Digby gives the old tired excuses on why she and so many other left leaning bloggers turned their backs on women during the 2008 election. It wasn’t *their* fault. Hillary just brought out the misogyny. Plus, you know, like, there wasn’t a hair’s breadth of difference between them.
The whole post is just lame but the excuse that there wasn’t a bit of difference between Obama and Clinton is incredibly easy to shoot down:
1.) If there wasn’t any difference between them, why was such a tsunami of money thrown his way in February 2008 after she beat him in the big state primaries on SuperTuesday? Apparently, SOMEBODY thought there was a difference.
2.) If there was no difference, why wouldn’t you go with the person who had the most relevant and comprehensive experience overall? If you were worried about getting things done, wouldn’t it make sense to go with the candidate who might have a clue and be able to hit the ground running on the first day?
3.) If there was no difference, why wouldn’t you go with the female historic candidate who would represent more people overall including voters in the other camp? It was even a winning formula among african americans because half of them are women. I never understood this argument that african americans would walk away from the party if Clinton was nominated. At the worst, I could see half of them walking away. The other half would be thrilled with either choice.
And let’s not even get into the real, tangible differences between the candidates. I can’t take seriously all the lefties who are screaming “neoliberal!” at Clinton. If Clinton is neoliberal, what does that make Obama? It’s a lot like the brain dead tea partiers who insist, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that Obama is a socialist. Note that Clinton has said over and over and OVER again in the past 4 years that she does not comment on domestic politics. So, we have no idea how much she agrees with Obama on all the weak policy he’s driven in the past 4 years. We can only assume that they agree on foreign policy.
But I suspect the bankers *did* know how much of a difference there was between Clinton and Obama back in 2008. The real estate bubble was already clearly collapsing in early 2007 according to authors such as Michael Lewis of The Big Short. They knew that the degree to which they would personally suffer was contingent on which candidate was nominated. And the last thing they wanted was some kind of homeowner bailout. How do we know that? Because the last thing homeowners got in the last 4 years was a bailout. The people who got bailed out were the bankers and ONLY the bankers. They did not want to see Hillary Clinton implementing a HOLC style program where principals were crammed down and mortgages restructured. I haven’t got time to track down all of the videos of Clinton on the early morning talk shows from September 2008 where she discussed her HOLC proposal but there were at least 3 separate appearances. (readers? can you track them down and add them to the comments?) Of course, by the time she gave those interviews, she was already out of the picture.
Update: Commenter Rangoon found this op/ed piece by Hillary Rodham Clinton in the September 25, 2008 issue of the Wall Street Journal, laying out the argument for why it was so important to implement a HOLC program. Regardless of one’s vague personal feelings about Clinton, there is a very good possibility that she wasn’t kidding about this policy. Policy was her strong suit. She did her homework. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it was this particular policy more than any other that doomed her presidential career. She knew it was coming, the banks knew it was coming and they didn’t want rehab. They wanted an enabler.
She also gave an incredibly forceful defense of abortion shortly after she was confirmed as secretary of state. You will never in a million years see or hear Barack Obama defending abortion like this:
No difference, Digby? The issue of abortion and women’s reproductive rights are extremely important to you and yet there’s no difference? How about gay rights, Digby? Can you imagine Hillary Clinton inviting Rick Warren to her inaugural? The same Hillary Clinton who ordered the State department to equalize the treatment of gay State department employees and their families as far as the law would go?
But, Ok, we’ll never really know, although I think given her record at State, Benghazi notwithstanding, that she would have been an exemplary president. Let’s put that aside for now. I don’t think she’s ever going to run again. Why should she? She doesn’t have the advantage of 2008 when all of the auspices were in her favor. In 2016, it will be a different America and she’s smart enough to know this. I’d rather she get her own column in the Washington Post or the New York Times.
Let’s talk about the suggestion that Hillary Clinton brought out the misogyny in the media and the parties. Wow, I guess we could do nothing about that except become passive observers, right? I guess we couldn’t threaten the party to walk away from it and their candidate if they didn’t stop using misogyny to further their chosen candidate’s goals. I guess it would have been silly to point out that gratuitously taking advantage of that misogyny might backfire on women in general.
Ok, we know that our side had a fair share of cowards who were either unable or unwilling to speak up and defend a woman. They would have defended a female candidate, just not this female candidate. Well, it’s a good thing it was only one female candidate in 2008.
Except that Sarah Palin got it too. Now, I don’t care whether you like or dislike Palin. I don’t like her even if I thought she had a lot more political talent than the left gave her credit for. For some bizarre, freakish reason, the left still hasn’t let up after 4 years of bashing her. The left still seems to think she’s relevant even if she’s not. That kind of obsession is pathological if you ask me. There must be a reason for the persistence of the Emmanuel Goldstein treatment of Palin. She’s useful for a good, unifying 3 minute hate, right? That’s why the left just can’t quit her. But she’s been useful for years to the Democrats.
