Our Hillary problem.

So yesterday I was e-mailing back and forth with an old pal, and she wrote:

I keep waiting for a courageous blogger to point out that Obama has yet to repudiate his surrogate, speaking at an Obama fundraiser, who called Sen. Clinton a “fucking whore.”

Now, I ask you: If a Clinton supporter, at a Clinton fund-raising event, had uttered an insult toward Obama that was the racial equivalent of the sexist slam “fucking whore” — and I think we all know what that would be — I daresay that Clinton, by now, might have distanced herself from the remark. To say the least.

Oh — wait. I forgot. Racism is awful; sexism is OK.

I don’t know about you, but whomever one backs in this race, the sexism that is so acceptable, so widespread, has just sickened me.

Yeah, me too. I’m not emotionally engaged with Hillary, and I think she deserves a certain amount of what’s being dished out. But she has a point. A short and incomplete roundup, from New York magazine, in an essay that unfortunately goes downhill from here:

A greatest-hits selection provides a measure of the misogyny: There’s Republican axman Roger Stone’s anti-Hillary 527 organization, Citizens United Not Timid, or CUNT. And the Facebook group Hillary Clinton: Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich, which has 44,000-plus members. And the “Hillary Nutcracker” with its “stainless-steel thighs.” And Clinton’s Wikipedia page, which, according to The New Republic, is regularly vandalized with bathroom-stall slurs like “slut” and “cuntbag.” And the truly horrible YouTube video of a KFC bucket that reads HILLARY MEAL DEAL: 2 FAT THIGHS, 2 SMALL BREASTS, AND A BUNCH OF LEFT WINGS. And Rush Limbaugh worrying whether the country is ready to watch a woman age in the White House (as though nearly every male politician has not emerged portly, wearied, and a grandfatherly shade of gray). And those two boors who shouted, “Iron my shirts!” from the sidelines in New Hampshire.

That’s the first I’d heard of Citizens United Not Timid, and I get around. It’s a 527 organization, “to educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is.” Charming. I grow a little weary of calls for A to denounce B — having the same general views as another does not make me my brother’s keeper — but it’s nice to have groups like this around. With Citizens United Not Timid in the world, I no longer have to listen to right-wing whining about Michael Moore.

But my friend is right. Can you imagine, even for a minute, a 527 called New Information Guaranteed Greatness Elucidating Reality, “to educate the American public about what Barack Obama really is”? If “cunt” is the female equivalent of “nigger,” how often do you hear Obama called the latter? Some dim bulb in Kentucky refers to him as “this boy” and has to apologize within hours. But insulting Hillary with sexist jokes gets you a high-paying job on the network news:

The frat boys at MSNBC portrayed Clinton as a castrating scold, with Tucker Carlson commenting, “Every time I hear Hillary Clinton speak, I involuntarily cross my legs,” and Chris Matthews calling her male endorsers “castratos in the eunuch chorus.” Matthews also dubbed Clinton “the grieving widow of absurdity,” saying, of her presidential candidacy and senatorial seat, “She didn’t win there on her merit. She won because everybody felt, ‘My God, this woman stood up under humiliation.’ ” While that may be partly true—Hillary’s approval ratings soared in the wake of l’affaire Lewinsky—Matthews’s take reduced her universally recognized political successes to rewards for public sympathy, as though Clinton’s intelligence and long record of public service count for nothing. Would a male candidate be viewed so reductively? Many have argued that the media don’t like Clinton simply because they don’t like Clinton—even her devotees will admit she arrives with a complete set of overstuffed baggage—much in the same way they made up their mind about Al Gore back in 2000 and ganged up on him as a prissy, uptight know-it-all. But whatever is behind the vitriol, it has taken crudely sexist forms.

Part of it is human nature. I used to work for a gay man, who could, on occasion, be a real jerk. (He, too, had a problem with strong women. One of the strong women in the newsroom once told me, in a private moment, “I want to grab him and say, ‘I’m not your MOTHER, asshole.'”) I admit, when I was angry with him, I’d sometimes refer to him as a “misogynist fag.” Someone called me on it, and I thought it over and decided I would now refer to him as a misogynist jerk. (Even though I was dancing in gay bars when he was still pretending to be straight.) But you get the idea: It’s easy to express an ugly emotion in ugly language. You’d hope this would only happen in private moments, but then, we can’t all be Chris Matthews.

So here’s my question for the floor today: How comfortable are you with the cracks about Hillary’s fat butt, lesbian vibe and stainless-steel thighs? Whether you support her or not, at what station do you get off the train? (We’ll assume, to all of our credit, that we don’t ride it all the way to Citizens United Not Timid.) Is there room for chivalry in a presidential race? And any other topics you want to bring up.

Me, I gotta go to the gym. I missed three weightlifting classes in the last 10 days, rationalizing that because I was on my bike most of those days, I wouldn’t pay for the skips. Au contraire; my hammies felt like splintery plywood, only less flexible. But before I go, some bloggage:

Inside baseball, but I found Ken Doctor’s suggestions for jazzing up newspaper-corporation boards to be pretty dead-on.

Tbogg got a new puppy. Now he has three basset hounds to walk. Tbogg is insane, but at least his house has extra cuteness.

Finally, a Metafilter post that rounds up pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men, aka “airdancers.”

Off to stretch the hams.

Posted at 9:41 am in Current events |

55 responses to “Our Hillary problem.”

  1. Connie said on April 15, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I made a comment here not long ago about the sexist nastiness regarding Hillary that has appeared in the comments here recently.

    Recently I received a catalog of lovely large size clothes in all my favorite colors. Displayed in the midst of all the flowing garments was the Hillary Nutcracker, the one with stainless steel thighs. I was so appalled I went to their web page and sent them a contact us message. To which they haven’t replied. And then I threw the catalog out.

    And forgot to mention yesterday, that I have my very own rock and roll birthday song. I’ve told you this before. “It was the 3rd of September, a day I’ll always remember, cause that was the day that my daddy died. Pappa was a rolling stone…..” You know the rest.

    Sun is shining and kid will be home from her semester in Europe this weekend.

