Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Feminist Blowhard for Clinton

I wonder if they issued a "stop the presses" order at the New York Times -- not to inform us that Gloria Steinem is supporting Hillary Clinton, but rather to correct Steinem's mistake in her op-ed. (The Grand Dame of Feminism erroneously wrote that Senator Ted Kennedy had endorsed Hillary.)

The Times should have redacted the entire Steinem op-ed, entitled "Women Are Never Frontrunners." But then we would have missed Steinem's explanation of why Barack Obama can overcome racism but Hillary can't overcome feminism:

because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.

In sum, Steinem gives us the particular blend of psycho-babble and victimization that epitomizes Old School Feminism.

Steinem's influence on Hillary has been longstanding and not just limited to feminist issues. Indeed, photos of Hillary at Yale and in the years following showed that Hillary aped not only Steinem's rhetoric but also her hair, glasses and style of dress. So it's no surprise that Steinem would support her protege, though her reasoning is startling:

I’m supporting Senator Clinton because like Senator Obama she has community organizing experience, but she also has more years in the Senate, an unprecedented eight years of on-the-job training in the White House, no masculinity to prove, the potential to tap a huge reservoir of this country’s talent by her example, and now even the courage to break the no-tears rule.

Oddly, Steinem's only logical point -- that Hillary has more Senate experience than Obama -- is exactly what sunk her in Iowa. And the notion that she obtained "on-the-job training in the White House," as an unelected co-president is beyond "unprecedented": it's undemocratic. But Steinem's most curious rationale for picking Hillary over Obama is her "courage to break the no-tears rule." That point confirms what most suspected: Hillary's weeping was no spontaneous show of heart; it was calculated manipulation.

Steinem correctly concludes that at the end of the day, Obama and Hillary will steer the country in the same direction -- left. They will change government in the same way -- make it bigger and more expensive. "Indeed, if you look at votes during their two-year overlap in the Senate, they were the same more than 90 percent of the time." They may not look alike, but intellectually, Hillary and Obama are twins.

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