole custory and tries to defeat a rebuttable presumption of joint shared physical custody. A lot of this is the bad science of modern feminism, where they have put forth an unfalsifiable theory of a patriarchy and where they constantly denounce any other scientific study out of hand that may tend to look unfavorably at their own preferred conclusions. (See Salon's Broadsheet for excellent examples of this.) Some of this is just their gendered, sexist, bigoted approaches to life. Amanda Marcotte describes herself as pro-sex, but when you examine her writings what she means is she's pro-sex except for what happens in consensual relationship between married people, at which time she gets all judgmental over the politics of sexual acts that she claims are wonderful for non-married people to engage in.

I could go on, but like I said earlier, they've based their philosophy on an unfalsifiable theory, they've clutched their victimization to their bosoms, and they get lots of cover by claiming that anyone that disagrees with their brand of feminism is a) an anti-feminist, and b) a misogynist to boot.

Some of it can be seen in this thread: a) men should just STFU about women because we don't have vaginas, and b) it's the super secret sexism that's out there and until THAT is fixed, Hillary's secondary conversation is ignorable.

I've defined myself as a feminist since 1972 when a seventh grade English teacher turned us on to the concepts. Today, I would describe myself as an equity feminist, or a free speech feminist along the lines of Wendy Kaminer or Nadine Strossen (head of the ACLU or Cathy Young.

That said, I think Clinton has run a stellar campaign, as campaigns go, I am still worried about her triangulations and weaselings and being too close to the corporate interests as before.

If she is on the November ballot, I will eagerly vote for her.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Very roughly, compare feminism at Salon pre-Joan Walsh to feminism at Salon post-Joan Walsh. Pre Joan Walsh there were many different voices of feminism and they were spread throughout the magazine, though often in a section entitled, "mothers who think". Post Joan Walsh the majority of it is a cheerleading, shallow, gossipy, male-bashing blog called "Broadsheet" that has never found a "pro" male scientific study they liked and has never found a "pro" female scientific study they didn't like, regardless of the methodologies.

Or listen to what Doris Lessing has to say about the automatic rubbishing of men, or what Betty Dodson has to say about Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.

When I first discovered feminism, it was a positive sum game. At some point in the 90s, it was recast as a zero sum game. And that's the game I find "Modern Mainstream Feminists" play. I think many of us though the positive sum game is more interesting and valuable to women and men.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

The question is wrong, not the signals Hillary sends, it is the signals the men send.

Example: Lazio and Russert ganged up on Hillary. Would Lazio have walked up to any male opponent demanding a signature concerning campaign funds?

Would Russert dare ask Guiliani about his past marriages and why he announced his intend to divorce his second wife at a press conference? He had no qualms asking Hillary to apologize for having believed her husband. Weather she believed him or not it was none of anyones business.

Why should she answer why she staid with her husband? Has any man been asked why he left his family?

It is the signals coming from the boys, and we can read them. She does have to proof herself more than any man, most of all any Republican candidate.We know, she is no saint, she is not perfect, but who is?

She outshines the little man in the WH any time.

Posted by: Renate on November 3, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody is going to tell you anything, Kevin.

You're not in the club, and we have our secrets.

Well, OK, women's perogative, and all that, here goes:

Until you've been there and had your opinion dismissed because you're a woman, and had men just turn away from you when you were talking, and pointedly not include you in a conversation, you won't understand why this "piling on" has hit a chord in so many women.

I don't particularly like Hillary, she is not inspirational and is, I think, policy-wise politics as usual. And for that reason I might not vote for her in the primary, if Obama is still in it at that point. But I will gladly, happily vote for her in the general election, and will high-five my sisters when she's elected. And I'm going to purely LOVE seeing "important" men grovel at her feet.

Posted by: Cal Gal on November 3, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Until you've been there and had your opinion dismissed because you're a woman, and had men just turn away from you when you were talking, and pointedly not include you in a conversation, you won't understand why this "piling on" has hit a chord in so many women.

Right, because men never experience being in a group of say their wife's friends and experiencing this, and men don't experience this at the feminist blogs purely because they have a male "handle" (no pun intended) or because they seem to express what other people describe as "male" ideas.

And blacks never experience this with whites, and whites never experience this with blacks, and children never experience this with older teens, and teens don't experience this with adults.

And non-lawyers don't experience this with lawyers, and non doctors don't experience this with doctors and layman don't experience this with scientists.

Nope, Kevin can't understand this.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'll give it a try, although obviously women differ, and I am not sure exactly what it is I am seeing, or why I have the reactions I do.

I am an Edwards supporter. Hillary is far too hawkish for me. But. . . .

- I do get a small thrill thinking about a woman being president. I have daughters, and there is a little girl power attitude lurking down there in my subconscious.

- Every time I hear some ass making fun of Hillary's laugh, or cleavage, or voice, it makes me want to vote for her more. That shit just pisses me off. Complain about her Iraq vote, or her health plan, fine. But that kind of sliming tends to awaken my female solidarity impulse. But I don't think *Hillary* is blowing the dog whistle. Unless she is extemely subtle and clever, it's the pundits who say that stuff that rile me up.

- Same for whenever someone says "Hillary is whining about being picked on." Since Hillary has not "whined" at all, what this says to me is We Pundits don't want to hear anything approaching criticism or negative assessment of men from a woman. It doesn't matter if she is pointing out something that happened, or speaking to her high school. She will be called a whiner. Because anything other than supportive cheerleading from a woman is just too, too uncomfortable for us pundits to bear.

- criticism of women for supporting Hillary. Everyone else is allowed to pick their candidate on the basis of whatever combination of personal appeal, comfortable fit, feelings of safety, etc. they choose. It's positively encouraged to pick a candidate based on how macho and tough he appears. Oh, oh you could land a plane on his shoulders. But women are scolded for liking Hillary, because it must be because she is a women, and that's just beyond the pale.

The more I write, the more I don't see Hillary doing much except by being smooth and not taking the bait. I don't see how she instigates very much of this. For example, I guess she *could* have worn a shirt that showed a half an inch of cleavage so that it would be widely commented on and therefore piss me off, but that seems a little too unlikely a series of events to have been planned. I think it was spontaneous idiocy on the part of the pundits.

Posted by: Emma Anne on November 3, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think the coverage of Clinton's campaign needs to grow up.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 3, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

In my opinion the whole gender brouhaha that developed after the debate was actually a red herring thrown out by the Hillary camp to distract attention (particularly directed at her strong female base) from the legitimate criticisms made by Obama and Edwards of her penchant for triangulation which results in her inablity to state a clear position on a host of issues. The 'piling on' was foreseen by many commentators the day before the debate for obvious political reasons, i.e., Hillary's big lead in the polls demanded a more aggressive posture by the challengers. This would have occured even if the leader had been male or if another of the leading candidates had been female. As long as the criticism is legitimate and of some importance then it seems a valid part of any debate. Just to be clear, I do see the possibility of gender being illegitimately used to score points in a debate; for example, implying that a woman candidate's foreign policy positions are weak due to gender differences. But that wasn't the case in this week's debate. It seems, in fact, anti-feminist to me to expect 'chivalry' on the debate stage.

Posted by: nepeta on November 3, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

What I noticed listening to the radio pinheads was that her nuanced answer to the Spitzer question was cast not as "flip-flopping" but as "she's a woman and keeps changing her mind." That's just plain wrong, and if there's an explanation other than sexism I don't know what it is. A woman caller was introduced as "a caller from the female side of the planet." Can you say something like that and with a straight face say that you're not a sexist?

But if Sen. Clinton is actually playing the "men ganging up on me" card (and I don't know if she is, but if she is) that's a mistake. She's got to be able to take it, because wrong or right she's going to get that kind of shit. As our favorite two-star troll observes upthread, politics is indeed a contact sport.

Posted by: thersites on November 3, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody tell me exactly what HRC said that precipitated all these accusations of playing the gender card. I really don't know.

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 3, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator disagrees with me. He/she only gave mhr one star, this time.

