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Can we cut the “Now, I’m no Hillary fan but…” crap?

riverdaughterJeez, I see variations of this phrase all over the media and the blogs. Margery Eagan does it today in the Boston Herald as an example. It’s like you can’t say anything in Hillary’s defense without disclaiming it in the next sentence.

Group dynamics are pretty frickin’ powerful. I swear people never graduate from High School in their heads and the meanest popular kids go on to brilliant careers in pundit journalism. It’s probably because they know how to emotionally manipulate their audience to make them feel worthless if they don’t ascribe to the popular clique’s likes and dislikes. It’s so easy to make people feel left out, stupid, unattractive.

How many times in this election season have we heard Obama supporters described as “young”, “college educated”, “creative class”? They sound like Cancun during spring break or the bright young things that inhabit the fashionable millieu of “The Devil Wore Prada”. Every Obama supporter looks like Anne Hathaway in Dolce, latte in hand, Blackberry in the other, taking calls from very important people and sleeping with the pouting gorgeous thing in the Calvin Klein skivvies. And how many times have we heard Clinton supporters called “working class”, “women”, “older voters” or even better “older working class women”? What kind of image do you get from that? I see Rosy the waitress in the Bounty paper towels commercial or an aged version of Roseanne. Oooo, yeah! I wanna be like HER!

But then primaries come along and Hillary wins. How is it that all those “No Hillary Fans”, hereafter identified by the acronym, NHF’s are in such a minority? Why are there so few brilliant nubile Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and quarterbacks pushing the Obama button in the privacy of the voting booth? It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Or just MAYBE the whole thing is a media construct, enhanced by clever advertising and signed onto with great enthusiasm by the Obama campaign. Yeah, that just might be it. Obama understands the concept of a media image and that reality may have little in common with the concept. Obama is a golden, shimmering, irridescent bubble inflated by his handlers in the media and blogs who are slaves to their ad revenues. The more they push the sex and youth of Obama, the more money they rake in. But bubbles are fragile.

Here in the real world, Hillary supporters *are* young and smart and professional. And they are also women and asians and hispanics. And elderly and working class. We come in all shapes and sizes, ages and genders, degrees and non-degrees. Obama seems to forget, if he ever actually knew in the first place, that a lot of women Hillary’s age didn’t have a choice as far as education was concerned. Their parents may not have had the money to send them to college or what money there was sent their brothers instead. So, they were channeled into careers as secretaries and data entry clerks or marriage and children. Or, if they were lucky, went to nursing school or teacher’s colleges. This happened to every single one of my aunts. Only one ever went to college. And there was at least one who desperately wanted to go but couldn’t afford it.

These bright young women with capable and elastic minds became the “older working class and suburban women” that Obama spurns in order to appeal to the young Greek coeds. Or for the generation that came after them, we professional women with degrees and accomplishments have been prematurely aged and put out to pasture. No wonder there is a surplus of NHF’s running around. It’s almost like they’re desperately trying to prove their tits don’t sag yet and that they too could dance at a Girls Gone Wild Spring Break Party.

But in the cool quiet of the voting booth, cold logic prevails. And we stand there with the choices arrayed before us: a vote for Obama means another era of the stereotypes, fewer options at work, less mentoring, more of the same; a vote for Hillary could mean something completely different.

Only the young and foolish fail to see the real agent of change.

27 Responses

  1. This may be some variation of the Wilder affect based upon sex, age, social class, and race. Some people may be feeling pressure to do the the current cool thing of supporting Obama but his support appears to be an inch deep and a mile wide. Movements based upon social suppression, which I see elements of in the press, usually burn out when everyone gets tired of them.

    Sen Obama is about to hit Texas. It is enormous and very diverse. Most of the press is not going to be slavish in their coverage and there is a lot of local press still left especially in large and small cities. In todays Houston Chronicle on the the web is a pictorial on the opening of Sen Obama’s office. Every picture is of blacks and only by looking very closely at at the crowd shots can any whites be seen. This is very bad and I am not sure if the press is sending out the message that he is a black candidate but it certainly looks like it.

    Democratic candidates can only do well in Texas by appealing to all three groups because Texas is a minority state. The demographic of the wealthy and/or uber educated votes Republican in Texas and they are going to vote in their own primary because there is a real race between McC and Huck. The Clintons are known and liked and it will take a gigantic amount of money to run a large ad campaign across the entire state. This may be Waterloo.

  2. I agree with most of what you say, but not that the meanest popular kids become pundits. Guys like Russert and Matthews were certified nerds who worked on the paper and played in the band (Matthews actually did). They are spending their adult lives trying to become the popular kids, so they suck up to anyone who strikes them as being cool, like a bunch of groupies. It really is pathetic.

