Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My boyfriend is the Democratic Nominee.

I've been going through a lot of emotions in the last 24 hours. I don't often feel like "I absolutely must watch tonight's political speech!", but last night I did. I watched all of Hillary's speech, then all of Obama's. I even watched pundits for a while. I felt like they were a little bit hard on Hillary, actually, and I've been mad at her for a while. I don't think she needs to concede ten minutes after Obama had the requisite delegate count (I actually think she needed to do this about a month ago, but that's another matter). They seemed to think she was blackmailing Obama, saying "you'd better give me VP or my supporters won't vote for you." I don't think that's what she was saying.

But I do think there are supporters out there who are considering that. This article describes a few of them.

Here's the thing: I've been there.

I was on the verge of supporting McCain if Hillary got the nomination. She bothered me that much. But Greg talked me down with some facts.

I can understand the anger of these women. If you've taken shit because of the glass ceiling and feel like this is your best shot at shattering the ultimate glass ceiling, I can understand the anger at that not happening.

I can understand anger at voters.

I can understand anger at the media.

I cannot understand anger at Obama, or how voting for McCain is a sensible thing to do unless they honestly believe he better represents their views.

What has Obama done that is sexist? How was his campaign sexist? I can name two racist moments from the Clinton campaign: Bill belittling South Carolina's results by saying something like "Jesse Jackson won here in 1984 and 1988," and Hillary's awful statement of "No, no, why would I — there’s nothing to base that on — as far as I know" when asked if Obama was a Muslim. And yet I would have voted for her based on the issues.

There are better places to take your anger than to a vote for McCain.

Two other things:

--I can live with Hillary as Veep if it helps Obama win. However, I'm not sure that I'd want that if I were Obama. I could live with Hillary, but not with Bill looking over my shoulder. Combining Obama and Hillary forces would obviously help to win, however. But I trust him to make the right decision. After watching him speak last night, and privately saying "Wow!" to his wife afterwards, I trust Obama more than any politician I can ever remember.

--There will be more ugly racism in the open air in the next five months than at any time in my lifetime. Don't believe me? Read Paula's experience registering voters in Colorado:

A few days ago, someone on NPR made a distinction between Hillary voters and Obama voters as Wal-Mart Democrats vs. Starbucks Democrats. It sounds elitist, but I had a lesson in it yesterday. I was stunned, truly and completely dumbfounded at the people who told me, quite openly, that they wanted the Republicans gone, but they would not vote for a black man. There I was, feeling so good about helping a disabled man exercise his rights as a citizen in a democracy, when he told me he’d never vote for a black man, though he felt everyone ought to own one or two. Another woman told me she wouldn’t vote for a man whose name sounded like you were throwing up every time you said it. Yet another said she was prepared to vote for Hillary, but now it looked like she’d have to vote for McCain. I had no idea there was so much blatant racism in Colorado.
Hold onto your hats. I trust McCain not to get ugly, and I love his idea for weekly barnstorming debates. I hope Obama takes him up on it. Wouldn't it be great if a campaign for president were something competing candidates did together in an effort to get information out to the public--rather than separately? But I think the horrific wing of McCain's party will race-bait in a way we've never before seen.

But Obama excites me more than any political candidate in my lifetime, and McCain is better than any candidate I've ever not voted for (with the possible exception of '96 Bob Dole). I hope I can focus on that and not what could be unprecedented ugliness (and almost none of it, I believe, from Obama.).




4 comments:

Chris Snethen said...

I was considering McCain if Hillary were the nominee too. A friend talked me down with one word: judges. Obama or Hillary will probably get to name three justices in their four-year term. Maybe four. McCain, at least two. I suspect Souter will retire if a Democrat can name his replacement, but not if McCain does. Stephens and Ginsburg feel the same way, but may not make it four more years. So there's my math.

Anyway, it's the judges that will keep me voting Dem.

Hill will have a role in the administration, but it will be defined by Barack and it will have boundaries. Many many firm boundaries. Handing the post-Cheney vice-presidency to Mrs. Clinton would be a recipe for disaster. Obama would be wise to call her "I'm fighting for you" bluff that she ran the other night.

Alison said...

I'm not at all convinced that VP is really what Clinton wants anyhow. If it were me, I'd offer her a cabinet post and look elsewhere for a VP.

As for the questions "What has Obama done that is sexist? How was his campaign sexist?" I don't think either he or his campaign have been sexist. Some of his supporters have been another matter. Witness comments like "Hillary Clinton: The Psycho Ex-Girlfriend of the Democratic Party," or the constant chatter about her clothing and hairstyle, or the hoopla over her tearing up (was she being overemotional or manipulative for the camera?). I don't think Obama himself has indulged in sexist rhetoric, but he has certainly benefited from other people using it.

To be honest, the casual sexism of a lot of people I know and like and who consider themselves liberal has been an eye-opener for me that, in fact, the answer to "is the US ready for a female president" is still a resounding "no."

TeacherRefPoet said...

Alison,

Your point is spot-on. Sadly, the same point could be made about Clinton supporters and some of the racism, both overt and equally ugly underhanded stuff, that her supporters participated in. However, I do think both Clintons were participants therein (witness my examples above), and that especially bothered me. For those reasons and also the Clintons' loose relationship with the truth, I have to say that I'm almost as glad that she lost as I am that he won. I've been called a sexist for thinking that, but I don't think any of it has to do with gender.

I want to see a female president...but not this one. Still, if my boyfriend calls on her to be VP, I trust in judgement.

Do you think he could push her through as a Supreme Court Justice? I've heard chatter about that, but there's flat-out no way a Republican minority would let that happen.

Alison said...

I don't think he could get her onto the court either. I don't really think it would be a good fit for her, do you? She's really a lot more into policy than she is into the judiciary end....