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Archive for June, 2008

i can’t leave you people alone for one second!

Posted by pocochina on June 24, 2008

I can’t leave you people alone for one second! THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!

Leaving aside my perpetual astonishment that the world, in fact, goes on when my internet goes down and I spend the weekend engrossed in third wave theory and Japanese feminist crime fiction, oh, sweeties, I didn’t think anyone would actually pour a whole bottle of detergent into the dishwasher, but now you’ve gone and done it.

Link Lovin’!

First of all, excellent news via Jack at Feministe, the convictions of two of the NJ Four have been overturned.

Q: Did Karl Rove us? A: No more than usual.

The Prospect has decided that the witch is dead, and so now they can get “Beyond Hillary” (no, no, I would never knowingly subject anyone to that level of annoying) and talk seriously about women in politics. One of these articles, about how one of the major barriers to women’s participation in politics is that women aren’t asked, and whew, now we’ve got that sorted, written by the original AHBADSMoFo, Ezra “too cool for universal health care if it means giving up a lie about That Bitch” Klein, unironically hosts a sidebar which proudly displays an article about how Jim Webb’s manly, handsome loose-cannon all-‘mukin sexy* beefiness makes him just too good to stand a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Meanwhile, Ann Friedman (of Feministing fame) writes on how to increase the numbers of women in government. The article is well worth a read, but I do have a couple of bones to pick. She mostly mentions women in legislative positions, though, and then HRC as an “exceptional” case – but, well, that’s the rub. Any woman willing to run for president – especially after seeing the shit that got thrown Senator Clinton’s way – is going to be exceptional in a lot of ways, and therefore there will be lots of grounds for “it’s not women, it’s just that BALL BUSTING BITCH.” To our sad detriment, we consider masculinity apart of power, and especially of the kind of power that comes with being Badass in Chief of the biggest bunch of tanks in the fucking world. (No. That is not how I think of our armed forces. It is how people with gender issues think of the presidency.) We don’t, as she suggests, need to “move beyond the exceptional Hillary Clintons.” Exceptional is not a bad thing. Only an exceptional person runs for the presidency, only an exceptionally talented exceptional person gets as far as Hillary Clinton did. [*For the record, I don’t think fiction should be held against anyone seeking office unless it shows a propensity towards violence; however, I haven’t read the books in question, but I do know the RNC and exactly what they have to say about the books.]

My co-blogger, Red (I say that a lot about the H1K ladies because it makes people think I’m as awesome as they are. It’s the transitive property of “seriously, go read her now”) follows Obama’s speeches to working women and mayors. Unsurprisingly, he is sooooo much better than that John McCain, who, don’t get him wrong, he would never talk trash, but Jasmine in band said is tooooootally going out with that nerd from the quiz bowl team. (Shut up, I’m allowed, I was the queen of Shakespeare trivia at Quiz Bowl! And we totally made it to semifinals because I nailed a math question. Arrogant Math Guy was so embarrassed.) Equally unsurprisingly, some good ideas couched in lots of conservative pandering and avoidance of important issues.

And oh, the weekend of the ill-fated Obama seal, which has already mercifully been yanked (h/tlady_jane). I have a couple problems with the seal. First of all, of course, it’s utterly ridiculous. “Vero possumus?” As morpheus0013 was kind enough to explain to us, it’s not even good Latin, but that doesn’t matter so much as – really? Was he pandering to his anti-Carthaginian hardliners? He’s tough on Gauls? Whatever, dude, we get it. What really bugs me about it, though, is the conflation of the person with the office. I’ve spent the last eight years of my life furious about this, and it’s only been exacerbated by spending the last ten months of my life immersed in constitutional theory. George Bush is POTUS; it does not mean that he is the office of the presidency. For example, though I disagree with his selfish, irresponsible vetoes, I acknowledge that it is his constitutional prerogative, and if he makes a bad one, it means we haven’t been doing a good job holding him accountable. To see a Democrat play this game that conflates the person with the office not only goes against the values in which we’re supposed to believe, but it’s also the Manly Leadership Game – fighting on the Republican’s turf. You don’t want to out-arrogant GWB, or out-ego Nixon, but you also can’t. Obama should be reiterating that he’s running to “unify” the country, not absorb the country into his campaign whether we like it or not. And, of course, this will lead to attacks of “elitism” and “arrogance” which, while crushingly ironic coming from Republicans, aren’t totally inaccurate. However, these attacks will be laden with racist dogwhistles, which are totally inexcusableand those don’t just hurt Obama, they hurt all POC.

Obama gives up public financing. Did he strongly imply that he was going to promise to take public financing if he were in a general election match-up with John McCain? Yup. Now, some of his supporters are deeply, deeply disappointed that The One has turned out to be a politician doing what politicians do; others are shrugging and saying you gotta do what you gotta do. But none that I’ve seen are exploring the situation to its logical beginnings. Obama knew, back when he was having these talks with McCain, that he was raising multiples of what McCain was, and that if he ended up being the nominee, he’d have even more new donors, plus the national machine at his disposal. The situation hasn’t changed fundamentally between now and then, in fact, he’s had comparatively slow fundraising months between now and then. He knew all along that he was going to take the public funding. And, you know, play games, don’t play games, but if he’s running as a reformer, against a guy with a widespread reputation as a reformer, and you come within a hair’s breadth of a lie about public financing, we should be asking a lot more questions about his credibility. This is an Issue. Elections are the ballgame. And, of course, when he was “strongly considering” but never actually going to take the public financing, he was using it against Senator Clinton, masterfully intertwining it with cultural assumptions that ambitious women are ballbreaking ruthless bitches who will do anything to have their way. All while trying to trap McCain into promising public financing and planning to pull the plug on it. It’s a good political move, but it simply bolsters what Clinton supporters said all along – he’s not a saint, he’s a politician, and a damned good one, which means he’s using your hopey changey inspiration for his own cynical ends. Which is fine, but don’t get so hacked off at us for it.

Salon-troversy!

And then. The Traister maelstrom. This smarts a bit because Salon sucks a little less than, say, Slate, and Traister is a feminist writer who I really do admire. First the good, she does admit it’s incomplete, and there are some parts that are dead-on accurate. Ex: “And for any of you sitting at your computers yammering about how the coverage of Clinton had nothing to do with her sex, allow me to be frank: can it.” I just don’t understand why, if Salon wanted to know why Clinton supporters are angry, they didn’t, yanno, ask a Clinton supporter. Fuck, they have at least one on staff, and she just wrote a badass post about why she’s pissed off. (Kate would also fit the profile Traister is trying to draw, because she does plan to vote for Obama in the fall, unlike many of the women for whom Traister claims to be translating.) Hell, they could’ve asked me, I’m not doing anything. There’s a link to the PUMA website, I’m sure she could’ve asked the RD a couple of questions!