With Palin, we saw the same kind of misogyny pick up where it left off with Clinton. So, clearly, it wasn’t just Clinton that was bringing out the misogyny. Misogyny became a convenient bludgeon because it worked so well taking out the candidate on the left so it was employed to take out the candidate on the right as well. And who was one of the leaders of that club?
Yep, day after day, week after week, we read how stupid Palin was, what a disgrace her family was right there in the posts of Hullabaloo. Digby piled on with the rest of the left.
You can say a lot of negative things about Palin. Justifiably. You can attack her political philosophy, her conservatism, her opportunism. All of that makes sense. But the attacks on her in 2008 were horribly misogynistic. Remember the effigies? Remember the “Sarah Palin is a Cunt” T-shirts? Remember the jokes about Caribou Barbie and the photoshopped pics of Palin in a bikini holding an assault rifle? Remember the big fucking deal that Katie Couric made over the fact that Palin didn’t have an immediate list of national newspapers in her head that she read cover to cover before breakfast while she took on her responsibilities of running a state? She should have asked Couric, “How many state budgets have you prepared in a year?”, because that would have been a good question for feminists. She was a governor who got to be governor without family connections. That’s something that Katie Couric hasn’t done. That’s how feminism is supposed to work, Digby. You are supposed to credit women for their accomplishments, not bury them with your stereotypes.
Whatever you think of Palin, dehumanizing her in 2008 was misogynism like I have never seen.
That’s what misogyny is. It is the intentional dehumanization of females. It denies women their personhood, dignity and accomplishments. It’s belittling and relies on stereotypes, like the idea that a pretty woman must be a light weight or that women need to develop executive experience while men are born with natural authority. And in 2008, it wasn’t the case that only Hillary Clinton brought it out. Misogyny was used as an intentional campaign tactic just like rape is used in some countries as an act of terror and political strategy. Just as the accusations of racism were used to shut up the supporters of Clinton in 2008.
Digby, YOU were part of that. You decided to not buck your team’s leadership. If you said anything, it wasn’t forceful enough to get them to stop. You didn’t stick up for your half of humanity. Even if you were right that it is Clinton personally that brings out the worst in people, that was no excuse for giving those people a pass to behave as badly as they did. Isn’t that like blaming the victim and don’t misogynists make an art form of blaming the victim? You had an opportunity to stand up and make a difference even if it meant incurring the wrath and shunning from people who you thought were your friends. To do nothing was to tacitly admit that Barack Obama could not win without using misogyny and racism. What does that say about the candidate? It said enough to me that I could never support him in a million years.
What kind of friends use misogyny to get their guy in at any cost, especially if that cost will have significant repercussions for half of the people living in this country? Those people were not your friends, Digby. They were financier class driven political operatives who would have killed their own mothers to get what they wanted from this president.
And this president is no hero when it comes to championing the rights of the socially disadvantaged. He’s certainly no Martin Luther King who famously said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
I don’t know why so many people on the left abandoned women and thought they were doing everyone a favor. Or maybe they were so driven to elect Obama that the ends justified the means. I’ve never found that sentiment to be very rewarding. If fighting the misogyny had meant that Clinton had a fighting chance for the nomination, would that have been so horrible? After all, NY, NJ, PA, OH, TX, MA, FL, MI, WV, KY, RI, NH, NV, MO, NM and CA (this list not exhaustive) voted for her in the primaries. It’s only in a parallel universe where we would consider that candidate a failure against a guy who won a bunch of rural, prairie states with cheap, undemocratic caucuses. I suspect the country would have embraced her and a Clinton/Obama ticket with her in the top slot would have been unbeatable even before the September crash.
But that’s not what happened, is it, Digby?
Don’t look to misogyny against Clinton as the cause. Look at it as the method. The bad guys got what they wanted. They got the weakest nominee and president. If women got caught in that fight and got taken out, fuck’em.
THAT’S what you and your buddies were either too stupid or too complicit to realize. It’s human nature to want to find a way downplay the effect of “follow the herd” mentality or cowardice or to find excuses (you should at least make an attempt at logic) or distance oneself from the fallout. I understand that impulse. We are all guilty of that in some aspect of our lives or others.
But ultimately, we are responsible for the effect of our decisions. In 2013, women are feeling the effect of the 2008 election when the people who should have put their foot down on the brake hit the accelerator instead. Digby can lie to herself about what happened in 2008 but she can’t lie to us.
Note to commenters: Sarah Palin has been talked to death here on this blog and there are filters in place to send all comments containing her name, or variations of it, directly to the moderation queue. Please don’t tell me about how unfair the left has been to Sarah Palin. There are very good, non misogynistic reasons for loathing her. She might be worthy of human dignity but she’s no Hillary Clinton. If you’re in her corner, you’re wasting your time here.
Filed under: General | Tagged: Barack Obama, Democrats, Digby, Hillary Clinton, hullabaloo, misogyny | 58 Comments »