Posted by: thersites on November 3, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Chris wrote “we also recognize that sometimes, we must maintain appearances in order to heal fully. I think this is the crucial one for Hillary. She is living a life of cultural conservativism by NOT divorcing her philandering husband. Is it to remain "electable"? No. I think she really is living a life of a role model. The best way to win against a philanderer is to keep him close, not far away.”

Chris, in my opinion, Occam’s Razor supplies a much simpler explanation for Hillary Clinton having stayed with Bill through thick and thin: She loves him and She knows that Bill’s moral failings do not diminish his love for her either. It’s not about appearances; a fortiori it’s not about appearances as a path to healing; it’s not about electability; it’s not about What Would a Role Model Do?; and it’s not about what it take to takes to win against her husband. You don’t win against those you love — you win with them. And that is exactly what Hillary Rodham Clinton has done ever since she met young Bill.

I do not say any of this out of partisanship; I still have not decided for whom I will vote in the upcoming presidential primary.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on November 3, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

In my opinion the whole gender brouhaha that developed after the debate was actually a red herring thrown out by the Hillary camp to distract attention ... from the legitimate criticisms made by Obama and Edwards of her penchant for triangulation ...

Posted by: nepeta

Spot on.

HRC is not vulnerable on policy differences. She is vulnerable on doubletalk -- which at least the Edwards camp understands. It has potentially fatal consequences because it plays into the narrative the MSM harp on.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 3, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Joel R: She is living a life of cultural conservativism by NOT divorcing her philandering husband.

One of the more absurd things I've heard on the radio lately is Guiliani and a local radio host making fun of Clinton's marriage. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Bizarro world.

I really need to get the CD player in my car fixed!

Posted by: thersites on November 3, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

- Same for whenever someone says "Hillary is whining about being picked on." Since Hillary has not "whined" at all, what this says to me is We Pundits don't want to hear anything approaching criticism or negative assessment of men from a woman.

I think it has less to do with actual whining and more to do with a tactic that, in the short term, may have backfired. But it's worth considering the possibility that this whole post-debate discussion (and meta-discussion) play in her favor, insofar as it may attract more women voters to her camp. I don't think anyone knows yet how that's going to go. I don't think it's out of line, though, to refer to the comments by Penn & McEntee as whining, since the language they used smacked of victimization. And the bottom line is, if her people are whining, she's whining.

What's really been driving me up a tree is reference to the "cackle," and descriptions of Clinton as "calculating." Witches cackle, and anybody running for any office better be calculating. People need to be called on that shit the moment it crosses their lips.

Posted by: junebug on November 3, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

HRC's campaign is going to continue moving forward, smart and inexorable-seeming, and then there will be another bimbo-eruption for Bill, and it will be all over.

Posted by: lampwick on November 3, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still a little unclear on why this is a feminist issue at all. This was a presidential debate and Hilary is the frontrunner. Of course the other candidates ganged up on her. If you're swimming with the sharks, you better be able to bite back. And Hillary can definitely bite back.

Is there anyone commenting here who doesn't believe that Hilary can handle herself? For my part, I think she is by far the best "bare knuckle" politician in the race from either party. It's part of the reason she'll make a good president.

There are definite issues of gender equality and sexism still to work on, but this isn't one of them.

Posted by: heedless on November 3, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, I found the exact words.

Hillary said during a speech that her all-girls-school alma mater "prepared me compete in the all boys’ club of presidential politics."

Wow, how amazing! She mentioned gender while speaking at an all girls school she attended. Wow.

Ok, let's change the subject.

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 3, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that the gender issue is exaggerated in terms of it being a plus or a minus in the final voting in the general election. But it may be a significant factor in the democrat primary process.

Hillary is a media/political creation. Dowd recently said she would be running for president of the Wellsley Alumni Accociation except for nepotism. I would add in the press bias for her acsension from humiliated wife to legitimate presidential candidate.

The notion that a former first lady and one term Senator from a non-competitive state is somehow well qualifed, let alone the most qualified non-incumbant in the last 60 years as her lying husband says, is laughable.

Everything Hillary and her team says or does is calculated to promote her ambition and lust for power. She will play the gender card every time she believes it will help her.

I think there is at least a fair chance that at the end of the road in the general election, sufficient voters will make their decision on the merits for the best person to be elected. But any party that determined John Kerry should be nominated because he was the most "electable" candidate is likely to buy into the fiction of Clinton's qualifications.

Posted by: brian on November 3, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Emma Anne:
- I do get a small thrill thinking about a woman being president. I have daughters, and there is a little girl power attitude lurking down there in my subconscious.

Me too. I've seen people in HRC's campaign tout how excited women are, although I've never seen HRC herself mention it. Seems like it would be more a factor in the general election -- increase the turnout of women who are willing to vote for her and are excited to vote for the first woman president. I think her campaign is handling this cleverly -- they mention it without making a big deal of it.

- Every time I hear some ass making fun of Hillary's laugh, or cleavage, or voice, it makes me want to vote for her more. That shit just pisses me off.

And the longer the campaign goes on, the more I recognize just how sexist the commentary is.

Posted by: Rebecca on November 3, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Verbal culture is a very interesting thing, calling it a 'secondary conversation' seems to underestimate its significance in forming opinions and attitudes. What I think the author means is unrecorded communication, like conversation, disseminates information that influences demographic groups and that this form of transmission is almost unconscious to the public mind.

Hollywood knows about the verbal culture and I think the political whispering campaigns have tapped into it as a persuasive art, but both of these story tellers know that mass audience advertising still excels for delivering the controlled message.

Posted by: Brojo on November 3, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Tim Russert is a bought-and-paid-for shill for the Republican Party. --Secular Animist


Yes, Russert is that too. And an idiot.

And heedless asks: "Is there anyone commenting here who doesn't believe that Hilary can handle herself?"

Depends on what you mean by "handle herself." Of course she's tough. But the point is, in Clinton's effort to prove toughness (something she doesn't need to do, IMHO) she neglects to showcase other more important leadership qualities: ability to inspire, compassion, vision, straight-talking, etc., etc.

Posted by: paxr55 on November 3, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

The cleavage was noted by a woman, WAPO fashion and style reporter Robin Givhan.

The laugh is routinely mocked by Stephanie Miller and torn to shreds by Jon Stewart. The laugh was torn apart because to those two comedians, it seemed so clearly forced and robotic. It was made worse as far I was concerned in that the Big Dog had telegraphed the laugh as a strategy the week before when he told someone the best part of Hillary we didn't know about was her sense of humor.

I don't see any sexism in mocking her laugh. It's akin to mocking Rudy over his 9/11.

I do see the incredible sexism in the cleavage issue, but mostly I see the incredible stupidity of women's fashion and style sections.

I haven't heard anyone complain about her voice.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Her gender was not an issue until the pundits made it an issue.

Posted by: Renate on November 3, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Having watched the debate in question and listened to the many observations offered in its wake, I can't honestly say that I ever saw Sen. Hillary Clinton overtly play the so-called "gender card," either during said debate or after.

I did, however, take due notice of the number of obviously insecure white male presidential campaign spokesmen, and their equally pudgy and/or stodgy white male political pundits, who were all too quick to accuse her of doing so.

And I daresay, so did many women, the vast majority of whom have suffered such blantantly sexist attitudes from maes -- and alas, from a not-insignificant number of females, as well -- for far too long.

P.S.: brian, you are a thinly-veiled GOP concern troll who posts ignorant opinions littered with misinformation pulled from your own ass, not unlike the gorillas at the L.A. Zoo who delightly fling poo at their squealing audiences of human visitors. Just STFU and go somewhere, anywhere else, will ya?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 3, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Have you ever noticed Matthew McConaughey's voice? Reviewers routinely cite it as the movie hunk's single greatest liability, other than his acting, that is. And, yes, Hillary's voice and delivery are wanting. It's not sexist to believe it or to say it. We all make decisions based on the whole person: appearance, voice, and accent, and so on, including gender.

The V-neck Clinton wore that day was attractive. That's why women wear them as a rule. The WaPo piece struck me as reaching a bit. Stupid even.

