Saturday, May 24, 2008

OMG! - WTF? Hillary's Toast

Why in the world would a candidate who is fighting for her political life invoke the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in a rather lame attempt to explain why she is still in a race that she likely will not be able to win? That is a very good question, and one that has left my jaw dropped gaping with amazement at the thoughtlessness and recklessness of a remark that is wrong on so many levels: her mention of a Kennedy assassination when a Kennedy brother is fighting an inoperable brain tumor, her mention of assassination in the context of a political fight in which her opponent has had numerous threats on his life, her mention of RFK's assassination in defense of her own stubborn determination to stay in a race that is clearly over and has been for some time, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what is wrong with Senator Clinton's assertion. The rest is too gruesome to even consider.

Before the unconscionable remark was even uttered, there were rumors on the internet of a "girlcott" of Barack Obama because of his "condescending, sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton and her supporters." Excuse me, but aside from the predictably stupid comments by the likes of Chris Matthews, the Clinton camp has given as good as it has gotten, trading sexist comments for racist comments in a tit for tat fashion that has made neither camp look good. And as I've said before - if these Clintonistas are really ready to sacrifice their party, their country and the planet on the altar of Hillary Clinton and hand the election to "Grampy McSame" then they can kiss good-bye any future support for Hillary for any run for dog-catcher or for whatever future position she may contemplate running.

This was posted yesterday on FourFreedoms blog before Clinton's unfortunate remark: I would like to direct your attention to a comment posted at Slate and was sent to me by a long-time friend who is one of the strongest feminists I have ever known (and who BTB is an Obama supporter). It is from yesterday's Slate, written by Dahlia Lithwick and I think it is right on.

I don't think anyone disputes that hideous instances of sexism have been stirred up in this campaign. Nor does anyone dispute that Ms. Clinton is entitled to address it, which she has done very deftly at times. The question is whether she's entitled to reduce her entire failed campaign to sexism, which has the practical effect of splitting women into those-who-are-angry-about-sexism, and those who what? Think it's acceptable? There's one other practical effect that warrants mentioning, and that is that it reduces a complex, brilliant, and talented candidate to a big whomping cliche. My friend Susannah writes: "I find it increasingly unbearable to watch Hillary. It feels like she has become the archetype I find most painful to see in women, a high-maintenance, delusional, and 'difficult' woman who feels entitled to do whatever she likes. ... Meanwhile, Obama is forced to tiptoe around essentially just humoring her. There is a pathetic 'Yes, dear' quality to the way he is forced to react to her these days."

This mirrors a sense I've had that we might have finally crossed the Hirshman line. Linda Hirshman argued persuasively that all powerful, ambitious women are at some point dismissed as "hysterical" or "insane." Too true. The problem now is that when Clinton behaves irrationally, we can't call her out for it because it would be sexist. If we can't call irrational behavior irrational because the character in question is a woman, then it's a short hop from here to a Tennessee Williams play...

I have felt for some time now that we are heading toward a potentially tragic ending in this primary race and the one who could prevent this tragedy is the one who is bringing it about (I am, of course, referring to Hillary) . Your thoughts and comments on this post are, as always, appreciated. I think it's time for Momma to utter her infamous line from A Streetcar Named Desire - "Blanche, it is time to go." Carry on mis amigos...


Juliet Hussein Bravo said...

Hi Militant Radical Librarian Faye!

Don't resign, we need you! (And don't desert us on the liveblog, just ignore the trolls. There's always several distinct, sometimes interwoven conversational threads going on anyway.)

I can't agree more with your post. I belong to the second wave of professional women who benefited from the trailblazing generation that Hillary belongs to, and I have the utmost respect for her accomplishments. I have zero respect, however, for anyone who on any grounds plays the victim, and that is all I have been hearing out of Hillary's campaign, in form or another, since Super Tuesday. It seems that since she can't win fair and square on the merits, she's going back to the retro Blanche Dubois/Scarlett O'Hara posturing that was the only avenue for success prior to the feminist movement of the '60's. It is tragic, but there's no reason to follow Hillary over the cliff. The online newstories about the determination of Hillary's supporters to take this "to the end" (of the Democratic party and our chances of defeating McCain in the fall, apparently) read like parodies written in "the Onion".

mfhadley said...

Thanks for the thoughtful and insightful comment JHB,
And thank you also for the encouraging words regarding my role as the RML of the SMS. You are so correct, a large number of us will not be lemmings, and will not go over that cliff with Hillary and her ilk. I just hope that there are enough of us to defeat McBush! Thanks again.
Stop by anytime - I try to add a new post every few days.

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