Mostly, though, it’s frustrating. The language of “coming home” in the context of female voters – particularly given the someitmes violent overtones of the primary season. The assumption that we’re pissed off at the Big Dawg. (As if!) This assumed partywide attempt to distance ourselves from the only two-term Democrat in fifty years is politically stupid, and again, it gives the high ground of the debate to the Republicans. Now we all agree we hate the guy who brought us peace, prosperity, and a balanced budget, choked off the Global Gag Rule, appointed the first openly gay US ambassador, and put Ginsberg and Breyer on the High Court? Hey, you must’ve spilled something, that looks like a big brown splotch of hell no on your blouse.

What’s most upsetting, though, is the way the post is obviously written to placate people who are just! so! angry! that those uppity bitches are upset. Don’t we KNOW they wouldn’t have to YELL AT US if we didn’t MAKE THEM? Traister seems to be jumping in front of the bullies going, “no, no, their feeeeeeelings are hurt.” And while I don’t necessarily like that she misrepresents us in order to protect us from the mean, scary Obama bullies – please, we’ve been taking their crap for months – but just how fucked up it is that we should have to be apologized for and explained and oh, aren’t we cute with our little temper tantrums? If our votes matter, treat us like they matter, if they don’t, leave us the hell alone, either way, the bullying reveals something fucked up in Obama land, and the article doesn’t shed much light about the Clinton supporters who aren’t voting for Obama.

And then, darlings.

Sparks Fly at Black Caucus Meeting

Just What Was Said Between the Presumptive Democratic Nominee and Clinton-Supporting Congresswoman?

var addthis_pub = ‘abcnews’;

Sources at the meeting said that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a Clinton supporter, expressed the desire that Obama and his campaign would reach out the millions of women still aggrieved about what happened in the campaign and still disappointed that Clinton lost.

Obama agreed that a lot of work needs to be done to heal the Democratic Party, and that he hoped the Clinton supporters in the room would help as much as possible.

Yup. It’s the Clinton supporters’ job to heal! Note the appeal to feelings – after all, only women supported Clinton (Rep. Rangel is amused) and women love that touchy-feely shit! Just give them a job to make them feel important! Hey, Senator, they have re-election campaigns to run, and lots of them hail from NY, which was pretty damn excited to re-elect Senator Clinton. They might not be much for healing right now. They might – wonder of wonders – have actually thought their colleague would be a great president. The original article states that at this point – post people switching at the last minute out of political necessity, the highly intelligent, politically savvy room is still 1/3 full of Clinton supporters, which makes those Unrepentant Racist Bitch assumptions just a hair suspect. Notice how there’s nothing about what he can do for them, districts where they can campaign together, just how Clinton supporters need to pitch in as much as possible.

According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, “However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I’m running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it.

First of all, Mr. I Wanna Run a Government, MEN VOTED FOR HRC, TOO. A LOT OF THEM. Second of all, WOMEN ARE NOT FUCKING STUPID. We know exactly what John McCain is. If women are pissed enough to look at the two of them, under the harsh glare of day, and still think that they will do better under a McCain presidency, that is something Obama needs to fix, and right now. Third of all, stop fucking expecting our votes. I own my vote, not the Democratic Party or its nominee (however chosen).

And then. GET OVER IT. The ultimate in dismissiveness. Not “get excited.” Not “know they’re an integral part of our party.” GET OVER IT YOU STUPID BITCHES NOBODY YOU NEED ME ELSE WILL LOVE YOU.

Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” She found them dismissive, off-putting.

“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson told Obama.

[……]

In Clarke’s view, Watson thought Obama had just told her to “get over it.” She didn’t appreciate that, and she told him so and emphasized that it was a heated campaign and lot of healing remains to be done.

FUCK YEAH. First of all, Watson handled the situation perfectly. She explained that her colleague had used inappropriate and unnecessary language, that it wasn’t helpful in the caucus room or the campaign, and how and why he should fix it.

“I agree,” Obama said. “There’s healing on both sides.

You bitches ruin EVERYTHING! Winning would’ve been AWESOME if that BITCH and her BITCH FRIENDS hadn’t fucked it up with their CAMPAIGNING AND SHIT! No, there’s healing on one side. Clinton supporters need to be respected, and have our reasonable issues addressed. And we don’t owe anyone anything. Everyone has to vote in the manner which will leave their consciences least disturbed.

Obama then said two sources at the meeting said that he’d held his tongue many times during the campaign against Clinton in the interest of party unity and sensitivity. Clinton and her allies had suggested he was a Muslim, had said he wasn’t qualified to be president.

First of all, he shouldn’t be walking around slinging the M-word, not with his campaign discriminating against Muslim women who support him. Second of all, those smears have been debunked and debunked and DEBUNKED. The “qualifications” thing – I’m assuming he’s referring to the CIC threshhold test – was nothing the GOP isn’t going to bring harder and hotter in any event. Nothing is more destructive to party unity than such blatant lies about a candidate that a lot of us support.

Notice, too, how while he cites alleged slurs against him, he conveniently forgets that some of the healing on her side is going to have to come about because of the insults he dished out to us, her supporters, not just her?

According to the sources, Obama suggested he bit his tongue every time. He could be asking for an apology, he could be asking for the Clintons to reconcile with him, but he chose to rise above it.

Really? Axlerod didn’t send around some clip of Olbermann all hopped up on whatever as usual? OH, WAIT, HE DID. And the way he did it – to prominent media figures – suggests that not only did the Obama campaign expect the media to cover for him, but that you were utterly okay with all of what was going down on that show as it swirled down the shitter. Oh, and he didn’t answer criticism by saying that she “periodically feels down,”: or that “the claws were out,” nooo. Either none of that happened and we were ALL FUCKING HIGH, or he actually thinks that sweepingly insulting an entire gender just to get back at one woman counts for anything.

He just doesn’t seem to understand that he can’t blame everything on Hillary Clinton any more. It’s especially not going to work with the 18 million of us who voted for her, and it’s really not going to work on those of us who would drop everything to join her her if she were forming the breakaway People’s Republic of NYC. You have to work hard to do the healing, Senator.

And I’m tired of being treated this way. I can’t imagine how a black woman who beat all the odds to become a US Representative felt at being so dismissively treated. If that’s how he’s going to talk to her, comrades, just fucking well imagine how he feels about us.

Posted in clinton, feminism, obama, politics, race | 2 Comments »

Women Deserve Choice

Posted by pocochina on June 21, 2008

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

because history is written in strange and silly ways

Posted by pocochina on June 17, 2008

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon are not just some sweet little old ladies who waited around for five and a half centuries before some white knight on a horse came and granted them their rights.  Gavin Newsom deserves praises most high for his eagerness to lead on this important critical civil rights issue.  He is an ally which every civil rights movement needs and deserves.

