Thursday, June 05, 2008

The sort of post that makes me dislike Obama supporters

Ok, This post from 'Marry in Massachusetts' pisses me off.

I really don't think the "mysterious scads of Clinton voters who won't vote for Obama" is going to be the issue that people think it is come November. (Do you honestly think every Republican is thrilled with McCain? If you think that, you really don't know any Republicans. Well, I do, and I can assure you...) I can appreciate what Kim said in my comments yesterday about some people calling in to talk shows to say they voted for Hillary but wouldn't vote for Obama. That said, I don't think talk show callers represent the mainstream. I don't think talk show LISTENERS even represent the mainstream.

To me, it seems like an excuse to keep trashing Hillary supporters and Hillary herself in the face of Obama supporters having GOTTEN WHAT THEY WANTED.

Come on, Hillary herself is telling her supporters to vote for Obama.

Also it seems really weird to me that MIM writes "Not everyone can be that big and that wise as to revel in Clinton's accomplishments," in the context of a post that, excepting a couple of paragraphs of mostly quoted material, pretty much completely trashes Clinton and her supporters.

One would think that now would be a time to (a) revel in the fact that Obama is the candidate and (b) have a bit of class about Hillary's accomplishments, which, whether you are willing to write it in your own words or not, are pretty sigificant.

I would never deny that racism has been a factor in the campaign, but I have to point out that Obama didn't have to look out into a crowd and see signs saying "pick some cotton and make me a shirt," which I guess would be the equivilent of the "Iron my shirt" signs at Hillary rallies. Hillary looked at those signs, presumably rolled her eyes, and went right back to campaigning. Good for her.

The sexism was so blatant, and so annoying, that it got me more emotionally invested in a primary than I ever remember being. I still honestly think Richardson was a better candidate than Hillary. (To say nothing of Obama, who has the foreign policy experience of the president of a junior high chess club.) But I saw Chris Matthews and I saw John Edwards and I saw how my own friends jumped on any sign of Hillary's weakness like Sherlock Holmes searching for the big clue and it made me mad.

This campaign was just amazingly tough. I could not have stood it and I don't know that Obama supporters who were watching it all through that hermeneutic have or could completely get it. I have literally never heard the N-word applied to Obama. But the C-word was ON T-SHIRTS.

And she almost made it.

She, a woman, ran as the establishment candidate, the symbol of the party insider, and it almost worked. She chose women for her senior staff, and her tenacity, intelligence and general badassedness was a better response to John Edwards' "we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business" garbage than the most gifted public speaker could have crafted

88 percent of Americans now agree with the statement “I am glad to see a woman as a serious contender for president.”

Ok, ok, Obama fans. You won. Call off your dogs, or at least sick them on McCain. Leave Hillary's "diseased campaign corpse," as MIM so poetically writes, to those of us who see something in it worth mourning.

And seriously, fuck off.


*Yes, I'm still mad about that. Because John Edwards uses emotion so blatantly in his own campaigns but is so excited to pull out the knives whem a women does the same thing. And he criticizes Hillary's outfits. My impression is that he was so scarred by the Republicans calling him "Breck Girl" that he has to go out of his way to prove what a big man he is by being a pig.

I'll give the last word to Pat Schroeder, who is more rational on the subject than I am, "When people say they don't want anyone's finger on the button who cries, I say I don't want anyone's finger there who doesn't cry."

CLARIFICATION: Obviously, I'm not talking about every Obama supporter here. But I have recently heard the "Just because I've had nothing but nastiness to say about your candidate for the last six months doesn't mean you have any right to not embrace mine immediately" sentiment several times recently and it really strikes a nerve.

Could there at least be a week or so between "You're delusional/racist/stupid for supporting Hillary" and "How can you call yourself a Democrat if you don't adore Obama?"

I mean even if there are lots of Hillary supporters who don't feel inclined to vote for Obama right now, is that really such a shock given the way some of the Obama supporters are acting even in the face of their candidate's victory?

I promise you, come November, a lot of these wounds will be healed and a tremendous majority of Hillary supporters will go to the polls for Obama. But for now, have one percent of the grace in victory that you're expecting from Hillary in defeat and shut up.


Scott said...

I do get your frustration - some Obama supporters (and plenty others) can be more gracious.

But I want to say, for as disgustingly wrong it is for "Iron my shirt," etc. - I was threatened as I tried to get people to vote for Obama. I was called a N*lover, and so on. While the sexism she faced seemed to not take her seriously, it didn't seem to advocate harm for her/her husband.

The threats have been there (especially towards the Senator and his family) but they weren't as talked about because it's a very very touchy subject. Just don't forget that there's plenty in the world that remains unseen.

Stephanie said...

Brava, CC. I totally agree.

I found this primary excruciating to watch.

Chalicechick said...

Fair enough, and I have admittedly heard stories like yours. If it helps, people said some pretty awful things to me when I was working for Kerry, too.

