On The PUMAs
As someone whose vote and support for Barack Obama for President in this election is unshakeable (I know what John McCain is and I want no part of a John McCain Presidency), I am decidedly NOT a fan of the PUMA movement. Indeed, I oppose it. But I was outraged by the behavior of the Media and the blogs towards Hillary Clinton and I will not soon forget what they did. John Cole, whose tin ear on the issues of sexism and misogyny is pretty well established, thinks that the PUMAs will not like this Rebecca Traister article. Since I am not a PUMA, I can not say for sure, but I know I liked these parts of the article:
. . . In reality, however, it's more that the other female politicians whose names are being bandied about (cough, Kathleen Sebelius, cough) seem like pallid substitutes, and the only reason Team Obama would even pick one is to placate stubborn Clinton supporters. It wouldn't placate them. But this is one of the facets of post-Clinton anger that puts Obama in a hell of a bind. Because the truth is that many of Clinton's most devoted supporters overcame their own ambivalence about her because they believed it was so important to establish a precedent, to break the glass ceiling and put a woman in a job that has never been filled by a woman before. A female vice president, especially a Democratic one, is not nothing. And everyone who watched the glee with which Clinton's failed bid was met should know that. But it's true that if Obama goes with a woman, and decides (as seems certain) not to tap Clinton herself, he must pick someone who has something more going for her than a pair of mams. He needs someone who generates heat of her own, who can energize a crowd, who can do something for him besides providing him with a gender credential. Who is that?
4. They are angry that we started to talk about sexism only once Clinton stopped being a threat.
Yes, it's great that we are finally having panels and conferences and news stories about the way in which Clinton's candidacy was met with an enormous amount of gendered antipathy from the media. (And for any of you sitting at your computers yammering about how the coverage of Clinton had nothing to do with her sex, allow me to be frank: can it.) Those discussions shouldn't stop. But it is painfully obvious that this was a conversation that could only be had once Clinton stopped threatening Obama's prospects, or men generally. This is really depressing.
5. They are angry at the media's repeated denial of sexism, and they are angry at Keith Olbermann.
The first should be quite obvious. In a New York Times story last week, members of the media heartily denied that there was any sexism in the way that Clinton was discussed. This in the face of zillions of examples of gender-fueled language both explicit (comparisons of Clinton to a nagging spouse, to an ex-wife outside of probate court, to Lorena Bobbitt, to a sexless monster, to Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction") and only slightly more subtle (the unabashed determination on the part of print and broadcast media to put her campaign down as early as possible, and the hyperactive joy they betrayed whenever that wish appeared to be coming true). To deny that this happened is foolish, and it doesn't make any of the eagle-eyed women who spotted Tucker Carlson crossing his legs in emasculated fear any less angry.
As for Olbermann, outrage at him has supplanted displeasure with Chris Matthews, perhaps because Matthews has been publicly excoriated for his bias, while Olbermann is still held up by many as a talking-head hero of the left. Of course, those surprised by Olbermann's clear distaste for Hillary Clinton, or the venom he directed at that nutsy Katie Couric, who meekly ventured that maybe there had been some media sexism during the race, obviously missed the time he once wondered on air if anyone had ever ejaculated on Paris Hilton's face. Olbermann's simultaneous tenacity on the side of good, coupled with his utter disinterest in gender equity, makes him emblematic of the unpleasant position in which Hillary-supporting feminists find themselves -- members of a progressive party that doesn't seem particularly interested in their progress.
(Emphasis supplied.) Personally, I think these paragraphs some of the best analysis of the situation I have yet seen. But I can not speak for PUMAs.
Indeed, I am speaking for me only in this post.
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