Some more biographical history, from the SFGate (Via PD)

They founded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, the first national lesbian organization. In 1964, they helped launch the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, bringing together national religious leaders and gay and lesbian activists to discuss homosexual rights. Lyon, in a challenge to the leadership of the feminist movement, was the first open lesbian on the board of the National Organization for Women in 1973. Martin, meanwhile, helped lead a successful campaign to get the American Psychiatric Association to take homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses.


Let’s just honor that as it deserves, shall we?  They founded the first national lesbian rights organization at the height of the Red Scare – they could have been blacklisted, seen their friends called before HUAC, and instead, they chose courage.

They could have just fought for gay rights, and instead, they chose to take their life experiences and join the fight for the rights of all women, at a time when that movement was not fully accepting of lesbians.  They chose humanity.

They could have accepted that they and everyone like them were labeled as “sick” and instead they chose rightousness.

They did not ask, or expect, anyone to do for them what they set forth to do for their country.

These women are heroes.  They are deserving of their names in the history books, over and over again.  The state recognition of their marriage – while it is a necessary option for many same-sex couples – is but the least of what the community they call home, the state of California, can do for them.

For their marriage, I wish them unremarkableness.  I wish that as married women they live as they have always lived – with joy in life, with faith in humanity, with the courage and steadfastness of their own convictions.

Posted in feminism, lgbtq | Leave a Comment »

“But it wasn’t JUST sexism!”

Posted by pocochina on June 17, 2008

Whenever the topic of sexism in media comes up, there are any number of Obama fen who will trip over themselves to inform everyone that YES THERE WAS SEXISM BUT HILLARY LOST B/C OF XYZ OTHER REASONS. On the lowest level – we’re talking sub-human decency levels, but still – this is a good thing, as it forces the Librul Boyz to use the S-Word, though O! How it burns their souls. However, it’s still a crap dodge. From trogledyte commenters on some blog, maybe. But from anyone who actually follows and knows anything about politics, it’s inexcusable. There is never “just one cause” for political victory or defeat, and the only common variable is luck.

There’s a reason politicians have focus groups, and image specialists, and have people help with their haircuts and ties. It’s because even subtle things about politicians set off cues – conscious and subconscious – in voters, media, colleagues, potential donors alike. These intricate cues are synched up to our expectations of masculine-presenting, able-bodied,* heterosexual, white, wealthy male. Femaleness, even white femaleness, is in a great many ways the opposite of this image. It is not “just sexism” in its gloating, unshackled Daily Kos glory. It is sexism in terms of the different measuring sticks we use for men and women; sexism in the way Barack Obama’s past is respected (as it should be; I am not arguing otherwise) but Hillary Clinton’s decades of hard and distinguished work is subsumed under the banner of “former First Lady” – read “just wife.” It is sexism not just in enormous bricks, but in a hundred thousand tiny shards of glass.

Part of the beaut of politics is that it’s so fucking bizarre there’s no One True Analogy. But in this case, there’s a damned close one. This is an exercise in thought, and I don’t know a whole lot about cars, so just assume no externalities.

Say you’re driving a car. What you do know is that the brakes are a bit stiff; what you don’t know is that they’re actually defective. So you’re driving one day, you go to make a relatively sharp turn – like you, and other people, do all the time – and move your right hand down to switch the radio station – like you, and other people, do all the time. Nothing statistically unsafe, but nothing you’d find recommended in a driver’s manual, either.

You crash.

Is the relevant question:

(a) Was it just the faulty brakes?

(b) Would it have happened but for the faulty brakes?

(a) is, of course, the question that will be used by the manufacturer of the faulty car, while trying to duck responsibility. Not only is their credibility on the line, as well as the money that they owe you, but they’re also trying to duck their moral responsibility for the accident.

But really, do you really believe that you would’ve crashed if you’d had working brakes?

Oh, sure, sexism wasn’t the only drawback of the Clinton campaign.  But the Blogger Boyz/MSM’s desperate cast for reasons other than sexism to explain Clinton’s eventual coming up slightly short for the nomination reads to me, at least a little, like an excuse to duck any responsibility on the part of themselves or Barack Obama.  Because if Obama won, even a little, based on these unfair biases, then he didn’t win the great coup over the Dragon Lady they have been screaming for these many months.  Moreover, they would have to examine their own motivations.  Even if they were Pure as the Morning in their motivations – and the idea that they’re not doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone – they’d have to question all of the narratives they bought into over the last year and a half.  They have to discount sexism as the reason for Clinton’s loss, or Obama’s win isn’t what they want it to have been.

Sure, it wasn’t just sexism.  It was Patti Solis Doyle not being up to the job.  It was, oddly, underestimating, the sexism that they did know was going to exist, and only seeing the ripple effects halfway through the campaign.  It was underestimating the Obama faction at the DNC.

But even factoring in all of that, do you really, really believe that without the assistance of the Clenis-obsessed media, a cultural zeitgeist willing to believe anything of an intelligent, ambitious woman, without the endless snide comments about nasty old ladies and pantsuits and frigidity and duplicity and ballbreakers and madams and whores and periodically feeling down and WWTSBQ and on and on into sinking oblivion –

do you really think you would have crashed?

*I’m aware that we’ve had a wheelchair-using president, but FDR never presented his disability to the public.

Posted in clinton, feminism, obama, politics | Leave a Comment »

On Selfishness, Silliness, and the Female Vote

Posted by pocochina on June 15, 2008

As Riverdaughter pointed out so clearly, the guilt end of the bullying corralling convincing Clinton supporters into line is predicated on a very basic assumption – women are socialized to put others first, and that’s why they are so confident that their “McCain will do XYZ and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT” will work.  I mean, it must be our fault if something goes wrong.

Female assertiveness is assumed to be a bad thing. Not only is this the central point of much of the primary coverage (or the Obama campaign’s tactics against Clinton), it’s also the way in which the Democratic Party has gained its choke hold on single women’s votes.  Something else is always more important, girls, but in the meantime, LOOK AT THE BIG SCARY REPUBLICAN.  This is particularly the point behind the blog post taken apart so brilliantly here.

