There was, however, when you look back at it, a few months out, an absolutely AMAZING amount of hatred -- all out of proportion to reality -- directed towards "that woman" (and anyone foolish enough to speak up and support her or even suggest that perhaps the sexism was not too becoming for supposed liberals) and regular and v shrill demands, starting quite early, that she STEP DOWN RIGHT NOW in favor of the "more deserving" man. You couldn't go 15 minutes on some blogs without hearing that, by insisting that everyone get to vote in a primary and that every state mattered, Hillary Clinton was "destroying" not only Obama's only chance to beat McCain, but also the entire future of the Democratic Party. And all "for her own ego."
I said at the time, and I believe today, that any guy who'd done exactly what Hillary did would be celebrated for "having heart," being "a real fighter," having "what it took" to "stay in it to the end," for "never giving up, even in the final quarter," for "staying focused through the ninth inning, " [insert your sports metaphor here]. He'd also be the VP nominee for the Democratic Party. Cf., e.g., John Edwards.
Now, with 20/20 hindsight, it's pretty clear that, by forcing Obama to develop a ground game in all 50 states, by creating a situation where voters were seeing Obama ads months and months before McCain (who was doing his victory lap around the other Republican primary candidates and ignoring many states since they "no longer mattered,") Clinton did not only Obama, but also the entire party a favor. When you look at it, you can see it as a logical outcome of Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy. If Democrats show up in every state, spend money in every state, contest every state, not only can they win states that they never dreamed before that they could win, they can exhaust the Republicans by making them spend money, time, and energy defending what should have been "safe" states, even if, in the end, those states stay red.
So was there a lot of sexism behind the out-of-proportion hatred? Yes. Yes, there was. There certainly was. And many of the proponents believe to this day that they, of course, aren't sexist, at all. Some of their best friends are women and they would, of course, support the "right woman" -- if she ever came along. And paid her dues. And was "more qualified" than the man.
It's odd how many unintended good things often result from doing the right thing. Hillary Clinton was right to fight the primary out to the very end, even if it made that "more deserving" man fight harder for his job than he "should" have had to if only she'd been "gracious" and given up, as girls are taught to do. It was the right thing for her, for her supporters, for women, for Democrats. And it was the right thing for Obama.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."