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2008.06.06

Comments

Polly

Yeah, I was really disappointed with the way Clinton dealt with the fact that she was losing--I felt like she played the demographics card quite shamefully (and I never heard anyone from the Obama camp suggest that Clinton wasn't electable because she was a woman). It really alienated me (and I supported her candidacy until then), so maybe it's just the hard-core, I'm-the-victim crowd that's left to be upset by her conceding.

I get a little baffled by it all because, hey, it's not like Obama is a jackass FOX commentator or this dull-witted creature of privilege who never had to earn anything (as G.W. Bush so clearly is). But when my dad talks about his parents' generation and their attitude toward race and ethnicity, he says it was like a foot race--if Group A was ten steps ahead, that meant that Group B was ten steps behind, so if you were in that latter group, you'd damned well better do something about it (and hobbling the group ahead certainly counted as "something").

I think that's part of it--it's an inability to see that progress for one group does indeed make it easier for everyone else. The civil-rights movement didn't make things easier just for Black people--it helped create this cultural and legal mindset that you couldn't hold someone's inherited characteristics against them, and that's been extremely important for, you know, almost everyone.

megan kay

"she should also make an effort to reach out to Obama and offer him her ardent base."

She did. She's consistently said she'd support the dem nominee and that she hopes/expects her supporters to go to him and not to McCain. BO, on the other hand, was not as forthcoming with those words. He's the one who has said, several times, that he'll get all her supporters but would she get all his?

I'm really shocked at all this media outrage at her behavior. So she didn't concede. Should she have when she was winning more contests than him? That's just absurd.

Lisa S.

I'm really shocked at all this media outrage at her behavior. So she didn't concede. Should she have when she was winning more contests than him? That's just absurd.

Megan, thanks for commenting. FYI: I thought Clinton's speech yesterday was kind of awesome.

I don't think this post was pushing the "she should quit" angle. Rather, I was looking at some of her biggest supporters and the unintentional blowback they produced for her and the Dems. I haven't really had a problem with her staying in the campaign; I've had a problem with the vicious negativity from some of her most ardent backers. It got off-putting to open a comment thread on a story and have anyone who didn't hop on the HRC train dismissed as an "Obamatron" or "Obamabot." That's dehumanizing. And I thought it was kind of ironic coming from folks whose candidate of choice was struggling against a phlanx of talking heads that systematically stripped her of her personhood.

But insofar as when HRC was "winning more contests," there's a good graphic here (https://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/06/07/us/20080607_RECON_GRAPHIC.html) that illustrates how BO consistently stayed ahead on pledged delegate totals and popular vote totals from February on. I think it's important that HRC stayed in -- for one, it helped fire up the voters and a lot more people are more invested in this year's outcome -- but the math was running against her from Feb. on.

Shotrock

It's an eye-opener for people in this country regarding how much overt sexism is permissible in allegedly polite society. The talking piles of hair on the cable "news" channels were pretty much given carte blanche to be sexist douchenozzles.

I'm 40 years old. I've encountered two kinds of sexists in my life. First, the construction workers or frat boys who yell vulgar things at me when I walk by, and when I ignore them, call me a f***ing bitch. Secondly, the male colleagues who pretended to have my back while they attempted to sabotage my career. Which category do you think I realized was the bigger threat?

Hillary's vulgar frat boys were named Chris and Keith. The colleagues who torpedoed her campaign? Their names were Mark and Bill. Those two were the bigger threat to her campaign, and Hillary never dealt effectively with either of them.

Sometimes a true act of leadership lays in sacrifice -- in being able to articulate the necessity of acting in the interest of a long-term gain.

Boomers sacrificing? Boomers interested in a long-term gain, that will advantage other, future generations instead of themselves?

I mean, this "I'll vote for McCain!" attitude is a perfect example. These women were pro-choice when they could get pregnant. Now they're on the other side of menopause, and that issue . . . well, it just isn't that central to the argument anymore, dontcha know?

Look, I didn't realize we needed "change we can believe in" six months ago. I realized it back in 2004, when troops were dying in Iraq and Afganistan and the entire summer was spent debating Swift Boats. vs. the Texas National Guard. It suddenly hit me that the entire reason we didn't have a decent policy on health care or energy or global warming or terrorism or social security wasn't a factor of party politics. It was because the people in charge couldn't STFU about the sixties. It was because the people in charge couldn't see beyond their own wants and desires to what this country was going to look like 40 years in the future, because they couldn't let go of what happened 40 years in the past. And the idea of the United States burning while the Boomers fiddled in Washington for another eight years literally twisted my stomach with despair.