    As for the Obama supporters being just like the Devil wears Prada crowd, that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? They are all about style, not substance. They are the people that are highlighted by our media, but they are actually a minority of the American people.

  3. “Only the young and foolish fail to see the real agent of change.”

    Amen to that!

    I spent 25 (successful) years in advertising and I can tell you that the Obama campaign is all marketing and once that snowball gets going downhill, it picks up everything in its wake.

    Not necessarily a good thing, by the way.

  4. thanks for the great post. There are two sides to this. Your side about the many popular kids in school who are mean and turn into mean adults. Bernie has a point too and I think it fits Matthews to a “T”. He is not good looking and with all of his ranting, raving and inability to look at a woman with objectivity but remarks about their physical appearance, he is trying to compensate for serious issues he has. He never got to be the popular kid-I personally never had that desire-my main objective is to be true to myself and hopefully find some kindred souls along the way-but many people instead of getting some help push all of their inadequacies out into the world and the rest of us suffer for it. News stations like MSNBC are just using people like Matthews, Fox for O’Reilly and CNN for Blitzer. They get their ego stroked and the station gets attention, money from advertisers and noteriety. Matthews was a nerdy unpopular kid in school who never got over it.

  5. Morning, all! I agree that Matthews may have started out as a nerd but at some point along the way, he learned how to kiss major ass. His latest book is all about that and opportunism. He’s like the Wormtail at Hogwarts. He’s hanging with the popular crowd because they took pity on him and in return, he mimics them slavishly. But he’s capable of betrayal.
    Here’s the problem MSNBC has with Tweety: there is no question that the Clintons are actually putting pressure on MSNBC to fire him, not Shuster, who became the sacrificial lamb. But Tweety can’t help himself. His hatred of powerful women is ingrained in his very fiber. You can force him to honor his contract and not make trouble but you can’t change his facial expressions. He’s going to have to contort himself into a pretzel in order to look neutral and if he can’t, any attempt to be objective is going be futile.
    I think they are going to have o put him on sabbatical until after the primaries.

  6. Riverdaughter….if you can stomach reading it, we need YOUR comments about Frank Rich’s column. I still haven’t gotten over it!

    Thank God for Nicholas Kristof’s column, though. Amazing that the two are running on the same day.

  7. I laughed with recognition while reading this post – you wrote exaclty what I was thinking. I am younger than Obama but if I vote for HRC I am an old bat.

  8. shainzona: OMFG! What a wanker. Commentary on Rich now up.

  9. Judith: Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy towards Obama knowing that he will do absolutely nothing to dispel this stereotype? And they call Hillary divisive. LOL!

  10. Riverdaughter – well he is hoping that people his age or older will want to be seen as young and relevant so swing his way. Sorta the Frank Rich disease. I’ll tell ya what makes me feel young and hot; refusing to do what I am told by people who know less than I do.

  11. Judith: “Subvert the dominant paradigm”

  12. Thanks so much for starting this blog! I can hardly stand to go to DKos anymore. Look who’s drinking the kool-aid now! And I unsubscribed from MoveOn recently as I could not believe they supported a candidate (they should have stuck to issue support), especially one who did not support them over the Betrayus brouhaha. Obama likes to use the netroots but he doesn’t really speakup for them in public. My prediction when I found out that MoveOn was going to support Obama, was that Obama would not even appreciate it or be particularly gratetful. Does anyone really think he’s going to start running around and bragging to the general public that MoveOn supported him?

    While I agree with the general comments about Tweety and what an asshat he is, in his defense I have seen him praise Hillary on occasion (and it always surprises me). My analysis on that is when Hillary delivers a particularly good line in a speech or when she does something that’s strategically smart (from his perspective) he can get caught up in a moment of what he considers political brilliance and admire it accordingly. But overall he tends to be dismissive and minimize her accomplishments.

  13. riverdaughter – Hadnt thought of it that way..but…uh..Yeah baby. 🙂

  14. I am the same age as Obama. So if I am an old white woman then he has to be an old black man! I liked what you said Judith about feeling young and hot…..haha

  15. After all this cloud of illusion and marketing campaign, I truly hope that justice will prevail and the best candidate will be nominated. Finally I am truly hope that all these negative going on in the society will be just a nightmare. Internal conflict weaken a family, and the enemy is watching.

  16. JoeySky19: You hit the spot. Not only is the enemy watching, it may be actively stirring up trouble. Someday, we will know by what means htey were able to instigate the division of the netroots and the party as a whole. I think it will resemble the Troll and Dwarves scene from The Hobbitt. We have some busy invisible wizards starting arguments and catching us at dawn unprotected.