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  2. Laura said on April 15, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I have a real problem with the Hillary bashers. I’m currently in the Hillary camp, but at this point, I’m unsure what is driving me to support her. Is it because she’s the best candidate, or is it because she is up against so much misogyny?

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  3. Peter said on April 15, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Yeah, it’s way over the top. Although I must admit I laughed out loud when I read “Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich” – now THAT’s a sentiment I can live by, and it really could apply to all the candidates, although I’m not sure what kind of sandwich Ron Paul would serve up – something tells me that the idea of handing out tasty Texas brisket barbecue wouldn’t enter his mind.

    I think it’s true that if someone talked about Obama in half as bad a tone as this Hillary stuff that person would be publicly flogged.

    The part that gets me is that there are plenty of insulting terms you can accurately use on Hillary before you need to hit the sexist list in the thesaurus.

    No, I take that back, here’s the part that gets me: Like W and her husband, the hatred some people have for her knows no bounds. Seriously, I don’t think people hated Hitler as much as those 3. I don’t get it; other than the parent/spouse/kid of someone killed in Iraq, how the heck can you get THAT angry over someone.

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  4. MichaelG said on April 15, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I donated a comment with my thoughts on Hillary a week or two ago. I don’t particularly care for her and I voted for Obama in the CA primary. In fact, the more I see of her, the less I like her. To hear her talk, she practically joined the NRA over the weekend, clutching Charlton Heston’s used gun. But, if she is the nominee, I will vote for her over McCain. That said, I am appalled at the steady beat of misogynistic crap that is everywhere including all the so-called joke emails I get every day. I don’t care who she is or what she stands for it’s just wrong.

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  5. coozledad said on April 15, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I used to support Hillary, until she basically endorsed John McCain. Sexist attacks on her piss me off, especially coming from that creepy dimbulb Chris Matthews, and it’s an issue of concern. But if someone goes all aryan nations on Joe Lieberman, it does nothing to improve him. He’s still an arrogant bastard with a hired man’s contempt for the democratic process. I’m not saying Hillary is a shill for corporate paymasters so much as she is for that clique of Washington dinner party fixtures who served us this war, this economy, and this presidency. And instead of languishing in their own feces in a jail as they would if there were any justice, continue to draw salaries to tell us everything’s basically OK.
    I want a Democrat for president. A partisan. Not more of that Carville-Cokie Roberts-Richard Cohen-Mara Liason- rubbish. Hillary’s just their prybar to get McCain in office.

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  6. Dorothy said on April 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

    A day or two before the Ohio primaries, I was on my way home from work when I spotted an elderly man waving Hillary Clinton signs, so I got into the turning lane quickly, so I could drive over to him and pick up a sign for my apartment window. Also maybe a button, because I like the candidate and I wanted to support her. And I planned to vote for her.

    So I got waved over by a young man who was stopping for a red light. He let me cross traffic to get to the man in the parking lot. I smiled and waved, thanking him for the favor. I zipped over to the old guy, and put my window down. To my utter amazement, the young guy who had seconds earlier allowed me to cross the road put his window down, and shouted “You bitch! If I knew why you wanted to get over there I never would have let you drive across!! Fuck you and fuck Hillary!!” Well of course I was stunned,. But then I realized that this guy’s reaction was the epitome of venom and vitriol directed right at Mrs. Clinton. I started wondering if she has to hear those kind of nasty things spit at her while she’s out campaigning. And yet she keep smiling and trying and talking.

    I did vote for Hillary in the primary, but like Laura above, I am sort of torn as to why exactly. I do like certain things about Barack Obama, but I feel like Hillary’s experience is deeper and stronger than his. I don’t know what to think sometimes. One thing I’m certain of though is that this county has a long way to go in gender relations, more so than race relations, especially when people think it’s funny to say “Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich.” That’s just plain wrong, unfair and definitely unfunny.

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  7. Cara said on April 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Until we focus on our economy, foreign policy, education and health care, and our domestic security needs, in other words, create a job description for the President, and fill that job with the best candidate, we all lose.

    The names, blames and flames thrown about are distractions. The question: Who will we hire to lead us in solving the big problems?

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  8. Peter said on April 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Dorothy, I didn’t want to offend – although it was only applied to Ms. Clinton, I think it’s good advice for any candidate.

    I can’t help it if I like sandwiches. I’m sorry I live such a poor, deprived existance, but having a nice sandwich makes my day. Sure, it’s bread and circuses, but in 1980 several candidates set up booths at my college; Reagan’s just handed out flyers, but Anderson’s had quite the spread. I’d like to think it was his reasoned approach to current events that led me to volunteer for his campaign, but I got to tell you, that was one fine sandwich!

    In the old days in Chicago, aldermanic candidates routinely bought rounds at the local pubs. Now they hire media consultants. Just another example of how we’ve regressed.

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  9. moe99 said on April 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I believe that Hillary is a lightning rod for every right wing kook out there. My Republican friends from Defiance, who I stay in email correspondence with, if only to give my left leaning ship some ballast, go ballistic when her name is mentioned. And they aren’t big McCain supporters at all. It’s just some visceral reaction like hitting your knee with the hammer produces.

    That being said, I still do not like, do not trust Hillary. Her career has been built on expediency. When I think of her, I do not come up with any higher goals that she has illustrated as motivating her campaign for president. She, just like McCain seems to feel like somehow she is owed the presidency because of all she has been through. And for those who want experience in their candidates, may I point out that Abraham Lincoln had less experience than Barack Obama.

    All of that being said, I tried to come up with a woman politician without Hillary’s baggage, who I could look to as a possible presidential candidate. Now, I have two women Senators from my home state, Patty Murray who is nice enough, but reputed to be a dim bulb and Maria Cantwell who is second cousin to the Wicked Witch of the West if her treatment of staff is to be believed. And I know the Governor, Christine Gregoire, having worked for her and really would not vote for her either for very substantive, non-sexist reasons that are too long to get into here. So, what is it about politics that draws these types of women? Are there any women elsewhere who could carry a presidential candidacy without being utterly consumed/changed? Don’t get me wrong, I think the pressures on men candidates are enormous, but given the additional sexism that women have to endure, I have yet to meet a woman who could go through all of that and succeed. And I don’t know where we start to combat it.

