Punching the Frog [Update]
by linfar, Fri May 30, 2008 at 10:49:15 AM EDT
On the trail in South Dakota today Hillary Clinton referenced her campaign with an old Arkansas saying:
You can't tell how far a frog will jump until you punch him.[Update at end of diary shows what happens when you punch the frog too hard...]
I don't know if she feels punched. I know I would feel that way if I were her. And in fact I do. Every blow she has taken has landed on me personally. Never felt this way before and probably never will again. But Clinton is Me.
There I have said it. My identity with her is way beyond politics. It is absolute. She is Everywoman. And many of us-- millions to be precise-- look at each other now and frown because during this campaign we have lived some version of her travail across a bed of nails laced with sexist ire.
The list of women who understand this stretches from Maya Angelou to Democrat Pat Schroeder, the most famous woman politician of her era, to Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman candidate for Vice President of the United States, to Gloria Steinem to Tina Fey to lil ole me.
But is also includes some surprising men too like Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson and Steven Spielberg.
And here is the nation's most famous frog jumping contest. It is hard to predict winners--looks a lot like the Dem campaign to me :)
None of us Hillary supporters hate Obama. But by supporting Clinton it seems we are tarred with this brush. It is Wrong.
Can't we believe Clinton is the better candidate? Period. Can't we say that while we have seen little racism in the campaign, the sexism has been vile and obvious and widespread particulary in the media and from pundits?
Can we also not say that until this is acknowledged, and a commitment is made to see it stops, that we are unclear how we are supposed to whole heartedly endorse a candidate who simply will not ever say it is not ok.
Barack Obama had the opportunity to say that Father Pfegler was out of line in his remarks about Hillary. He had the same opportunity with the Rev. Wright. He had the opportunity to take the high road and condemn MSNBC for Schuster's remarks that Hillary was "pimping out" her daughter. He never did. Not once.
So how can a woman do anything but conclude that he is no friend of women's rights? You can parade out his voting record here, but I what I want to know are things like this: how many women will be in his cabinet? Is he willing to have a female as vice president and running mate? He doesn't have to do that, but why not?
So far what women are getting from him is that in their struggle he is no ally. Because if he was an ally, because if in his heart he knew it was wrong, wouldn't he condemn it?
I mean Why not? What does he lose? Would some of his supporters be disappointed? Do they support him because he smiles when women are insulted. Was his "sweetie" reference indicative of a man who simply doesn't get the women's movement. I dunno. But when I feel as if I am Hillary and millions of women do feel this way, he is making a Huge Mistake.
Jerome Armstrong pointed this out a while ago and I couldn't agree more. Much has been written now about the divide in the Democratic Party, about women taking their marbles and going away, about his general election electability and how the women's vote could be crucial.
He isn't listening. And that makes me wonder why not? You cannot stand by and watch a major constituency of the Democratic Party--via attacks on Hillary as a woman--get slimed and assaulted by your friends without saying, `Enough!! I do not endorse this. When Hillary is insulted this way, all women are insulted and disrespected and I will not allow it.'
He certainly knew how to say it about his wife, didn't he?
Finally I do now think there is a generational divide in women [and men] who see the sexism and younger women [and men] who don't see it-- or at least don't credit it with being as awful as it is.
There is an obdurate refusal on the part of both Obama and his supporters to acknowledge the particular challenges Clinton has faced.
While Obama reaped a whirlwind of goodwill and support based on race. Clinton reaped a whole lotta hate and derision. The latest hateful, ridiculing attack by Obama's longtime friend and preacher Father Pfegler is beyond comprehension. It is truly hateful towards women, and in particular white women. As if we single handedly are responsible for racism and privilege.
I very much fear that if Obama does not speak out against this vile sort of attack on his opponent, he will lose her constituency--and there goes the election.
That is why his refusal to stand up is so completely confusing.
Obama's diminished popularity and support among white women may in part be an indication of a growing backlash against him among Clinton's women supporters. The survey finds that as many 39% of Clinton's female supporters believe that her gender has hurt her candidacy. In turn, favorable opinions of Obama have tumbled among women who support Clinton -- from 58% in March to 43% currently. By contrast, there has been a slight increase in positive views of Obama over this period among men who support Clinton (from 42% in March to 47% currently).from war room quoting Pew http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/05/29/clinton_obama/index.html?source=newsletter