January 13, 2008

"In my opinion, it is a little late in the day to become sentimental about a woman running for president."

Novelist — and Madison resident — Lorrie Moore has an op-ed in the NYT:
The political moment for feminine role models, arguably, has passed us by. The children who are suffering in this country, who are having trouble in school, and for whom the murder and suicide rates and economic dropout rates are high, are boys — especially boys of color, for whom the whole educational system, starting in kindergarten, often feels a form of exile, a system designed by and for white girls....

Perfect historical timing has always been something of a magic trick — finite and swift. The train moves out of the station. The time to capture the imagination of middle-class white girls, the group Hillary Clinton represents, was long ago. Such girls have now managed on their own (given that in this economy only the rich are doing well). They have their teachers and many other professionals to admire, as well as a fierce 67-year-old babe as speaker of the House, several governors and a Supreme Court justice. The landscape is not bare.

Boys are faring worse — and the time for symbols and leaders they can connect with beneficially should be now and should be theirs. Hillary Clinton’s gender does not rescue society from that — instead she serves as a kind of nostalgia for a time when it might have. Only her policies are what matter now, and here — despite some squabbling and bad advice that has caused her to “go negative” — the Democrats largely agree. But inspiration is essential for living, and Mr. Obama holds the greater fascination for our children
Should we pick a President based on who needs inspiration most?

How strange that after all these years of waiting for a black or a female President, we get the strong candiates in both categories at the same time. It's not working out the way inspirationalists might have hoped as the two candidates must do battle. Moore would like to say: Step back, Hillary. Barack Obama is the candidate of diversity symbolism. But she's going to fight, and nobody can or should stop her. The race and gender cards are already in play. It may have been an inspirational game at some point, but it morphed into something ugly, and it's hard to see how it won't get uglier.

12 comments:

Middle Class Guy said...

We should get beyond the the thinking that we should elect any person based upon some ideological symbolism- the first woman or the first Black. We should elect people based upon their ability to do two things; represent and lead the people and political efficiency.

Unfortunately, both of our parties-our only real choices- have been coopted by extreme ideological philosophies and promote the idea that we should elect people who beleive in political expediency.

It is good public policy versus what sounds good public policy.

rhhardin said...

How strange that after all these years of waiting for a black or a female President, we get the strong candiates in both categories at the same time.

They're not strong candidates. They're both idiotic.

This is the result of the audience they play to, which is the only audience the media offers.

The media restrict the audience by what stories are allowed legs.

Why does the same crap keep coming up? The sane audience wonders.

Because you're not the audience. You're not reliable enough as a daily audience to merit consideration in the business model.

So Hillary's plan and Obama's plan don't even come up, except as a participant in soap opera psychodrama that is so craved by the idiot soap opera women.

It's the anticipated reaction of this moronic demographic that governs everything said.

George said...

"The time to capture the imagination of middle-class white girls, the group Hillary Clinton represents, was long ago."

Wrong...

Women, especially lower-income, less-well educationed ones, support her by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the WaPo.

Hideously overwritten, too...

...children (Mrs. Clinton’s key policy focus) were appallingly killed....boys of color...Her “35 years of experience” puzzle in their math.

Perfect for NPR.

Mortimer Brezny said...

The unfortunate part is Hillary Clinton put both the race and gender cards into play.

Middle Class Guy said...

Mortimer,
We should not vote for her based on the substance of her character. We should vote for her on the color of her skin and/or gender? Free at last...

DADvocate said...

Moore is quite right about the plight of boys in our country right now. I would like to see more emphasis on this by any candidate. I reviewed the issues pages of the top three candidates of both parties. Obama is the only one who addresses this at all.

On another note, I'm surprised that I have not seen a single mention of Margaret Chase Smith during this campaign by the media. Are they trying to hide the fact that "the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the Presidency at a major political party's national convention." was a Republican?

former law student said...

Should we pick a President based on who needs inspiration most?

Ideally, not. But, the inspirational value of each candidacy is in play. I was disgusted by Steinem's pro-Hillary oped in the NYT. I'm going to say a black President is more inspirational than an ex-President's wife. Obama, not the coattail-clinging HRC, is the true heir to the self-made Clinton.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"The race and gender cards are already in play. It may have been an inspirational game at some point, but it morphed into something ugly, and it's hard to see how it won't get uglier."

The identity politics that was embraced by Democrats 30+years ago is coming back to bite them in the ass. The misandry and racial paternalism, the segregationist bent of multiculturalism- it's all combing to form a perfect storm of punitive liberalism.

Women should vote for Hillary because she's a woman, blacks should vote for Obama because he's "African-American", white men should vote for either in order to expiate the stain of being white men.

Balkanization here we come.

Simon said...

Re the feminization of education -

This year my (8th grade) son has one male teacher. Last year, his only male teacher was the gym teacher. I can count on one hand the number of male teachers he's ever had. At his present school, the entire school hierarchy is female with the exception of the principal. I think once you accept that there are biological differences in how boys and girls learn, this becomes problematic.

Plus, it creates some interesting situations. The kid has a problem with authority - he doesn't like to be told what to do. So we had a parent teacher conference and one of the teachers said that she was concerned he might have some problems with agression towards women. Really? We asked; he's had problems with female students? Oh, no, with the teachers, she meant. But hang on: every teacher he has bar one is a woman, so why's your assumption that the hostility you're detecting from him is directed at you qua a woman rather than qua a teacher / authority figure? Come to find out, there's no evidence he treats female peers that way, and he acts the same way towards the male teacher. That was an interesting window into how some of the faculty think, though...


DADvocate said...
"Moore is quite right about the plight of boys in our country right now. I would like to see more emphasis on this by any candidate."

The only thing I want from a Presidential candidate is a promise to get the federal government out of the curriulum entirely. If they want to chip in money, fine. If they want to chip in money for specific subjects, fine. But everything else should be left to the state level.

Revenant said...

George,

According to the poll you cite (which is six months old, by the way), Hillary only enjoyed the support of 51% of women, and even that figure only referred to women who leaned Democratic. So I don't see how that is inconsistent with the claim that "middle-class girls don't need a role model".

paul a'barge said...

...the time for symbols and leaders they can connect with beneficially should be now and should be theirs...

Lady, please! We're trying to elect the leader of the free world here. We need you to be a little more constructive.

You know, the leader for all of us, not just young black men with 7th grade educations selling crack on street corners.

cokaygne said...

This is sad. Maybe we have to go through this to move on.

In the context of the hopeless state of liberalism Clinton is Maggie Thatcher. That makes her worthy of support. Obama is a conventional liberal in policy terms but he does seem to be open to dialogue and he has not played the race card. it is great that both of them are leading candidates. If the GOP nominates an asshole like Huckleberry or Thompson or Paul, I'd vote for Clinton or Obama in a heartbeat.

Iowa is a lousy place to start a presidential campaign, but that is where it started. Obama won fair and square by motivating young people to participate in that mindless exercise while the Clintons sent out surrogates to bring up Obama's Muslim connections and youthful drug use. Facing extinction, the Clintons played the gender card in NH capped by a ridiculous Gloria Steinem essay advocating Clinton because she is a (white) woman.

The Clinton's poisoned the well. I hope this latest essay was not inspired by the Obama camp.

For sure, should Clinton win the nomination, the white male GOP candidate will be accused of wife beating if he even dares to debate her.