Sexist Attacks on Hillary Increase Her Support Among Women Voters
First it was the cackle. Then it was her flash of anger,the team-attack on her by Obama and Edwards and the moderator saying she wasn't likeable at the debate. Then the media pile-on about her emotional moment. Then the men yelling "Iron my shirt" at her during a campaign event. Then Tweety Matthews saying she only won her New York Senate seat because her husband "messed around." Then the "Buddy System" crack.
The sexist attacks on Hillary have been brutal. The New York Times reports they are also moving women into her camp, even some who previously supported Obama and Edwards. [More...]
Even Democratic women with no intention of voting for Mrs. Clinton found themselves drawn into the debate and shaken by what briefly seemed like a humiliating end to the most promising female candidacy in American history.
Take for example, Amy Rees:
“I was really pained by the thought that her campaign really was over,” said Amy Rees, a stay-at-home mother in San Francisco who will vote in the California Democratic primary on Feb. 5. “I kept thinking that the truth is, a woman — even a woman of her unquestioned intelligence and preparedness — can’t get even a single primary win. It really stung.”
Ms. Rees had favored Senator Barack Obama of Illinois; now she is thinking of voting for Mrs. Clinton.
Or, Michelle Six, an Edwards supporter:
Michelle Six, 36, a lawyer and John Edwards supporter in Los Angeles, said she was horrified to hear Mr. Obama tell Mrs. Clinton she was “likable enough” in a Democratic debate on Saturday. Ms. Six said she found the line condescending, and an echo of other unkind remarks by other men about women over the years. The likability question, initially raised by a moderator, “wouldn’t be coming up if she wasn’t a woman,” she said.
When Ms. Six heard male co-workers mock Hillary after news of her "emotional moment",
With that, Mrs. Clinton “may just have earned my vote,” Ms. Six said, adding, “I don’t know if I was super-conscious” of the gender factor in the race before then.
Women are pointing out other instances as well.
Now that Mrs. Clinton has gone from a solid lead to a tie with Mr. Obama in the latest national Gallup poll, some voters are thinking back to incidents that they say now seem suspect to them: the debate in which Mr. Edwards critiqued the bright jacket Mrs. Clinton was wearing, or the one at which Mrs. Clinton was asked, by a woman, if she preferred diamonds or pearls.
73 year old Myra Dinnerstein got mad as hell:
A few hours later, after hearing about Mrs. Clinton’s victory in the New Hampshire primary, Ms. Dinnerstein wrote a celebratory e-mail message: “Hurrah! I think women got as mad as I was, seeing Hillary trashed. I think they realized that ‘the gender thing’ exists.”
Younger women may not feel the same way. Take Ms. Dinnerstein's 39 year old daughter, who will vote for Obama:
“Senator Clinton’s struggles are not my own, and they are not those of my generation of women,” the younger Ms. Dinnerstein said. “The idea of a woman being president just does not seem to be as powerful or as revolutionary to me as it does to feminists of my mother’s generation.”
Of course, the problems of minorities are not her own either. Yet she supports a candidate whose election as the first African-American President would be "powerful and revolutionary" for this country. I wonder whether that was a factor in her decision.
The elder Ms. Dinnerstein is a former women studies' professor. Maybe that accounts for her daughter's dismissive attitude. She sounds like she has a chip on her shoulder -- and, I'd point out, at 39, she's not a "young" voter.
It's interesting that in this two page article filled with personal stories of women, she is the only one who says Hillary's struggles are not those of her generation. Did the Times not look for others or couldn't they find any?
The Washington Post does a much better job of interviewing young women and says they are split. However, they ask a different question: Should Hillary be elected because she's a woman? Many answer, as would I, of course not. As I've opined before, no one should be elected President because of their gender or their race. The Presidency is too important to leave to anyone other than the best qualified candidate who is most equipped to handle the job.
But, that point is being lost. The reality is now that if men -- be they candidates or talk show hosts and pundits -- keep up the sexist garbage that is being thrown at Hillary, they will win this election for her.
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