Stand by Your Wo/Man
“Obama’s Promise,” our February 25 lead editorial, in which we said, “We support Obama for President,” drew a flood of mail, about 80 percent angry. Although we delighted some (one enthusiastic reader was so pleased he sent $100 to the Nation Associates), several subscriptions were canceled. Our decision was called: unfortunate, over-hasty, unwise, short-sighted, stupid, troubling, outrageous, misogynistic, divisive, shocking, shameful, sexist, Clinton-bashing, contrived, disgusting and naïve. Readers said they were startled, furious, dismayed, deeply disappointed, sick, shocked and sad. “For the first time I disagree with The Nation,” said one reader; another was “astounded at the depth of anger I felt.” “Sexism is more rampant in America than racism,” said a third. “Barack in 2016, not now,” said another. And finally: “I am sick of men making all the calls…. It’s just time for a woman. That’s all.” –The Editors
You say Obama has a chance of winning the election and putting together a “progressive coalition.” What has he ever done that causes you to make such an assertion? Hell, he hasn’t been in the league long enough to do anything. You, like Senator John Kerry, anger me with your stupidity. As clean as Kerry was, look what the Republican filth-and-slime machine did to him, as well as to Max Cleland and others. They’ll have a field day with an admitted pot smoker, cocaine user and a dude whose middle name is Hussein. They don’t have any more dirt to throw at Hillary–we’ve heard it all. Your naïveté astounds me. Cancel my subscription.
JOHN T. DEMPSEY
Thank you for your eloquent endorsement of Barack Obama. I have just one quibble: you say Obama is in the middle of the pack regarding his voting record. But according to Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis’s analysis of the 110th Senate (voteview.com/sen110.htm), Obama’s record makes him tied for ninth most liberal Democratic senator and tenth most liberal, period. He is surpassed only by Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd, Bernie Sanders, Sheldon Whitehouse, Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown and Jack Reed; he is tied with Joe Biden. (In contrast, Hillary Clinton is tied for twentieth in the 110th Senate, ranked twenty-fifth in the 109th, tied for twenty-first in the 108th and ranked twenty-second in the 107th. That’s the middle of the pack.)
There is no way to quibble with the reasons for your endorsement. Except for the real (and scary) possibility that come November, a vote for Obama will morph into a victory for McCain. (Let us not forget that the Klan mentality is far from extinct.) Yes, Obama has great appeal and can generate considerable support. However, now in my ninetieth year, I long ago learned not to be carried away by even the most inspiring rhetoric. If not Hillary, ultimately it will have to be women who will keep testosterone-crazed men from getting us into one war after another and ultimately blowing up the planet. There is much more at stake than the upcoming election.
Jamaica Plain, Mass.
Barack Obama does seem to be the least of the remaining evils–but The Nation should not have endorsed him without challenging him to make a real commitment to end the war. Obama’s plan to withdraw troops from Iraq is certainly better than Hillary Clinton’s plan to reduce troop levels. But progressives should accept nothing less from a candidate than a demonstrated commitment to bring all our troops home now.
Fort Worth, Tex.
Why is The Nation so in love with Obama? Yes, he’s beautiful, suave and a great orator. But I don’t want a beautiful statesman! I want someone who will get dirty, kick ass, take names and get shit done! And that, dear sirs, is Hillary Clinton.
New York City
The Obambi supporters are beginning to scare me. Throw away the Kool-Aid! “Hope blah blah blah. Change blah blah blah.” Meanwhile, Hillary is figuring out how to bring the translators home from Iraq along with the troops. It’s mostly the misogyny and sexism, overt and covert, that makes me despair. Hillary Clinton is simply the most brilliant, prepared candidate since Adlai Stevenson. We don’t need an untried youngster whose résumé wouldn’t get a second look if he were female.
Little Neck, N.Y.
I’m beginning to think I’m subscribing to the wrong magazine. Women had to wait fifty years longer than black men for the vote. I take women’s struggle for equality very seriously. I’m 77 and I know all too well the social, financial and political discrimination against women because I experienced them myself. Voting for a better qualified woman for President is not sexist but the final blow for liberation. To do less is to break faith with our daughters and granddaughters.
Hil-Bama! Hil-Bama! Hil-Bama! The unstoppable ticket. The first priority for Democrats must be simply this: win. John McCain will be a formidable foe–smart, war hero, a mountain of experience. If Democrats want to win this time, there’s only one strategy: combine the force of our two greatest candidates. The next Administration inherits a terrible mess. Hillary will rise to that challenge. I can think of no greater charge for our next Vice President than that he be blessed with miraculous skills of unity, an inspiring voice of hope and, yes, even the outward spirituality necessary to check the influence of right-wing Christians. Obama, the Bobby Kennedy of our time, can do just that. Hil-Bama!
WILL KANE THOMPSON
Witness to the Spanish Civil War
I read with deep emotion “Noted,” about the Lincoln Battalion’s Milton Wolff [“A Premature Antifascist,” Feb. 18]. The night of November 6-7, 1936, when I was 4, I was at my grandparents’ house one block from the Manzanares River and the Segovia Bridge, which the Fascist troops were trying to cross to get to the center of Madrid. I remember that night clearly. I could hear the bullets hitting close to our house, see the firing of the artillery and the planes fighting overhead. The November 7 New York Times ran this front-page headline: Government to Quit Madrid With City’s Fall Imminent. Talk about being wrong! The people of Madrid defended their city (later with the help of the International Brigade) until March 1939. I am also a “premature antifascist,” and I thank the Lincoln Battalion, whose members were granted honorary citizenship two years ago by the Spanish government, for their valiant defense of democracy.