16 April 2008
I'm not voting for her because she's a bitch!
In a protected entry, an LJ Friend linked to
The principal thesis of the article seems to be that a significant source of support for Obama amongst social democratic (
progressive) males is really founded in sexism. Now, I've seen plenty of hypocrisy amongst social democrats, but consider that Margaret Thatcher became the leader of the British Conservative Party in 1975 and their Prime Minister in 1979, and served until 1990. Do we really want to even suggest that sexism is going to be more of a determinant amongst Democratic voters in 2008 than it was amongst British Conservative voters in 1975, or than it was amongst Britons more generally in 1979?
There are a few revealing passages in the article that I think merit special attention:
Valenti continued,People use the wordBecause their friends were not being specifically sexist, or saying something that was tangibly misogynistic, they were having a hard time talking about the sexism of it.Valenti confirmed that thisFeminine Mystique-y problem that has no name was familiar to her.I spoke to a guy friend who said,You're being ridiculous. I'm not not voting for her because she's a woman; I'm not voting for her because she's a bitch!He could not see the connection between the two things at all. Valenti said he explained away his comment by declaring,I meana bitchin the sense that she's not good on this or that issue.
bitchto mean a number of things. But when Hillary's opponents call her a
bitch, they don't typically mean that she is tough in a way with a peculiarly significant relationship to her sex (distinctive or inappropriate); they instead mean that she is sanctimonious, hypocritical, and vicious. (If you want a clear sense of these perceptions, then read
The Tall Tale of Tuzlaby Christopher Hitchens in Slate or the milder
A Hillary Clinton Presidencyby Carl Bernstein at CNN.)
A couple of paragraphs later,
Valenti continued,Note the epistemology here. She cannot produce any evidence, but she's insisting that the attitude of these men must be sexist. And she acts as if the reluctance of some people to accept even the plainest of evidence is an excuse for making a charge with no evidence. I would suggest that if Ms Valenti perceives a difference of opinion whose cause must be sexism, and she cannot produce evidence of sexism on one side, then perhaps she ought to be looking for it on the other side.I pinpoint sexism for a living. You'd think I'd be able to find an example. And I hate to rely on this hokey notion that there's some woman's way of knowing, and that I just fucking know. But I do. I just know.When it comes to feminism, she continued, so much proof is required to convince someone that sexism exists,even when it's explicit and outrageous. So when it's subdued or subtle, you don't want to talk about it.
The article is very right about one thing: A great many social democrats — and a great many people who are not social democrats — have developed unreasonable expectations for Obama:
Unless McCain makes missteps extraordinary even for a Republican, he will win the general election. And the sorts of domestic programmes and foreign policy that Obama has been advocating would bear very bitter fruit, in some cases very quickly, causing the nation to lurch to the political right.You already see this idealistic longing projected on Obama,Bruch said.People talk about him as a secular messiah who will bring us political salvation. There's no sense of what is plausible.