It’s also, nauseatingly, the point behind this post. (Disturbingly and surprisingly linked to with approval by Feministing.) I have a lot of problems with the VOTE FOR OBAMA OR ELSE argument, but this one, because it’s written by a liberal woman and apparently approved of by one of the more influential feminist voices on the intertubes, is particularly upsetting. First of all, it’s predicated on the Roe stick, which I find to be reprehensible. Secondly, of course, it relies on the assumption that to vote for a candidate means one approves of all of the policies of that candidate. Clinton supporters, no matter what, are weighing our second, third, and fourth choices, and (unlike many Obama supporters) were already supporting a candidate we acknowledged from the start was less than perfect.  We’re not going to be signing any loyalty oaths in the near future – if we agreed with McCain or Obama  on all of our most important issues, WE’D HAVE VOTED FOR MCCAIN OR OBAMA.  Since we didn’t, it’s pretty clear that we’re going to be compromising regardless – YES even if we vote Green or abstain from the top of the ballot – so this “loyalty oath” crap is trivializing of the complexity of our decisions.  If it were true that a vote for a candidate involved unquestioning endorsement of that candidate, and those poor fools really need such things written out for them, I’m more than willing to write up similarly infuriating loyalty oaths for female, feminist, working-class, rural, sick, older, queer, brown, partisan Democratic, and/or non-Christian Obama supporters. Point being not that those people shouldn’t vote for Obama, but that they are compromising on something that government can or should do for them with their support for him. Oh, and cupcakes, aren’t our Clinton-supporter-stereotypes shifting with the winds! First Clinton’s base was made entirely of geriatric post-sexual DINOs, but now all of a sudden we are fecund young things, whose entire political involvement revolves around our baby-making-parts! We can barely keep them in control!

Most importantly, though, is the snide condescension towards female voters – that women do not understand who we are voting for. I can’t speak to the original author, but I do know that Feministing has earned its place in blogland at least in part based on its righteous fury at the idea that women are silly, irrational actors who should just be patted on the head and told what’s best for us. And yet, here they are, doing just that. Those silly wimminz can’t possibly know what it’s like to have an abortion what John McCain stands for! Here’s a clue – if the media is right, and these women who proudly supported a female feminist candidate so energetically are willing to jump ship from Obama and the Democratic Party to the famously anti-woman McCain, THEN THERE’S SOMETHING SERIOUSLY FUCKED UP GOING ON WITH OBAMA AND/OR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.  And if these angry women (whether or not they even exist in significant numbers) are so important, THEN OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SHOULD DAMNED WELL BE LISTENING.  All the demonization of little old ladies in the world isn’t going to change that; in fact, all it does is locate a convenient scapegoat should the party lose in November – blame those irrational women! – and further excuse the unending trivialization of feminist issues within the party, not to mention absolve the fucked-up nomination process that got us a nominee who may well not have been our strongest GE contender. And it buys into the misogynist media narrative, which (now that the Dragon Lady is safely slayed, of course) even the media, in grudging and IQ-lite forms of course, is willing to admit is bullshit.

Feminist liberals can support Obama, remain in the Democratic party, and still fucking hold both accountable when they show signs of sell-out take women for granted bullshit.  Join in the HRC-voter scapegoating, and you’re (a) pushing us [further, for some women] away and (b) buying into the Blame Women First narrative of, oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING ELSE that keeps our culture a fucking misogynist patriarchy.  I’m trying to be better than that.  I’d like to think I’m not alone.

Oh.  And no, this post is not an endorsement or criticism of Obama, McCain, McKinney, or abstention.  It’s a criticism of an aspect of electoral politics which is bad for women, and is going to continue to be bad for women as long as we think it’s “funny” and refuse to criticize it.  However, if my smart-ass low-traffic blog is more convincing than your candidate’s millions of dollars and supporters, YOUR CANDIDATE DOESN’T DESERVE TO WIN.

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so what happens now?

Posted by pocochina on June 12, 2008

Possible Outcome: clear McCain victory

Let me be clear. This would be quite terrible, but it is NOT the nightmare scenario. (I am not endorsing a McCain victory. I am saying there is something worse than a Nixon/McGovern style blowout.) It would smart viciously; it would set back race relations twenty years (as if this country needs that); the Supreme Court will resemble nothing so much as a liberal retirement home for four years. McCain will propose “reform” legislation which is suitably classist and pro-business, the Democrats will ham-handedly and spectacularly fail to beat him to the punch, and he will successfully brand Democrats the true party of elitism and corruption. But this will be temporary – the Right, comfortable in its victory, will continue its slide into ridiculousness and idiocy, and in 2012, Our Lady of the Perpetual Pantsuit will step in with nary an “I told you so.”** A McCain blowout would do other things, too. Climate change and evolution would no longer be on the GOP agenda. He’s not a moderate, we all know this,

But Pocochina, how could that possibly happen? McCain is freaking McSame!

Y’all guessed it! Race, Class and Gender Politics!*

First of all, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and the Right’s paranoid moaning about the Booga Booga Liberal Media has actually come true in the bloviating, orange specter of Keith Olbermann. Clinton supporters, particularly women, notoriously turned to Fox for primary coverage, even if they wouldn’t ever vote for McCain in a million years. But this now means that, well, people are getting their news from Fox. The liberal media is now the sexist, willing to eat their own, can’t even be trusted wit their friends liberal media. The Right has the clear opportunity, should they chose to take it (and Turd Blossom ain’t dead yet, you guys, he’s in a bunker somewhere coming up with a Cunning Plan), to manipulate the entire country’s rage at the clear bias of the media into resentment at what they will term a liberal bias. This is no good. This is very, very bad. Because then, to counteract the perception of bias, the media won’t tell the Republicans where to shove it, they’ll keep doing what they’ve been doing for the last decade, and continue to report in a way that’s sympathetic to the Dark Side right wing. The right has brilliantly manipulated the media’s love affair with itself and its own appearance.

I think that the Obama campaign is being very silly to ignore sexism, not just because it could cost him female votes, but because it’s a brilliant avenue of attack for John McCain. And I don’t think it’s because he’s going to peel off too many female voters that would have otherwise gone to Obama – married women tilt slightly conservative; single women tend to be younger and/or well educated, a demographic friendly to Obama even in the primaries – but because of independent, slightly right-leaning men. We liberals, in our feminist bubbles, tend to forget that these men who are so willing to vote against the best interests of women do, in fact, have wives and mothers and daughters. We’re not fighting against reason, here, we’re fighting against Rove. The Republican Daddy machine will brilliantly exploit the feelings of working class and lower middle class patriarchs who care about and want to protect the women in their lives, but are totally squicked by the idea of female sexual autonomy.

There’s also the masculinity issue. Clinton’s exit from the race didn’t signal the end of gender politics in the campaign, just the end of Democrats doing the gender-trashing. In general, candidates for the US presidency have spent a good deal of their careers trying to out-man each other. Think of TR on his horse, Dubya’s flight suit, or Reagan’s cowboy hat. During the primaries, Obama (and Edwards, before his early exit) could play big man on campus by using any one of a million anti-feminist archetypes to beat up on Senator Clinton, and he did so, unreservedly, and for this he has been rightfully taken to task, though not enough, since it kept happening.