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  10. alex said on April 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Hillary’s problem is that she has an unsympathetic personality. Not that this is uncommon among politicians, and it won’t keep me from voting for her in the fall should she be the nominee. But it’s the reason I’m voting for Barack in the primary. That, and frankly because he has shown himself to be more adept at deflecting missiles from the Republican poo-flinging machine.

    I acknowledge that Barack is getting something of a free ride. The poo-flingers are way too cowardly to exploit his race the same way they exploit Hillary’s gender. Imagine someone saying “stop running for president and fetch my car, boy.” It would be a national scandal, no doubt.

    I would say, anecdotally, from what I’ve seen in the workplace and in the world at large, that overt racism at present is more ruthlessly punished than overt misogyny. Why? The culture is still steeped in misogyny and plenty of women don’t even recognize it as such. I remember one time when a female co-worker was approached by management, who feared she might be getting ready to file a complaint against a sexist boor who worked there. “C’mon,” she told them. “I’m not some kind of feminazi.” (This was a woman who missed a lot of days due to the shiners her husband was always planting on her face, by the way.)

    This election cycle should be interesting. I think it will indirectly highlight just where this country really is in terms of race and gender. (I’m guessing the pattern will be similar to the red and blue one we saw last time around, actually.)

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  11. James said on April 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    So… what surrogate called Hillary that? Can you cite a source, because I hadn’t heard of that.

    It’s a little unfair to pile on Mr. Obama for things said by Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews. As far as I know, Obama doesn’t pal around with those crackers.

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  12. whitebeard said on April 15, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I am not totally enamored with Hillary, but I detest her lamebrain speech writers who put blatant lies in her mouth that get her in fact-checking trouble.
    With friends like her back-stabbing strategist who quit recently, whose firm grabbed, what was it, $10 million of her hard-earned campaign funds, she doesn’t need enemies, much less crude comments from sexist Republican white male cave dwellers who have brought this country and the entire world to its knees economically and are too cowardly to admit it.
    The disgusting words about Hillary show how much those white males are afraid deep down that a woman in the White House would spur efforts to curb greed and corruption in the oil industry, the insurance industry, the drug industry and the military-industrial cartels.
    As for the gun-toting rednecks. their scatalogical vocabulary is as low as their IQ from marrying their cousins. And their rifles are symbols of their sexual inadequacy.
    I know all is fair in love, war and politics but maybe some self-censorship should be enforced.

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  13. snarkworth said on April 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Hello, all. I’ve been lurking since I found you all after Nancy broke the plagiarism story. The comments on this site are of a refreshingly high quality (most of the time). I also happen to be a Pennsylvanian who will vote next Tuesday for one of these two, so this topic really caught my eye.

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  14. coozledad said on April 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    @ James: I believe it was Randi Rhodes. I guess she’s an Obama surrogate, but she strikes me as more of a loose cannon. A very talented radio host, but frequently over the top, and this time apparently, lost her job.
    I should apologize for being a little strident myself.

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  15. Dorothy said on April 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    The sandwich line just reminds me of the “barefoot and pregnant” kind of attitude that lots of people still ascribe to. They might not necessarily admit to it, but it’s just blatantly sexist to me. I’m not offended, Peter, honest; I just wish those kind of old, 50’s-era attitudes would disappear for good.

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  16. James said on April 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Randi Rhodes is NOT an Obama surrogate, any more than I am ( yeah, I’m for him…). A surrogate is someone who’s paid by the campaign as a spokesperson, or a politico who’s endorsed a candidate. Not a radio talker.

    Otherwise, Rush Limbaugh would be a Hillary surrogate, since he encouraged folks to vote for her in Texas and Ohio. If that’s the case, I think Hillary’s got some apologizing to do for his wacky statements.

    I’m just sayin’…

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  17. Jolene said on April 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    It was Rhodes? Wow! It’s more than a stretch to refer to Randi Rhodes as an Obama surrogate. She may be a supporter, but surrogates are people like Chelsea and Bill Clinton, Ed Rendell, Michelle Obama, Bob Casey–people who make campaign and media appearances on behalf of the candidate. Rhodes’s comment was beyond the pale, but it’s a bit much to expect Barack Obama to apologize for the words of someone over whom he has no control and who he did not ask to speak on his behalf.

    Of course, the Rhodes example is only one of the many that Nancy and others have cited, so that doesn’t make the problem go away. Still, we should make sure our indignation is directed at the right targets.

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  18. coozledad said on April 15, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Judging from the stasis in PA polling, I think that Hillary’s posturing (especially on the whole elitism thing) has alienated a lot of the more liberal wing of the party, and Obama’s had a pretty good response. I think he’s ultimately going to do well coming out of this flare-up.

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  19. John said on April 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Kirche, Kutchen und Kinder is a bit older than the 50s, but I always admired Mrs. Cleaver who clearly knew how to get what she wanted.

    As for Sen. Clinton, I’m not a fan of hers although I don’t have any animosity towards her. I feel that both her and her current rival have limited experience and am not comfortable supporting either one. I’m not really crazy about the other Senator who seems to have his party’s nomination although not their love. My vote doesn’t count anyway living in Connecticut as it is not a swing state.

    I agree with our hostess’ premise that there have been far too many ugly words used this year.

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  20. sue said on April 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I’m not a Hillary fan, as you know, for all the reasons given by the previous posters (plus that whole Cubs/Yankees thing, of course). My personal feeling about all the sexist comments is that she’s just experiencing on a larger scale what many women go through, and if anyone can take it, it’s Hillary. The boys are just shooting themselves in the foot, because people are sitting up and taking notice and the accompanying publicity reflects more poorly on them than their target. The outrage should not be that an strong adult female is being targeted by boorish neanderthals, but that anyone walking past a mixed group of 14-year-olds will hear much the same thing, coming from both sexes, and supposedly all in fun. It starts early.
    What Hillary needs is a good humorist on her writing staff. Instead of smiling through this, or pretending it’s not happening, she needs to fight with words. I would like to see the equivalent of JFK’s “My father told me not to buy any more votes than I had to” comment regarding these cretins.
    I think Obama is actually in more danger than Hillary. The hatred and fear of Barack is hidden and the crazies who are nurturing their hatred know to keep their heads down and communicate only with each other.