That said, I think the fact that the racism was directed towards Obama supporters was largely one-on-one, while a whole lot of the sexism was happening on CNN, speaks for itself.


Anonymous said...

Wait one Minute CC:
The racism wasn't just one on one.

Hillary made that hard working whites vs black voters comment. And she brought up the specter of Assination; a terror Hillary did not ever seriously face, a terror many African Americans feel whenever someone black steps out to lead.

Do you remember the gun sight put on Obama? I don't remember one done for your girl.

I also don't remember openly sexist things said by Democratic Insiders that were similar to Christian and Ferraro.

Gracious? I you might need to spend a little more time looking the mirror.

What surprises me is the level of barely controlled racism amongst some white women out there. If Hillary had won there would be no graciousness; the fact that so many white women from her campaign are angry because African Americans are celbrating this step reveals that.

Hillary didn't even have the decency to give a concession speech. Tell me, when will you measure your white gal pal by Obama's standards?

epilonious said...

Wow... Anonymous is a case study for why Obama supporters get a bad rap.

Otherwise, I love your thoughts on this. I have quoted you anonymously in the places where I just couldn't describe why I was so angry with the way I was being treated

Anonymous said...

I can truly understand your frustration.

I wonder how much of this has to do with geography. On the coasts I think you all saw a different campaign than we did here in the Midwest. Because being here in the midwest and being an Obama supporter got you comments like "Don't you know it's her time?" and "I can't trust somebody with the name Hussein. He's a Muslim you know."

I do think most of the media was ridiculous in regards to the way they played gender in this whole process. I don't think they did race any better either. I think what this shows is that we need both more women and more people of color in charge in more newsrooms.

This is just off the top of my head; I hope it was understandable.

Chalicechick said...

I do hear you, Kim.

And thank you.


Anonymous said...

I have been out of the working world and nestled in my cocoon of a home and family life, that I have been oblivious to much of this. I had no real sense of how vicious any of this was until I joined a mommy board just a few days ago and WOW. That opened my eyes (and then made me wince). To be honest, however, the worst stuff I've seen is directed at Obama - last I heard, he not only refuses to salute the American flag, but he also BURNS them; he is a closeted Muslim; he is a terrorist; and he wants God to damn America. Oh, and he thinks there are 58 states. ??? I've had to ask a couple of moms to stop getting their news from chain emails. I think I missed all of the horrific Hillary slander now that she's out of the race.

I don't know why people have to be irrational in their support for a candidate. My parents have an Obama sign and did canvassing for him, and I've never heard them say anything derogatory about Hillary. Like you, I don't get the intensity of hate. Hey, maybe I should coin that as a campaign slogan ....

PG said...

I agree that lots of Republicans are not happy about John McCain, but I haven't heard any of them suggesting that they had an alternative candidate who would do much better against the Dems. I've only heard that some of the other candidates were better conservatives. Essentially the Republicans have sacrificed some conservative principles -- in particular, the majority of the party's stance on immigration -- in order to have a candidate who has a chance of appealing to moderate voters.

It's sad that so many of Obama's supporters can't emulate his effort to be gracious to Sen. Clinton, which I think he mostly has been -- indeed, to the point of being criticized by David Broder in the Post today for coming off as weak and retreating.

The Obama campaign has tried to be strong in the face of adversity as well. I'm signed up with the campaign, spent a few day in PA helping them, and I heard absolutely nothing about these incidents until I was reading about them in the Washington Post. The idea that the racism was just "one on one," when campaign offices were being vandalized and threatened with bombs, seems inaccurate. And the campaign did its best to avoid having this become part of the news, because they didn't want to be seen as complaining about racism.

To say nothing of Obama, who has the foreign policy experience of the president of a junior high chess club.

Your junior high chess club president sat on the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, chaired the Subcommittee on European Affairs and successfully pushed legislation on arms reduction and the Congo? I knew I was in a bad public education system, but I didn't know we'd been left that far behind.

Chalicechick said...


Ok, I'm going to let you have the last word on the Foreign policy experience. I shouldn't have written what I did. Whatever criticisms I have of him, Obama's the guy and this is his moment.

I didn't say the racism was just one-on-one. I said it was MOSTLY one-on-one. Yes, there was the bomb threat thing, which is not to say that bomb threats and vandalism of campaign offices is terribly unusual. But MOSTLY, the racism stories have been "I was knocking on doors for Obama and somebody made racist comments to me."

That is bad. It really sucks. But it's not nearly so blatant as the sexism I was talking about. This isn't, for example, a guy asking McCain "How do we beat the Bitch?" in front of hundreds of people and McCain going straight into his answer as if referring to Hillary this way were the most natural thing in the world.

Do you honestly think that if the question had been even "How do we beat the black guy?"* it would have played out that way?

Racism against Obama is at least socially unacceptable enough that people are doing it in private. Sexism against Hillary is accepted part of the political discourse.


*To say nothing of ending the question with a more insulting term...

