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Monday, 09 June 2008


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Not American but a keen observer... The NY Times today posted a number (well, 12 it seems to me, but their blurb says 13) of opinions on this very topic, from ring-side advisors and more distant observers. They're all quite brief, but an interesting range of views.
At http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/opinion/08intro.html?ref=politics

Betty M

What has amazed me is how mainstream commentators have been able to make unbelievably sexist remarks about her and not been called on it when they wouldn't have dreamt of making equivalent racist remarks about Barack Obama. Personally (as a woman and a person of mixed ethnicity) I felt it was a bigger deal to get a woman on the ticket so I am sad but then I come from an entirely different perspective than an American would.


Okay- I'll give it a shot. I would love to see a woman for president, but that particular woman did nothing for me. I would have voted for her in the general election because she's a hell of a lot better than the alternative, but I didn't vote for her in the primary. I'm really tired of politics as usual, and to me, she represents more of the same. In order to solve some of these major world crises we have (particularly climate change, which is my #1 issue), I think we need someone who thinks outside the box and won't just resort to same-old/same-old. Obama is also the first candidate in a long time that actually inspires me and makes me feel hopeful that we can get ourselves out of this mess we've gotten ourselves into re: the state of the planet and that the human race can save itself. Everyone else, including Clinton, focused/focuses so much energy on dire predictions about all the negative things that will happen if you don't vote for them, and that really turned me off.


She is polarizing. You love her or you hate her and there is absolutely no middle ground.

My opinion of her as an American is that she wanted the job far more anything else and I have to question why someone wants a job that let's face it perks aside, sucks on most days. It feels like everything she has done in her life has been a stepping stone to the presidency. She has flip flopped and lied through the entire campaign. Agreeing that Florida and Michigan should be punished for moving their primaries - going so far as to agree to remove her name from the ballot in Michigan like Obama and Edwards, but "forgetting" to finalize the paperwork to actually do it so hers was the only dem name on the ballot. And when it came down to actually needing those votes she claimed it was wrong of the party to strip the states of their delegates. Also, it is time for some new and fresh blood in Washington. We need to turn this country around wicked fast and I don't think someone who is ingrained in Washington already is going to do that.

As I woman I am sorry she didn't get the nod - how wonderful to have a woman elected a leader of the free world in my lifetime.

As a mother, I can't wait to explain all of this to my son to illustrate that not only can anyone be elected president, but when you follow the rules the process actually works.


She ran a bad campaign, too. She's had to lend herself money several times, she's had several shakeups in staff (which might have been a good thing, as she chose staff based on longevity and loyalty as opposed to competence) and they didn't plan for a long primary season. She thought she'd wrap it up Super Tuesday.

Plus, as someone else said, she's polarizing. There's a ton of people that think "I'll vote for any Democrat except her." I think he's a lot more respected within Washington as far as being able to work across the aisle and I think the electorate can see that.

I'm one of the women who voted for Obama and I'm glad I did. While I do like her health care initiative more (universal coverage is becoming my #1 issue), her lies/massaging of the truth got to me.


I voted for Obama. I heard him speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 and said to myself, "Wow, I want that guy to be president". The thing with Hillary Clinton is that there are a whole bunch of lunatics in this country who really, really hate the Clintons. And she in particular is a flashpoint for them. These people will work tirelessly to defeat them. The idea of dealing with all of that Clinton-drama again just made me tired. I see Obama as more electable. And the main thing is to get the damn Republicans out of the White House.
I do want to point out that Hillary ran as the candidate that "hard working white people" will vote for and that is just disgusting. Really, can you complain about sexism while you are running as the "white candidate"? And while I am deeply offended by the sexist remarks, I'm not willing to vote for a woman in reaction to those idiots, the same idiots who are making nasty innuendos about Obama based on his ethnicity. I voted for the better candidate. And I'm still keeping my credentials as a feminist. :)