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  21. Joe K said on April 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    As a republican it is really fun to watch the Dem’s go after each other. They sure don’t play nice. I always heard the Gop were the mean spirited one’s, but man can those two dem’s make them selfs look silly. I think I’ll just kick back and watch them destroy each other then vote Republican again. Mcain may not be the one all save all, and lord knows we need some help in Washington, but Obamma and Hillery ain’t it.

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  22. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    When Liddy Dole ran for the Presidential nomination, she didn’t get all the flack that Hillary is getting. The “Hillary Problem” isn’t that she’s female. People hate her because she’s Hillary. She loves a good fight, and she fights dirty. Besides that, she’s Joe Isuzu: she lies even when there’s no possible benefit from telling lies.

    The real “Hillary Problem” is that she’s making it easy for the GOP to win this fall.

    McCain needs to name a woman as his running mate, someone who has proven leadership skills, who comes from the private sector instead of coming from government. It wouldn’t be the first time we elected a non-politician. Woodrow Wilson came from academia. Ross Perot put up a credible fight, and he was a computer salesman.

    He has Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina already on board his campaign. Meg formerly ran Ebay, and Carly ran Hewlitt-Packard. I think he’d feel more comfortable with Meg.

    In either case, he could argue that they provide more expertise in rebuilding the US economy than any politician can offer. And with pro-feminist defectors from the Democratic party, he’s likely to win.

    Of course, the “Hillary Problem” is only a problem for the Democratic party, not for Hillary. She knows she’s not going to get the nomination this time around. She’s trying to ensure that McCain wins this fall, so that she doesn’t have to run against a sitting president for the nomination in 2012….

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  23. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I’m not really crazy about the other Senator who seems to have his party’s nomination although not their love. My vote doesn’t count anyway living in Connecticut as it is not a swing state.

    My vote doesn’t count either, since I’m registered with the GOP and Pennsylvania doesn’t have an open primary.

    But being from Connecticut, and using “crazy” and “senator” in the other sentence, shouldn’t you be talking about your own Senator Lieberman?

    I’ve been anti-Lieberman ever since the early 1990s, when he and Leahy sided with the Japanese to keep computer games from small American programmers out of the marketplace.

    Inside baseball, but I found Ken Doctor’s suggestions for jazzing up newspaper-corporation boards to be pretty dead-on.

    It took me a while to read it, but his list of suggestions is a real hoot. Eliot Spitzer, Chris Matthews, Craig Newmark, Oprah.

    How about D. O. McComb? Now there are skills that a newspaper can use…

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  24. coozledad said on April 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Jah, Joe. Just sit back and watch that Republican economy shine, shine, shine. And gotta love that war. It’s so good McCain wants to fetch us another one.
    The only expertise McCain can claim is getting the national media to ignore to ignore his psychosis and his criminal record.

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  25. John said on April 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Harl, don’t even get me started on either of my state’s senators. They both have forgotton who they represent. This is the result of a single party holding too much sway in the state.

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  26. Joe K said on April 15, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Remember it was Billy C. who signed Nafta, and we do have a Dem congress, no??. I guess I didn’t know Mcain was a criminal, what were the charges?
    While the economy could be better, if you positioned yourself back 5 years ago to weather a down turn, things are not as bad as some make it out to be. As for the war, better there, than here, and don’t believe someone would not try it again.

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  27. nancy said on April 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Joe, this statement —

    As for the war, better there, than here, and don’t believe someone would not try it again.

    — is so wrong it makes my head hurt, and I don’t want to get headachey on this lovely day, so I’m letting it pass.

    So far, I think Alex has the closest view to mine: Sexism persists and flowers because too many women are complicit in it. Imagine a black man chuckling along with the racists in his office about Obama. You can’t do it. And yet, women participate in the Hillary-has-fat-thighs bullshit enthusiastically.

    And then there are cunts like Dr. Laura, who have made a career out of it.

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  28. coozledad said on April 15, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Joe: I suppose voting for Bush eight years ago would have been “positioning yourself for a down turn”: Otherwise,I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. Although I must commend old anger-issues for reaching across the aisle to get neck-deep in the Keating Five scandal. There’s a record of it. It’s criminal activity.
    Let me remind you that the military is desperate for some more folks to catch shrapnel while it’s tied down over there. It could just be you have the makings of a great ordnance absorption technician. Just let me know when McCain has figured out who the hell it is we’re fighting, because as he’s amply demonstrated, he doesn’t even know who changed his diaper this morning unless Joe Lieberman tells him.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 15, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Well, politics doesn’t bring out the sprightly, thoughtful, erudite side of any of us, does it? I think Hillary Rodham Clinton has surprised me by becoming a pretty good senator, and should work on taking over the Democrat leadership role currently being held down by the twin somnambulists Kennedy and Byrd. This i say as a Republican, but one who wants a strong, rational debate on things like overseas bombing and national borders and interstate bridge inspections.

    She shouldn’t go in the White House because she spent eight years there with Bill and sorry if it’s unfair, but someday i hope to say this about the husband of a two-term woman president to defend my consistency on this question.

    Oh, and a last conservative contrarian observation — withholding from your regular paycheck will never go away, but the decline of personal savings in the US of A parallels the start (during WWII as a temporary measure — ha!) and expansion of withholding for income taxes, because then you don’t need to set some aside through the year to have the big lump to mail in on April 15. That, and the pernicious estimated self-employment scam where we pay taxes on money we don’t have yet and may never see, and tax penalties for daring to make more than you’d expected to in a year, are almost as much a drag on the economy as employer based health care. If Obama said he’d drop withholding, i’d have to seriously consider voting for him on that basis alone.

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  30. brian stouder said on April 15, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Well, I wanted Pam to chime in, since her opinions about Senator Clinton would be much more interesting than mine, but (as you can see) in this I failed.

