Saturday, 7 June 2008


We’ve been treated in the last few days to a series of women supporters of Hillary Clinton talking about how disappointed and angry they are that she didn’t win. I overheard a conversation in a restaurant this week from a woman furious over the way she was ‘shafted,’ presumably by Obama, and seriously contemplating sitting out the vote in November.

Still, I recall the Clinton ad campaign, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’. Part of Hillary’s pre-Ohio comeback was painting her opponent as not tough enough to take the rough-and-tumble of national and world politics—in fact, she turned him into the ‘woman’. She was the Type A macho wagging a finger in the other guy’s face with her ‘Shame on you, Barack Obama’ outburst and her feisty-fighter image.

So if she’s winning, it’s good to be a slash-and-burn warrior. But when the fight’s over and she lost, the other side are meanies.

Jon Stewart aired a hilarious edit of Clinton’s Tuesday night non-concession acrobatics, which accentuated the number of times her sentences began with the word ‘I’. Her inability to recognize that she had lost morphed into a creepily narcissistic spectacle.

Self-absorption that mows down anything in its path in the name of feminine emancipation and equality certainly has its appeal, as does any form of whipping up the troops in the name of one’s shared ethnic, racial, national or religious identity. In that regard Hillary is actually closer to Rev. Jeremiah Wright than to Gloria Steinam.

Obama has studiously avoided making himself into the ‘race’ candidate, and except for the post-Wright speech on race in America, he hasn’t had that much to say about it. His appeal is more cerebral, but he treats us as adults, whether we like it or not. It’s a reminder that just belonging to a mistreated group doesn’t make one’s ideas correct or one’s behavior noble.

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