I disagree that she is universally polarizing. I think those who hate her see many reasons to, and they are polarized by her so they see this polarization everywhere. But there are many of us who chose or did not choose her from a more rational place outside of love or hate. This election would not be so damn close if that weren't true. I found the debate polarizing, particularly when the hate and ridicule showed up; and the more scorn and dislike I heard about Hillary, the more my heart went out to her. I was never 100% about her as a candidate, but when people hated her for being outspoken or ambitious, I stood with her. i have been ridiculed and disliked for the exact same things.
I think the gender bias has been very present. I think she shows up with a lot of typical politician attributes: she's very ambitious, a skilled political operative, backed up by deep roots in the "machine" of her party, a fighter, not easily intimidated and trading on family pedigree. All of these are attributes we're used to seeing in male politicians but for a woman, many of them seem jarring or are uncomfortable. I have asked many people what their objections are to Hillary and I usually hear "I just don't like her." I think a lot of us are used to liking women but we don't need to like men nearly as much to find them acceptable. You or I will never have coffee with George Bush or John McCain, but we somehow require Hillary to be someone we would have coffee with. (or tea) I believe that is the heart of the gender bias and I don't know what woman will overcome it. Then along comes Sen. Obama: he has a smoother style, he brings very little political baggage, he is able to seem not to be a political insider, and he contrasts beautifully with Hillary. I'm sad we don't have a female candidate but very proud we have an African-American one, and I am happy to support Obama.


The high level view of Barack and Hilary was that their policies were very similar, so if she had made it into office, I'm not sure if it would have upset me. I disagree with people who say you love her or hate her. I was somewhat indifferent to her, preferring her over the republican nominee if she would have won the primary, but, there was something about her that sat with me the wrong way. She's kind of shady, imo. On the other hand, I kind of look at it like this: She was kind of already president once before, no?

I'm glad Barack won the primary, but I have a feeling that he won't win. As much is now is the time for change, people are not going to be quick to vote in a black president, nor would they have voted in a woman president. That's sad, but I think it's true.

Carla Hinkle

To be honest I don't think sexism is why she lost. There were certainly sexist comments made, but 58% of the Democratic party is women, and those comments just seemed to galvanize her female supporters more than anything else.

She did not have a good campaign strategy -- one wins the nomination through accumulating delegates, which are gained in different states in different ways. Some by primaries, which are popular votes, some through things called caucuses which are run much differently. Obama planned for all that.

Also, the last 2 months of the campaign, she became increasingly Macchiavelian. It was obvious to me that she would literally say, or do, *anything* to get the nomination. And I did not come to this process disliking her -- I voted for Obama way back in February, but it was a close decision to me. The invoking of Bobby Kennedy's assassination as a reason to hang in there. The ridiculous "gas tax holiday." And I saw her use the sexism as a way to get votes, just like she used her incredibly offensive racist comments (like "hard working white people" supported her -- how ridiculous, like Obama's supporters were neither white nor hard-working). Members of the press and the general public may at times have said sexist things (many people are idiots, of course), but Obama himself and his staff ran a much classier campaign and never, never stooped so low. And I actually don't think she saw herself as suffering from sexism, she just thought it would be useful to help her get elected. Obama had a much bigger handicap in his race -- backwards West Virginia voted for her by 40 points and it seemed clear that much of it was a vote for the white candidate as much as a vote for Hillary Clinton specifically.

A bit long-winded as a person who used to like her, but was thoroughly disenchanted by both her and Bill Clinton. Obama won because he ran a better cammpaign and is a better, more inspiring candidate.


Yeah, there is misogyny at play here--no question.

But, I agree with the other commenters: she ran a bad campaign. What she had going for her was her experience, yet she made some embarrassing missteps (missteps you might overlook if she weren't touting her "experience" quite so much).

I wound up not voting for her in my primary because I thought Obama was a more hopeful and inspiring candidate--and we need some hope and inspiration these days (ephemeral though they may be).

I think Thomas Friedman expressed it best in his NY Times piece, "Who Will Tell the People":

Girl Detective

I think the nomination came down to the close race between racism and misogyny. Hilary won in states like West Virginia because of racism, and lost in others because of misogyny.

I voted for Obama, as did nearly all my district and state. Clinton is further to the right than Obama, and I perceive her as having less integrity, and doing or saying anything to get the job.

I questioned my decision when I read a bio of Eleanor Roosevelt, and wondered if I should vote for the woman. But I decided to vote for a candidate, not a category.


Well, Joy, lots of people voted for GWB because they thought they'd like to have a beer with him. People vote for president for all kinds of irrational reasons.

I was happy to vote for Clinton for senator, twice. And before Obama declared his candidacy I was ready to vote for her for president, too. (In fact, at first I thought Obama was not ready to be president.) But, like other commenters, I feel that Obama is a more hopeful and inspiring candidate, and while Clinton is a good politician and legislator, Obama represents the best chance for real change in this country.