    I am struck by the lightening HRC draws – both good and bad. Remember that Lazio guy she beat, enroute to her Senate seat? He theatrically crowded her on stage at a debate, and essentially ended his chances of winning…so when it comes to iconic women, we seem to have that volatile mixture of veneration/vituperation always in play.

    If I was going to yap and yap, I’d expand on the idea that Obama should defend his “bitter” remarks, by connecting them with the bitter remarks of his old south-side of Chicago Pastor; there is consistency (and more than a little truth) in the thought Obama expressed about disillusioned people in economically bypassed small towns, and pastor Wright’s rough-edged remarks….but I have to run off to IPFW and see if I can get into the auditorium where Jill Long Thompson and that Schellinburger (sic?) guy are debating tonight….I hope JLT busts his balls!

    (note – that was a joke!)

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  31. Scout said on April 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Randi Rhodes is as much a surrogate for Obama as Nancy’s e-mail pal is one for Hillary. Actually, the supporters of the candidates have made an absolute spectacle of this whole process. I’ve never seen so many tantrums over something like this before. All the threats of “If he/she gets the nomination I’ll just vote for McSame” are so childish I want to scream.

    As a lesbian woman of a certain middlish age I am in the exact demographic of the average Hillary supporter and yet, go figure, I am an Obama supporter. I suspect my reasons for this are shared by many. Not the least of which is because of her enabling war votes that allowed a known loose cannon to start an illegal occupation in a country that didn’t attack us.

    As I have watched her campaign unfold and become more and more soaked with desperation I am even less enchanted with her than I was before. She seems determined to destroy everything that that stands between her and her move back to Pennsylvania Avenue except the one thing that might, the possible presidency of McNasty that her scorched earth tactics are ultimately benefiting.

    As a loyal Democrat I have been a ceaseless defender of the Clinton presidency and fed up with the media that abetted the ridiculous witch-hunts of those years. So it dismays me to see Bill and Hillary as they now put their own aspirations above the party that stuck by them. It’s tough to watch people I always admired take that “If you don’t vote for us, then we don’t care what happens” attitude.

    Bottom line – Hillary’s gender has squat to do with why I hope PA ends it for her. That being said, I’m not stupid or spiteful, so I will vote for her in November if she ends up the nominee. I live in Arizona, I know what McCain is all about and there is no way he should be allowed anywhere near a red telephone.

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  32. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    If Obama said he’d drop withholding, i’d have to seriously consider voting for him on that basis alone.

    Does it really matter whether we tax income or outgo? I think it does, and we’re taxing the wrong one.

    Most of Europe, for instance, has the VAT. When they import a Cadillac to the US, the price tag includes double taxation – both the US income tax on the manufacture, and the German VAT tax on its sale. When we import a BMW from Germany, though, Germany imposes no VAT, and the US taxes only the dealer’s profit.

    It’s kinda hard for us to compete in a world economy when that happens.

    And a VAT would not be a “regressive” tax if you exempted groceries. The rich folks would pay a lot of VAT on their fancy toys, and restaurant lifestyle, while a large percentage of the poor’s income goes for exempt groceries.

    I live in Arizona, I know what McCain is all about and there is no way he should be allowed anywhere near a red telephone.

    Hillary Diane Clinton is 60, and tired and senile. I know that because her husband recently said so.

    I don’t think crying is a very good tactic when she is trying to deal with the North Koreans. They’ve gotta be thinking, “If she forgave Bill for cheating on her and giving her months of humiliation, there’s no way she’s going to start a war over us cheating on a treaty.”

    On the other hand, while Senator Obama wants to get us out of Iraq, a war Mr. Bush proclaimed won five years ago, he says he’s willing to bomb Pakistan, a supposed ally, to get Bin Laden. If he’s willing to do that, you think North Korea will risk cheating?

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Harl, i could live with VAT. Absolutely with grocery exemption, though. And we’d still have to figure out what to do about local education funding. Another coming ripple on the foreclosure mess is the (to me) startling number of people who “escrow,” which is to say, put their property tax bill in with their mortgage — again, so as not to have to set money aside and write a big hunk o’ check to see what government is costing you really (as opposed to election season ranting).

    A number of school districts are going to see steep drops in collections that they didn’t/couldn’t plan for, and will hammer them right when the cost of gas for buses and food in the cafeteria is spiking.

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  34. joodyb said on April 15, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    ftr, i camp with no one, but hrc should take a teensy cue from her rival and just be cool. For one fg minute, show us she can hear the quiet and not be tweaked by every random electrical impulse in the universe. choosing all the wrong tactics, exhibiting the wrong emotions, making shit up. for me, the last straw: railing against obama for his ‘bitter’ americans remark. she should spend an evening in one of those detroit airport bars where the nwa pilots hang out.
    she’s revealed herself to be the spoiled out-of-touch opportunist everyone has been calling her, and for the first time in my life i won’t cast a vote in a presidential election if she is the nominee. she has no fixes.
    As for sexist physical and otherwise insults, don’t parents teach their kids anymore that these are at least signs of a feeble imagination if not complete ignorance? no? ok, what about walking away from bullies? no, too? Gee, Wally, i guess if Mom and Dad are laughing at the YouTube, we can too!
    meanwhile, media freaks like Matthews flourish – his ratings are right up there with ‘To Catch a Predator.’
    (nn, you KNOW he’s probably reading that nyt mag story again. right now. for the 3rd time today.)

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  35. MichaelG said on April 15, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Jeff, I can’t imagine why you’re startled by the idea of maintaining an escrow account to cover property taxes. I make one payment per month to my lender and don’t have to worry about property taxes at all. The mortgage company provides me with a monthly accounting of the whole shebang including the escrow account, pays interest on the account and pays my taxes every six months. In the mean time, the county still sends me the same tax bill everybody else gets so I’m never in the dark about my property taxes and how they’re paid. I have friends who prefer to pay themselves. I see it as a Ford vs. Chevy sort of thing. But a startling concept? Can’t understand that.

