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Jan 13, 2008

Opening The Black-Pink Divide

Forget the (imagined) blue state/red state split.  What the practitioners of wedge politics are currently fixing in place -- in collusion with a media hungry for conflict, fear and negativity -- is a black-pink divide.

In a piece titled "Rights vs. Rights" in today's NYT WIR, the article lends historical energy to a Campaign '08 race-gender split by playing up friction between women and blacks in gaining access to the ballot box.

Pink-BlackThe article offers two images side-by-side, one of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the other, Frederick Douglass.  Cites the caption, Stanton and Douglas "worked together on abolition, but then had a bitter split over who should be first to get the right to vote."

The problem with the juxtaposition, as well as the article's other photo, featuring Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem and Jesse Jackson, is that the figures can't help but serve as proxies for Clinton and Obama. Surely you've seen shots of Clinton and Obama eyeing each other warily, often at the end of a debate.

The period photos of Stanton and Douglas are oriented as if they are facing off but, in states of pique, are refusing to look each other in the eye.  (The other image, with Abzug and Steinem spatially offset from Jackson and a male colleague also telegraphs this gender - race divide.)

I was expecting the wingnuts to eventually engage full-force in racial or gender baiting.  It is very troubling that the shaded blue teams, stoked by the ratings-hungry media, appear to have beaten them to it.

(revised 9AM PST)

Rights vs. Rights: An Improbable Collision Course (NYT)
The Crucible Of Racial Politics Ambinder/The Atlantic
Who's Ready For a Female President? Kunin/WAPO

(image: Bettmann/Corbis via


The media attacks on Hillary Clinton have been across the board for a long time. Sure the right wing is virulent but the main stream media has all the misogyny that women run into but men have to be taught to recognize. The Times drips with it and there are numerous articles

I am reading Meghan Daum's Hillary's gotta have it.

I agree with Daum that Hillary's New Hampshire's tears were (a) genuine and (b) were her due as a woman. (And that Twit Romney is not entitled, as a man, to be a crybaby.) Furthermore, I think Daum turns in some good writing here:

For a lot of people, Hillary Clinton just wants this too badly. Her Achilles heel is not that she cries (or doesn't) from disappointment, but that she is visibly salivating from hunger. That may be OK for male candidates, whose appetites tend to be selling points. But if there's anything that's drilled into women's heads before we're old enough to even ask for something, it's the importance of playing hard to get, of pretending we don't want anything at all . . . . the crucial factor may have its roots in age-old mating rituals as much as modern-day campaign strategy.

As difficult as it to say out loud (which is why you haven't heard it), Clinton's aching need for the presidency is freaking voters out. Like a bachelorette whose obsessive focus on finding a mate has reduced the other aspects of her life to blank, negligible spaces, Clinton has somehow managed to give people the feeling that, should she not get the nomination, she has nothing to go back to. . . . At least, she appears to see it that way. . . .

Like what's wrong with resuming a long and distinguished Senatorial career Teddy Kennedy?

More Daum:

What we want from Clinton is the impossible. We want her to pursue the nomination without looking like a pursuer ... We want, on some level, for her to win the White House according to the dating guide "The Rules" -- acting aloof to the point of indifference ... we want Clinton to assure us that she has plenty of other fish to fry if things don't go her way.

I'm thinking that Obama's campaign is on this level. Let's not turn away a great senator in 2008 like we turned away Al Gore in 2000.

I was expecting the wingnuts to eventually engage full-force in racial or gender baiting. It is very troubling that the shaded blue teams, stoked by the ratings-hungry media, appear to have beaten them to it.

With the exception of Jesse Jackson Jr, who exactly on the Obama team has been gender baiting? This angle on the campaign seems to me so far like entirely the media's creation-- I think the Obama campaign even seems to be trying to change the subject, maybe having realized that raising Sen. Clinton's gender as an issue only helps her.

Could we ever grow up enough to vote for the person with the best ideas?
One should not vote for or against a person according to sex, colour, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, or religion. Period.

Blacks are, without a doubt, the most sophisticated voting block in the country. They are rarely bamboozled, in that they vote entirely against their interest, and they are instinctively suspicious of the process.

At this juncture, it will be very surprising if the "bomb Iran too" girl can persuade the constituency which will fight the new war, as well as the last two, and suffer more, to believe she's the first black woman president.

I think Matthews' psycho-sexual-social development stopped about the age of 16. He leers at all the women and makes inappropriate remarks, then he pants after all the men or makes some vaguely sexual remark. Quite a piece of work. One of marc sobel's references was all the chatter about Hillary's "cackle" but I don't remember Matthews chatting endlessly about Rudy's nervous laughter every time he was asked a tough question he didn't want to answer.

The sexist piling on of Hillary might just account for her higher numbers in the cities since a lot of working women have to put up with that crap every day. Steinem has an editorial in NYT wherein she says: "But what worries me is that he [Obama] is seen as unifying by his race while she [Clinton] is seen as divisive by her sex. What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations."

Shelby Steele brought another dimension to the fore on the Moyers' program Friday, that a black like Obama (and Cosby) make whites feel comfortable; whereas blacks like Sharpton and Jackson, make whites feel white. By that I took him to mean that Obama, et al., make whites feel less guilty over the treatment (past and present) of blacks. Obama is not 'in your face' and neither is Michelle.

Taking this argument into the field of sexism, is it possible that Hillary, by being a strong woman (and by extension, all strong women) makes men feel threatened; they don't know how to handle the challenge. They revert to the last time they felt threatened by women (moms, teachers) and act like adolescents. Perhaps that is the reason Boxer and Pelosi are faced with so much ridicule for every little non-male thing they do. BTW, I'm referring here to the men on the MSM, not our Bagnews men.

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