My lady parts do not ache for Hillary Clinton.
As The First Viable Female Contender’s bid for the Democratic nomination sputters to its inevitable end, everyone and their mother/sister/daughter has something to say about the poisonous misogyny that’s apparently to blame.
Sunday and Monday brought three such post-mortems in The New York Times, one on the front page that ended by quoting a resident of Bizarro World, who laments, “[Obama] still looks more like every other president we’ve ever had than she does.”
Next comes Arianna “No Fear” Huffington, suffering from a strain of short-term memory loss that seems to be going around, to declare: “The greatest triumph of Clinton’s campaign—a complete triumph—is the example she has set for the next generation.”
Currently pregnant with the next generation, let me just say this: There is no greater wish that a mother can have for her daughter than that she will exploit poor people, obliterate Iran, and win rigged class president elections, Putin-style. (Mom, I won 100 percent of the vote!)
Huffington was actually responding to the Times piece, in which Jodi Kantor set up the ultimate false choice: For women, Hillary’s run represents either (A, and Arianna’s choice) “a historic if incomplete triumph” or (B) “a depressing reminder of why few [women] pursue high office in the first place.” Umm… C?
This War on Women is just like the War on Christmas: imaginary. Yes, yes, Hillary’s had to contend with the fashion police (BTW: Do you think Barack Obama looks more like a real American with or without a tie?) and the “likeable enough” smear (Is he black/white/patriotic/Christian/American enough?). And who but a female candidate would have to be tough and warm AT THE SAME TIME? Surely, not Obama, right? (Does he seem aloof to you? I’ve heard he hearts Hamas.) Adding insult to injury, Obama is NOT calling for Hillary to drop out. Men!
Now we learn of a new, primarily female group, Clinton Supporters Count Too, which promises to actively campaign against Obama in the general because, as their leader told the Times, “We, the most loyal constituency, are being told to sit down, shut up and get to the back of the bus.” Also: Black people? Suck it.
And Hillary’s lapping it up. Confirming in today’s Washington Post that the primary campaign has been sexist (but not racist), Clinton complains—states/notes/ declares—that there’s been a “disservice because we have broad coalitions of voters who have voted for me who make up the base of a winning campaign in November that I think want to see this end up with my being nominated.” Translation: “This is unfair and sexist, because my voters clearly want to see me nominated. And if I’m not nominated, a disservice has been done to my voters.” What makes it really unfair is that she’s losing by every measure and we still won’t let her win. Classic misogyny.
Here’s the thing: There is plenty of sexism—more than enough, thank you very much—in this country. Which is why it’s so sad to see Hillary’s supporters (and lately even her female detractors, and way too many column inches) elevate her to some kind of goddess warrior, symbolizing the decades-long fight for gender equality, absorbing the entirety of history’s catcall in one massive blow, and then standing tall again because that’s what women do. Powerful stuff, except that she’s a lying, race-baiting insult to our collective intelligence. Powerful, if she and her husband hadn’t sold out poor people in the ’90s or if she had stood tall like a woman against the war in Iraq or if she wasn’t right now trying to change the rules of the game and stir up the worst kind of identity politics. Powerful, if her most fervent supporters weren’t threatening to vote for John McCain out of spite, Supreme Court justices be damned.
That’s right, ladies: Teach this nation a lesson for once and for all. Do it for Hillary.
[Editor’s note: Allison Benedikt, the Film Editor of The Village Voice, wears an Obama ’08 pin on her lapel, and has volunteered for his campaign.]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 20, 2008