Repeating others again here, but also, Obama ran a much better campaign, both in logistics and message. The sexism Clinton's candidacy brought to the surface disgusted me. But voting for her just because she's a woman and you hate sexism is not that different from voting against her because she's a woman.

(Finally: If you count the first Bush's vice presidency, we have had a Bush or a Clinton in the White House for the last 28 years. I think it's time to move on.)

motel manager

I have a lot to say on this one. Forgive the novel.

I never found Hillary to be particularly unlikeable, and while I know some people find her polarizing, I don't think this was it in the end. And while I do think there were some highly sexist remarks that occurred during this campaign (whose racist equivalent would never have been tolerated), I don't think that sexism was responsible for her loss at all. In fact, I think she did a fantastic job of convincing people that women are tough, tenacious, capable of being commander in chief, and confident. And (perhaps naively), I think this is a lasting and valuable accomplishment that will help not just women politicians but also women CEOs, who get placed under so much more scrutiny than men. (Meanwhile, there are tons of women presidents at prestigious universities -- Harvard, Princeton, Michigan, to name just a few -- and they are much more accepted than women corporate CEOs.)

I was an Obama supporter but would have happily supported Hillary had she won. But there were several factors that damaged her chances, some external and some self-inflicted.

First, and most importantly for me, I felt that the possibility of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton was inherently antithetical to the idea of America. This country is already economically sliding into hereditary-aristocracy-land (thanks to bad economic and tax policies); we shouldn't just succumb to dynasticism in all its forms. I had a hard time with the idea that there would be people in their mid-20s who had never known a non-Bush or non-Clinton president. It's a big country with lots of talented people. Let's have some variety.

Second, and tying into the first, Obama reminds many people of the American dream itself. It may sound cliche, but it is in effect the religion that ties us together, much more than any official religion. And he tapped into that, both in his person and in his rhetoric.

Third, Bill Clinton pissed many people off, including me, and I used to deify him. You could give him a few free passes on comments that others interpreted as injecting race into the campaign, but by the time he compared Obama's South Carolina victory to Jesse Jackon's, he obviously knew what he was doing. And Hillary's remarks about Bobby Kennedy's assassination -- come on. But Bill also raised the specter that he would be really involved in the White House, and I think this was bad for Hillary -- not because there are people who hate Bill (they wouldn't have voted for her anyway), but because even people who liked Bill do not believe in a co-presidency. And as a woman, she needed to stand alone, which she was totally capable of doing.

Fourth, Obama's organization was 1000 times better than hers. She used 1992 people and a 1992 strategy. Didn't work. She should have never hired Mark Penn. I hope no one ever hires him again in Democratic politics. I volunteered for Obama, and, let me tell you -- they know how to do field organizing, which is essential to both the primary and the general election.

Now, will Obama win? God, I hope so. I know that Jeremiah Wright will come up again, and McCain is the best GOP candidate they could have had this year. That said, McCain is a terrible campaigner (and he, like Hillary, proposed that gas-tax-holiday bullshit), and while the press totally hearts him, they seem to heart Obama, too. Obama's general-election organization is already fanning out in all 50 states; McCain's is shit.

And, most importantly to me, McCain has promised to appoint more Alitos and Scalias and Thomases and Robertses to the Supreme Court. John Paul Stephens can't hang on that much longer. This is reason enough to vote Obama -- otherwise, no one will have any rights anymore; only corporations will.

I'd love to see Hillary on the Supreme Court. Or become a lion of the Senate like Ted Kennedy. She won't give up. And I think she'll be a great surrogate in the general election -- more so if she isn't on the ballot.


As an experienced political operative, I can say that she ran a great campaign. But in the end, sexism killed her, as it does most women who run in politics. (You've seen this in business Thalia, you know the subtle BS that is used to undermine women all the time.)

Everyone loans themselves money, period. Completely normal. Everyone changes positions, (aka lies) and uses tactics that would make voters cringe, but some people, like Obama, are more subtle when they do it.

And make no mistake, he has lied and cheated and stabbed Clinton in the back like nobodies business. I have friends who have worked on each campaign and they find it funny that Obama has such a squeaky clean image when he has quite clearly worked the system to his advantage. (For pete's sake, he is now using all her fundraising contacts, and has raised loads of corporate cash. He hasn't done anything differently at all, except yell, "Hope" once in a while and try to distract you all from seeing what he is doing.)

Dude makes the Wizard of Oz look legit...I swear if you listen carefully, you can hear "ignore the man behind the curtain!!!"

