sab: (un >> prez clinton)
[personal profile] sab
Yeah, okay, I can't keep my fat mouth shut. But there's so little in the blogosphere that I've seen in defense of Hillary and her candidacy -- I've joked that this must be what being a republican on LJ must feel like. So anyway, I can't complain about that and not do anything about it, but I will try my damndest to keep this brief and as uninflammatory as possible.

This is in response to [livejournal.com profile] txvoodoo's recent post about racism and sexism, and, before I start -- Lisa, I have nothing but the greatest respect for you, and I am all ABOUT people on LJ and everywhere expressing their opinions. What's more I'm glad that people are responding (80 comments and counting) and opening up discussion.

But anyway.



First, I voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary because I want her to be president. I've wanted her to be president since 1992, have been in her corner (and to a degree, what those pundits call a Clintonista or an FOB/FOH) for the sixteen years since. I applauded her run for senate, respected the hell out of the fact that she -- as promised to the people of NY -- finished out her freshman term in the Senate before running for president, and, end of the day, I think she'd be a terrific president for this country. Which is to say, I'd've voted for Hillary no matter who she was running against (unless, of course, it was Al Gore *g*).

George Clooney said about his movie "Michael Clayton," before the Oscars, that he had no expectation of winning whatsoever, because Daniel Day-Lewis was pretty much a lock for "There Will Be Blood."

"It's like being Hillary Clinton," Clooney said. "If it weren't for Obama Daniel Day-Lewis, it would have been a great year."

Now, in response to [livejournal.com profile] txvoodoo; I really don't want to weigh in on Racism vs. Sexism: which sucks more! because that's sort of a no-win argument. I do want to weigh in on the media attention given to the two candidates, and the delicacy of language that's been thrown around in this election cycle.

[livejournal.com profile] txvoodoo, among other things, suggests that using the phrase "arrogant" to describe Obama is racist. And while I understand that there are situations in which that word is racially coded, I think part of the problem Hillary/the media/the so-called liberal blogosphere have with talking about this election is because no one really knows which words are okay to use.

Me, I think Obama IS arrogant. I think Hillary is too, and in fact I also think it's an important quality for someone who thinks they can be president of the United States. And Hillary just as frequently gets tagged with words like "manipulative" which are just as easily coded to ambitious women as "arrogant" may be to ambitious black politicians. But there are ways in which Hillary IS manipulative, and what's more, she IS a women. Whether the two things are connected or not (whether women in power are necessarily manipulative or ambitious, or whatever, or whether this is a particular trait of Hillary Clinton) is something I don't think we're qualified to judge.

What I do know is that from what I've observed, the media has been gentler to Obama than Clinton. It's entirely possible it's because he's running such a squeaky clean campaign, or because he's just a menschy guy, or because he really doesn't have too many bad traits to begin with, but I think it's also possible that the media/the blogosphere/WE don't quite have the words to discuss whether or not a black presidential candidate IS running on his race, or in spite of it, or whether we're really in a time when race is irrelevant.

I think Barack Obama is an amazing orator, a terrific inspiration, and a smart, creative man who could do a lot toward bringing the country into the 21st century, etc, but I also think he needs to dangle his toes a little more first, and should be a great victor in '16.

But for now, when Geraldine Ferraro dares to muse that Obama's success in the media/with the public has to do with the fact that he's a black man, I actually think I might agree. I mean, I don't know -- never having had a black man run for president (particularly against a woman, and a Clinton!) I don't have the appropriate perspective to judge what sort of racial issues necessarily come along with that, or what sort of kid gloves are needed/expected in a campaign like this. But Obama described his grandmother as a "typical white woman," you know, the kind who crosses the street when a black man walks toward her, and that -- while probably true about Obama's grandmother, and true about SOME white women -- is just as scarily racist as anything else.

It's easier to campaign against Hillary than to be Hillary campaigning against ANYONE. She came in with baggage, being a "Clinton" (though let's remember that when she first got the glimmer in her eye to enter politics, she was a Rodham), being a cuckoldess (as it were), being at times shrewish, secretive, friends with high dollar donors, in bed with big industries, and with eight years in the White House under scrutiny despite the fact that she was a First Lady at the time -- which is yet another type of candidate we don't really know how to address or judge. How much of Bill's presidency do we "blame" on Hillary? How much Clinton baggage can we tie her to? And in the end she gets tackled by all the messiness of the Bill Clinton presidency, which is (we remember from years of Ken Starr, the friggin blue dress, and late night talk show hosts bandying jokes around night after night) incredibly easy to recycle and throw back at her.

And then here's Obama, with a two year clean record and a speech disavowing the war before he was a Senator to call him on. And so instead when we call him on issues that are relevant to this election (IS his race providing him an easier way to impact/impress to the public? Is his masterful oratory masking a lack of experience?) it turns into a dirty, racist, sexist fight.

Crap. This isn't brief at all.

Several weeks ago I was telling a friend, in response to all the post-Texas-and-Ohio calls for Hillary to drop out of the race, that I was really annoyed, because I LOVED this primary. A smart woman and a smart man, two amazing candidates, BOTH of whom I believe can beat McCain, running in an unprecedented Democratic election at the end of an unprecedentedly awful Republican term. We've been waiting for this election for EIGHT YEARS, many of us, counting down the days, and now that we've got our horses lined up, I think we should let the race run its course.

And at the end of the day I think there are really two Democrat schools of thought going into this election, and they're what really separates us, after race and gender are put aside (as far as can be realistically expected). Obama promises the Revolution that we've been talking about for a while, a whole NEW America, moving forward, not bogged down with political machinations of the past. He also promises a new KIND of president, the kind who isn't a beltway insider, the kind who won't bring the same old cabinet back, the same old political advisors, the same old strategies. And while the revolution is AMAZING, it's also something that I think should wait till '16. Whereas I trust Hillary, and her friends and advisors, and her foreign and domestic policy experience, and health care plan, and economic plan, and world trade plan, and it basically means she's the one I want on the other side of disarmament talks with Iran. I want her health care and her Iraq strategies and her plans for restoring America's relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. I trust her to be the one to undo the Bush administration's damage.

Anyway, there we are. I wish this were an easier campaign, and mostly I wish that my candidate wasn't faced with the uphill challenge of figuring out how to campaign against a brilliant, inexperienced, arrogant, liberal black man without being called on racist shenanigans. I mean. I think it's gotta be pretty hard to be a black man running for president. But I also think it's pretty hard to run AGAINST a black man in a country that's so confused about race.



Um, here's some articles:

LA Times Op-Ed on Obama's speech on race
The New Republic on race in this election
Howard Dean, briefly, on the campaigns.
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