May 15th, 2008
|03:49 pm - A must read|
I heard this on NPR last night, and actually paid the $3.95 for a copy of the transcript. I figure this blog is not for commercial purposes, so sharing it with you doesn't seem to violate any copyright laws. And it's that good. Read it - regardless of whether you support Clinton, Obama, or McCain - it's one of the best things I've read or heard in months.
Ms. SUSAN CHEEVER (Writer): Why is it that the more Hillary loses, the better I like her? Yes, I know she won last night, but that's already being dismissed. To me, she's glowing with the inner fire of the warrior in a battle she can't win. Why do I identify with that so much? Why do I feel, after 40 years of voting that at last, for once, there's a politician who truly represents me and not just because she wears pantsuits.
When I tell a handsome man at a party that I support Hillary, he looks my black pantsuit up and down. That figures; you're an older woman, he says. I'm hurt but he's right. Hillary has worn away her youth in the service of a difficult husband, a smart child and the ideal of service. She was never the pretty, simpering, long-legged blonde we were all supposed to be. She had to find another way to be a woman. Me, too. I love her because she's a loser and I'm a loser, I tell my brother.
But Sue, you're a big success, he says. Hillary is a big success, too. But she's a worker, and women don't get respect for being hard workers; they get respect for having good legs. She's a woman dedicated to social justice, and women don't get respect for their dedication, they get it for their baking skills. She's a woman with staying power, but women don't get respect for their staying power, they get respect for their sexual power.
My generation of women were told that our biggest job was to marry the right guy and the sooner the better. When I went for career counseling my last year of college, the dean gave me her condolences. All our best girls are engaged, she said. Oh yes, it sounds outrageously antique, but is it? I never talk for long about my 26-year-old daughter, a lawyer and an activist at Harvard without someone asking, and is she seeing someone?
Women like me usually run for president of the PTA or president of some nice arts organization. We don't usually get to run for president of the United States. At last, here's a woman who wants to play with the big boys and she's qualified, and she's giving them a run for their money, and I love her for that.
You can hear Susan Cheever reading it here.
Why is it that the more Hillary loses, the better I like her?
Mickey Kaus (who is often an ass
, has been on top of this one. He dubs the phenominon mutnemom
(the opposite of momentum). His theory is that a lot of Democrats don't want Clinton to win, but they want her to show well and they definitely don't want her to be pushed out, humiliated, or not taken seriously. (See also
Regarding the substance of the post, I think Clinton is getting more feminist cred then she has probably earned. She has a bit of a history of moderation on some critical issues (including, rhetorically, abortion). Plus, it feels a little like a step backwards that the first legitimate female candidate for President has a career that owes so much to her husband.
I also think Cheever is wrong here: "But she's a worker, and women don't get respect for being hard workers; they get respect for having good legs" at least with regards to Clinton. She gets a lot of respect (almost universal respect) for being a hard worker. Even the very Conservative scumbags that tried to destroy her seem to awe at her drive, knowledge and diligence. Clinton's problem is not that she's not getting respect for being a worker, but that she didn't make the right decision on the Iraq war.
"it feels a little like a step backwards that the first legitimate female candidate for President has a career that owes so much to her husband. "
I disagree strongly with this statement, and with all due respect, I think it's a little sexist. Hillary Clinton has had a long, independent career which has nothing to do with her husband. She would be viewed as "successful" by almost anyone's standards, regardless of whether Bill Clinton was ever president.
But I don't think she would have ever been the Senator from New York.
I agree, and I think that if you will accept a small thought experiment, imagine if Hillary was Bill's BROTHER. He could still be very involved in just as much day-to-day stuff in the Whitehouse (if he was as competent as Hillary is) and he would have the name recognition to have been the Senator from NY.
However, would he have had the political strength (backing, not qualifications) to have been senator without that name recognition?
I understand that this is sort of a triple "what-if", and I guess I don't really know the answer. But it's an interesting way to frame the question.
I think it's troubling for anyone: George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Robert Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, John Quincy Adams, etc.
Of course it can be overcome, but it is ideal if someone is running entirely on their own merit, and not on family connections.
It would be nice if the first female candidate with a legitimate shot didn't have that problem.
oh, yes, the Bushes and the Kennedys are better examples...
She would be viewed as "successful" by almost anyone's standards, regardless of whether Bill Clinton was ever president.
I should clarify a bit.
She was a partner in a major law firm when there were few female lawyers in her state. She was a Yale law grad who worked on the Watergate hearings.
Clearly she had a remarkable career. But that career, without her time as First Lady or her stint as Senator of New York, isn't a political career.
She began this campaign as the favorite of the Democratic party. She had the party infrustructure behind her, knew all the right people, had contacts with all the big donors, etc. That infrastructure is directly as a result of her husband's presidency (and you can see it in how many of those supporters - Ickies, Carville, Begala, etc., had positions in her husband's administration.
Would she have been the front runner going into the primary if not for Bill's administration? Would she have had all the money? Would she have had 200-someodd superdelegates before the campaign even really began?
Lots of people with remarkble careers don't have all that.
|Date:||May 15th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)|| |
Thank you for posting this.