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Hillary is no Segolene (at least not in character)

by pelcan 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.

Who would you like to see as the American president?
. Clinton 10%
. Obama 10%
. Edwards 36%
. Richardson 0%
. Kucinich 15%
. Gravel 5%
. other 0%
. Dissatisfied with all 21%

Votes: 19
Results | Other Polls
Well Segolene squandered a very significant early lead with a spectacularly inept campaign  and led a divided party, so Hilary not being like Segolene is not necessarily a bad thing - although I don't think I've seen Hilary in a swimsuit!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 07:45:11 AM EST
I suppose Ségolène was like Gore in 2000, then?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 08:07:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no, it was about 50/50 throughout most of the campaign, I believe.  It should've been higher for Gore, but his campaign was incompetent, and the Reps were pumped.

Still, few are Al Gore these days.  Nobody in the presidential race is worthy of being spoken of in the same sentence as Al Gore.  The frustrating thing is that now, when he would win and when we need him, he doesn't want it anymore.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 08:18:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

If the Democrats nominate this hollow, warmongering restoration candidate and her race-baiting, union-busting staff, I may well find myself voting with the other side, quite frankly.

Sure, McCain's senile, but at least he'll oppose torture, won't hate on the Mexicans when it's politically convenient, and will speak out on climate change.  Might as well go with the real Republican.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 07:59:50 AM EST
I've read quite a bit about the reasons imagined for Hilary's comeback. The one that Sargon pointed me to in the NYT makes the most sense

Poorer, less well-educated white people refuse surveys more often than affluent, better-educated whites. Polls generally adjust their samples for this tendency. But here's the problem: these whites who do not respond to surveys tend to have more unfavorable views of blacks than respondents who do the interviews.

Tho, I still like the Tweety Effect;-

I think what I deemed "The Tweety Effect" last night ("where the misogyny of a talking head in the MSM [in this case MSNBC's Chris Matthews] so enrages a demographic that they go out and vote in a manner that will put egg on the face of the talking head") definitely moved some numbers.

But all of that notwithstanding, it is one of the issues that is a feature rather than a defect of democracy : Not everybody who takes part takes a deeply considered and informed view. Sometimes they just react cos they feel that way even if facts contradict their heart. And sometimes they vote for reasons that those of us who are sad, lonely and obsessed with politics (or is it just me like that ?) would describe as stupid and wrong. But hey, every government would prefer a more malleable electorate.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 10:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(or is it just me like that ?)

Needless to say, I'm with you there.  I'm obsessed with politics, and I'm a bit weird, I suppose, for loving the strategy side of things.  But that was, at one time, what I wanted to do for a living, and I studied campaign strategy and communications at university.

I agree on the Tweety Effect.  And there's an obvious conflict of feelings there for me, because, while I certainly share the outrage at the press's treatment of Clinton, I also know that one's emotional reaction to journalists' behavior is a really stupid reason to vote for someone, because, in this case, it counters misogyny with mindless fake feminism.

Honestly, though, I don't think the Bradley Effect played a role here.  (The whole "Will people vote for a black/woman?" has clearly not made much sense, in my view.)  Obama took the amount of support polls predicted he would take, so I don't really see the argument that some in the press are making.  Or, if it did have an impact, it was so small that it likely wouldn't have mattered, even at the close margin in NH.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 11:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, the Bradley effect is wiped away by there being a black man and a white woman in the fray. I was more taken with the nuance of the under-reporting of Hilary's numbers by the pollsters being unable to effectively sample poor white voters

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 11:14:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know.  People in the press talk about the inability to poll young people on cell phones, too, -- a demographic that favors Obama over Clinton in a big way -- yet it typically works out that the polls are roughly correct.  So I'm hesitant to take that as a big sign.  A key element of all the polls prior to NH was that a good chunk were undecided, and those people were likely majority-female.  The pollsters simply didn't see the backlash coming against the media, and so didn't see the surge in female voters.

Another small, but significant, piece of the puzzle comes from the fact that a lot of the colleges were not yet back in session, thus depressing the Obama vote in Dover, Durham and other similar areas.  But I think the Tweety Effect reigns supreme.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 11:41:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I go with Mickey Kaus on this one

(ducks and runs)

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 06:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ségolène Royal managed to be at the same time an empty shell and to move the PS campaign to centre right positions (particularly on social issues).

She also chose a certain defeat in the second round over the possibility of eventual victory with a risk of not getting to the second round. i.e. she bashed Bayrou all she could and pretty much left Sarkozy alone until after the first round.
Had she attacked Sarkozy instead, we would most probably either have Bayrou as president with lots of PS in genuine government positions, or Royal as president with lots of MoDem. Either case would have meant a genuinely more progressive France, but what she wanted was the certainty of being in the second round, even with zero chance of winning. Yikes.
Then, she blamed her defeat (which she called non-victory) on having been made to make promises that she had always known were completely impossible. Well then don't make them and I'll give you more credit...

Not being Ségolène in character is probably one of the nicest things that can be said about Hillary Clinton.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 10:54:04 AM EST
Can you honestly say that Obama is not sharp in his critique of Clinton, and that his critique doesn't consist of carefully calculated talking points which mesh with an overall negative campaign strategy?

Both candidates are doing it.

The biggest story in New Hampshire other than the tears were accusations of racism when Clinton was talking about civil rights in the 1960s.

Quite frankly, there was a severe backlash against Obama when his surrogates attacked Clinton for making quasi-racist comments.

People rightly saw that her comments were not racist in the least, and they backed her, even if they were supporting others prior to then.

In fact, the woman who asked the question that lead to the "tears" moment was an Obama supporter.

Women in the US are deeply invested in Hillary's candidacy EVEN if they back someone else. Of all my female friends, which includes my wife, I know of only one who intends to vote for Hillary. But when they see the misogynistic backlash in the US, the pull toward her becomes strong. Very strong. We're talking about more than half of the electorate here. Call it irrational, if you like, but Hillary has very strong credentials as a feminist, and when push comes to shove, this sentiment goes from the irrational to the easily understandable as women's issues rise up the priority ladder for liberal women voters.

by Upstate NY on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 02:02:49 PM EST
I would also add that in terms of actual detailed policies, Obama has only put one plan out so far, his health care plan, and surprisingly, it was to the right of Hillary's plan.
by Upstate NY on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 02:03:32 PM EST

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