Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As NTodd points out in comments to one of my posts from yesterday, I overgeneralized. The Hillary Hatred didn't really extend to every white, male, 30-something blogger. Guilty, as charged.

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.

Since the primaries ended, Hillary's also done the right thing. She gave a gracious and inspiring concession speech. She's supported Obama in state after state and and she's raising money for other Dems. And I've yet to hear nearly as much, "Gee, thanks, Hillary," as I heard "That Eviiiilllll Woman." But I have a long memory.


ntodd said...

I'm glad my snotty comment fostered a longer post! You are, of course, spot on.

People didn't consider the strategic big picture, first of all, and used tired old CW about "bruising primary fights" to justify their wanting her to bow out because she was uppity. The best example they could come up with as "proof" it would be bad was Kennedy's challenge of a damaged, ineffectual Carter who had to contend with an October Surprise to boot.

Depending on how you counted (with all that MI and FL mess), Hillary had the delegate lead for quite some time. One might've made the argument that Obama should have dropped out much earlier when it was "clear" his opponent was inevitable.

While I don't want to rehash those insane days, it would be nice if the haters would admit they suffered from HDS tempered by sexism, and that all their dire predictions about this ambitious harpy destroying the party, O's electoral chances, and America were juuuuuuuust a tad off base.

mattsmom said...

Ntodd, you were one of the few male bloggers that didn't get cut out of my favorites. (Although I have to admit your animals are a big draw.) You did always point out that Hillary was a Democrat first and she would do what was needed. You also defended her supporters while we were adjusting.

Hecate, I agree with every word you said. And I am also waiting for someone (from the blogger boyz to Obama) to say "Thank you, Hillary." One day, maybe.

Rhode Island Rules said...

Yes I like Hillary and she is a very capable woman, but she has a lot of baggage and I think the main reason that she lost was no one wanted a monarchy in this country consisting of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.
She was a casualty of timing.

That said, compare the welcome of Sarah, half-baked Alaska, Palin. The rabid response to her may be her age, her looks, her newness on the stage, but it is the mirror opposite of the reaction to Hillary. The main street and pundit reaction, I mean.

Hillary is an accomplished woman with a great education and much experience. She was made into a nutcracker, a witch and dismissed as a shrew.

Palin has no great education, no great amount of experience and yet she has been celebrated and revered because she is whatever a man wants to read into her.

Same old bias, the majority of males do not want a female boss. It is a blow to their ego. But if she is easy on the eye and sort of vacant or she is good at lavishing praise on them to con them into doing her bidding, they are all for her. Too easy these men. The problem is with us women who don't want to feed their egos and take advantage to get things done. We are trying to treat them as equals, but they just cannot work with us without being coddled.

Frater Servitor said...

I think it helps to bear in mind that those who hate Hillary also hate Bill. The Clintons together have managed to generate an astounding quantity of ill-will from some quarters. I don't understand it, myself. He was a pretty competent President, and I don't doubt that she'd be, as well.
Frankly, she looks as much like "the right woman" as any who are likely to come along. TO my mind, she made some missteps, as I've mentioned, but, had she gotten the nomination, I certainly would vote for her.

Anonymous said...

YES YES YES-- we've been (in our household) talking about how much better O is because he had to debate H-- he got a good education and a lot of practice. Hillary would have been totally inspirational-- and I bet she would have picked O for VP (whether or not he would have accepted)-- and then it would have been the 16-year Dem dynasty...