The laugh: Clinton can deploy a wonderful, natural laugh--almost a belly laugh. But in the other debate, when asked a tough question on her Iran vote, she deployed an unfunny, evasive, dismissive, derisive laugh.

What was so funny about her vote, or Gravel's question? Not a thing. It was an unfunny vote that she didn't much care to explain to her fellow Americans. And Jon Stewart was right to subject it to some ridicule. Is that sexist? No.

Heat in the kitchen indeed.

Posted by: paxr55 on November 3, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

jerry: "I haven't heard anyone complain about [sen. Clinton's] voice."

Being as you mentioned Stephanie Miller in your post, I'm rathered surprised that you haven't noted her good-natured but nevertheless mocking comparison of Mrs. Clinton's flat-voweled Midwestern inflection to that of the title characters in Tim Burton's over-the-top -- ahem! -- "comedy", Mars Attacks.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 3, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to see HRC debate Giuliani, the most grating but most intelligent Democrat against the most grating and dumbest Republican. She'd hand him his lunch - and tell him not lose his lunch money this time.

Posted by: lampwick on November 3, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

But that's true of all conversations among a group when that group is the inferior one in an unequal relationship with another set of people.

Just compare the conversation among the employees of a company with what they say in formal meetings with the corporate brass. More importantly, members of a minority say to each other the things that are not quite the same as what they say when talking to those in the dominant majority.

Posted by: gregor on November 3, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

So I've heard the Mars Attacks bit, but not the entire thing. I'm not saying no one has attacked her on her voice, just I haven't heard it or noted it so didn't want to comment on it.

Now that you mention Stephanie Miller has made those comments I have to defend Stephanie Miller (cause I love her so) so I will now say that attacks on Clinton's voice is about the same as an attack on Kucinich's elfish ears or wrinkles or Thompson's geriatric appearance.

Remember: Goldwater Miller 08!

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't notice the so-called "piling on" at the time of the debate, and I suspect that using the phrase in an ad, as I understand HRC's camp did, was a tactical error. It makes her sound weaker than she is, which is not at all.

But I noticed on Hardball and Dan Abrams that the guys seemed much more distressed about her invocation of her Wellesley education and its preparing her to play in the "boys' club." Good grief. Why, the poor men were positively hyperventilating over it. If female commentators had acted the same way in a reverse situation, the men would have called them "hysterical."

I like Chris Matthews, but he has an unreconstructed attitude toward women a mile wide, and it showed in his insistence that she played the gender card. I will say that Craig Crawford, whom I had dismissed as a good-old-boy idiot due to his attitude on the Imus matter, stood up for Hillary and didn't back down.

I think the importance of Hillary's candidacy attracting women has been underestimated. Anecdotally, my thirty-something daughter, who was raised as a Republican but rarely votes, says she will vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination. (She says the same thing about Condoleezza Rice.)

There is a hunger out there to see a woman go all the way--and not in the old meaning of the term.

Posted by: Bettie on November 3, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think the importance of Hillary's candidacy attracting women has been underestimated.

Posted by: Bettie

I agree. And I don't think she has to triangulate.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 3, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, "She doesn't have what it takes." They will say, "Women don't have what it takes." ~Clare Boothe Luce

Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge. ~Author Unknown
The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl." ~Shirley Chisholm
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels. ~Faith Whittlesey
Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their opressors. ~Evelyn Cunningham
A man endures pain as an undeserved punishment; woman accepts it as a natural heritage. ~Author Unknown
Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men. ~Joseph Conrad
History is herstory too. ~Author Unknown
Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths. ~Lois Wyse
It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.... Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less. ~Susan B. Anthony
I ask no favors for my sex.... All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks. ~Sarah Moore Grimké
I asked a Burmese why women, after centuries of following their men, now walk ahead. He said there were many unexploded land mines since the war. ~Robert Mueller
Resolved, that the women of this nation in 1876, have greater cause for discontent, rebellion and revolution than the men of 1776. ~Susan B. Anthony
How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete? ~Author Unknown


Posted by: consider wisely always on November 3, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels. ~Faith Whittlesey

Posted by: consider wisely always

My absolute favorite!!!

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 3, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

I dislike Clinton because of what I read about her foreign and domestic policies. When I see and hear Clinton on TV, I like her very much. I liked her response for trying to do something to make driving in her state safer. Clinton is an attractive, clever speaker to me. She may have stammered a bit when she was put on the spot, but then recovered with a nice defense of Spitzer.

Posted by: Brojo on November 3, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Oy... it frightens me that we're nattering about the cultural and gender implications of a political candidacy while Democrats are confirming a guy as AG who is obviously going to allow the US to slide further into an abyss of ignorance and savagery, but okay.

Here are some general feminist observations on HRC:

- Very accomplished college & law student, from a generally unremarkable Midwestern middle-class background. Became liberal during the sixties, although well within the establishment. Fell in love with a gifted and charismatic, if occasionally undisciplined, man from a lower-class, turbulent background, and apparently took on a sort of gatekeeper/manager role in his life.

- Made The Expected Sacrifices�, taking her prestigious degree & accomplishments to the middle of f$#*ing nowhere to follow him & his do-gooder dreams. Once there, she became the primary breadwinner as a corporate lawyer, keeping her hand in activism the way many female lawyers do when their focus is otherwise on generating income: sitting on a bunch of issues-oreinted boards & committees. (these points are critical wrt understanding why women sympathize with her, btw)

- Was repaid for her sacrifices (oh, let's not forget changing her name to soothe the outraged rubes) & efforts with constant criticism by the public, and public humiliation by her own husband.

- Helps him gain the White House, and has all the same crap thrown at her on a national scale instead of merely statewide. Becomes [even more] secretive, rigid, controlled/controlling, and demanding of loyalty from associates & subordinates-- a permanent defensive crouch.

- His career ends when they're both relatively young, and it's her turn: he's not just going to help her achieve the Cabinet/federal court/congressional status she probably would have had if she had not followed his dreams instead of her own (remember, plenty of married women would kill for this much generosity & acknowledgement), but their political machine will be called back into service to Make History. Full payback is at hand, not just for the usual compromises or even the usual political-spouse free labor, but for all the public shame and unfair judgments she's endured.

So... women see a lot of things in HRC's life & career, and I would imagine many are perfectly pleased when she tries to have it both ways, especially on the gender issue, because quite frankly, men have it both ways all the time in our experience... at work, at home, financially, sexually, etc., they don't hear 'there's no way to have it all' the way we do, because for them it's perfectly possible to have it all when the wife is doing a lot of the work and virtually all of the management & coordination.

Anyway, I'm a feminist who opposes Hillary for president, for many, many reasons related to what I want for this country-- which is, IMNSHO, in much more danger than feminism as defined by media images & a vague sense of empowerment is-- but let's not pretend that she doesn't garner positive responses from women, and will be defended vigorously even when she is objectively being manipulative & playing both sides. Most don't care, because a huge symbolic (and only symbolic, IMO) victory is within grasp, policies be damned.

Posted by: latts on November 3, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

" I do get a small thrill thinking about a woman being president." - Emma Anne

"Me too." - Rebecca

Darn it, sisters, the thrill should come from electing the first woman president who is also the best candidate to lead liberal change in this country. You have a point in that breaking the gender barrier is always an important step, but at this moment in time I find that step to be of less significance than electing someone, man or woman, committed to real progressive change. Perhaps I read Hillary wrong. I'll be thrilled if she becomes the first woman US president and proves me wrong in my estimation of her.

Posted by: nepeta on November 3, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Latts - Well-said!

Posted by: nepeta on November 3, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Paxr,

"Handle herself" was a bit vague, wasn't it. I just meant that Hilary is the toughest candidate in the race, and that she (and her campaign staff) have been disciplined, smart, and ruthelessly efficient. She self-evidently has the guts to be president, and even her harshest critics are willing to admit this (as many of them are not in the case of Obama or Edwards).

If anything, she's had to work too hard at appearing "warm and womanly" or whatever you want to call the stereotypical, sexist crap we require from our female candidates.

