Sunday, June 08, 2008

An Alibi for Political Hardball

Michelle Goldberg, author of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power And The Future Of The World (to be published April, 2009) writes in The New Republic:

Hillary Clinton has lost the nomination, but some of her most ardent female backers seem unwilling to accept it. A strange narrative has developed, abetted by Clinton and some of the mainstream feminist organizations. In it, the will of the voters was thwarted by chauvinistic party leaders in concert with a servile media, and Obama's victory represents a repeat of George W. Bush's in 2000. It's a story in which Obama becomes every arrogant young man who has ever edged out a more deserving middle-aged woman, and Clinton, hanging on until the bitter end, is not a spoiler but a feminist martyr.

This conviction, that sexism cost Clinton the nomination, is likely to be one of the more toxic legacies of this primary season.
She discusses the impact of this legacy on Barack Obama's campaign:

This psychic wound is not Obama's fault, but it is his problem. Establishment feminism has not done itself proud using its noble struggle for social justice as an alibi for political hardball. But it represents women whose frustration and sense of unfairness are deeply felt, and those feelings need to be addressed.
Perhaps the most obvious point Michelle makes in this smart article is also her most compelling observation:

"It would be the grimmest irony imaginable if feminist irredentism helped elect a candidate as anti-feminist as John McCain."

posted at 9:30:00 AM by Neil

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