The Third Estate
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What Has It Been Until Now In The Political Order?
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A Question

Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I wanted to write something sympathetic to Clinton supporters (particularly Dr. Brazen Hussy) about their disappointment at the outcome of the democratic primary campaign, but I'm worried about how it might come off - that it might be interpreted as rubbing salt in the wounds. Yesterday an old lady on the bus got mad at me, which has been bothering me ever since. I was talking to somebody else who asked me why Clinton didn't win, and I mentioned a few tactical errors, and this other woman got upset with me. So now I'm really worried about bringing the subject up at all!

For what it's worth, I hate it that it's taking so long to get a woman president, and I think Hillary Clinton might just be the most tenacious leader American politics, which from my point of view if a big compliment. I also think she's been subject to a shocking degree of sexism, both from the press corps and (sadly and surprisingly) from a lot of liberals, and even other women. I've been disturbed by how quickly people shift into that sort of disgusting rhetoric. I honestly didn't expect that from people on my side of the aisle. I joked months ago that this election would tell us whether sexism or racism were more powerful in American life, but it's not funny any more.

But I sincerely hope that we get another chance at electing a woman to the white house very soon. If not in 4 years, then in eight. I think Clinton's candidacy has both pointed out the pitfalls and broken a lot of barriers for the next candidacy. Which brings me to my question:

I know most of my readers are women, so maybe you'll have a better insight on this than I do, because I just can't figure it out. How would it make you feel if Barack Obama picked a woman as his running mate? Would it seem condescending and kind of like pandering, particularly if it wasn't Hillary Clinton? Or would it make you feel better about having yet another election between two men? I don't know that he will pick a woman (the Obama folks might think it was risky try to break that many precedents in one election), but it's certainly a real possibility.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:51 AM
  • As much as I would also like to see a woman president, I don't want a woman to be president just for that sake. I voted for Obama in the primary because I think he is a better candidate- not because he is a man, not because he is a non-white man. I can't feel depressed about having two men running for president, because I don't think that Clinton would be the better candidate, or have a better shot at winning the election. I realize this election is historical, but I made my choice based on their merits and how they ran their campaigns. Frankly, I went back and forth between Clinton and Obama for quite a while, but felt that Clinton's campaign ended up taking the low road, or the "win at any cost" approach and it really turned me off. I know I would be REALLY disappointed if Obama didn't end up winning, so I can understand how Clinton's supporters must be feeling. I just hope the Democrats can get it together, because McCain would be a disaster.

    By Blogger Addy N., at 7:36 AM  
  • Well, generally I think we shouldn't vote for people on identity grounds, but if there's some major precedent to be broken (catholic, woman, african-american), then I think the rationale flips a bit. So the first time there's a real chance for a woman president, I'm much more likely to support that candidate.

    From another (strictly pragmatic perspective), I'm concerned about that the level of disappointment about Clinton's failure to win the nomination might hurt the Democrats in November. Not so much because of Clinton herself, but because her supporters are so discouraged. I want to figure out a way to heal those wounds. I just don't know whether putting Kathleen Sebelius or somebody like her on the ticket is the way to do it.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 7:51 AM  
  • First, I am sorry you were subjected to greif for just stating what was the truth.

    I agree with Addy N. I would not want a woman for President or VP just for the sake of having a woman on the ticket. I do agree with you that there is a strong dissent among clinton supporter that could potentially cause problems in November.

    As an independant, I am really at a loss.

    By Blogger Seeking Solace, at 9:06 AM  
  • I don't think Obama should select a woman for the sake of appeasing a certain portion of the population. I think his choice for VP should be based on the qualifications of the person. If that so happens to be a woman, then fine.

    By Blogger RageyOne, at 9:14 AM  
  • I'm an ardent clinton supporter and I'll answer with my visceral reaction:

    if he picks a woman as a VP, that will make it easier for me to vote for him.

    Not that I'm going to vote for McCain out of spite (God forbid) and I don't know quite how I'll feel in November. I just don't really like Obama that much. I'm pretty moderate. I liked Clinton. Obama, I don't trust and I have a serious problem with the level of fervor displayed by his supporters and the rhetoric I've heard coming from various folks, including Michelle Obama, about Barack saving our souls. Just...no.

    There's also gender, of course. I know what I"m supposed to say is that I don't want a woman president just for that sake and no, I don't want it to be someone like Condi Rice but dammit, I want a woman in the white house. Any number of qualified democratic women would do it for me.

    I like Clinton. A lot. I have liked her for a long time because she has merits as a candidate AND because she's a woman. If he picked her, I'd be pleased. If he picked Sabellius, I'd be quite pleased. If he picks a white man, I may not vote.

    By Blogger Anastasia, at 9:23 AM  
  • I voted for Obama in the primary, and I'd be very happy, and somewhat reassured, to see him put a female VP on the ticket.

    By Blogger kermitthefrog, at 9:44 AM  
  • Delurking (hi)... Obama's choice of a female vp wouldn't make much of a difference to me. I don't support Clinton only because she's a woman, and I continue to be unimpressed by Obama's feel-good hype. If the vp choice is well-qualified and happens to be female, fine; that might make voting for Obama less painful (I guess). I wouldn't vote for McCain out of spite (because, really, how stupid), but voting only in my local elections is increasingly appealing.

    By Blogger from away, at 2:33 PM  
  • Thanks for de-lurking, from away!

    I'm really not trying to convince Clinton voters to vote for Obama (that's his job) - just how it would be perceived if he selected a woman running mate (qualified, of course!). So far it sounds that it at least wouldn't hurt.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 2:43 PM  
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