Posted by: heedless on November 3, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta: Darn it, sisters, the thrill should come from electing the first woman president who is also the best candidate to lead liberal change in this country....

Fear not, I'm supporting Barack Obama. My decision is based on foreign policy, health care and my impression that he can best lead the country. The other person quoted, Emma Anne, states above that she supports Edwards.

In the general election I'll vote for the Democratic nominee, whoever that is. A year ago I would have said that if HRC became the nominee I wouldn't vote. Now I think I'd show up and maybe even smile about it, thanks to her performance on the campaign trail. I think part of my appreciation is a sense of "You go, girl", and a new acceptance that the first female president may not be my personal ideal candidate. Are other women having the same reaction, and will it make a difference? All I know is that if a man advocating her policies were in the lead, I doubt I could smile about voting for him in the general. But then, no man would have to take the crap HRC has taken.

I truly hope Obama will win the nomination and the question will never be more than theoretical.

Posted by: Rebecca on November 3, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Rebecca and Emma! Sheesh, it might help if I had read your posts more carefully. Rebecca, unfortunately I haven't quite gotton to your point of peace with Hillary. If she's the candidate I'll vote for her unhappily. I've come that far at least during the campaign. Like you, I originally said I wouldn't vote at all with Hillary on the ballot.

Posted by: nepeta on November 3, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta's right: great post, latts.

heedless, "handle herself" was a great image. I imagined Clinton with a shiv, and that's fine. I'm sure she could wield one well. But what does she stand for? The shiv? Being tough? Surviving? Being a role model?

Fine. OK. But I've got lots of those already. I need a new country with a patriot leading it--one who can talk straight.

I'd like to hear more about how she'll get our soldiers out of Iraq. I mean that's just for starters. I've got lots o' issues.

Posted by: paxr55 on November 3, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't followed her campaign that closely, but it seems to me that Senator Clinton (notice how we all tend to call her "Hillary"--what's up with that?) has been pretty careful NOT to play the gender card. And it's quite obvious that everyone is waiting with baited breath for her to do so, so that they can then jump all over her. Why would she play the gender card? She knows quite well that it would cause endless problems. And I don't think she needs to send any coded messages to the women out there--her running is all the message they need. It's the critics--male and female--who are uncomfortable with her gender who are sending out all the coded and not-so-coded messages.

I didn't start out liking her much, but my respect for her is growing rapidly. I won't have any problem supporting her in the general election, and I might even vote for her in the primary. I think she's the strongest and most competent one in the bunch, even though she's more conservative than I'd like. But face it folks--we don't live in a progressive culture, and at this point I'll be delighted if we end up with an intelligent, competent moderate in charge.

Posted by: Jess on November 3, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm...I think "baited" be "bated"--any grammar geeks out there?

Posted by: Jess on November 3, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, Lucy! That's how to judge a candidate...or any person, actually!

Posted by: Jess on November 3, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

you can sit smugly and with wide-eyed wonder ask what it's all about, but your cluelessness is offensive

Comments: Kevin's reputation in the blogosphere is probably one of being overly bland if anything, calm, respectful, sincere, maybe earnest. It's one thing to say that a person is clueless, and yet another to describe that person's cluelessness as offensive in and of itself. It smacks of speech policing. Kevin, if you continue to question Hillary and ask questions, you're going to draw the rebuke of Lucy and her friends.

Sadly, this sort of peer pressure threats is often how the secondary conversation takes place. Coded signals, rewards, punishments, queen bees and wannabes, in groups, out groups, socialization.

Me, I think that people asking questions is a good thing, I think speech is a good thing, I think people trying to figure out what they are failing to perceive is a good thing, and I think that telling someone their cluelessness is offensive is not only stupid, but abusive.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

I love this topic. Some observations. I routinely watch MSNBC political coverage with friends both male and female and we have talked about this subject. Females tell me that there is not so much a 'secondary conversation' as there is the uncanny ability of the punditocracy to step all over themselves (without realizing it) in their condescending speech and tone to and about women. How, you may ask? My friends point out the obvious talk about wardrobe, hairstyles of HRC and other Women public figures. But, also the not so obvious and surprisingly annoying to at least some women terminology used by men in refering to women as 'gals' and even to some as 'ladies'.
I know that seems very trivial, but many women feel subtley put down in a mixed group business situation when they are referred to as 'the gals'.
Note: I have not seen any of the other Democratic Candidates make these mistakes. Also, they say things like 'Women are more less agressive' which is probably in general true but to the women standing in front of him or listening to hime, he has just said to her "you are not aggressive enough to be a leader". See what I mean. I did listen to Joe Scarborough talk about when he was running for his seat in Congress from Florida against a Women that he found it very difficut to fight the campaign against a woman. I can see why this would be true because this kind of stuff just falls out of his mouth all the time on his 'Morning Joe' show AND he has the additional audacity of the trying to bully Mikka Zbigniew, female cohost into agreeing with him or if she doesn't, he cuts her off. I personally have seen that happen numerous times so that one even I can't deny.

Posted by: Merg on November 3, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing. I can now see how the vote of a woman for a woman becomes the great equalizer for all that pent up anger.

Posted by: Merg on November 3, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Um, I don't know whether you have friends here or not. Nothing I wrote suggested you did.

No one here says you have to agree with Kevin. I am just noting how you are able to find his very cluelessness offensive. It's an amazingly arrogant and privileged stance. It's a stance reflected and encouraged at many of our privileged feminist blogs where they heavily moderate comments and then ship people off to the feminism 101 faq. "We can say whatever we want, but if you ask us about it, our job isn't to teach you feminism 101". It's bullshit there and it's bullshit here.

And regardless of what others tell you, calling someone a concern troll is the last refuge of a person about to lose an argument.

Posted by: jerry on November 3, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing. I can now see how the vote of a woman for a woman becomes the great equalizer for all that pent up anger.--Merg

Sorry: what does this mean?

Posted by: paxr55 on November 3, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I'll give you one of the whistles -- when Mark Penn came out and said that Clinton was facing a "Backlash" there is no way to believe that someone (assuming he didn't know it himself) did not choose the term deliberately. It's taken from the selling (and incredibly significant) book BACKLASH written by Susan Faludi about the issues women faced after the women's movement -- women of Hillary's age in particular.

Posted by: geml on November 3, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

jerry: "Now that you mention Stephanie Miller has made those comments I have to defend Stephanie Miller (cause I love her so) so I will now say that attacks on Clinton's voice is about the same as an attack on Kucinich's elfish ears or wrinkles or Thompson's geriatric appearance."

You won't get any argument from me. As I said in my post, Stephanie Miller mocks Hillary's "Mars Attacks!" voice in jest. It's all done in fun, and there's nothing mean-spirited about it. She hosts what is probably the funniest talk-show on the radio airwaves.

And let's nt neglect to mention her sidekicks' recent lampooning sf Larry "I am not gay" Craig and the Rev. Ted "My sex life is fabulous!" Haggard, or their near-daily send-up of FOX News' Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo "I'll scratch her eyes out!" Rivera.

My only quibble is that I have to record her show for later, because she comes on out here at 3:00am Honolulu time.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 3, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: "Most women have deep respect for someone who takes it and still has the strength to put herself out there on behalf of us all. She represents our hopes and aspirations and what is done to her is done to us all. Oppressed people understand this feeling. "

I think GFR may be right about the idea of a secondary conversation, but I think, if a man were to listen in, he would find that the conversation consists primarily of smug, self-congratulatory variations of "We women are so awesome, so good, so smart, so accomplished. We have so much empathy. We are strong, beautiful! We care! A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle! Men just don't appreciate us. If women ran the world, war, poverty, injustice, etc, would end. Men oppress us, keep us from fulfilling our full potential!"

