What I needed from Hillary…

Tonight marks the first moment where I am seriously considering becoming an Obama supporter. Sure, I looked enviously at my peers who seemed enamored by the boy-wonder and wished, every now and then, to feel the same for HRC. But for the most part, I was ok with the fact that she didn’t really rile me up, she just felt like a good, solid choice.

But something has changed. Hillary, what happened?

What’s with the dirty tactics? The snide remarks? The we’re-really-not-that-different-but-I’m-better-and-besides-it’s-my-turn? I was ok with not being ecstatic or enamored with your campaign, but when I started to get that queasy sinking feeling I had to question things a bit deeper.

When the campaigns first started I was excited about the prospect of a heated battle. And then, I was enraged. I found it infuriating how you were treated differently and unfairly because of your gender. How it was simply a-ok to air a woman calling you a “bitch” (it came from another WOMAN, much to the TV network’s delights!) and to have people completely discount your accomplishments as simply a way to catch up to your hubby. I looked on admiringly and thought about how well you had kept your composure (throughout all of those messes), how you’d raised a successful and confident daughter, and how (I’ll admit it was a bit delightful) men seemed to fear you. I thought, here it is, we are finally ready, we can finally do this. Women deserve this.

But then…

The articles and op-ed pieces trickled in. Obama is the preferred candidate overseas…Obama presents a clear economic plan…Obama has the power to bring people to the polls…and, even as the commentary started pouring in I thought, meh, O-blah-ma.

But dammit I want to feel excited. I want to feel that my interpretation of patriotism is taking hold. I want to feel that something NEW and exciting is happening in our country, that we are getting out of the rut of the same-ol-same-ol. I’m not naive enough to think that Obama is a complete 180, I know better than that. He has, after all, been successful in a very flawed system, no doubt by figuring out how to use that system to his advantage. I needed to see that in you.

And no, I’m not talking about how I needed you to be a more “personable” and “soft” woman. I find it tremendously convoluted that you’ve had to simultaneously denounce your femininity, project your masculinity, embrace your femininity, and deny your masculinity all at once. It’s exhausting to be a powerful woman, clearly. But Hil, I think I wanted you to just come out and say it. I think I wanted you to fearlessly have a heart-to-heart with us, I wanted you to say, “You know what, this is bullshit.” “I’m a woman, a mother, a politician, a wife, a hard-worker, an upper class Manhattanite, and a ball-buster.” “If you elect me, this is what you get.” Hil, I didn’t want to see you revert to the old tactics. Don’t you know? This is a new campaign, a new generation of voters, that stuff just won’t fly.

Of course, I want to honor the hard-working feminist women who came before me, those who worked tirelessly so that I can sit here and freely blog about these topics, advocate for emergency contraception, attend any school I want and, hell, even vote! And I thought to myself, how could I not vote for you? How could I slap my foremothers in the face like that? But you know what? I expect more from our first woman president, perhaps more than I expect from any male president. Maybe that’s not fair, I don’t know. But I want her to be someone I can really be proud of, someone who has put up with years of shit (as I know you have) and says “I’m not gonna play that way.” Someone with the ovaries to really risk it all for what she believes in. Someone who was willing to have faith in a country who, clearly, was not ready for her.

Was that too much to ask?

The reality is that it doesn’t much matter what I think (in terms of votes). My voting days in the primaries are long past, and I get to just watch as things unfold. No matter who wins, I’ll support them. I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that somehow 4 years of McCain is any sort of viable alternative. And the truth is, I’m not sure I’m at a point where I can get ecstatic for Obama (I often felt shamed by the Obamanites and just can’t shake that). I guess I feel left out in the cold. And I’m wondering how many other intelligent, hard-working, loving, emotional, firebrand, battle-axe, what-have-you women are out there feeling the same way…?


(ps. yes, the image is supposed to be ironic, mkay?)

(pps. i’d also like to add that i think it is truly incredible that this election has caused this much strife over who to support. maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. i don’t know. but in the past it has just felt like we all voted for the least evil and then went about our business. at least this has been exciting. and tremendously thought provoking. that’s what we’ve been waiting for, ya?)


4 Responses to “What I needed from Hillary…”

  1. 1 Ryan
    March 28, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Hillary, like Bill, is a moderate Republican: corporatist, pro-war, socially conservative, friendly to big business, and possessed of a sense of privilege that she somehow intrinsically *deserves* the Democratic nomination.

    Partly as a result of her sense of entitlement, she has run a lazy, sloppy, uncoordinated campaign that is hemorrhaging money and inadvertently exposing its ugly and dysfunctional inner workings as advisors quit, landlords are left high and dry, and Clinton has to loan her campaign millions of dollars of her own money to stay afloat.

