08 June 2008

Substance and Misogyny

I am hesitant to wander into this discussion because it has erupted elsewhere in great spewing volcanoes of vitriol and bile. But as someone who caucused for Hillary and was later disappointed by some of her choices, I would like to try to maybe talk about this carefully.

Misogyny alone did not kill her campaign, but it did play a role. There were substantive disagreements I, and many others, had with some of the ideas she put forward. I can't support a summer gas tax holiday, and I thought the 3AM add was a little tasteless. But I don't expect that I will always agree with a candidate or politician on all issues, and am willing to overlook somethings in the search for a viable alternative to the waning Republican stranglehold.

One thing that is markedly different between the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign is the structure of the support. Clinton was much more involved with insiders and people who have been doing this all their lives. Obama's supporters tended to have come into their own politically much more recently. Grassroots wont always get you elected, and lord knows you can get elected without them, but this time around, grassroots was more productive and more profitable. Just how it went this time.

That said, there was plenty of misogyny that was spewed out. Its one thing to bring up that a gas tax break would not be passed on to the consumers, but eaten as profit by the oil companies. Thats a substantive critique.

"I have often said, when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." -Tucker Carlson

That, I think we can agree, is not a substantive critique of any part of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Moreover, that specific comment is something that could be applied to any uppity bitch that scares Tucker Carlson, so really any of us. Tucker Carlson is an easy target, but many of the non substantive comments were pure misogyny. See Kristen Schaal.

What about those questions that walked that uneasy line between pundit drool and honest criticisms of her policy proposals? All those questions that wouldn't have been asked if she were a man? Those comments with pregnant pauses, meaningful tone of voice, those vocal cues that have come to be the modern wink and a nudge? That is where all this gets really nasty. When some hear a comment and think that its something that should be asked, and others think it would never even come up if there were no women in the race. We could hash every comment, try to come to a ruling of misogynist or just stupid, but I don't really want to see this at that high of a resolution. I'd really rather focus on getting a Democrat in the White House, and more in Congress.

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