Problem is, he is a newbie, and sooner or later, he will trip up again just like he did with not vetting his preacher. Newbies always do, it's why I refuse to work with them now. They always say they want to do things different, which usually means they have no fucking clue what they are doing, and will wing it then fall back on doing it the same old way as the other guy, just not as competently.

Make no mistake, I want everyone to vote for him, because the alternative is too awful to contemplate. I just don't think he can win. And if he does get in----he will disappoint everyone, because at this point, Jesus Christ could not fulfill this insane over the top level of expectations.

Sad...another 8 years of Republican rule in the US will be even more awful for the global economy and stability.


I disagree with the commentor who believes that because of misogyny Clinton is the only candidate held to the "would you have coffee with me?" standard. John Kerry lost in '04 because he couldn't connect with the public on a personal level.

For better or for worse (and lately, I admit, it's been for worse) Americans elect people they like.

When Hillary Clinton repeatedly told fraudulent stories about dodging sniper-fire in Bosnia, she ruined her chances of ever getting my vote. Campainging in Iowa about the evils of NAFTA (when she was instrumental in its drafting and passage) also didn't sit right with me.

Barrack Obama is our best chance at real. true. change. As someone counting down the days of the current administration, I'm very much encouraged by the hope and inspiration Obama offers the country. It's been a long time since we've felt that, I think.


I'm very much encouraged that Obama has got the nomination and that Hillary has dropped out. I didn't like her anyway, having been closely kept abreast of what she's done for NY since being elected senator (short answer: very little if it didn't also gain her national attention and recognition). I didn't feel she offered change to our country, but was willing to compromise on pretty much anything that she said in order to get the job. I don't like the idea of electing a woman who will do anything she has to to get the job if it means compromising principles and integrity.

In no way did I feel it was misogynistic to vote against her in the primaries, nor do I feel like voting for a man when a woman is running is anti-feminist. As a woman, I feel my responsibility is to vote for the person who will be the best president. In my mind, true feminism means I vote for the person who will be the best without regard to gender. Voting for a woman simply because she's a woman is anathema to me. If she were the better candidate, I would have been proud to vote for her--but she's not.

I'm very, very glad that Obama is the candidate and will be honored to take my 4-year old and 18 month old sons into the voting booth with me and let them press the button to vote for him in November.


I started out feeling rather indifferent about Hillary and ended up disliking her quite a bit. Yes, there were sexist remarks made about her but she also used that sexism to try to win herself votes and that is not the type of person I hope to lead our country. I also never bought into her "35 years of experience" argument. That would mean she started gaining experience at around age 25 right after she graduated law school and before her husband was even in politics. So, political experience begins when you start your first job? If that's the case, then Obama could lay claim to about 15 years experience.

The biggest issue I had with her is that I don't consider her a feminist or a good role model for young women. If she had won the nomination and been elected US president, the example she would have been for my daughter, if I had one, would be that you can get to places of power if you have the husband to open the doors for you and you're willing to endure whatever humiliation he puts you through. I believe Hillary is a competent woman and perhaps on her own merits she would have gotten here by herself. But, that was not the road she chose to take. And, there are plenty of female US politicians who have achieved their status on their own that would make a much better first woman US president.

On a personal level, my gut feeling tells me that she wants to have the title of US president more than she wants to have some important impact on the country. Not that she doesn't have the inclination to help people or come up with a better health care system, I just think if she had to choose between being president or helping people, she would choose the presidency. Again, not the type of person I want to lead the country, male or female.

I read somewhere that the women who voted for Hillary and those who voted for Obama could be generalized to those who were pessimistic about the future of women in power (and voted for Hillary) and those who felt optimistic (and voted for Obama). And I think that could be applied to many of the voters of the democratic primaries and what they hope for the future. I, for one, have voted pessimism for several presidential elections (who is least likely to screw up the US?) and it is refreshing to me to be able to vote with optimism. Whether this type of thinking will lead the US to a better place, though, remains to be seen.


Hillary looks as if she needs to prove something. She gives me the shivers. Obama looks like he has a passion. I don't know much about politics and I'm not American.


I do not think that this was a sexist issue for her not being nominated, but instead, the wrong woman. Since her husband went through the impeachment ordeal, she has always been the spokesperson for their family about the "right wing conspirists" -- which while true, made her sound very whiny. That image still taints her. While I tend to agree with many of her policies, she always seemed irate and on the attack. Whether a male or female, I found this to be the same old, same old politics. If she had been the democratic nominee, I think the republicans would have won with no problems.