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  36. Suzi said on April 15, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I had to agree to some extent with Elton John, “I’m amazed by the misogynistic attitudes of some of the people in this country”. What else can you say when cunt and whore are used to describe a competent capable US Senator? And why are attacks on women expressed in such graphic and abusive, even violent, terms? We use sexual terms to deride men – dickhead, prick, motherfucker, asshole — but those terms do not convey the same sort of vitriolic intent, imo. Misogyny is alive and well in the USA and it’s a damn scary shame.

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  37. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Another coming ripple on the foreclosure mess is the (to me) startling number of people who “escrow,” which is to say, put their property tax bill in with their mortgage

    It shouldn’t be startling. Most people don’t choose to escrow; their lender requires that an escrow account be established to pay both mortgage and insurance. It makes sense; they want to be sure that your mortgage is backed by a house you own, not a pile of ashes, or a house that has been sold for taxes. Besides, there’s no interest paid on the escrow account, so it subsidizes the interest rate on the principal, and makes the mortgage look cheaper.

    A number of school districts are going to see steep drops in collections that they didn’t/couldn’t plan for, and will hammer them right when the cost of gas for buses and food in the cafeteria is spiking.

    Every state does it differently. Some states figure that if the appraised value of the district goes up, the millage rate needs to go down in order to keep the total income the same; other states figure if the appraised value goes up, the school has a lot more houses to educate.

    Appraisals do NOT directly reflect market value. They are based on such things as how many square feet you have, how many bathrooms you have, etc.

    Years ago, I was in a house that I’d paid $25,000 for, and the appraised value was $12,000, which I thought unfair, because most of the houses in the neighborhood were selling for $40,000 and had appraised value of about $10,000. We’d bought a house from a widow in a nursing home, and it hadn’t seen a bit of maintenance in years, so it was only worth $25K in the condition it was in, but would have been worth $50K if we’d lived there long enough to bring it up to snuff.

    And now, I’m in a house that cost $50,000 and has an appraised value of $62,500, because that’s what the city figures it would cost to buy our postage stamp of dirt and build our house from scratch.

    You can build a $400,000 apartment building or a $400,000 house on the same acre of land, and their taxes will be about the same, but if that apartment building has 20 inexpensive apartments, you’ll end up with 20 low-income families. Lots of domestic disputes, lots of kids committing vandalism because, well, when you’re 12, lots of things look fun, no matter what your parents say and do. You’ll have enough kids living there that the school district will need to add two classrooms, and you’ll have the fire department stopping a lot of fires because, well, when you’re 12, lots of things look fun, no matter what your parents say and do.

    And across the road, there’s a 10-acre field that has the same appraised value as either of those 1-acre developments. It doesn’t cost much at all to provide police, fire, roads, etc., for a field of corn. Farmers are the ones that really get screwed by property taxes.

    A per capita tax wouldn’t be fair, either. It’s just as expensive to fight a fire in that $400,000 home as in a $400,000 tenement. Maybe instead of taxing heads, we ought to tax butts. Paying an annual tax on toilets and bidets would be fairer, and it’d provide a nice source of humor. “So tell me, Mr. Candidate, what do you say about the proposed hike in toilet taxes?” “I don’t think citizens will stand for it.”

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  38. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    What else can you say when cunt and whore are used to describe a competent capable US Senator?

    To be fair, there are a lot of male senators accused of being whores. For instance, ex-Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania was accused of being a whore for WalMart; they were one of his biggest contributors, and he flew here, there, and everywhere on their corporate jets, while promoting legislation that would make it easier for the Walton family to escape inheritance taxes, and to underpay employees in their stores.

    And while McCain called Cindy a cunt, most people refer to H. D. Clinton as a bitch, rather than a cunt, because she’s so bitchy.

    Uh, Marie says she takes exception to that. She says bitches are quite nice to have around, and I agree with that, at least in her case.

    She also notes Tbogg’s new basset hound. Even though they may be merely basset hounds, not German Shepards, she thinks pups of any kind are cute. Unlike cats. Living in a small Pennsylvania town, she is embittered about cats.

    Excuse me, but she’s now rubbing her nose against my elbow, saying she wants to be walked.

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  39. baldheadeddork said on April 15, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    I’m extremely unhappy with any sexist remarks made against Hillary Clinton. I thought the nutcracker was vile, and the grotesquely-named advocacy group was even worse. Randi Rhodes deserved to lose her job, and the “Iron my shirt” blast in New Hampshire was reprehensible.

    But, let’s put all of these in their factual perspective.

    Calling Rhodes an “Obama surrogate” is a stretch that simply isn’t supported by the facts. Rhodes never had a role in the Obama campaign. She never appeared at campaign events speaking with Obama. She spoke for herself alone, at an event that was not organized by the Obama campaign, and that the campaign had no knowledge of. There’s a hell of a difference between Rhodes relationship with Obama and, say, ex-BET chairman Robert Johnson and Clinton’s campaign.

    The idiot who yelled “Iron my shirt” in New Hampshire was a morning shock jock who did it just to get some publicity for himself. Same with the creator of C.U.N.T – he’s a GOP operative who’s made his entire career out of slimy groups like this, most of them against the Clinton’s. The Hillary nutcracker isn’t even a half-step removed from the similarly vile crap that sprang from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy’s gift shop ten years ago.

    And that stupid Hillary/KFC e-mail has never been spread by the Obama campaign.

    So answer me this: How the hell is Barack Obama responsible for any of this? How did he become the bad guy for these Clinton supporters? He’s had not one damn thing to do with any of this. There is only the thinnest of connections to his campaign when one exists at all. Is responsible for every chauvinist pig because he has a Y-chromosome?

    Another question: What is the statute of limitations for being a vile, sexist piece of shit? A candidate in this race today once said that Chelsea Clinton was so ugly because Janet Reno was her father. Not only is Hillary Clinton not outraged – she can’t stop praising John McCain’s character. Just two weeks ago she walked into the office of Richard Mellon Scaife and left hickies on the man’s ass. This is someone who made it his life’s work to destroy her and her family – including paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to “prove” she had her best friend murdered. Bill Clinton goes on Rush Limbaugh’s show and everything was sweetness?