  17. 25 year old graduate student at a top 10 university for Hillary Clinton. Not all of us are Obamabots.

  18. Again, nailed. My sentiments exactly riverdaughter.
    He’s a brand, no different from any other corporate logo.
    It’s been in the works for years I bet, that logo of his.
    Branded. It’s a sad day when you buy a President like you buy a latte.
    Since I’m his gen, I know all about the 70’s and where we both came from. Marshall McLuhan was right. “The medium is the massage”
    See past it.

  19. I think we’re even more exasperated than you would expect in this situation (you know, once-dominant candidate now on the ropes) because Obama is such a pile of blather…and because Clinton takes so much shit for being meanness personified but hasn’t really turned on the mean against Obama. If you’re going to be pilloried anyway (rhymes with Hillary, don’t you know), get value for money. Especially when your target is a blowhard whose justly improbably rise seems like something out of a bad political novel…and someone who did just about the lowest thing imaginable when his campaign called you a racist for interfering with his bullshit racial claim on the black voters of South Carolina. I

  20. […] the on-going search for less condemning coverage of Sen. Clinton.  Welcome to Digby, MyDD, The Confluence (in exile from the Obamarama going on at DailyKos), TalkLeft, The LeftCoaster, Tom Watson, and […]

  21. I’m a Hillary fan…and proud of it. She embodies grace. And, god forbid we’re ever attacked again, I want a commander in chief who I know, for certain, won’t be reactive. Hillary has proved, time and time again, that she can remain centered, calm and reasoned even under the most stressful of situations.

    If people would only stop and think about it — give up on the fantasy that this is a game of American Idol and they can make their favorite Sanjaya president — then they’d know that Hillary is the only reasoned choice for president.

    Come on people — this isn’t a game. It’s our lives and our future.

  22. Media constructs can be so frustrating, can’t they? Kind of like 6 months ago where Hillary was “inevitable” and Obama “lacked experience” and wasn’t “electable.”

    Another one of my favorites is that Green Party candidates “steal votes” from democrats, like some sort of electoral burglars.

  23. It’s really a tough choice. What you say about HRC is undoubtedly true, but I am voting for Obama. And I am 62, white, and remember JFK.

  24. Irving: I don’t remember much about JFK except he followed on the heels of a moderate Republican who governed over peace and prosperity. The country was ready for Kennedy, ready to take risks, a new direction, because it had the resources and stability to do it.

    That is not the era we live in now. We live in a Hoover like administration, where the financial foundations of commerce are on shifting sand, our military is exhausted and our government has been severely undermined. We are headed into recession, one that is going to be much worse than the one of the late 50’s. Our social safety net is gone.

    If this were eight years hence, I think hiring a dynamic, gifted individual like Obama would be perfect and I would vote for him without hesitation. But this is not that time and the person who takes over in January is going to need more than just intellectual giftedness. That person is going to need a knowledge base that can only be acquired by direct experience. Even Hillary will be overwhelmed by the mess that is left behind. A less politically mature person will be completely over his head and prey to the political opportunists who have been out of favor and out of power for too long. Heaven help us if we replace on set of ideologues with another.

    You and I differ as to what we find inspiring about a candidate. I prefer Hillary because she inspires me to want to do my best. And Wes Clark as her surrogate tells me that I can trust her judgment. It is a little bit like Abraham Maslow’s “Pyramid of Needs” where you must fulfill the basic needs of survival and stability before you can achieve your greatest potential. I believe we can get there with Hillary rebuilding our foundation. Obama would be the top of a very shaky pyramid.

    Thanks for stopping by and being so polite. We really do appreciate it.

  25. Soon it’s all over anyway and they’ll meet Kerry in the parking log and play ketchup… eh catch up… eh yeah: http://preeedict.blogspot.com/

  26. You are quite right. It took a few “I’m not a Hillaryist, but — ” experiences to awake in self-horror that this is the new “I’m not a feminist, but –” cop-out.

    Then I read Robin Morgan’s piece. then I became completely ashamed of myself, for my tepid support.

    No more.

    Why isn’t the difference between their health-care plans alone enough to make a distinction?

    Universal care versus health care guaranteed only for kids? Why would liberals so-called back the wimpier policy? Bizarre.

    Sharp Wonkette with specifics versus “New! Shiny! New! Shiny! New!””

    I remember JFK, Irving, and he was a guy who was into specifics. He was not all shiny new new new new new.

  27. […] went out of her way to tell me how much she liked (the) Clinton(s).  This was a different tactic riverdaughter notices from (secret) Clinton supporters, folks who distance themselves from *liking* the candidate but may […]

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