Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:41:56 PM EST
As the ever longer campaign season rolls along, I notice how much history is repeating itself, even if that history is over half an year ago and took place in another country. People who won't vote for a woman because of her gender. People who vote for her because of her gender. (I feel both sentiments are irrational) And, oh, that media obsessiveness on her clothes, her actions, and debating whether or not being a woman is hurting her campaign.
This is the most talked-about race in my lifetime. After the midterms, no one talked about the results, or at least no one I knew started a conversation about it. After Bush was reelected, maybe two or three people discussed it. Now, people who I'd never expect to be interested are wondering about what the next primary state is. I'm ever the political junkie, but for some reason, even the 2004 Dem primary was more interesting for me. Now, I feel that most of the candidates place themselves above cleaning the huge mess Bush made. Which brings me the Democratic front runner...
When I ask Democratic women why they support Hillary- why? Don't they know that she is the most conservative of the candidates? Don't they know that half of the country hates her and absolutely won't vote for her, thus bringing down the Democratic party with her? Haven't they heard the news, know that she's run the most negative campaign on the left side of the aisle, to the point of digging up Obama's "I want to be president" Kindergarten essay to criticizing his youthfulness (even though he's the same age as Bill Clinton when he first ran) to, taking a page from the Republican playbook, suggesting that Al Qaeda will attack America if Obama is elected?
I don't make these pleas, of course, but their answers are always the same, they start with: "Well, she's a woman. I mean look at all the countries that have women leaders. And we don't even have one- it's ridiculous." And then, nothing else. That's it. Would they vote for Condi Rice? I doubt it.
When I fell in love with the Royal campaign, thousands of miles away in America, it was because of the promise she conveyed. I'm not French and probably don't know more than five French words, but those translated words struck me. Power was concentrated in the few, it's time to share it with the many. As a liberal Democrat, her positions were similar- pro-environmental protection, pro-working class, pro-human rights. Yes, I did have a thought about the fact that she was a woman and I was happy with the idea that we could have yet another woman as a world leader- there truly will be a difference made, for us women everywhere. But that wasn't the make-or-break point. If Sarkozy and Royal had a body change and ran for office, I'd support the man.
Yes, I'd love to have a female president. But I value what I feel the entire performance would be over the 'boost' for women (Iraq, middle class...). And I'm tired of hearing that, if you don't support Hillary, it's because you want politics to stay a man's game or any one of the dozens of ridiculous talking points the campaign has been spewing daily. That Barack Obama is a "fairy tale." That he's used drugs in the past and someone's got to say it. That her 7 years in the Senate makes her way more experienced than Obama's 9 years in public office, because he's only spent 3 of those years in Washington, working at the Watergate trials eclipses being a community organizer registering poor blacks to vote, and first lady makes you very well-qualified. And, just because she just wants to play it safe, read a written speech, and simply isn't as inspiring as the ab-libbing Obama, the reason is because the media loves him. And I've heard that same media report Obama's own barbs at Hillary many times.
Case in point, even when Clinton had an "emotional moment" (as the press calls it), she was using talking points. "Some people are ready on day one, some are not" She goes on to say some people have no idea what to do when they become president and how people irrationally put too much emphasis on the polls. (Weird, because her campaign was emphasizing her huge double digit lead nationally, and showing that they are "inevitable")
In the end, there's no argument that a lot of people are attacking her, mostly Republicans. And, mind you, Republicans, like Karl Rove, would like nothing better than Hillary running, as independents would scatter and Republicans would flock to the ballot. And that these attacks, in no small measure, and moving stubborn voters in her direction, as the case in NH. But I don't feel that some one should get my vote for the reason that they're unfairly attacked.
On election day, I'm pulling the lever, hoping that the voting machine actually works, and picking the candidate who I feel most resembles liberal values and can put this country back on track, and if we have to consult Republicans, so be it. But when I was keeping out with the Royal campaign, scrutinizing every word the LA Times had on it, digging through magazine archives, hearing her translated speeches on C-Span (which had some France 24 coverage), there was one politician that she most subtlely reminded me of (though I was supporting Mark Warner, who later denied he was running, for president at the time), and his name, I'll say it as the Republicans call it, was Barack Hussien Obama.