Feminists: The Hillary Divide
Thank you for Betsy Reed’s intelligent and perceptive “Race to the Bottom: How Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Has Divided the Feminist Movement” [May 19]. She quotes Frances Kissling as saying, “If Clinton wins, the older-line women’s movement will continue…. If she doesn’t win, it will be a death knell for those people. And that may be a good thing–that a younger generation will start to take over.”
But there’s another possibility. If Hillary Clinton were to win the nomination but lose the general election, the backlash would be unrecoverable in our lifetime. It took years to get past Geraldine Ferraro’s stinging loss in the VP slot–years, and a woman who could position herself as a near-incumbent.
Clinton’s choice to run as someone who shoots whiskey and will obliterate Iran is unfortunate for many reasons, but the biggest problem with this approach is that she will not be able to out-cowboy McCain. Many are worried that her actions are tearing the Democratic Party apart, but I fear she is doing far more damage to the feminist movement. Perhaps merely having a woman on the ballot is a large step forward, but her approach to this race continues to be an even larger step back.
STACI LEIGH O’BRIEN
Walnut Creek, Calif.
With regard to “How Hillary Clinton’s campaign has divided the feminist movement”: I believe it is Obama’s 2008 bid for the presidency that has divided us. He should have waited until 2012. I support Hillary because I admire her brilliance and fortitude. I think that she can better rectify the Bush/Cheney disasters and lead us through these daunting times most effectively.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Betsy Reed’s “Race to the Bottom” is a wonderful article that well explores the difficulties of feminism inherent in the choice for Obama versus Clinton. It is only missing one thing–Obama has been subtly working the gender angle as deliberately as Clinton has been working the race angle. Check out his sly sexist messages, such as talking about the wives of male officeholders (“X and his lovely wife, Y, who is his true asset”) and how he pulls out chairs for Clinton at debates and speaks to her with the barely concealed ridicule of men in power–“You’re likable enough, Hillary.” These behaviors make it clear that women are not yet fully accepted in positions of power. And that Obama is continuing that tradition.
Betsy Reed’s “Race to the Bottom” disturbs me to the core. Hillary Clinton did not engage in a unilateral character assassination of Barack Obama, nor did she play the race card any more than his campaign played (brilliantly and seamlessly) the misogyny card. And the left-wing press bought his strategy hook, line and sinker. Not a scintilla of examination of the tactics of Axelrod and Plouffe–his senior advisers. Who among Obama’s senior team is African-American, or Latino, or a woman? He is as mainstream a male politician as any. But the media swoon over him like a teenager with a first crush.