He’s not running against Senator Clinton any more, though. He’s running against His Maverickiness, the War Hero McCain.  Testosterone itself isn’t going to be enough, and the GOP has the daddy-market utterly cornered, with their Tough on Terror (TM) and anti-choice credentials totally shored up.  (Expect even more shameless, conservative pandering on women’s reproductive rights now, as well as a radioactive comparative silence on the CA gay marriages.)  The GOP is the party of pretending health problems don’t exist, of victim-blaming, of waving the bloody shirt and calling it respecting the troops.  I wish I had reason to believe Barack Obama won’t try to play those games; he did so throughout the primary when it might not have been necessary (and of course if that’s how you have to win, you don’t deserve to win).

Expect, however, ageism to continue to rear its ugly head.  Barack Obama will continue to enjoy photo ops which emphasize his youth and virility, and more “losing his bearings” comments about McCain.  McCain, for his part, will emphasize Obama’s youth and inexperience.  We’ll see whose nastiness backfires the most – the Youth Vote already swings heavily to Obama, but seniors are a critical swing group.  So we’ll see.

Here’s the thing – why racial justice and gender equalitemy are inextricably bound.  Barack Obama will absolutely not win the masculinity contest against McCain.  Not because he is weak, or because of McCain’s war hero status, but because masculinity is coded as strong and protecting for white cisgender males, but menacing among black males.  It’s not fair.  It’s absolutely racist, and it’s particularly racist because of the ugly history of male sexuality being used as an excuse for terrorism and hate crime towards African-Americans.  There’s a reason Barack Obama exudes intellect, irony, and calm, and it’s not some inborn genetic trait – it’s a fucking It’s inexcusable for McCain to use that particular tool at his disposal.  Will that stop him?  Of course not.  And should Obama speak up, rightfully, about this double standard, he’ll get called a girl.  Even those of us who find him a poor and at times reprehensible politician should speak up against it, because it’s not just about him, it’s about the ways we constrain the capacity of individuals based on arbitrary characteristics such as race and gender.

Possible Outcome: Clear Obama victory

Obviously the lesser of two evils. In policy terms, it’s unclear as to what he would pursue first, though my guess is it will depend on the composition of the Senate.

In the long term, however, a clear Obama victory should trouble committed progressives.  Politicians do what works.  Obama has bought into right-wing frames on abortion, the economy, social security, and single parenthood.  He isn’t showing any leadership on the FISA bill – the nominee of the Democratic party can’t take the initiative to say “hey, telecom immunity is bullshit?”  (See corrente and talk left for much better coverage of this.)  Being too busy running for office to protect the constitution, at a time when you have the clear political capital to do so, doesn’t give me much confidence in your oath to uphold it.

Possible Outcome: Squeaker either way

No, the nightmare scenario, according to all polling data, is now the most likely. The nightmare scenario is another squeaker. I’ve voiced my concerns about a future count-the-votes lawsuit, but even absent the lawsuit, the court of public opinion will be even less kind to the Obama campaign, with the specter of those four Michigan delegates floating in the public consciousness. McCain will use Obama’s own rhetoric of Unity against him. It will be “time to let the healing begin” and “to do the right thing.”

Oh, I’m sorry, you thought only Clinton is susceptible to media push-out treatment? Will he be hurting the party when he fights it? Will he be bothered to fight it? Can he win that fight? Will Congressional Democrats give him the same level of support (i.e. nowhere near enough) that they gave VP Gore? That’s what scared the ever loving crap out of Clinton voters – we have no effing idea. We know she’d go for the jugular and walk away pantsuit intact. Let’s just hope he’s smart enough to let her on his team.

There’s a reason the last couple of elections, against all rational reasons, were squeakers, but there is a very simple reason both of those squeakers went Republican. Part of it is a philosophical issue – Republicans believe in power, Democrats believe(d) in the democratic process. There’s also the issue of numbers and demographics. Democrats, up until recently, have represented constituencies more vulnerable both to voting inconsistencies. Poor people not only have a more difficult time getting to the polls (shift work) but once they get to the polls, those machines are less likely to be up to date. Caretakers, as another example, are likely to be female and working class, and don’t always have the option to vote. Some states don’t count the absentee ballots. This impacts students and expatriate voters – likely to be liberal – and military voters, disproportionately likely to be minorities.

Swing State Shenanigans

Since I started writing this, our Presumptive Nominee and his Fearless Band have come up with this sparkling gem of lunacy. Lambert graciously shares without comment, the Confluence posts with some succinct comments, and I foresee terrible things. Now, it’s not that it’s impossible for a Democrat to win without huge urban states. It’s just that, well, it hasn’t happened in recent history, and there have been no seismic demographic shifts to suggest that that’s about to change. Ohio, for example, is 50/50 between Obama and McCain; and indeed, if the votes had all been counted fairly, and there had been no voter fraud, it would have gone to Kerry in 2004. Ohio’s senators are both Democrats, as is the governor. Obama would actually have very little work to do to convert it into a blue-leaning state like the rest of the Rust Belt – send in some famous populist Dems to chat up universal** health care and stopping the violent flow of lives and resources to Iraq, and Ohio would be Democratic country. Instead of doing that, his most powerful surrogates are cockily informing the press corps that they can’t be bothered to ask for the votes of Ohioans, much like they can’t be bothered to ask for the votes of Clinton supporters. This gives McCain an undeniable rhetorical tool – he does want their votes, very badly, and he’s not afraid to show it. It’s also, along with the write-off of MI and FL, outright scary for downticket races. Independent and undecided voters aren’t the problem the Obama camp seems to think they are, they’re a treasure trove of untapped votes. They’re how you win. With McCain sweeping in, making nice with voters, portraying the standard-bearer of the Democratic party (and, not unfairly, the party itself) as “elitist” (code for “classist but we don’t talk about class because only filthy COMMIES use that word”), voters will be able to see themselves as rejecting GWB but not joining those DFH Democrats and our arugula-munching+ nominee.

No, it’s those damned down-ticket races.  Not just senators and representatives which will go to Washington, but state legislators who will have huge influence right around the time of the next census.  Democratic apathy and Republican energy in those states could have a devastating impact on contested seats.  If an independent voter reluctantly votes against the Bush legacy, said voter hasn’t actually heard tell of why the Democratic vision is good for America (s)he has that much more incentive to go for the Republican.  And unlike the cash-strapped DNC, the RNC (and their endless 527s) have all the cash in the world to convince that voter.  That isn’t a game you play when 15% of the population (yours truly included, Mr. Unity) is undecided.

Demographic Write-Offs

Aside from the vile – and violent – scare tactic of threatening dissatisfied Democrats with the loss Roe, there’s also the desperate silliness of it. A threat is, at its core, an appeal to self-interest. And this is why it is silly. Older women, already demonized as Racist, DINO, Unity-Hating Traitors, no longer have self interest in Roe – so not only are they ignoring male Clinton supporters who are also furious enough to take their ball and go to the Independents, but they are also admitting that their sexist, classist, ageist characterization of Clinton supporters as a group of people who can easily be written off is bunk.

