Wednesday, January 2

:: 2008 and the Politics of Divorce

The language of hating Hillary belongs in a
divorce court, not a political contest.
First, a confession. I've been spending way to much time following the comments over at the New York Times "blog" devoted to the Iowa caucuses; for the most part, that's the material that informs my impressions.

Okay then.

I've noticed a distinct variety of Hillary-hating that seems to come mainly from people who purport to be Barack supporters. I say "purport" because I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of these nutters turned out be provocateurs deliberately trying to play up resentment against Hillary and Barack. Really, who knows.

The theme is typified by commenter "Denise":
[Hillary] lacks the qualifications for the job, and the only way she will get elected is to align herself with Bill. That’s just the life-long Clinton strategy that moves Hillary into a position for which she is not qualified.

Every time Bill moves up (think Gov of Arkansas), Hillary moves up with him (think Attorney General of Arkansas). Bill moves up again (think President of the US); Hillary moves up with him (think US Senate). See the pattern, women?

Consider what America got with the first Clinton co-Presidency:

• Granting Presidential pardons to buy Hillary’s election to the Senate. As a woman who made it on my own, Hillary’s need to ride Bill’s coattails and her sense of entitlement (as in “it’s my turn and Obama should wait his turn”) makes me doubt her capabilities.

• Hillary’s long-suffering marriage to Bill, enabling a lifetime of sexual trysts and trying to contain the Bimbo eruptions, gives me a President without the backbone to stand up to a man. Hillary claims to be tough enough to play with the boys when, in fact, she is unable to leave a cheating husband. How will she stand up to other male leaders who see this in “Mrs.” Clinton and walk all over her?

• Being married to a former President does not make one qualified to be President.
Here's another, from "MT":
I don’t think most of us are claiming that Hillary is not intelligent. My issue with her is that she has uses her intelligence repeatedly for personal gain while someone clearly loses. I am a professional female with two advanced degrees - I would like to see a female in the White House. But HRC is the complete opposite of the kind of female who furthers women’s causes (yes - I am sure by her words she will claim to have done more than her share but as with anything, actions speak louder than words).

1. She is where she is today purely b/c, whether one likes him or not (I do not), her husband is a master politician and has given her instant name recognition and “history” in this country. This is not to say that she would have accomplished nothing on her own but she would clearly not be where she is today without him. Riding on the coattails of a man only reinforces the stereotype that a woman cannot achieve success on her own.

2. She more than anyone else skewered the women that Bill Clinton pursued. Paula Jones was far from perfect but she was denigrated in the media while she sought her claim against him. Hillary was also in full attack against Jennifer Flowers. All these women had very little power and Hillary used her status and influence to degrade and intimidate them. Hillary could have chosen to stay out of all that but she was front and center in taking these women down. That is not someone who walks in solidarity with other women.

I am sure that in her mind Hillary is a feminist. But if we are to judge her on her actions, she has shown to be otherwise. Intelligence is not the only requirement for the presidency. She has shown herself to be a calculating, self serving politician. There is a reason she has such high negatives - there is no smoke without some fire.

It is time to move on. So that is why I am supporting Barack Obama - he has not only proven his intelligence(president of the Harvard Law Review takes some brilliance) but a look at the diverse political make-up of his supporters (I am a Republican) tells you that he has already done what he said he would do - he will unite this country.
I could share lots more similar comments, but then someone would have to kill me. Instead, here's a short take on the commonalities - with a pronoun shift, as addressed to a fictional judge:
  • Your honor, she hasn't worked for what she's got! I did all the hard work, and she just wants to cash in on the rewards. Please don't make me pay!
  • Your honor, she feels entitled to her lifestyle just because of who I am and what I've accomplished, with no help from her. Its not fair!
  • Your honor, she's a scheming, plotting, cold-hearted, calculating bitch. She doesn't deserve a cent!
  • Your honor, she'd be nothing without me!
This isn't the language of politics, its the language of an ugly divorce. Apparently a significant number of people out there are reviewing their personal psychodramas through the prism of national politics.

A simple check of Hillary's Wikipedia entry provides enough material to verify that she is an intelligent, capable and accomplished individual - even if you discount all of her Arkansas and White House years. Yes - her pre-marriage years plus her post-White House years add up to more experience in public policy and public service than the entire careers of Barack and John.

Nevertheless, the hysterical, angry language keeps coming. It is simply not possible, these voices claim, to be a married woman and still be your own person. A married woman is a satellite of her husband. Anything different is profoundly, disturbingly wrong.

And things are only going to get weirder.


ladybec said...

You're so actively posting today, I don't even know where to start commenting. This is an interesting topic, though, because it reminds me that one of the major feminist insights that changed divorce laws in this country was a recognition that both partners bring so much to a marriage that create the couple's life together that you couldn't just divide up the assets by the fact that one person went out and made all the money and leave the other person with nothing. (This is especially interesting to apply to the Clintons considering she was the major breadwinner for a while...)

The whole point being that all of the candidates are where they are today because of their spouses' contributions to their lives and careers. For example, Michelle Obama's family's prominence and connections to the black community of Chicago helped her husband establish himself there; her well-paying hospital job provided needed stability and income while he was changing jobs and launching his political career; and the flexibility provided by her still well-paying yet now part-time job allows her to take care of their children while he campaigns full-time. I don't think he could be where he is without those things so why is that any different than the fact that Hillary has some advantages because of her husband? She's been working all her life right alongside him, even being the primary breadwinner while he was pursuing his political career (while still being Chelsea's primary caretaker as far as I can tell). It's not like she stopped doing anything while Bill was governor and then president and then decided 20 years later that she wanted a career in politics just because she was married to the president.

This whole line of reasoning is just so exasperating - what part of her own accomplishments are people unable to grasp? First she got slammed for not "staying home and baking cookies" and now people act like that all she's done with her life and yet wants to be president anyway - once again, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't...

Nina Miller said...

Well, I'm off from work this week so that's why you're seeing all the new posts. I expect my productivity will drop considerably when I return to the office.

Plus the suspense of Iowa has me transfixed. Its ridiculous really, because I don't think the results really matter (unless Edwards wins or loses big). In another week NH will eclipse IA, and by the time Super Duper Tuesday rolls around this will all be ancient history.

And yet I still... can't... look... away....

I'm sick to death of all the Hillary double speak too. The stuff people say is ridiculous. Obama's comments over the last two weeks have really gotten my hackles up, and those Obama supporters - ! I seriously think something is wrong there.

They make out like he's got some crypto-mystic special power to make the lions lay down with the lambs. I say the only time the lions lay down with the lambs is when the lions are tired of eating standing up.

They're lions, for pete's sake. Lions!

ladybec said...

I'm transfixed by Iowa, too, especially with all the mysteries around turnout and who will show up. Even though I generally think the caucus process is sort of insane. Do you know when we will start seeing results tonight? (I remember nothing about the timing from 2004, just seeing the results and then going to see Howard Dean arrive from Iowa in the middle of the night in NH after the infamous "scream.") I feel like I will be unable to concentrate all day, but at least I know I have a kindred spirit. Keep the posts coming - they break up my otherwise unpolitical day at work.