Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Steinem On The Chick Thing

Per commenter advice, here's Gloria Steinem's NYT article on why women are never front-runners. (I can't remember if it was Colbert or Stewart who pointed out that Hillary was only down for, like, six days, prior to which she was, a-hem, the front-runner. Nevermind the facts, though.)

Actuall, forget the parentheses above, and let's mind the facts. This woman WAS very much the forgone conclusion until Iowa. Iowa was the exception and New Hampshire the rule, if we look at the arc of 2008 narrative that carried us through 2007. So is it possible, then, that we're using the - I'm sorry, I'm going to say it - gender card as a crutch? A guilt inducer that absolves Clinton of lapses in political or legislative judgment or the undeniable taint of her establishment background? What if the voters really are judging her on the merits and she still comes up short?

Ah, but that was before the tearless crying exhibited in New Hampshire that fell within the narrative the older generation felt more comfortable with, eh? We've been snapped back to the reality of tired gender politics. Hillary wept. Woman rushed to her aid. At least the Obama camp and pundits deserve some credit for not crying bigotry as the reason he lost and she won. But would he have done so if, say, Edwards won? I suppose Hillary and Barack could've pegged the fault on their gender and race had that happened.

Steinem says "what worries [her] is that [Obama] is seen as unifying by his race while [Clinton] is seen as divisive by her sex." But that's only since last week. And only because she won. Had she lost, I don't think we'd have been talking about the tearless crying as much at all.

Steinem's piece couldn't have been written in December, nor, likely, will it seem accurate or relevant two or three primary contests from now.

Can we get out of our own way? Do we want to?

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