too much typing—since 2003

7.07.2008

equal opportunity idiots

In the most recent issue of The Nation, a letter from two readers appears which claims that if Hillary Clinton is not nominated for Vice President, these readers will instead vote for John McCain.

The dubious premise of this promised course of action is the writers' belief that Clinton, as a woman, would understand the writers' feelings of disenfranchisement over having their views ignored or rejected, presumably solely because they are women.

I won't argue whether Hillary Clinton would necessarily have a better understanding - or, more to the point, make better policies - on women's issues simply because she's a woman (short commentary: Margaret Thatcher), but these writers' position that if Clinton is not nominated to the vice presidency on Obama's ticket, they will vote for McCain is, at the very least, sheer idiocy.

McCain has a zero percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and no doubt his voting record leads to similarly dismal ratings from other feminist groups. The letter writers refer specifically to Clinton's health-care plan - while McCain is content to continue the existing practice of pretending insurance agents are qualified to practice medicine, Obama at least acknowledges there's a problem. The writers also refer to Clinton's "better assessment of how to work with our allies and [superior] temperament and life experience to handle international and local crises."

How on earth a feminist could imagine McCain's notions of working with allies (and, more relevantly, enemies) and temperament are more sympathetic to feminists' views is a mystery to me.

And the idea that these writers would vote for McCain, so as to give Clinton a run at the 2012 nomination, is equally inane: yes, by all means give women (and others) four years of Bush-lite so that Clinton can, in 2012, try to fight all the advantages of a McCain incumbency for her not-all-that-radical, middle-of-the-road feminism-lite.

Again, two words: Margaret Thatcher. Just because a politician is female guarantees absolutely nothing about her commitment to feminist issues (or to those of progressives, generally).

4 comments:

Steve said...

Okay, I'll bite.. what did Margaret Thatcher do that was so opposed to feminist or women's issues.

I think she did a lot for feminism by just being who she was, and maybe she wasn't "the right" (or left) sort of woman, but the notion that "all feminists are progressive" is a logical fallacy.

2fs said...

Steve: here is a collection of thoughts on Thatcher's relation to feminism. I confess I had nothing specific in mind except a sort of conceptual incongruity: Thatcher's extreme right-wing, market-based "individualism" would deny the essentially interdependent notion of feminism (if we're all just individuals, if "there's no such thing as society," then the very concept of "feminism" makes no sense), and in its conservatism, endorses the existing order - which, as I'm sure any feminist could tell you, merely ratifies the persistence of patriarchal ideas. Of course (as that link above suggests) others might argue that Thatcher's very presence as a leader denied the most anti-female varieties of anti-feminism...but if nothing else, Thatcher seems to have done little for feminism.

Darius said...

Hoorah! You state very well what I feel about these feminidiots who propose to vote for Mccain. Although they won't come out and say it, their real motive is revenge. Not a good wway to pick a president!

And speaking as someone who considers himself a feminist man, why can't a man, (Obama), be sensitive to women's issues?

A final note: years ago, I had this same argument with the women in my NOW chapter, when I questioned whether we should support Sandra Day O'Connor's nomination to the supreme court, simply because she was female. There truly is nothing new under the sun.

2fs said...

Darius - You don't serve your claim to be a feminist very well by using the word "feminidiot" - the difference between that and plain "idiot" is that your term implies something specifically female about their idiocy...and that, of course, would be a sexist assumption.

I'm not sure it's "revenge" so much as the idea that a female figurehead automatically counts as progress. In this, such women are hardly unusual: I think Americans generally are weirdly vulnerable to the lone heroic figure idea. It's why people run for president on obscure third-party tickets (more accurately, fifth-, sixth-, and seventeenth-party tickets) rather than building a political movement from the ground up.