    This all gets a pass, but Obama has collected the most raving group of sexists since Bobby Riggs disbanded his fan club, and they’re all running some secret cabal connected to GOP hacks who have kept their kids in orthodontics doing this to the Clinton’s, third-rate talk radio hosts, and the Jerry and Mike Morning Zoo on Nashua’s Classic Rock.

    Look at the disparity and tell me how Hillary Clinton is not just cynically using charges of sexism – and exploiting decades of real discrimination experienced by her supporters – to win an election?

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  40. moe99 said on April 15, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    baldheadeddork: I am in awe. What great snark!

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  41. Danny said on April 15, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Oh — wait. I forgot. Racism is awful; sexism is OK.

    Both racism and sexiem are awful, but it’s pretty amazing that a lot of dems (here included) are so twisted up in knots about this. A few weeks ago I mentioned Obama’s racist pastor and many here bent over backwards to defend him. Heck, he couldn’t even renouce Farrakahn. Chickens coming home to roost, indeed.

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  42. brian stouder said on April 15, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Well – Indiana might just be our own canary in the coal mine, when it comes to sexism. Watch our May 6 gubenatorial primary, and compare it to our concurrent presidential primary.

    Before tonight’s debate, I couldn’t have picked her opponent (Jim Schellinger) out of a lineup…and, all snark aside, seeing him in person – he looks just like George W Bush! And he gives vacuous answers and airy evasions to almost all questions (I think he asserted that “I am not a politician” 6 or 8 times during the debate!)….and Ms Long was working through a head cold, and giving crisp, substantive answers (answers which, pointedly, addressed the questions asked)…I thought she absolutely clocked the guy.

    So – if Obama’s vote total equals Schellinger’s, then I will believe both got the “anybody but the woman” vote…..and if Obama wins while Long also wins, then Indiana is the smartest state in the Union!!

    But if Senator Clinton wins the state ALONG with the empty-suit Schellinger – then I give up!

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  43. Deborah said on April 15, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    I’m so anxious to post my own views I confess I skimmed the comments tonight which is rare for me. I love this blog and the commenters so…

    I consider myself a pretty big time feminist, I really do. I was a member of NOW way back when it started. But, there is something about Hilary that really bugs me. She just seems phoney to me. I really like Bill, I was a total supporter even though I thought the Lewinsky thing was completely stupid, dick thinking.

    I’m currently living in Chicago, moved here five years ago from a second tier midwestern city. I’m a true Lake Shore liberal. I became enamored with Obama when he was runnning for Senator. Maybe I’m just looking at Hillary through that perspective, but I don’t think so.

    She’s not working for me. I will support her if she is the candidate, but I was willing to do that for Kerry too, and I’m just not motivated by her like I am Obama.

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  44. basset said on April 15, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I don’t remember the last Presidential candidate I voted for, in the sense of wanting that person to win… the past few times, it’s been a vote against someone I feel even worse about.

    cute pup, though not as awww-inducing as our Eudora.

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  45. Kim said on April 15, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Been quiet for weeks now, but this is an important topic. I can’t see why Obama and Clinton, both accomplished and decent people, wouldn’t get together and say, “Look, CUNT is the equivalent of NIGGER. It’s wrong and we all know why. So don’t do it. Don’t take us there. Don’t criticize what is irrelevant. Do start a civil conversation as members of a civil society whose intent is to build up America, not tear it down group-you-don’t-like by group-you-don’t-like. Now go do something productive, thoughtful even. That is all. Thank you.”
    Are both too frightened to lose a vote? It’s ridiculous the way people are behaving. Ridiculous and distressing. We couldn’t possibly be more screwed as a nation if we let this continue.

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  46. Hattie said on April 15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Rambling around: I think this is all to the good. Yes, that nice guy really does call women cunts. That women does have a crush on the black guy. Etc.These are not trivial matters, I think.
    We have got millions of citizens with a bad attitude. I can’t see myself having Koombaya moments with people who bully Clinton supporters. I’m completely off lots of leftists I used to like. I used to listen to Randi all the time but no more. I was through with her when she said that she was better looking than Cindy Sheehan. She is a media trollop.

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  47. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I can’t see myself having Koombaya moments with people who bully Clinton supporters.


    She is a media trollop.

    I forget. Isn’t that pretty much the same thing as a fucking whore? (grinning, ducking, and running)

    Obama needs to have a new speech, made up of various things he’s been saying, only rearranged a little bit. He needs to say “Those signs don’t say ‘Yes, he can’, they say ‘Yes WE can’. And that’s the whole point. It’s going to take everybody, and if you beat someone up, they will vote exactly the opposite way you want them to vote, just for spite.

    “Maybe you hear a joke tomorrow about Senator McCain, or Senator Clinton. I don’t care how funny it is, don’t pass it on. Senator Clinton is a great Senator, and we need her in the Senate, working with us. Senator McCain is a great Senator, and we need him in the Senator, working with us. Burning bridges is a really dumb idea, and it’s an idea we can’t afford.

    “A couple of decades ago, the most hated Republican in the Senate was Dan Quayle. You’ve probably heard some jokes. And the most hated Democrat in the Senate was Teddy Kennedy. You may have heard some jokes about him, too. But Dan and Teddy got together and created the Jobs Partnership Training Act, which was probably the most important legislation the Senate passed that session.

    “Democrats like jobs bills, and Republicans prefer that private enterprise get involved, because they think government wastes money when they do things. And we need to admit this: the Republicans are right about that. But Dan and Teddy created a bill in which unemployed people got exactly the skills employers were seeking, and by involving private enterprise, we minimized the burden to the taxpayer.

    “Now, do you think that would have happened if Dan Quayle had been insulting Teddy Kennedy, or if Teddy Kennedy had been insulting Dan Quayle?

    “The old style of politics calls for people who are good fighters, but the old style of politics isn’t working. Doesn’t matter if you have even 35 years of experience at fighting. We don’t need to do the same old things better; we need to do something different. Like negotiating, so that people on both sides of the aisle are working for the same thing.

