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More on the NOW-NY response to Kennedy’s endorsement-Updated

I’ve only started to read Taylor Marsh in the past couple of days but she wrote a brilliant post yesterday about the NOW-NY response to Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama. Here’s the money quotes:

It took one woman working day after day over decades, plus having the connections of her husband, to get in the spot where she can have the opportunity to run for president, doing so in the midst of incredible odds, the worst press coverage ever, while everyone has decided to adorn the young man with little experience as the next possibility, because we have to turn away from the past. Tell that to the National Nurses Organization.That “past” that Kennedy and others are encouraging people to walk away from is the very foundation on which Clinton has built a lifetime of service to prove she has the mettle to be president. It’s the dues a woman must pay to get the chance to lead, because those dues are required of her. A standard to which her lesser accomplished male opponent is not being held.

No doubt Barack Obama is talented, having a gift of rhetorical flourish that any politician should admire, even covet.

Whereas Hillary Clinton, the woman who could only rise to the position she’s now in to finally have an opportunity to compete did so through hard work over a lifetime, because youth alone for her, even if she had the gift of rhetoric, would be judged as insufficiently experienced to be president.

It’s likely this tired old resume double standard that brought NY NOW’s press release out without an edit. Because the very thing that makes Hillary Clinton qualified to be president is being pushed aside and called “the past.” Let’s face it, if Clinton was Obama in a dress, er, pantsuit, she wouldn’t be getting the time of day, let alone Teddy Kennedy’s endorsement.

Taylor echoes what Gloria Steinem said in her NYTimes OP/Ed piece just before New Hampshire. If Barack Obama was named Achola Obama but was identical in every other way, NO one would be taking him seriously as a candidate. His lack of qualification would have gotten immediate and unrelenting attention. But because he is a man, he jumps ahead of Hillary Clinton despite the fact that she is more qualified. It’s like the female supreme court justices who graduated at the top of their law school class but could only get jobs as paralegals and secretaries while their husbands joined law firms as lawyers. (Was that Bader-Ginsburg or O’Connor? Well, I have a 50% chance of getting it right, there have only been 2.)

There was a backlash against feminism in the 80’s and ever since then, many women have been afraid to say they are feminists even as they went about their lives, earning degrees, becoming managers, running states as governors, becoming astronauts. They just took it for granted that at some point in time in the not too distant future, they would have the opportunity to be president of the United States. It was all happening without having to adopt the feminist stereotype of short hair, unshaven legs and no-bra. No one had to march for anything. Oh sure, abortion laws have become tighter and contraception is now in jeopardy as well. But I guess we all assumed that with the right people in charge, things would right themselves.

After yesterday, I don’t believe that anymore. It’s time to get in their faces.

Update: Now SusanG gets into it over at DailyKos with the typical “Wimin’s libbers say things that make me feel oogy”. Hey, I might not have phrased it their way either but if you’re focussing on the tone of voice of the release, you are completely missing the point. The point is that Clinton worked her ass off for this job and puts up with bad press everyday and in comes Obama with less experience that Clinton has in her pinky finger and he jumps to the head of the line. The *point*, Susan, is that if he were a black woman, Achola Obama’s first debate performance would have nailed the lid on her political coffin. Yet we get all weak kneed over Obama’s fumbling attempts to argue a point because, because, why exactly? Please tell me what Change! is all about other than a more lefty version of High Broderism. Please tell me how two years in the senate qualifies him for this job. Tell me how he governs with a stump speech with all of the Bush mess headed our way. Take your time, I’ll wait.

Oooo, Susan is not going to be associated with that type of activist. It’s unseemly. It’s strident. It’s shrill. It’s so unfair to our male patrons. Susan has been taking lessons from Tweety. She must be singing that Nellie McKay song “Feminists Don’t Have a Sense of Humor” in her sleep. Give. Me. A. Break.

3 Responses

  1. I’m inching closer to the Nuclear Option: in the clash of perennially marginalized groups, Democrats are more comfortable picking the half-black candidate (especially since the black part isn’t part of our own oppressive past) than the all-female candidate. It’s the most half-assed redress of historical inequity possible, so of course that’s where our party wants to go.

  2. To me, the telling points in that (admittedly awful in wording) NYNOW statement were about promises, promises, promises made by (admittedly often admired by me) Ted Kennedy for their support — and then this from him. I think it is past time that we call out politicians when they pull this, whether it’s to women’s groups or men’s groups or whatever.

    Of course, it often is pulled on women’s groups, because we have taken it before and played nice — when our choices were which male instead of which male. No more!

  3. You know, Kennedy has a history of being a narcissistic selfish prick in both his personal and professional life. yeah, yeah, he’s a pretty good liberal but when there’s a possibility that he will benefit, he never fails to put himself ahead of everyone else.

    I don’t believe that women have to vote for a woman JUST because she’s a woman. But when she happens to be the most qualified person in the race, why *wouldn’t* they want to vote for her? She is the biggest change in this election season. Obama is just faking change.

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