Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not This Woman Isn't Not A Woman For President

There seems to be a generational split amongst white women regarding Hillary Clinton, boomers seem more likely to be her staunch supporters and to be offended by Obama. Never having been female and working mostly very physical jobs I have little experience with their lot, despite a common age. I have never been denied promotion or consideration due to my gender, I have been dismissed by people not of my acquaintance as lacking in intellect based on my type of work. Not quite the same thing. I happen to not like Hillary R Clinton.

The things I dislike about Sen Clinton have not one thing to do with her gender. I would not like a man who had demonstrated the same character and judgement. Now I do not propose to you that men and women are the same, there are vanishingly few women who could manage the physical demands of my work, a simple matter of muscularity which is one thing, but it goes deeper. There are species specific evolutionary forces at work, a huge one being the neoteny of our offspring and the long and debilitating gestation period. Species survival demanded coping mechanisms for this and placed large demands on the female and to a great extent determined familial work divisions through much of our time. There are cultural imperatives and then there are genetic dispositions and confusing them creates confusion. Female submission is a cultural force but a different framing of world view is easily affected by genetic dispositions. Differences do not equate to inequality, they enrich us when they are not denied and expecting men and women to behave the same or to hold the same view point denies us access to wider understandings.

Many find the failures of the Clinton campaign to be the result of gender politics. I do not, and I do not wish to demean women by asserting that gender had one thing to do with it. Hillary's femaleness did not cause her to fail and by my best measures had virtually no net effect on her vote share. The failures lay with the person. There is exactly one boss in a campaign, the candidate, and whatever failures her managers and advisers may have had their boss, at least, let it happen if not willingly and actively participated. If any vote preference was determined by gender it appears on the balance to have fallen in Hillary's favor. If some in the media didn't like her dress, her voice, or her cleavage these were matters of taste, about as relevant as lapel flag pins and probably of less result in votes. The measure here is not perception of slights but voting results and no candidate gets away scott free with media in regard to stupid insights.

Few Primary candidates have started where Hillary started. Her advantages were huge in name recognition, media attention, and money at hand and fund raising organization. What she also had that was remarkable was large unfavorable perception numbers. Very seldom has a candidate so much as entered a race with such high negatives much less been competitive. Certainly a good sized portion of those negatives were created by the Republican smear machine of the 90s, but a goodly portion were also earned. Beneath the smear was reality and that reality wasn't pretty and the candidate reinforced those perceptions with her Senate career and then brought them into focus in the campaign itself. Vehement Hillary supporters don't like this kind of talk, but the candidate is responsible for it and has paid for it. There is undismissable reality underlying her increasing negatives over the campaign and these were not of someone else manufacture. They consisted of her own words and official statements of the campaign.

This is not the stuff of Ferraro statements or "iron my shirt," or any number of stupidities committed by others. Geraldine Ferraro is an idjit, of the sort who will call Obama incredibly sexist and doubt her ability to vote for him in the General Election. Obama and the Obama campaign have done nothing of the sort beyond beat her. In an election someone will not win, being beaten only means that. It does not signify more. Michigan and Florida are held up as some kind of example of unfair play where Hillary is concerned, the problem with that analysis is that the status of those states was known and acknowledged by all parties before campaigning actually started and agreed to by all parties. To treat those states differently because Hillary had one outcome or another in them due to her gender would be blatantly unfair to any candidate and true sexism in operation. Part of being treated equally is having to follow the same rules as everyone else.

I can understand disappointment with the loss of a candidate one supported, I can even understand the frustration and anger of, "why can't they see?" but I cannot understand the revulsion for the winner that is evidenced by so many. In general terms the candidates' policies are very similar and certainly more closely allied than either with John McCain. The idea of punishing the Democratic Party and its voters by voting for McCain or staying home spites the very things either candidate stands for. Whatever kind of President either candidate would make, this nation cannot afford four more years of BushCo policies and politics and neither is that. There does exist within one campaign's supporter's forums Republican operatives sowing hate and discontent, their names are Villareal. However this Primary shakes out the most important aspect of it now is winning the General Election, neither candidate is poison to Democratic voters' interests. If you think they are, you have been played for a fool by those without your interests at heart.

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