Some women believe this with as much passion as a fundamentalist believes in creationism. All Clinton has to do is exist as a woman, and those who sing the hymns of self-praise will overlook the reality of who she is, how she got where she is and the policies she embraces. This is what identity politics is about--if the demographic fits, the ideology will forgive everything else.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 3, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Paxr55
What I mean by the 'vote being the great equalizer for the angry woman' is that where women feel that a man's opinion counts for more than a women's opinion, say in the workplace, in the voting booth all votes are equal Is that what you are asking me?

Posted by: Merg on November 4, 2007 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

OK, for those who are claiming that Hillary didn't really play the gender card, how about this AP account?

Rather than rebut her rivals' charges or confront the issues with facts and details, Clinton accused her rivals of ganging up on her.
She released a cleverly edited video showing rivals John Edwards, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd uttering her name in rapid-fire succession to the strains of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.
The video then cuts to the words, "The Politics of Pile On."
Her top strategist, Mark Penn, told supporters on a conference call that Clinton needed their help to survive "this six-on-one to try to bring her down."
In the call, first reported by The Hill newspaper, pollster Penn said he had already detected backlash from female voters.
On Thursday, the senator returned to her all-female alma mater, Wellesley College, and called it a place that taught her to compete "in the all-boys club of presidential politics."
Clinton's advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss internal matters, said there is a clear and long-planned strategy to fend off attacks by accusing her male rivals of gathering against her.
The idea is to change the subject while making Clinton a sympathetic figure, especially among female voters who often feel outnumbered and bullied on the job.
As one adviser put it, Clinton is not the first presidential candidate to play the "woe-is-me card" but she's the first major female presidential candidate to do it.

Can any honest person read this account and not conclude that Hillary played the gender card?

Posted by: frankly0 on November 4, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many female voters that Hillary doesn't already have on her side will be inclined to vote for her when she plays the gender card like this?

You see, you have to counterbalance with all the male and female voters who are going to be turned off by it. And those voters will tend to be a lot harder for pollsters to pick up, because there will always be pressure to express politically correct views on the matter,

As I look at even the liberal blogosphere, there's a lot of resentment about Hillary pulling this stunt, both in males and females. I've got to guess that those who fundamentally less liberal, such as independents, are going to be only more turned off by it.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 4, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

She hosts what is probably the funniest talk-show on the radio airwaves.

Stephanie Miller and Rachel Maddow have by far the best shows on Air America. Smart. Fun.

I wish the rest of Air America would understand that as they try to design new shows.

I know what you mean about the problems of 3am. She comes on a bit too late for me where I am, and I have to sneak into work late if I want to listen to her.

Posted by: jerry on November 4, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else here noticed that Jerry is kind of an asshole? Just wondering.

Posted by: SB on November 4, 2007 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

I just want to say one thing. If I have to face daily blah-blah from one more president who doesn't open his/her mouth without running it by his/her handlers for another 4/8 years, I will go stark raving mad!

No, two things. If H. Clinton gets elected it will cement for decades the notion that no honest, plain speaking person can be elected President, which would be a tragedy.

Actually three things. In my prayers tonight, I will ask God to deliver us Obama. Obama's advocating diplomacy in the middle East, knowing the Repuglies and probably Hillary, too, will jump on him with all six feet for his squishiness, was such a little thing in the broader scheme of things, but downright courageous in today's gotcha political climate.

Posted by: james of DC on November 4, 2007 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

If women aren't willing to forecefully insert themselves in the national conversation, they don't really deserve to be heard. Men shout down other men all the time, nobody claims it's some terrible conspiracy to stop them from speaking. It's part of debate, and the more women like to talk about how they are too weak to take part in it, the more people will look at them as too weak in general.

Posted by: Soullite on November 4, 2007 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary's complaint about being piled on -- with the suggestion it was unfair because she's a woman -- was absurd. A frontrunner, at some point, is attacked.

If there had been something about the attacks - anything - that smacked of gender attack, that would have been different. But there was none of it, nor was there any attempt to bully or intimidate. These were not even attacks on issues that men and women usually see differently - for example, attacking Hillary for paying too much attention to a "woman's" issue. And the gist of the complaint - that she flip-flops and simply wants to win - has been tried on nearly every candidate now in the race.

The point of feminism cannot be that we want strong, assertive, powerful women politicians - who cry foul if they are questioned about their policy preferences or character.

Posted by: TedL on November 4, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

"Men shout down men all the time..." isn't exactly an endorsement of the method.

Nor is it a condemnation of doing it differently, much less a reason that a different approach can be effective. I'm not so sure that most people LIKE the Crossfire flame war that our politics have become, and I'm convinced the results aren't good enough.

That is a huge potential asset for Senator Clinton next fall, if she does get the nomination. Her rival's clueless is leverage for her.

Just to set a slightly OT benchmark for what cluelessness looks like, there was a moment of revelation in the trials surrounding the biggest slave revolt in American history, the derailed one led by Denmark Vesey in Charleston in 1822. Vesey and as many as 9,000 slaves planned to seize a Federal armory, kill every white man, woman and child in the city except for a couple ship captains, then sail away to Haiti. One of the house servants who was in on the conspiracy but happened to like the mistress of his house warned her, and the whole thing collapsed. But it came astonishingly close, and deeply affected American history in a thousand ways, particularly cuz no slaveholder could delude themselves after that they really did hold a wolf by the ears.

People wanted to believe, even at the trials, that the slave who wanted his own mistress to live was the rule, not the exception. Cluelessness this deep is WILLFUL.

At the trial, there was a slaveowner named Elias Horry who had literally been raised from childhood with one of his slaves, John: they had been little kids who played together, and now the guy was accused of plotting to murder him, his wife and his kids while they were sleeping. Horry couldn't believe it -- he KNEW this guy, he was trusted with all the secrets of the house: Elias Horry "would as soon suspect himself." So Horry insisted on going to the trial: he was ready to speak for mercy, because he could not imagine that this man who had been his friend and trusted servant practically from birth could possibly have planned something so brutal: "Tell me, are you guilty?... what were your intentions?"

Ensuring his execution, John said to his master's face from the stand: "To kill you, rip open your belly, and throw your guts in your face."

I dunno as women are THAT alienated, nor the dogwhistles that dire, but methinks it ain't smart to figure that just cuz men act like men, we can legitimately expect and demand that women be excluded cuz they don't.

I also think that it is unwise to underestimate the extent to which people react to powerful undercurrents, to things THEY may know, which WE do not. These aren't really dogwhistles, I don't think, nor "subliminal" messages -- a weak signal gets a weak result. They're generally open -- we could hear 'em, if we tried -- and very powerful, cuz they EXCLUDE: the poster upthread who recalls being shut out of conversations when she was the woman talking with men.

Folks who personally experience injustice tend to recognize it more readily than those who don't, and when they sense it, and are told it's not there, THAT creates solidarity and can move votes in bunches.

And if you think Dodd, Edwards, and Obama's going after the front-runner pushed those buttons, just wait until Republican men on their second or third marriages go after Clinton cuz she's still faithful to her first.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 4, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0 cites the AP article's statement that

"As one adviser put it, Clinton is not the first presidential candidate to play the "woe-is-me card" but she's the first major female presidential candidate to do it"

and then asks how we can honestly read this and not conclude that Hillary played the gender card. It seems to me that it's other people who are playing the gender card in the most overtly sexist of ways. A male candidate can complain that he's being ganged up on, but if a female candidate does it she's automatically playing the gender card.

I don't know about the secondary conversation. Most women I know are too busy being both primary breadwinners AND primary childrearers in their families (Michelle Obama, anyone?) to spend much time having political conversations. But that doesn't mean they don't have opinions about these issues (both general political issues, and the gender imbalance of those discussions) that they'll take to the ballot box. And I wouldn't be surprised if that means stronger and deeper support, at least in November, for Sen. Clinton than male pundits might imagine.

I'm not (like many of the women who have posted here) much of a Clinton supporter. I don't trust her. But I don't really see another (viable) candidate to really feel good about, Obama included. And the obnoxiousness of Republican and media attacks on Clinton will make me feel better about marking the box for her in November, should she be the candidate.

Posted by: rabbit on November 4, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

The thing that particularly disgusts me about Hillary pulling the gender card is how completely unnecessary and counterproductive it was.