So let’s go with that. They’re targeting women of voting and childbearing age with the vile threat of the loss of our reproductive rights. But….it just ain’t that simple. Women who are in solid and moderately conservative states, who are dependent on Roe for their reproductive freedoms, still won’t be able to turn their states blue – that bloc been voting Democratic for decades to no avail. So that isn’t helping the haters. Ah, but where are you likely to find Clinton voters? Blue and swing states, in the libertarian west and liberal northeast. NY will criminalize abortion over the dead bodies of everyone in Albany – that means you can’t scare women in PA, NJ, and CT either. Married women already tilt slightly conservative, and if they and their families are fed up with MSNBC, they’re watching Fox and stirring the McMaverick Kool-Aid into their WASPy martinis.  You want to rely on the creative class?  We’re the people who can tell you to shove it. This young urban graduate student has news for you – you can’t scare me with Roe, and you can’t bully me with accusations of selfishness.  I voted in the best interests of women’s reproductive justice, and you told me to suck it.  I voted for the person who I thought was best ready to run an efficient diplomatic corps to avoid war, and you told me to choke on it.  I voted for the candidate who’d spent her entire career working for the underprivileged of all colors, and you trolled my journal and called me a racist, not for anything I’d ever said, but for daring to say that she’d faced sexism.  I worked with other women to try and counteract the hate we saw in not just the traditional media, but on the mainstream liberal media, and you stalked them and tormented them and smirched their names.  Don’t lecture me about selfishness, I’m looking at you and learning more than I ever thought I’d need to know.

Will I?  I don’t know yet.  I’m one of those apathetic and undecided.  Oh, I’m not going to vote for McSame, barring some totally batshit crazy unforseen circumstance.  I could be persuaded to vote for Obama, depending on what he tells us with his Veep choice (for the love ‘av all that’s ‘oly, not Jim Webb) and if he and his supporters learn that they’re asking for votes, not at a fucking ballgame somewhere.

This is also, in a nutshell, the problem with Brazile’s blithe statement that it was the “old coalition” that contained women, the elderly, Hispanics and the working poor. Now, I’m not singling out Brazile for an off-the-cuff remark. Obama’s economic advisors are not progressive – there is at least one on his staff who would favor privatizing social security. His Republican anti-universal health care tactics (remember Harry and Louise? Oh, but you do) have not only insulted all of our intelligence because his plan is not universal, they’ve also given working class centrists pause when deciding who they best trust for the economy. Oh, McCain cheerfully claims not to know much about the economy, but in his center-right stance Obama has given up the high ground on the economy, and he’s given the faux-populist Right the red meat for which they live.

But demographically, it’s utterly silly to say you don’t want the votes of (read:  will not represent the interests of) the working class during a freaking recession.  Perhaps it’s an appeal to wishful thinking – vote for Obama, and it’s almost like you’re affluent, even though his policies are written and approved by people who have never done a damned thing to help you before, and he’s “a free-market guy” who doesn’t bother to point out that the American market is anything but free.  It’s another dangerous game, though, with McManlyMaverickiness just joshin’ around with the electorate.

Impact: Party Platforms

And that’s the other thing. This is an unusual election in that everyone is looking long term. Oh, it’s going to be a change election alright, but I don’t think that’s going to be true in the good, Unity Pony type way. Right now, the Democratic platform, while far from perfect or actualized, is coherent. In areas where Democrats differ from Republicans, we are in line with FDR’s four freedoms:

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.

We are for movement towards, if not realization or preservation of those rights for all Americans, against both government and corporations. This is why, for example, full-throated support for LGBTQ rights on the grounds of small government and civil liberties (freedom of expression) logically co-exists with government-run social security (freedom from want). In the purest form, this worldview balances “freedom from” and “freedom to” in a manner that allows for maximum self-determination for the many rather than the few.

Why are those damned conservatives creaming themselves over Obama?

This is where it gets interesting. I think fiscal conservatives have two objectives in backing Senator Obama. No, it’s not that he’s some nefarious corpratofasist, though he is a remarkably pro-business Democrat. The brilliant Apostate thinks that this proves Obama’s conservatism. I’m with her to an extent; he was certainly the most pro-corporate Democrat in the primary. However, I think it can be more accurately characterized as an attempt to shift both parties to the right on business. Their eyes are on what a McCain victory would mean for the Republicans. McCain’s maverick reputation is far, far overblown, but there are some issues on which he genuinely does have a reputation for bucking party trends – still overblown, but in the case of the environment, there is a wee fire under all that smoke. Environmental protection requires government regulation of business, and not just in the form of taxes but also in high in compliance costs (and it should be; you make the mess, you clean it up.)  An Obama victory would punish this bar on industry and endcourage future Republicans to hew the party line on  business.  Likewise, an Obama victory would take working-class-friendly policies off the table – the Democrats are willing to give them up, and the Republicans have never wanted them.  No matter who winss, the two parties will be drawn closer together on major issues; ironically, the balance could swing slightly to the left in event of a Republican win, and to the right in the event of a Democratic win.  I’m not saying McCain is more liberal than Obama, I know better than that.  I’m saying that in the long term, the victory of one or the other will move the political conversation slightly to the left or the right on a particular issue.

I don’t want McCain to win, but I don’t want my party dragged any further to the right.  I want us to be the party that might not agree with your vote, but will defend to the death your right to have it counted.  I want us to be the party that realizes this country has the means to realize FDR’s four freedoms, and that we have not just a political but a moral obligation to do so.  I want desperately to be wrong, but I haven’t seen that in Obama, and believe me folks, I’ve been looking.

*Realizing I’m likely to focus on gender issues because I understand them more, not because they are any more important than, or do not overlap with, race and class. Anything I omit isn’t because I think it’s unimportant, it’s because I don’t wish to misrepresent the work and experiences of others.

**Yeah, it’s a bullshit lie, but it’s the best we’re going to get in this election.

+Fun Fact: When Barack Obama made his fateful arugula remark in Iowa, he was talking to people who grow arugula.  For that ill-considered moment of speaking to people’s actual concerns, he will, of course, get the Hillary treatment, which he was so willing to exploit during the primaries.

Posted in feminism, mccain, obama, politics | Leave a Comment »

post-primary thoughts

Posted by pocochina on June 11, 2008

Warning:  this post rambles, and will probably be updated and revised.  I’ve been writing it since very early last Wednesday morning, but it came out slowly, like cheap vodka that has started to freeze, and burns just as badly going down.  I’m hoping to be up and writing again soon, though.

I’m of the generation who came of age in the 1990s, and I’ve always been interested in politics. It’s been interesting, particularly over the last few months, to untangle how those years shaped my views of politics and ethics.  Those views on politics, that sense of ethics, has been violated to its very core, by those who I thought shared those views and ethics. I won’t deny that the disappointment is partially about Senator Clinton’s suspension, but the sense of betrayal goes far beyond that.  Y’all know I’m usually pretty anal about my sourcing and backup links, even in comments. However, I’m making an exception and not using this post to link to people who I think have made reprehensible comments, both because I generally respect them and am trying to let the wounds of this season heal, and because I don’t want to drive up traffic to those mean-spirited posts.

