I read Ms Pollitt's piece and then surfed through some of the letters. As others have observed, most of the anti-Clinton stuff did come from men which may mean something and it may not.
Clinton was defeated for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with sexism and some not. What were they? Well, how about the relentless diet of press criticism over years that leads quite normal people who know nothing whatever about her to say they can't stand her. Then the media was completely in the tank for Obama, from Matthews getting tingles up the leg to a fairly relentless pro-Obama spin at the Washington Post and New York Times. This was well supported by some women writers like Noonan and Dowd, who seem consumed by some sort of Hillary Clinton mania whose source has much to do with personal prejudice as reality. Just about every black commentator supported Obama, presumably for the same reason he got 80-90 percent of the black vote. There's nothing wrong with it, but don't deny it exists. Some of the more honest journalists have fessed up to the charge of pro-Obama bias, which is self- evidently true. The good news for Democrats it that it should be present in the general election as well.
Moving from the media to politics, we have to accept that the Clintons are anathema to the most leftist constituency in the Democratic party--those that are totally opposed to free trade and much of the governing pragmatism exhibited by Bill Clinton in the '90s. This would include many of the opinion writers at the The Nation, I would guess. If anyone doubts the existence of this group, they should just take a glance through some of the stuff at places like the Kos blog site, which is one of its spiritual homes. The excoriation of Bill Clinton, the only two-term Democratic President since FDR, is extraordinary. Hillary's vote on Iraq, no matter that she had plenty of Democratic company, and general realism about politics in America is unappealing to this group who were even constantly damning her for trying to bring universal healthcare to America, surely a prime Democratic goal.
Then there was Obama, a candidate who is enormously compelling and a worthy standard bearer of the party. Perhaps even more important, he ran an incredibly smart campaign, for which much credit must go to Axelrod and Plouffe. This was most apparent in their concentration on the small states and caucus system, where they had clearly calculated they could garner enough delegates to counter Clinton's strength in the big states and among women. At the end of the day, this strategy and Obama's fundraising prowess were, I believe, the major factors that gave him victory, although his team was also skillful (with the gleeful assistance of the media, who love to promote racial strife) in creating faux issues like the Clintons' so-called racism.
Obama is a great candidate whose positions in reality are little different from Clinton's so we're probably going to get Clintonism even if we don't get her. I suspect some of Obama's supporters on the left of the party are going to be surprised by how similar is his governing style to that of Bill Clinton.
Old Saybrook, CT
Jun 8 2008 - 9:40am