I know this is a rant, and an overly-generalized one at that. I know many over-50 voters aren't selfish narcissists. I know many over-50 voters supported Obama instead of Hillary because they thought he was the better candidate. I know many Gen X and Gen Y voters supported Hillary because they thought she was the better candidate.

I guess the best way to express my feelings is to paraphrase Chris Rock: There are AARP members, and Boomers. And Boomers need to go.


Becky

She did so thanks to a combination of bad political instincts, personnel mismanagement and an unwillingness to deal with all the information in a situation.

I completely agree with this. I think that Mark Penn was a disaster for the campaign, and it snowballed from there. However, I'm not sure if Clinton was unwilling to hear bad news from Penn, or if he was subtly undermining her campaign (as Shotrock suggests). Maybe both.

And as for her political instincts, I think she has great political instincts for the 1990's. But she hasn't quite caught up with the new media and the new grassroots yet. It's worth noting that back in late 2004, the Clintons did not want Dean as DNC chair, and were pushing Harold Ickes (among others).

For what it's worth, I'm starting to think that she could have won in 2004.

megan kay

He obviously stayed ahead in the counts, but she was winning races. I just read an article about speculation on her quitting was the third biggest topic discussed in the primaries -- starting immediately after Iowa. I agree that the discussions maybe made sense in February, as BO was winning race after race after race and seemed unstoppable, but should she have quit the night she won OH or TX, or PA, or IN, or WV (etc.)? Politicians don't quit while they're still winning.

"I've had a problem with the vicious negativity from some of her most ardent backers."

I think I've encountered at least as much negativity from his most ardent supporters, though. Her shitty supporters are mostly confined at places like Hillaryis44 and the Confluence, and other places that I never go much to, and never have. They aren't mainstream sites. Contrast that with the tones at (vastly more popular) Pandagon and Daily Kos, not to mention the majority of comments at the NYT and WaPo primary blogs.

My huge problem with the primary has been not so much the level of venom spit at her, but her lack of defenders. I think Pandagon and Feministe and Feministing all had more posts (rightly) criticizing her supporters for their shitty behavior than they had criticizing the sexism thrown at her.

I expected better behavior from feminists, feminist allies, and from progressives, and that's why I'm so upset now. (Just to be clear: I think one can obviously be a feminist and prefer BO. I think one is a shitty feminist staying silent during the kind of attacks thrown at HRC.)

Shotrock, for the record, I'm way, way, way under 50, pro-choice, and am seriously questioning whether or not I'm voting for BO. It isn't just the "post-sexual" crowd. (I'm obviously not voting for McCain -- I agree that's senseless.)

Lisa S.

I expected better behavior from feminists, feminist allies, and from progressives, and that's why I'm so upset now. (Just to be clear: I think one can obviously be a feminist and prefer BO. I think one is a shitty feminist staying silent during the kind of attacks thrown at HRC.)

I totally get where you're coming from. I agree that not enough people called out the perpetrators of the attacks; I also wonder how much of that was reluctance to come across as a whiny girl, or how much of that was the perception that what HRC fielded was no different than what other candidates have handled.

I think we also agree on the "I expected better behavior ... " part. The difference comes in where we expected the behavior. I was really off-put by the Second Wavers who were all "If you don't vote for HRC, you're an ingrate!" In that case, philosophical differences turned personal and I was like, " ... nope. Can't do it."

And on one last note: it's funny how two people can read some of the same sources and come away with different impressions. I admit: I do not read Pandagon, Feminist, Feministing or Daily Kos, so I'll take your word on those. I was thinking of the WaPo! Also, of Salon, which has some truly crazy letters threads, and of the SF Chronicle.

EDITED TO ADD: I want to thank you for taking the time to comment on this as much as you have. Personally, it's been very illuminating for me and I appreciate your patience and civility.

Z. Mulls

Wow. I was just leaving a comment elsewhere and it struck me about the Ellen Jamesian connection. I went out googling for a good Ellen James link and found this post -- making the exact point that I had in my head (and doing it quite well, I might add).

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