Look, this is a candidate who by any reasonable account was far outperforming all of the others on the things that really count in terms of sheer capability: she projected sounder judgment, greater relevance, and more finesse, seemed better on her feet, and always seemed to have the right answer for any question.

Yes, some idiots tried to make a big deal out of truly stupid things, such as her cleavage and her laugh. But mostly those got very little traction, and Hillary quite well deflected them. Fundamentally, she came off as too masterful to be subverted by such trivialities.

And what does she do? She throws away all that impressive work for a cheap round of "You go, girl" from an all woman choir of supporters.

Look, I appreciate that men in effect play a gender card too when they run. There is all kinds of macho posturing when they project an image. But here's a key difference: when men play the macho image, they are doing so in the expectation that it will make them seem more competent and able. When Hillary played this gender card, it was to make her seem more helpless.

But we are voting for the most powerful person in the world. Nobody of sound mind is going to vote for someone out of pity, for Christ's sake. No one of sound mind is going to vote for them because they have been oppressed. What people of sound mind want is someone up to the job.

Is this hard to understand?

Posted by: frankly0 on November 4, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes:

Maybe so! But that would make a fascinating blog post or magazine article, wouldn't it? We're all used to thinking of coded appeals to evangelicals or racists, but not to women. Those usually seem more overt, like appeals to environmentalists or tax cutters. So how about a few examples? I'd be fascinated to find out when and where Hillary has made these dog whistle appeals before, unbeknownst to the rest of us.

Lucy, guess I read Kevin’s post differently that you. I see this post as a straightforward challenge to constructively identify and discuss if and how HRC has used dog whistle appeals, preferably including reference to specific examples. Not much of that going on here. Like you, I see a lot of Hillary knocking going on here (and everywhere else), but I do not see Kevin doing it.

I haven’t seen any dog whistle appeals that come even to being out of bounds. But I will certainly acknowledge such if it’s pointed out to me.

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 4, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

I do see one woman against a whole coterie of men, but it was a not a vision that was particularly sharpened at that moment of the debate when HRC committed a wee gaffe.

She's changing the subject. It's good politics, and increases my confidence in her ability to lead the nation.

She made the men look bad. That they happen to be her opponents is not a coincidence!

Posted by: Mina on November 4, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Somewhat off topic, and I posted the same assessment in another thread, but I think the following assessment of Hillary's conduct is pretty accurate and it has little to do with gender (which doesn't mean that Hillary is not also working the gender angle):

"Instead, she [Hillary] has come to believe, probably correctly, that if we knew what she really wants to do as president, we would never vote for her. So on Social Security (where she plans to raise taxes), Iran (where she will take military action if need be), Iraq (where she will keep the troops), the Alternative Minimum Tax (which she will only repeal if it can be used to hide massive tax increases) and drivers licenses (which she will give to illegals as soon as she can), Hillary resists telling the truth. And, under the scrutiny of opponents like Edwards and Dodd, and the questioning of Tim Russert, it is becoming obvious even to Democrats."

Posted by: brian on November 4, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

frank: Is this hard to understand?

Not really. But what we really want to understand ... are all these posts from you just the skid marks in one of your 180s? After all your plodding and repetitious posts about how Hillary is the only viable candidate and by far the best equipped person to be president and anyone still supporting another candidate Does Not Understand the Situation ... will we now be treated to 100 boringazz comments from you about how this incident renders Clinton unfit to be prez and every non idiotic person obviously will now support Candidate Someone Else?

Posted by: express written consent on November 4, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

rabbit, you've made me feel very sorry for Michelle Obama. I guess with the money and power the couple share, they can't afford good help or good schools these days.

Has anyone else here noticed that Jerry is kind of an asshole? Just wondering.

Kind of? Only kind of? My kids will disagree with you. SB, if you tell me how I failed to offend you, I will try to improve.

Or instead of slinging names, you can explain what you find so offensive about my comments.

Posted by: jerry on November 4, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK
Nobody of sound mind is going to vote for someone out of pity
That’s true, but I don’t buy your premise she has asked for any pity. She’s doing what she has been doing for a while, dismissing some of her opponents’ charges and attacks as a simple matter going after the frontrunner.

If you disagree with her positions in the first place, that most surely will be annoying.
But asking for pity? She’s doing what frontrunners do, trying to get some mileage out of being a frontrunner. You think a frontrunner man wouldn’t make that exact video? It’s almost identical in style to videos male candidates have made this very cycle.

Are you saying she shouldn’t make a video like that because someone will accuse her of playing the gender card? Tell me specifically how the video focuses on gender.

Anonymous quotes from people allegedly with the Clinton campaign doesn’t do it for me. Your list is not convincing to me.

Posted by: little old jim from red state on November 4, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

To me, another irritating thing about all this is that Barack Obama and his supporters played the race card in an especially disgusting way over the McClurkin affair: "we need to be homophobic in order to appeal to blacks," i.o.w. "I'm black and most blacks are homophobic so I get to be homophobic with impunity" -- offensive and demeaning to everyone concerned.

Can anyone claim with a straight face that Obama's campaign is not asking African-American voters to vote for him because he's black?

Was Michelle Obama not playing the race card when she said to a crowd in Harlem "we've come 80% of the way, not 100% of the way...and we are going to elect Barack Obama!"

Also was she not playing the gender card when she said to "Women for Obama" (is it acceptable for there to be such an organization? is it not playing the gender card?): "like many WOMEN, I'm doing a whole lot of juggling." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkM183H13yw

BTW: I do mean to criticize the Obama campaign over the McClurkin thing, but I don't mean to criticize Michelle Obama for making these statements. I think they are completely acceptable in their context. What I don't appreciate is the double standard that says it's OK for her to say these things but not for Clinton to mention that presidential politics is an all-boys' club.

Posted by: rabbit on November 4, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

express written consent,

I have never been a Hillary supporter -- if anything, I've been more of a Edwards supporter.

But I have been warming up to the idea of a Hillary nomination and Presidency, partly because of she's approaching inevitability and partly simply because she seems so very good at what she does.

I found this stunt by her pretty disgusting and cheap. But I see it also for what it is: a transparently political move, but a bad one, which I think will only work against her, and antagonize many existing or potential supporters.

But I don't think it reflects on her underlying competence. It's certainly not by itself fatal from my point of view.

But I really don't want to see its like from her anytime soon.

Sorry, of course, to be too complicated to be properly digested by your bumper sticker analytical abilities.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 4, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0, we pride ourselves on our understanding nuance. "our nuance", but not the nuance of anyone that we think may disagree with us. Those people have to be put in their place.

Posted by: jerry on November 4, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Anonymous quotes from people allegedly with the Clinton campaign doesn’t do it for me. Your list is not convincing to me.

Well, you can say what you want about Ron Fournier, the AP reporter, but I very much doubt that he could be in his position if he simply made things up on a regular basis.

Take those quotes in the entire context of the video, the title of that video, the various other things that have been said by Hillary at exactly the same time (her talk to Wellesley students, for example), and you have a clear picture of someone playing the gender card, in the careful, mostly deniable way that politicians must. In one place, Hillary says one thing that contributes to a particular impression, in another another, her campaign does likewise. Each part in isolation can be excused as having some other motivation, but put the whole picture together, and it's clear what the impression being sought really is. The anonymous quotes merely seal the deal.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 4, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, of course, to be too complicated to be properly digested by your bumper sticker analytical abilities.

That's a "complication" that's been curiously absent from your posts thus far. Glad to hear you're taking a run at it now though.

Posted by: express written consent on November 4, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

frank0--

It seems that YOU are the one playing the gender card here. Senator Clinton has said nothing about gender politics, except in her address to a women's college, which has nothing to do with the debate issue. She was playing the same card that male politicians typically play in her situation--that her opponents are attacking the frontrunner in a desperate effort to bolster their own positions--and people like you who are uncomfortable with her gender are reading gender politics into it. Maybe this kind of projection is inevitable when we're dealing with such a loaded situation, but in that case don't blame Senator Clinton, who's only crime here is to be the first woman to run for President.