    “Elizabeth Edwards says that Senator Clinton’s health care plan is better than mine, because it’s more inclusive. I don’t argue that a bit. The difference is, I can get my health care plan passed. Senator Clinton has been trying to get universal health care passed for fifteen years, and she hasn’t accomplished anything.

    “So remember two things when you leave here tonight. It’s not about me, it’s about us. Yes WE can. And be civil to the opposition, because we’re going to need their cooperation in order to accomplish anything meaningful.”

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  48. Kim said on April 16, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Um, Harl, are you over 37, a natural-born citizen and I forget the other requirements – my second Tues. in Nov. vote goes to your sensible response if so.

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  49. deb M said on April 16, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I don’t care what camp you are in, hopefully everyone reading this is weary of the sexism. My sister-in-law actually said “I would vote for HRC if she would lose 20 pounds” WHAT do you say to that??
    I look forward to a time when we stop feeling the need to refer to some women (usually successful and/or educated and/or an individual, etc) as ‘strong women’ and just presume they ALL are. Men in the same setting are presumed to be strong. Words like ‘weak’ or ‘timid’ are used to describe men who are an anomaly–and ‘strong’ used for women. Hey, Women ARE strong…we should not use our language to reference that as being out of the ordinary.

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  50. alsodeb said on April 16, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I thought maybe you might like to hear of life on the other side of the tracks, so to speak. I live in ‘the hood’, and I have heard the remark so many times I’ve lost count, “It don’t matter what he say, he black. ‘Nuff said.” In that light, it seems foolish for both candidates to not address the racist/sexist issue. Unless the issue is working in a positive way for one of the candidates, of course.

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  51. Harl Delos said on April 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Um, Harl, are you over 37, a natural-born citizen and I forget the other requirements – my second Tues. in Nov. vote goes to your sensible response if so.

    Sorry. I have women come on to me ALL the time, but I’ll have to say to you the same thing I say to them: I’m married, and too cowardly to cheat. I do, however, have a waiting list, just in case my wife accidently eats some poison mushrooms. Or if she suffers a crushed skull from refusing to eat her mushrooms.

    Oh, you’re talking about voting for me for president? That’s different. My wife says it’s OK for me to cheat on her if I get elected president.

    I must warn you that I would be running on the Whig ticket. The Whigs are pro-progress, which is pretty much a meaningless campaign pledge these days, but they are known for two things.

    One is that it was in a Whig administration that the first bathtub was installed in the White House, (defined as a permanently-installed tub with running hot and cold water, and a drain.) Therefore, my first campaign pledge is to take a bath each and every month I am in office – and I note that NONE of the other candidates have made that pledge.

    The other thing is that Whig presidents have been so serious about term limits that a full 50% of them have died in office. Therefore, my second campaign pledge is to die in office. I hope to arrange it so that it involves a jealous husband of a voluptuous intern, and none of these immature little nymphs, either, but a mature woman who knows what she’s doing.

    But I have to admit that if I run and win, I am so earnest and honest about my campaign pledges that I will probably be assassinated before I actually take the oath of office, thus setting a new record for Whigs.

    But I thank you for your kind compliment, and, as i say, I’ve added you to the waiting list. You will be notified if a suitable opportunity arises.

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  52. Scout said on April 16, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    The comments here have been so great I find myself returning to see if anything new was added. So far baldheadeddork is the big winner with me!

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  53. baldheadeddork said on April 16, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Harl – the short answer to that question is that Obama has made that speech many times. Not exactly in your words, but he has made a constant theme out of respecting people we disagree with – including Hillary Clinton. This gets to what I was asking earlier – how is he responsible for people who don’t work for his campaign, and in most cases don’t support him?

    Deb – what I would say to your SIL is: “You’re an idiot.” I know, I need to work on the kindler and gentler thing…

    I agree with your point about the language of strength and gender, but both words have problems. Hillary Clinton has made being a woman a central thesis of her campaign. For some voters that is a reason to vote for her, a much smaller number would never vote for a woman, but I think for the largest group her gender is irrelevant.

    It’s not the strong part that bothers me. I expect strength in a presidential candidate and I’ve never doubted that Clinton has it. But if being a woman is relevant to deciding between two candidates for president, you have to show me why. What about having ovaries will make you a better president than these male candidates?

    The only answers I’ve heard for that question are that there has never been a woman president, therefore if everyone is qualified it would be sexist to not choose the woman candidate. Or, as Clinton has repeatedly put it in her only attempt at reasoning on this question that I’ve heard, “It’s about time we had a woman president.”

    Sorry, that doesn’t wash. So far as I know it didn’t wash for Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher, either. It’s not about being twice as strong or hawkish as a man in order to be taken seriously, it’s about being so competent and confident in your abilities that your gender doesn’t matter. “It’s about time we had a woman ____________” is poison. You need to be able to say “I’m the best candidate in the field. Period.”

    I am absolutely convinced that a woman will be elected president of the United States in the immediate future. But I’m even more certain that when she does run, she will make her gender as much of a non-issue as Barack Obama made race for his campaign.

    One more thought for y’all. This fighting is much more generational than it is about gender.

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  54. Suzi said on April 16, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    “Hillary Clinton has made being a woman a central thesis of her campaign.”?

    She has?? Where and when?

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  55. baldheadeddork said on April 16, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Suzi – I’ve heard her say on several occasions, and at least once in debates.

    Here’s one from an interview on ABC around the NH primary



    “And during Saturday’s New Hampshire debates, Clinton became noticeably agitated as she responded to a statement made by former Sen. John Edwards, in which he defended Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s pledge for change and suggested Clinton was the candidate for the status quo.

    “Making change is not about what you believe or about making a speech, it’s about working hard,” Clinton said after Edward’s statement, in which he said, “Anytime you speak out for change, this is what happens. The forces for status quo are going to attack.”

    Then, a little bit louder, she said, “I want to make change, but I’ve already made change. I’m not running on a promise of change. But on 35 years of change. … We don’t need to raise false hopes of people in our country about what can be delivered.”

    “I think that having a first woman president is a huge change,” said Clinton, raising her voice. ” “

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