I'm not voting for her because she's a bitch!

16 April 2008

In a protected entry, an LJ Friend linked to

a couple of days ago. She didn't give her own assessment of the article, beyond saying that it was interesting. I've decided to make a few comments on it.

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, Because 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 this Feminine 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 mean a bitch in the sense that she's not good on this or that issue.
People use the word bitch to 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 Tuzla by Christopher Hitchens in Slate or the milder A Hillary Clinton Presidency by Carl Bernstein at CNN.)

A couple of paragraphs later,

Valenti continued, 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.
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.

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:

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.
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.

Tags: , , , , ,

8 Responses to I'm not voting for her because she's a bitch!

  • pluvia says:

    I didn't know so many people actively hate her until I saw the Hillary voodoo dolls at Barnes & Noble.

  • Oshi says:

    You can see locked posts..? Also I did not assess the article because I could not do so as eloquently as you just have, and also because it was half targeted at the 99% of people on my friends list who are in love with Obama and think Hillary is the devil, and I was feeling too wimpy that day to start a flame war 🙂

    • Oshi says:

      (Not that I don't want you to see locked posts, I was just surprised because you only ever comment on the unlocked ones. Is OpenID what lets you do that?)

      • Daniel says:

        Unless you beFriend an OpenID, it won't give the holder access to your Friends-only entries. (I believe but don't guaranteed that it would give the holder access to them if you did.)

        (BTW, beFriending the LJ RSS feed for this 'blog is distinct from beFriending my OpenID.)

        I'm unsettled as to whether I want to use to make long-term use of the OpenID on LJ, so I've not made an announcement that LJ users can beFriended it (or its evil twin).

        Once one uses an OpenID to comment to an LJ entry, LJ creätes a quasi-account to support it. That quasi-account makes me beFriendable, but that quasi-account makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to be counted as having any account on LJ.

        (The LJ RSS feed, though of this 'blog, isn't mine in the same way as the OpenID quasi-account seems to be. I didn't creäte the quasi-account for the feed, cannot log-in with it, and cannot post a comment in LJ using it.)

    • Daniel says:

      Until LJ purges my old account, I can read the Friends-only posts of those who have kept that account beFriended; but I cannot comment to any posts with that account.

  • pluvia says:

    Drat. I wish this would notify me of replies. It seems to send RSS feeds in clumps instead of as they are posted. Or, maybe I'm crazy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.