Posted by: Jess on November 4, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, didn't mean to truncate your name, franklyO--that wasn't a coded message!

Posted by: Jess on November 4, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

SB, in answer to your question, "yes."
Lucy, great posts.

Posted by: Too Old For This on November 4, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: "But we are voting for the most powerful person in the world."

Speaking of playing the gender card, I wonder how the gender card will play when President Hillary Clinton is challenged by the male leaders of the world, many of whom have not been socialized in the American way to regard sexism as terribly unjust.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 4, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK
Take those quotes in the entire context of the video, the title of that video, the various other things that have been said by Hillary at exactly the same time (her talk to Wellesley students, for example), and you have a clear picture of someone playing the gender card
Ok.

Video: series of men repeating her name over and over
Title of video: The Politics of piling on.
Her talk at Wellesley: “in so many ways… in the all-boys’ club of presidential politics”

Hey, finally I see your point. Very…suggestive…in a gendery kind of way.

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 4, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

SB, regarding jerry and in his defense (now that Too Old has piped up), I was puzzled by your insult. I've found his posts to be charming.

And franklyo needs no help here, or encouragement from me, but by my lights (as a Clinton skeptic) his AP citation amply supported his claim that Clinton and her surrogates played the gender card.

Some have argued here that it's okay to play any card that helps you win the game of electoral politics. And they applaud Clinton's situational campaign acumen.

For my part, I saw a significant candidate stumble (at the end of the debate) and a serious campaign staff misjudgment in the aftermath. Can Clinton come back? Sure. But many more of these missteps (her own and those of her advisers) will change the race for good.

Posted by: paxr55 on November 4, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about dog whistles, though I do find Jerry's paranoid rantings amusing and yawningly familiar.

Hilary's only real dog whistle isn't a dog whistle, it is the sheer fact of her being female and having survived so far as to become a top Presidential contender. As a liberal, she's not my favorite candidate (I like Edwards). But that doesn't mean I'm not thrilled to see someone of my gender, for the first time, competing at this level. Someone who has, as much or more than most women, stared sexism in its beady, shifty, bloodshot little eyes and not backed down. That's a connection she can make with women that no male candidate can. And every gender-specific attack on her only makes that connection stronger. And since she's very savvy, she can turn those attacks on her into positives, reminding women that she too shares the penalities of being a woman in this society.

I think white men, who have always had plenty of other white men to look up to and relate to, are having some trouble understanding what this means to Clinton's supporters and female Democrats in general. Hilary is a candidate you may agree or disagree with, but she is also a trailblazer. I don't particularly admire her politics, but I am excited about the possibilities she's creating for future women candidates.

Posted by: emjaybee on November 4, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

From TedL
Hillary's complaint about being piled on -- with the suggestion it was unfair because she's a woman -- was absurd. A frontrunner, at some point, is attacked.

I take it you didn't watch the debate or read the transcript? Either would have revealed that not only were the other candidates asked to pile on, the moderators piled on. Russert and Williams were both clearly antagonistic towards HRC.

Read this Daily Howler:...No candidate has ever been savaged by moderators as Clinton was savaged on Tuesday (details below); nothing even remotely resembling that debate has ever been staged.

Then read this one about that Russert question regarding Claudia Kennedy's comments earlier in October:Kennedy’s “recent” statement was made on October 6, and it was instantly disavowed, that same day, by Clinton and her campaign.

...several of Russert’s questions were extremely disingenuous this night; if you want to be perfectly honest, in one or two he came close to lying

Piling on? Oh yeah, big time.

Posted by: TJM on November 4, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Hilary's only real dog whistle isn't a dog whistle, it is the sheer fact of her being female and having survived so far as to become a top Presidential contender."

...yeah, if one ignores the fact that HRC's "survival" is due, not to her dogged determination, but to her husband. Hillary without Bill would be just another talented corporate lawyer in Chicago or St.Louis.

Hillary is Evita, not Margaret Thatcher.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 4, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary obviously was piled on, but it also obviusly was due to being the frontrunner (and a deceptive candidate) and had nothing to do with gender. She and her campaign decided to play the gender card to try to diminish the effect of her bad performance.

I think Hillary always has had the gender card in reserve, to be used when needed. The most interesting part of this is that she thought that she was damaged enough that she had to make the play and the play loses effectiveness each time it is played. So she probably needs to put it away for a while. She likely hopes that she does not need to use it again in the primaries (although she will if necessary) and that she can keep it in reserve until she needs it in the general election. Her problem is that if she uses it multiple times during the primaries, it is less effective each time, and maybe not worth much in the general.

The funny part about the other night on the immigration question is that she almost got away with her evasion. Only Dodd took the anti driver license view and, even then, if she just would have stayed quiet, the issue would have passed. She opened her mouth again (denying that she supported the plan), which allowed the others to jump on her, even though they basically had agreed with her evasion. It was an interesting and unlucky dynamic for Hillary, although she basically deserved the bad luck since she previously had repeatedly got away with seldom answering a question straight.

Posted by: brian on November 4, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else here noticed that Jerry is kind of an asshole?

Misandry often replaces discussion of sexual liberation among women who blame men for their masculinity rather than for any actual discriminatory behavior.

Once, my masculinity was blamed as the reason for using the rest of the little bit of salsa in the container at a Mexican restaurant after our meals had arrived by a woman, a friend's date, who seemed to blame men for everything. I used the rest of the salsa because there was less then one serving left and because it was in the vicinity of my place setting, not to dominate women.

Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte a couple of months ago made a post with a simple first sentence expressing gratitude that Egypt was outlawing female genital mutilation. Then she wrote that men were going to hijack the thread because of male circumcision. I wrote circumcision should be considered genital mutilation for all sexes and took a lot of abuse for being so selfish. When I pointed out many of the women who abhorred female genital mutilation had their male children's genitals mutilated and that there was no corresponding movement to outlaw the common practice of male children's genital mutilation in America, the post was moderated.

There is a lot of discrimination of women, and I am all for ending it. Misandry is not the remedy to misogyny, however. If I dislike Sen. Clinton, it is because of her votes in the Senate, not because of her sex. If the only Democratic candidates were Obama, Edwards and Clinton, I would prefer Clinton because I like her when I see her speak. For me, she has the quality Reagan is often said to have - a communicator. Clinton says the things I want to hear. I wish she would do the things I want her to do, though. That is not because I am discriminating against her because of her sex, I feel the same way about Edwards, who also voted for the AUF. Edwards' problem has to do with his working for a hedge fund after the 2004 election. I hope my nonsupport for Obama is not considered racial discrimination. I like him, too, but cannot find anything about him that reflects my desires for the nation. Like almost all of the Democratic candidates, he seems to be more a cloth coat Republican than a liberal.

Posted by: Brojo on November 4, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Is this about Hillary's clitoris? We are not going to fire up that womb again, are we?

Posted by: Matt on November 4, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy, where would you be if you weren't snatching the football every year from Charlie Brown?

Posted by: Linus Van Pelt on November 4, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, a REAL question about, um, dog whistles: a bit late, but I caught Bill Mahar pointing out that even as Senator Obama was supposed to be taking the gloves off to go after Senator Clinton, there is a sequence of screen shots from the debate where she walked by him... and he checks out her ass.

If there is a strong signal that gets sent under the radar for men and women, it's that kind of glance: men are famous for having NO clue how obvious we are, and women pretty much always know. (They just don't know what we think, thank God.)

What's it say, does it help him attack her, or not?

I'll tell ya this much, if Giuliani or (Lord, we're not that lucky) ROMNEY was to do this 10 months from now, the play it gets could decide the election.

So, who's this dog whistle call, which votes move which way?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 4, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the clip Paul

You can decide for yourself if Obama is really checking out Hillary's ass, or if Bill is just saying something funny.

Maybe you're that obvious, and you're just feeling guilty, but please don't put your issues on the rest of us.

Note to Paul: women are known to check out men's asses too, and heaven's their packages as well.

