Friday, March 30, 2007

Who's Afraid of Hillary Clinton?

In a post at MoJo Blog, Diane Dees points out that Chris Matthews has a habit of criticizing Hillary Clinton and "not for her policies or her votes in the Senate, but for her gender."

Yet Matthews claims: "'You only hear criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton from smart, college-educated women. They're the ones that always have a problem with her.' Matthews then explained that men 'are afraid to talk like that.'"

While there is no doubt that Hillary Clinton has many critics who are also "smart, college-educated women," Matthews must live in a bubble if he doesn't hear a veritable onslaught of Hillary bashing from men. I guess he doesn't read the liberal and predominantly male Daily Kos or any of the many hypermasculine conservative blogs. And he hasn't seen this Fox Poll which finds that 26 percent of Americans would be "scared" if Hillary were the president! (50% of Republicans would be scared, 7% of Dems and 27% of Independents.) You don't have to be a women's studies scholar to recognize that a very large component of this fear factor is a male privilege thing.

Writing at the American Prospect, Garance Franke-Ruta points out that if it were up to women, Hillary Clinton would be the next president:

The most important division Clinton begets is between men and women, and the conservative-liberal divide on her emerges in part from the gendered division of political beliefs in America. An ABC News poll of Democrats and Republicans in January found that men were divided 49 percent to 48 percent on Hillary, while women backed her with 59 percent positive to 39 percent negative impressions. According to a December 2006 Washington Post-ABC News poll, the same divide existed among Democratic voters. Clinton had a 20-point lead among Democratic women, with 49 percent of them -- but only 29 percent of men -- backing her as their first choice. Since then she has increased her margin of support enough that if women alone were voting, and the election were held today, she would almost certainly be elected the next president of America.

The National Organization for Women (with a membership of 500,000) recently endorsed Senator Clinton. Many of the "smart, college educated women" in this forum are not happy with NOW's endorsement.

Hillary is not progressive enough. And you just can't vote for a woman solely because of gender. Most days I agree. But I continue to be conflicted about the first ever viable candidacy of a Democratic woman. She may not be the most progressive candidate in town, but she's the most progressive woman, and face it folks, it's not like we ever get a genuinely progressive president in this country.

There are moments when I think I could throw everything else to the side and base my vote or support solely on gender (but only if the candidate is not Republican). I had one of those moments earlier this morning when I wandered into a discussion at TBogg. (Thanx MzNicky.)

I'm as quick as anyone to ridicule and criticize women like Ann Coulter and Ann Althouse, but I am sick and tired of the sexism. I am sick and tired of conservatives and liberals alike who can't bear to hear a woman express her opinion without shoving their disrespect in her face by resorting to rhetorical rape. Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, she 'gets' that. And she 'gets' misogyny far better than any of the more progressive candidates.

One thing I know -- it's not ever going to get better for girls and women until we have large numbers of women in the highest offices of the land.