Tuesday, January 1

:: The Morning Read

What you need to know about the new Des Moines Register / Selzer poll on the Iowa Caucus, plus the Guardian takes feminism seriously - again.
Mark Blumenthal, aka "the Mystery Pollster," has done some phenomenal work analyzing and explaining the ins and outs Iowa Caucus polling. His latest post describes - in soothingly calm terms - the new results from what is considered by other pollsters to be the most reliable barometer of potential Caucus-goer opinion. Read it here.

There's a nice article in today's Guardian about Ann Lewis' role in the Clinton campaign. Nothing you don't already know, but a great example of what campaign coverage looks like when its free of the cynical, snider-than-thou attitude to which we've become accustomed. Its always refreshing to read about feminism in the Guardian - they take it seriously, something you almost never see in the US mainstream press (unless its some conservative take on why feminism is wrong, ala the New York Times' David Brooks and John Tierney).

Beyond giving me the warm fuzzies, a few points from the article - called "A Clinton Operative Plays Operator" - jumped out at me.

There's this quote, from Judith Lichtman, "I don't have to convince Hillary Clinton about the issues of importance to women and family."

My sentiments exactly. I don't trust John Edwards the same way, especially since part of his general election strategy would be to play on his potential Southern appeal. I certainly don't trust Barack Obama the same way, since his track record to date has been, shall we say, somewhat Liebermanesque (by which I mean that he appears to fancy himself quite the moralist, and, I suspect, who would enjoy playing the role of the man who "goes beyond party lines" to find "compromise"). The shorter version: Bill Clinton vetoed PBA twice without blinking, despite the poll numbers and the tenor of the press coverage of the issue. Were history to repeat, I am certain Hillary would do the same thing. I am not quite as sure about John, and I'm downright suspicious about Barack.

The author of the article writes "But much of the campaign's grab for women's support has been around amorphous nods to women and family issues... [that seem] based in a general idea of woman-ness that feels almost 19th-century in its simplicity."

True. Welcome to America, where the 19th century is still in re-runs. A good number of us are in thrall to capital punishment and torture, have a Dickensian attitude towards health care and social services, and believe Adam and Eve rode to church on a dinosaur*.

Oh, don't even get me started.

She also writes "When Lewis mentioned that the campaign has nurses reaching out to nurses, I ask which part of the (women's) nursing community is pro-choice versus pro-life. From her response, or lack thereof, one might think nurses are unconcerned by abortion politics (unlikely) or that women have a universal set of needs. Above all, the idea conveyed is that divisive politics don't play a part in candidate endorsements."

Um, no, I believe the idea being conveyed was that the question, though seemingly straightforward, didn't make sense in a strategic context. You target nurses with a "women" message because as a subgroup they are predominantly female. Because they are female and Democratic, they are also most likely predominantly pro-choice. But since all the Democratic candidates are pro-choice, at least on paper, it doesn't make much difference - if they are anti-choice and its a voting issue for them, they'll have to vote Republican (or not at all).

* I think the "Adam and Eve riding a dinosaur to church" line comes from the fabulous Tina Fey, though I can't find an exact reference. She is brilliant, isn't she?

1 comment:

ladybec said...

Interesting article - it's nice to read something without the snide tone, but I also think it's probably difficult to quite grasp what Ann Lewis is doing in terms of reaching out to women if you don't live in the American political context. So thus the writer ends up thinking that abortion should be this big issue for nurses in the election (and the campaign is ignoring it at their peril and/or in their ignorance) when the reality is that there are so many other things at stake for organizing them as a constituency that the Clinton campaign has grasped.

And Judy Lichtman is right on about not having to convince Hillary about why these issues are important, and it's a key reason why I'm supporting Hillary as well - I know she gets these issues in her heart and her soul, not just intellectually, and I'm not sure about either Edwards or Obama since both seem to always hiding behind their wives. They may do the right thing when it comes down to it (and their wives may ensure that), but when the option is to vote for and work your ass off to elect the person who really gets it, that's who I want in there. I'm tired of compromising or being made to feel bad about pushing these issues - I want someone who understands them instinctively and will fight for them.