(Perhaps while you for cheap sexist shots, you should play the black man, white woman shot where you're there.)

Posted by: Voice Of Sanity on November 4, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

SB: "Has anyone else here noticed that Jerry is kind of an asshole? Just wondering."

Can't say as I have, SB. But you sure stand out as one yourself, with that thoughtless comment.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 4, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

jerry: are you really saying that the Obamas SHOULD pay other people to do ALL the childrearing in their household? My only point was that Michelle not only makes a lot more money than her husband does but is also, in the division of labor the couple has devised, the one who does more of the child care. Your point seems to be that maybe she doesn't really do any child care at all -- they have enough money that they would never have to see their children if they didn't want to.

Basically, I was joking (I don't mean to equate their lives with the average voter's, certainly wasn't trying to make anyone feel sorry for her), but I actually don't think that never seeing their children is a situation they prefer. I have a feeling, in fact, that she spends a fair amount of time with the kids, and he spends very little. But I could be wrong.

Posted by: rabbit on November 4, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

THE SECONDARY CONVERSATION

The hubris of establishment editorialists is in evidence with the expression of 'secondary conversation' to describe interpersonal communications amongst groups of people. Editorialists think their musings and responses to other editorialists is the primary conversation. Historically that cannot be correct, conversation among intimates is the first place conversations began, and conversations among groups of peers no doubt occurred long before the editorialist emerged in society. Editorialists overestimate their 'conversations,' which are hardly used by the masses to formulate opinions, but are read by a minority of political animals, who thrive on rebutting and expressing opinions.

The primary conversation should not be among elites, but they think it should be. That kind of thinking requires circumscription.

Posted by: Brojo on November 4, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

lucy: "...This line of thought can get very ugly. Are you sure you want to go there?"

Yes, I do. Because of the people you mention, only Hillary is running for President, not team members Laura, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and not Dennis Kucinich's masculinity-validating lovely trophy bride. Perhaps you can discern the difference?

Hillary has been in the public eye for more than 15 years and her record during that time has been marked by a failure of leadership (when has she shown vision comparable to Edwards "two Americas" or Obama's promise of a unified America?), bad judgments (like her support for the Iraq invasion) and outright failures (the 1994 healthcare debacle.) She has been in a position to make a difference, and she hasn't.

I find it hugely ironic and sad that feminists are so excited that a woman has a decent shot at becoming the POTUS that they will pretend that she didn't really get there because of her husband. It really is as bad as the fundamentalists forgiving GWB all his uber-rich cronyism because he professes Jesus as his savior.

One would think, after 7 years of GWB that Americans would have figured out why legacy candidates aren't the best way to run a democracy, but no; HRC is a woman, why should we worry about consolidation of power? Why should principles matter at such an historic moment?

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 4, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Voice observes "women are known to check out men's asses too".

No kidding. Do let us know when you figure out that women are part of that whole making babies equation, willya?

WHY must folks leap to the opportunity to be as stoooopid as possible?

Mahar made fun of Senator Obama for checking out his, um, distinguished colleague. I asked how it plays.

So the way Voice reacted illustrates just how useful that question is: folks WANT to find Hidden Meanings with all sorts of alarming implications.

Good lord, get a grip, Voice: you're not just hearing dog whistles, you're dancing to the radio stations picked up by the fillings in your teeth.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 5, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

I wanna second Lucy's point about Clinton's record as a Senator: she's good at the job, with many accomplishments that demonstrate she's a workhorse, not a showhorse.

It contrasts pretty starkly not just with Obama and Edwards, but also Thompson. She hasn't served as long, and doesn't have the extensive record of legislative accomplishment that Biden or Dodd do, but she's the real deal as a legislator.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 5, 2007 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

I want to point out that Hillary does not have a list of achievements at her website, but rather a list of activities.

Senator Clinton has done little for her home state particularly when it comes to jobs for the middle class in fact she has supported outsourcing of jobs and the majority ofher upstate constituency is pissed off about that.

Additionally Senator Clinton cannot hold a candle to Obama when it comes to substantive legislation and in fact she has nowhere Obama's legislative record on issues that matter such as ethics reform, genetic testing regulation, nuclear non-proliferation, pandemic flu preparedness, reducing medical malpractice, legislation to make it illegal for tax preparers to sell personal information, chemical plant security, health care for hybrids, raise CAFE standards, public database on government spending, veterans health care and lobbying reform legislation.

Obama sponsored all of this substantive legislation as a rookie US Senator...there is nothing comparable in Senator Clintons record. She has no such track record whatsoever. Obama also has a significant legislative record at the state level.

Hillary has lots of activity, just as with the failed universal healthcare during her husband's administration...she engages in lots of activities but there are few results and outcomes.

Hillary plays the gender card because she knows and the nation knows she is nothing but an affirmative action candidate based on gender.

So to suggest that she has a legislative record comparable to Obama is a flat out erroneous.

Posted by: vicissitude on November 5, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

"She deserves to be president, just for keeping her cool amongst you boys all these many long years."

Posted by: wobbly on November 3, 2007

----------------

"deserves"? No, nobody 'deserves' the presidency. It's not awarded for long-suffering.

Who's going to be the best president?

Posted by: MarkH on November 5, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary plays the gender card because she knows and the nation knows she is nothing but an affirmative action candidate based on gender."

I still have my doubts about whether Senator Clinton was playing the gender-card, or whether people are mostly projecting, but THAT COMMENT is definitely playing the gender card, right down to calling her "Hillary." Show some respect, dude.

Posted by: Jess on November 5, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I've been rooting for Senator Obama for a year. Reading this thread, makes me think I have been wrong; I should be supporting Senator Clinton. Thanks, Lucy.

Posted by: Genevieve on November 5, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly enough, V, legislative accomplishment doesn't refer to "sponsoring" legislation, which basically says "I wrote a press release and sent a memo to leg counsel."

Clinton is a very good Senator, who long ago realized that AS a Senator, it ain't about the press releases. Schumer has generally been the guy who gets credit for bringing Federal dough to NY state, cuz he's senior. Clinton understands and works with that, which is a damned solid lesson in how to be EFFECTIVE.

She sold me when she took up the cause of LEGAL immigrant spouses and kids during the Senate immigration debate -- a gutsier and more effective move than anything Senator Obama has done, and more likely to change a polarized debate, too.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 5, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Over 300 Republicans in Iowa and NH declare support for Obama
By Sam Graham-Felsen - Nov 5th, 2007 at 4:06 pm EST
The campaign just released this news:

Today 268 Iowa Republicans announced that they will caucus for Senator Barack Obama and 68 New Hampshire Republicans announced that they had changed their party registration to vote for Barack Obama in the primary, saying he is the only candidate in either party who can break through the gridlock in Washington because he has a proven record of bringing Republicans and Democrats together to solve problems. In Illinois, Obama bridged the partisan divide to extend health care to 150,000 Illinois families, pass a $100 million tax cut for working families and enact historic ethics reform.

“With all of the challenges our country faces, we cannot elect a President who will go to Washington and just get bogged down by the same partisan gridlock,” Brett Blix said. “That’s why I’m supporting Senator Obama even though I’m a Republican. He’s the only candidate in either party with a record of bringing Republicans and Democrats together to solve problems, and he will always tell you where he stands even when you disagree. There are thousands of disaffected Republicans like me who are disappointed by President Bush and the Republican presidential candidates who would consider voting for a Democrat who can bring about change we can believe in.”

Brett Blix is 30-year-old Iraq war veteran from Northwood, Iowa. He recently switched his party registration so that he can caucus for Senator Obama.

“I’ve been a Republican all my life, but the challenges we face are too great to choose a candidate based on his party—we need to the choose the candidate who can bring fundamental change to Washington and start getting things done again,” Jerry Spivak said. “Barack Obama is the only candidate who will be able to break the partisan logjam and inspire Americans to come together around real solutions.”

Jerry Spivak is a 57-year-old engineer from Nashua, New Hampshire. He recently switched his party registration so that he can vote for Senator Obama in the primary.

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