Chalicechick said...

Ok, I wrote "largely" one-on-one, not "mostly' one-on-one, but the general point stands.


Chalicechick said...

Oh, and...

I agree that lots of Republicans are not happy about John McCain, but I haven't heard any of them suggesting that they had an alternative candidate who would do much better against the Dems.

I have heard "Moderates are well and good, but the democrats will make sure everybody knows McCain isn't THAT moderate. Furthermore, Bush can credit his wins to energizing the party base, something McCain is unlikely to be able to do."

This argument tends to come from Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney fans.


alkali said...

It struck me that on one hand, the sexism that the Clinton campaign had to deal with was everywhere in the media because the sexism wasn't treated as a serious problem, and on the other hand, the racism that the Obama campaign had to deal with was virtually ignored in the media because the stories were deemed too ugly.

To pick one example, the story about Roger Stone's selling T-shirts that labeled Clinton a "c**t" got a lot of coverage along the lines of, "Ho ho, that Roger Stone's an irrepressible scamp." At the same time, it took quite some time for the media to actually notice that the reason that Obama was getting thrashed in some areas was not the fine points of his health care policy, but rather the fact that some voters were very clear that they would never vote for a "n****r."

None of it makes you feel very good, to be sure.

PG said...

I do agree that sexism is much more socially acceptable than racism. Or as someone put it when in an Unfogged thread I asked what was the most insulting term to use to a white person, "That would be 'racist.'"

Furthermore, Bush can credit his wins to energizing the party base, something McCain is unlikely to be able to do.

I'm not sure which bit of the base this would be. McCain is fairly solid among the social conservatives due to his strong anti-choice stance on abortion. He's not quite as vitriolic on same-sex marriage as the latest incarnation of Romney, but he's no less conservative on it than Thompson was (i.e. the "let the states decide" position).

Bill Baar said...

Re Foreign Policy... he sure sat on the committee and did darn little... I had high hopes for him when he picked Powers as his staffer and was disappointmented with what little he did...

Check Rolf Beste in Der Spiegel on how Obama's kept a closed door to Europe. It's very different than what Obama says... and I think the multiple Obama's are going to become more well known as this campaign goes on...

McCain is not an unknown quantity in Germany, either. As a dyed in the wool trans-Atlanticist, he regularly participates in the annual Munich Security Conference. The senator has a reputation there for his sharp attacks against German politicians -- his fits of rage are feared and his political positions are known because of the numerous debates he has taken part in.

Obama, though, is less known. The best even the most dialled-in US experts in Berlin have managed is a handshake with the senator. He routinely denies requests from members of the German parliament to visit with him in Washington. Most of the information they have on Obama comes either from YouTube films or the papers. "Obama has no relationship with Europe whatsoever," said Hans-Ulrich Klose, the foreign policy spokesman for the center-left Social Democrats.

We're an immigrant town in Chicago, but once here, we pretty much think local and don't care much about the rest of the world... unless they want to invest here. Obama's been totally Chicago in that sense.

Anonymous said...

She, a woman, ran as the establishment candidate, the symbol of the party insider, and it almost worked.

As far as I am concerned, that is why she lost.
She didn't lose by much though -- if Obama and his charisma hadn't appeared at this time, she would probably have won. she has helped women.
I still don't like her politics. but Obama isn't much better.
I think it's really sad that so many people seem to be turned off to candidates by the behavior of the followers. There's always gonna be some weird people among the followers.

PG said...

As ever, nice selective quotation by Bill Baar, from an article that begins by describing how impressed Germany's foreign minister was by Obama when they spoke recently: The American may be deep in the midst of a campaign, but members of Steinmeier's entourage told SPIEGEL that Obama's foreign policy questions were very engaged, and he peppered his conversation with questions about the German foreign minister's views on Russia, Iran and Afghanistan.

But what's the big deal about having Germany's foreign minister excited to work with you if you aren't meeting with "the most dialled-in US experts"?

Bill Baar said...


The point is the FM is the only guy who's met Obama.. so whether he's impressed or not.. Obama's kept a closed door to most everyone else.

It's a very odd thing for a Senator I voted for mostly because of his neo-Libeal FP views.

Like much wiht Obama, there is the talk.. and there is the action...

PeaceBang said...

CC, props for even bothering to respond to Anonymous. Excellent post, too. I'm an Obama Mama, but I was blown away by the Hillary-hating during the campaign. Just irrational Vagina Dentata stuff, like really crazy.

Bill Baar said...

CC.. Chicago Democratic Politics is a male world... the boys in a world all there own... when you here a guy Obama's age call a women sweetie you know you've hit a fellow in a time warp.

Chalicechick said...

Yeah, I actually am not particularly annoyed with the "Sweetie" bit except in the context of everything else that has gone sexism-wise in this campaign.

But I did think "sweetie" was a weird thing to say in 2008. I mean, dude, what are you? Humphrey Bogart?