I am not an angry girl – but it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled…(Ani DiFranco)

I’m pissed at the classism of this campaign. It’s not even that the Democratic Party is taking the working class for granted any more – no, according to Donna Brazile, we don’t want the working class any more. Sending out Harry & Louise flyers, ignoring the rural poor, giving up on true universal health care. A party that turns its back on the sick and the poor is a party that does not deserve power. We’ve been saying that about Republicans for years. We have met that enemy, and it is now ourselves.

I’m pissed at the use and abuse of religion in this campaign. I care not at all as to what deity, if any, a politician prays. As a person with a Catholic background, of specific ethnicity, I am aware that I may respond to someone who speaks in my sub-cultural patterns and language – and yet, the only politician in my memory who has matched that experience was Mayor Giuliani, with whom I share little except a pronounced aversion to long-term monogamy. I hold the First Amendment dear, and believe there is no religious requirement for any role in public life. What I do find infuriating is religious exceptionalism. When within one month, the entire country knew about his religious conversion. And his pastor. And when he did and didn’t go to church. We were treated to photos of Obama standing in front of a cross of gold. His regard for his own faith is high. And yet, when looking for an excuse to lose the PA primary, he lumped in religion with deadly weapons, xenophobia, and bitterness – and these were all bad things, because they were things done by poor people. Respect for the freedom to worship (or not) is available only to those who support him.

No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex.” (Susan B. Anthony)

I’m pissed at the blatant misogyny of coverage of the campaign. I’m pissed at people who should know better – who acknowledge other people’s sexism, who can cast an accusing finger at the entire horrible media, but can then turn around, utterly free of irony, and utter, “but he just inspires me,” or some other sufficiently vague, comforting reason to not check one’s own sexism. You know, it feels a bit ridiculous now, with my highly partisan perspective on the campaign, but I did a lot of soul searching to make sure that I wasn’t just voting based on whiteness or femaleness, and I did it relatively frequently – though less so as the campaign went on and only one candidate acted as if she actually wanted my votes. The bottom line was that I trusted her views on government (we have it, so let’s use it, and do so in a way that helps as many people as possible, and then next time let’s do better) more than his (hope!(TM) change!(C)); that her health care plan was better; that while his reproductive rights record was more than satisfactory, hers showed nuance and leadership. And those, in the bottom line, are the reasons I went for Senator Clinton. I am deeply fortunate to have access to the pro-Obama voices of POC who forced me to take that look into myself.

I’m pissed at what Senator Obama has done to my party. I’m pissed that DNC officials couldn’t even be bothered to publicly acknowledge sexism; I am even angrier that they chose to buy into it.  Make no mistake, the DNC chose their candidate.   They had no commitment to the process of the primary.  They could have stormed every talking head show in the country talking up all the good things about this long and exciting primary.   People are interested in politics.  A record number of Democrats voted; far more than the Republicans – they were making money, they were raking in votes, they were building a new Democratic system.  Instead, they chose to mourn and moan about how every minute that passes, McCain voters have another hate-gasm because That Bitch was Killing the Party and Why Won’t She Just Quit.  To expect a woman who’s winning millions upon millions of votes to step aside so that Teh Menz can get to their serious business is blatantly sexist, and every time one of them got in front of a camera to moan WWTSBQ, they sanctioned it, and used it to their own advantage.  When the life of one of our own was threatened three times in one week, the DNC said nothing.  This is inexcusable.

I’m pissed at Barack Obama for his misogyny. I can understand – though I do not condone – why he did not apologize for his own fuckups on that score. But he had not one, not two, but three clear opportunities to distance himself from the hate speech of others, and he did not. He could have taken a moment – just a fraction of a breath – in his many condemnations of Rev. Wright – whom he could no more disown than the black community, until of course he did just that – to say “by the way, the personal attacks on my opponent are not worthy of my church, my party, or my country.” He did not. He could have said the same when distancing himself from Father Phlegler. He did not. He was careful to condemn so-called divisive rhetoric which did nothing but tell the truth about the drug war, allegedly un-American comments which would (and, of course, still will, for there is no escaping the Republican Attack Machine) make him look bad, and he could not be bothered to condemn hate speech against a colleague. He could have said the same when he issued his departure from his church and he did not.

Were an observer from Mars to judge the man by his public statements in these moments of crisis, that Martian observer would be quite rational to conclude that his need to see Senator Clinton abused means more to him than his God.  I expect that from Republicans. I expected better from Democrats. I no longer can.

Deny us three times, Senator.

And that isn’t even touching the dirt of his shoulder, tea parties, likeable enough, periodically feeling down…you get the idea.  Beyond even his upfront sexist statements, he has relied on the implacable and unjustified hatred of Senator Clinton and her charming husband, in both hard right and right leaning media outlets. When Drudge – transparently and baselessly – claimed that a Clinton staffer had spread an email photo of Senator Obama on a visit to sub-Saharan Africa – the Obama camp and its surrogates in the media on and offline jumped to repeat the rumor.  Then he went on TV and magnanimously said he believed her, and then he went to Mississippi and lied, and said she’d done it.  Everyone, after all, would believe it about that woman. That ruthless, ambitious, political woman.

I’m pissed at the netroots. For a brief, shining moment – like, 2 1/2 years or so – Left Blogistan was a place of high media skepticism, of proud partisanship, of committed progressivism. Now, anything goes, as long as it’s about That Bitch. HRC and her filthy husband are slobbering racists – everyone knows she sent out that photo, I saw it on Drudge – as long as we never have to question the source. And by the by, Atrios and LGM, your Solemn Pronouncements on race and ethnicity lose a lot of credibility when you snidely revel in the disenfranchisement of an island full of brown people, because they didn’t vote for your candidate.

I’m pissed at the next generation of political pundits. Whenever confronted with uncontrovertible evidence of sexism, they reacted uniformly – to grudgingly admit that sexism exists, and then jump to BUT ITS NOT THE ONLY REASON.  People who follow politics to any extent are well aware that there are many factors in political decision making, and most of them are subconscious.

