Friday, February 1, 2008

Come ON, MoveOn

Some of MoveOn's many members just voted overwhelmingly (70% to 30%) in favor of endorsing Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for president. Just remove the knitting needles from my hands. Slowly. And hide them.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton seem to have nearly identical voting records (though Obama has opted out of voting an awful lot. It's almost as though he didn't want to leave too much of a paper trail as he pursues his bid for the Democratic nomination). And Obama has introduced little legislation, though he did co-sponsor the truly environmentally backward Coal to Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007. Not good. Though maybe a good move for a senator from a coal producing state.

Obama's current status as the darling of free-range grass-fed progressive wanna-be liberals everywhere seems to derive from the fact that he opposed the war from the start. Perhaps. But unlike Clinton, he wasn't in congress at that point, and it's one thing to speak out against the war - waving fists from from the sidelines - and another thing to vote against it as a member of congress. Like Kucinich did.

This is our "change?"

I can accept the argument - made by some - that Obama is the better candidate because he is more likely to appeal to moderate conservative voters. He probably would, given the fact that, as far as image is concerned, Obama in no way breaks the fundamentally patriarchal family man mold that has been working for American presidential candidates for over 200 years.

Compare conversations in the press - or anywhere - about the two candidates. What do we hear about Hillary? We hear in-depth analysis of Hillary's laugh. Or we hear otherwise sane journalists - even mainstream liberal ones - ask: Hillary: too closed off? Hillary: too emotional? Hillary: sincere? Hillary: able to control her spouse? Hillary's ability to serve as president is being discussed - and questioned - on the basis of her gender and stereotypes surrounding it. There is no similar shitstorm of press questioning Barack Obama's abilities on the basis of race or stereotypes surrounding it.

Obama's much-touted charisma comes from being a young, good-looking father/husband with a knack for public speaking and a marked ability to look humble whenever he's compared to JFK. If that's the best that the Democrats can do, fine, but let's not be naive enough to think his nomination would be a symbol of fundamental change. That symbol would be a woman in the White House.

Okay. May I have my knitting needles back now?

1 comment:

Abbeykins said...

AMEN! Yes, the knitting needles may return.

It is annoying to hear how great Barack Obama is compared to Hillary, the same thing people have been doing to women for millenia!!! "Oh well, women can't be doctors because..." "Well, women in politics? I don't know, women can't be that cold and calm and collected." You're right, they do note her emotionality and criticise her 'coldness', well, women can be strong and smart and confident and still be caring and loving and enjoy what they do, but she has to play the 'man game'. Yeah, I'm not going to ramble on and on, but AMEN.