    Her reaction to Obama’s tightly focussed, well-organized, broadly supported and well funded campaign has been to go negative, and I mean GOP hit squad negative: making insinuations about Obama’s ethnicity, accusing him of plagiarism, accusing him of doubletalk over NAFTA, smearing his religion, claiming his ‘experience’ is trumped up, claiming his victories are irrelevant because they’re in ‘unimportant’ states, airing the ridiculous fearmongering “3 AM phone call” attack ad, and even going so far as to claim that McCain is more experienced and better prepared to be president than Obama.

    One of the many bitter ironies of her campaign is that she, herself, is actually the candidate guilty of the attacks she has made against him: plagiarizing other people’s lines, lying about her experience, winking and nodding about NAFTA, and so on.

    The Obama campaign’s measured, fact-based rebuttals against her smears demonstrate his competence and integrity, both at thinking on his feet and at surrounding himself with smart, capable, reality-based advisers.

    His impressive speech on race, written by himself and delivered after the Clinton campaign tried to smear him over comments made by his former pastor, actually transformed a potential liability into an asset by elevating the discussion out of the gutter and – gasp – treating Americans like grownups for a change.

    Her latest bullying tactic has been to sic a cabal of multimillionaire Clinton donors on Nancy Pelosi, implicitly threatening to boycott the party unless Pelosi reverses her position that the superdelegates ought to follow the will of the party membership.

    Obama is ahead in the popular vote, ahead in delegates won, ahead in states won, ahead in nearly every demographic, ahead in national polls, and ahead against McCain. The only way Clinton can possibly win is if Obama totally flames out over the next couple of months in some appalling scandal, or if a large majority of superdelegates overturns the popular vote and gives her the nomination.

    The former is highly unlikely, since Obama already aired all the skeletons in his closet a few years ago in his autobiography, and the latter would tear the Democratic Party asunder and hand the election to McCain.

    In fact, her campaign has been so vituperative that some pundits are actually starting to wonder if handing this election to McCain is actually Clinton’s fall-back plan, giving her another shot at the presidency in 2012.

    Another theory is that she’s angling to be McCain’s running mate. Since she’s a de facto pro-war Republican anyway, this actually makes political sense, but it would be “bipartisanship” in the worst possible sense – a total Democratic capitulation to the statist Republican agenda.

    I think Chris Rock put it best when he said, “I think America is ready for a woman president, but does it have to be *that* woman?”

  2. 2 Allison
    March 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I definitely agree with you on this one. I wanted SO badly to like Hillary and to support her, and to see her as our first woman president! But lately, my feelings are shifting from a mild “yaaayyyy.” to an even more bland “ehhhhhh.”

    I feel so ambivalent about this whole election, and I keep saying to Wade, “Oh man. You know what’s going to really suck? I bet McCain’s going to win this whole thing because the Democrats are so divided.” And really, what could be worse than Dubya? Dubya part two, that’s what.

    So often, I find myself wishing I could be part of a generation that is proud of their candidate. It seems that lately, you’re just picking the lesser of the two evils. Not exactly something I want to get behind. Mehhhhhhhhhh!

  3. March 28, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Allison, I know what you mean about wanting to be excited about a candidate!

    Ryan, thanks for your response. I have to admit it seems like a response that you might post on any/all Hillary sites and doesn’t really seem too relevant to my post.

    I guess one thing I’ve struggled with throughout the whole thing is how divisive this whole election process has become and the extent to which people are really “hardening” in their choice and sort of unwilling to entertain the option of the other candidate (works both ways). It just seems like we should all be smart enough to know that if we let this divisive energy continue we’ll do exactly what the republicans want — fail to elect a viable candidate. Come on people, don’t exhibit the same brash hate and close-mindedness we see in those we loathe (ahem, Bush).

  4. April 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I can relate to so much of what you wrote (and the commenters too).

    I wrote something parallel and related in my blog entitled “Hillary’s Creeping Judgment Problems”

    On one level I think a Clinton/Obama ticket would be the ideal — I think he would be ready and seasoned in eight years to go from day one, and 8 years as VP could give him the time and structure needed to create the change he says he envisions (that kind of change must be organized and takes time and resources; while he’s doing that and influencing the Clinton administration, he could be developing that structural change and the resources necessary) — and Hillary (flawed as she is) will be fighting hard — I really do believe she could step in on day one and begin dismantling the worst parts of what the republican right wing fascist military corporate pharma medical industrial complex that has a stranglehold on this nation.

    And think of the judges that have such a lasting influence and are already helping to destroy workers rights, women’s rights, individual liberties all in favor of PROFIT and control — it will be worse than awful if McCain is elected.

    To me: an ideal scenario is Clinton Obama for 8 years, Obama – ??? for another 8 years. He should thank his lucky stars Clinton has been giving him the challenges he will face at a much higher, harder, meaner level come the general election.

    cheers & thanks from a sister Progressive Women’s Blog Ring Member 🙂

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