I’m pissed at feminists who decided their feminism didn’t extend to That Bitch. I want to be clear, I’m not talking about feminists who, in good faith, decided that they wanted to support Obama, Edwards, Dodd, or whoever else. I am the first to state openly that reasonable people could have come to different decisions on that. I’m talking about feminists who, usually incisive and merciless in their rejection of expected gender roles, uncritically accept the Nasty Harpy narrative about Senator Clinton. I expect feminists to be able to step back and say, “well, knowing what I know about how I, and everyone around me, and in particular the chattering heads paid to tell me what to think about this campaign, have been conditioned in my expectations of female behavior, I am going to be critical of how I process this election.” For a lot of feminists (Edwards and Obama supporters as much as Clinton supporters) that happened; for a lot of them, it didn’t. I saw one feminist blogger say of Clinton’s suspension speech only, “Best speech of her political career.” The best speech of a thirty five year career of one of the most brilliant women in modern public life just so happens to be her concession?  We’d be unbelievably suspicious of such an assessment about any other woman’s career – but it was Hillary, so it’s okay.  It’s nauseating from a babbling jowl show – it is heartbreaking from a feminist.  And the wheel turns, and a woman’s career is at its apex when she submits to a man.

They have drawn race as black and white. This is patently ridiculous. I’m not linking to anyone who makes the claim that – essentially – white women are the only ones who liked HRC, we should just stop whining and suck it up, POC are thrilled about Obama and we are just entitled bitches. It is true that Black Americans overwhelmingly – though far from universally – preferred Obama. But this erases the huge numbers of brown women – Asian-American, Hispanic-American, in huge numbers, at least where the pollsters bothered – and men as well, who knew that they are not invisible to her. Those claims are out there, though. I’m thrilled for African-Americans who see themselves in Senator Obama. But I do not ever condone the erasure of anyone because they are inconvenient to a political agenda. I have been proud to call these women ally and sometimes, presumptively, friend. I’ve talked before about my frustration with this erasure, but with Clinton supporters – neither all white nor all male – so offended by this campaign they have decided the Democratic Party is no longer their home, the erasure has reached fever pitch. I do not begrudge Obama supporters their excitement. I do not understand the need to begrudge us our grief.

I think that non-feminist Obama supporters, and particularly male non-feminist Obama supporters, have this idea that we are just irrationally angry, our feelings are hurt and we should get over it or we’re just silly, don’t we know how bad McCain is, maybe they’ll just tell us one more time. The choice not to support Obama is a long-run rational choice.  Right now, there is a party that hates women all the time, and a party that used to humor us, but hates us when it is convenient.  It is our job to never, ever let it be convenient again, or there will be no one in government advocating for our rights.

We are not your sweeties, who just need candy and flowers to come around.

We are not your bitches, that is not a leash in your hand. Our bodily integrity is not a choke chain you may use to threaten us. If you think it is, you are no better than the Republicans.  And yes, the “But! But! But!” Roe stick is just that – a threat. Politically involved women know exactly where we stand on Roe, and we know the Democrats haven’t been all that bothered to even look like they’re trying to protect it, these last seven years. We know what an anti-choice Supreme Court looks like, because we read Gonzales v. Carhart and our hearts broke in fear for ourselves and our sisters and nieces and daughters.

When you tell us that we’d better get in line and vote for Obama, OR ELSE ROE, you are holding our own bodies hostage against us, as if they were yours to take. You are actively, proudly, literally threatening us with our lives. Is that the change we should believe in?

I’ve left versions of the following comment on a couple of journals/blogs over the last couple of days:

What hurts the most is that I really thought I might have a chance to vote for someone in whom I really believed, and now no matter what I do I will be compromising more than ever.  There is no choice that does not reward hatred of myself and those that I love.  A write-in for Clinton or McKinney will be held against Clinton; a vote for McCain sanctions the Republican war machine, and a vote for Obama sanctions the (new ?) Democratic misogyny machine.

I was thinking of myself, and my own disappointment, and while I still think that’s legitimate, I am willing to say that I missed the broader context.  The party’s eagerness to push her out, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (particularly in the case of Representative Cohen) was in reaction to this very feeling.  They have come to rely on women not expecting any better.  They have grown dependent on the Bush Administration’s vile abuse of women, so that their burden of accountability to us is lighter.  They were terrified of rank-and-file Dems realizing that there is better out there.

If he really is such a unifier, surely we don’t need to be threatened. Surely he will come through, with his famous ability to reach out, and let us know that it’s our party too. Surely it will happen. At least, I hope – though I confess I am not holding my breath.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou - Still I Rise

++In the last week or so, I have read posts by the incomparable pixxelpuss, Kate, Liss, Violet Socks, RQ, Anglachel, Pizza D, and I am sure others. While they have prompted me to clarify my thinking, these are my thoughts, coalesced over the last couple of days.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

2008 Downticket Women Candidates

Posted by pocochina on June 10, 2008

House (Only Democratic women in contested races)

Linda Stender – NJ 7th

Debbie Halvorson – IL 11th

Kay Barnes – MO 6th

Suzanne Kosmas – FL 24th

Christine Jennings – FL 15th

Darcy Burner – WA 8th

Gabrielle Giffords* – (AZ 8th)

Senate Races involving Women

The Senate, where Democrats already hold a majority, is promising this fall. All six seats which will be open are currently held by Republicans. The DSCC only has to defend 12 seats, while the RSCC has to defend 17.

Maine: Rep. Tom Allen (D) v. Sen. Susan Collins (R)*

NH: Sen. John Sununu (R)* v. Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D)

NC: Elizabeth Dole (R)* v Kay Hagen (D)

AL: Jeff Sessions (R)* v. Vivian Davis Figures (D)  (State Sen. Davis Figures appears to be the only Democratic WOC running this year outside of non-contested House races).

LA: Mary Landrieu (D)* v John Kennedy (R)  Perhaps our favorite NO expert can weigh in on the dynamics of this race?

challenger unclear – RI, MA

Gubernatorial Races:

IN: Mitch Daniels (R)* v Jill Long Thompson (D)

VT: Gaye Symington (D) v Jim Douglas (R)*

WA: Christine Gregoire (D)* v Dino Rossi (R)

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bleg

Posted by pocochina on June 7, 2008

I know we’ve all sent our disposable income to Puerto Rico lately, but if anyone does have some spare change, please consider passing it along to the Ghost of Violet Socks, an invaluable progressive feminist voice – er, specter – who’s having satellite and health problems.

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Irony is Dead, Part 7002

Posted by pocochina on June 5, 2008

“Frankly, my hope is people don’t play this game,” Obama said. “It is a destructive aspect of our politics. Simply because something appears in an e-mail, that should lend it no more credence than if you heard it on the corner. Presumably the job of the press is to not to go around and spread scurrilous rumors like this until there is actually anything, an iota, of substance or evidence that would substantiate it.”  – Barack Obama

Now the media is evil and biased!  It’s come out of nowhere!  We’ve been blindsided!  It’s not as if we’ve been spreading talking points from Drudge for fifteen months!

See, Senator, what you don’t seem to have noticed is that you’ve gotten your wish – you’re not running against Hillary Clinton any more.  You’re the Democrat running against John McCain.  They love him at least as much as they hate her.

It’s complicated, but sweetie, he’s never going to leave his wife for you.

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