A late comment re the sleep stuff in your last post.
I don't believe in controlled crying, as it is called in Australia (although of late the name has been changed to 'comfort' crying - don't know who it is comfortable for as it sure isn't me, and baby is surely not comfortable!!). I persisted through assisting my little one to sleep and wondered truly where the end would be, if there ever would be one, but am very happy to say that from around 18 months, bubba has been successfully self-settling. Bub plays in the cot and takes herself happily off to sleep. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes it takes half an hour but she does it herself and it is a joy to listen to.
Sure, we have bad times when teeth are coming through or when she is not well, but I am so happy that I stuck to my guns in regard to NOT using the 'controlled' crying thing. I am happy that bubba knows that we will come to hold her if she is upset and wakes and hope that this helps her to become a confident, outgoing child.
Looking back, while it may have been frustrating at times, I don't have any regrets and am happy that I did things the way I did. Enjoy!

fisher queen

The thing that made up my mind was their respective answers to the question "what do you think it takes to make a good president?.". Hilary said 'a good bureaucrat' Obama said 'a visionary'. How many more wonks do we need? DC is filled with them. We need someone to inspire and lead.

He is also willing to talk with his adversaries. (Given the last eight awful years, who'd have thought?!) Clinton is so polarizing we wouldn't be able to change anything.

I don't think the outcome was a defeat for feminism. The whole country has taken her campaign very seriously, and she lost by a very close margin. I hope the loss is because the candidates were judged on the issues, not on their race or gender. I hope that holds true in the general election.


I do think misogyny played a huge role, particularly amongst the media and commentators. I can not believe the stuff they got away with.

That being said, I ended up voting for Obama in the CA primary because I think he'll motivate many more people than she will even though I truly think she has better experience and her policies (although VERY similar) are better articulated and more precise than his. People are excited about him in the same way they were about Kennedy and it's been such a long time since anyone here was optimistic at all.


My reason for not supporting Clinton is simple and personal.

My husband and I ran into some problems with immigration while we were waiting for our daughter from China. I'm a VA resident and he's a NY resident so we both contacted our Senators & House Reps for assistance. Every one of them except Clinton responded AND followed up to help us get resolution. Seriously - every one of them except her.

I know we're little, unimportant people but if she (or one of her staff) can't be bothered to take care of her constituents on a relatively simple matter then there's no way I'd trust her with matters more serious.


I forget who said it, and I'm paraphrasing here, but the quote struck a chord with me: "The Clintons brought us into the 21st century, but Obama is the 21st century."

I respect both of them, and it seems they ran neck and neck for much of the campaign, but in the end, I'm glad it wound up as it did. We need change and hope to happen now in this country.

Thanks for the discussion, and the open ended way that you presented it.


I'm not quite sure exactly why she lost. Many people have expressed different reasons why she may have and they may all be true. I do have to say that it is very difficult for people to like a woman in a position of power. Not impossible, just difficult.

I am very sorry that she lost. Obama has a bit of convincing to do to me that he's got the experience for the job.


Not only am I obscenly late for this party, but I believe I am the only guy responding to this question. I'm sure you are dying to know what a 30 something guy from Boston thinks of all this.

I don't pretend to be able to speak for anyone but myself. In my opinion, the fact that Hilary is a woman worked to her benefit in my mind. (I don't believe it worked to her benefit overall...just in MY mind). After the ridiculous display we've all witnessed over the last 8 years, I do feel as though an intelligent, strong woman leader would have been a nice soothing balm on our national boo boo.

But, what we want most from our Prez is someone who is strong, who doesn't embarass us, who is nice to our neighbors but doesn't let them steal our stuff or throw their trash in our yard, and who most importantly, makes us feel PROUD. I have no doubt that Hilary will forget more about policy and government that Barack will ever learn. But she does not have personal charm, and us Hollywood worshipers need that quality. Especially after dealing with someone for 8 years who is a charm vacuum.


*sigh*. At least you didn't ask me what I thought Because, After All, You're Black, and Hey Look, You're A Woman, Too.

What happened to Hillary was pretty well stated by others before me. Her campaign was badly run, and that was compounded by some key PR errors. She was outrun. That's my opinion. From my seat as a young woman I couldn't see any more misogyny than the normal USA levels, meaning I think she is and was more than capable of handling that. Someone above me said she was running a 1992 campaign, and that pretty much says it all. She was in a field where she didn't bring her 'A' game and it showed.


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