Let's See What You've Got, Babe
You know, I'm perfectly willing to say that Hillary shouldn't "play the gender card." It's just not right.
Chris Matthews puts it best, I think:
MATTHEWS: Another thing Russert pointed out the other night. If you're running on your record as first lady, let's see the records, babe. Let's see them. Lets see what you're bragging about here and then to say, that's not my decision, that's not a first lady's decision, that's my husband's decision, what?
You can't keep playing this "I'm a little girl" thing, and "my husband makes all the decisions" if you're running for president.
So true. And now I will be eagerly looking forward to him and the rest of the commentators calling out the entire Republican field for also playing the "gender" card as they've been doing for the past few decades. Indeed, the entire Republican campaign strategy can be said to be one big gender card --- the only people they believe matter in this country are delicate, insecure creatures who are so sensitive that they have to be pampered and pandered to like a bunch of overfed princes who like to play cowboy and don't want to share their favorite binky.
Every presidential candidate, and most other politicians, since 1980, have been bowing and scraping before this constituency. But for some reason, the hunting trips and codpieces and brush clearing and all that metaphorical crotch measuring isn't considered playing "the gender card." It's just considered the normal political pander to an aggrieved minority vote: the poor white males who've been treated terribly by all those powerful women and minorities and gays. What could be wrong with that?
I'm sorry, but this is truly sexist crap. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are out there one upping each other on who will be the most macho sadists among the crowd of warring GOP thugs. Hillary goes to her alma mater and says that her education at the women's college prepared her to do battle with the political boys club and the gasbags' eyes roll back in their heads and they start drooling and whining that she's broken the rules.
Well boo fucking hoo. The rules are changing. Get used to it.
Half of this country is female and they've noticed, in case these manly men haven't, that presidential politics is a very exclusive a boys club and we don't find it all that odd to mention it. Certainly, if it's ok for politicians to literally walk around with a codpiece to show their masculine bona fides, I don't think it's out of line for a female candidate to speak to a younger generation of women at her college and take a little bit of pride in the institution and her own accomplishments --- since she does happen to be the first serious female contender for president in the whole history of the country. Excuse me for thinking she has the damned right to do it.
All these squirming little fools who talk about how they have to "cross their legs" whenever they hear her voice, or hallucinate that she's "acting like a little girl" or any of a dozen other ridiculous, sexist responses to Clinton are revealing far more about themselves than they are about her. If anyone's playing the gender card it's them --- and it's a picture of a quivering little boy crying in the corner because he doesn't want to share his toys with a girl. Tough. Eat some pork rinds and stfu.
Update: Just for a little flavor of the Matthews hysteria:
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the Wellesly speech?
KLEIN: If she does it again, if she goes somewhere that isn‘t her Wellesly, isn‘t her own college, where she‘s whipping up students, and begins making this the issue in her campaign, I think then that will backfire terribly. This is one line.
MATTHEWS: No, no, no. Let‘s go to the jukebox, go back a bit. Remember where she said—she‘s made comments like this before about the woman thing. She does this. This is not the first time. She does this.
CILLIZZA: Chris, I do think one potential problem for her is she‘s trying to both at the same time be somewhat of a victim, in that these men ganged up on her—
MATTHEWS: What gives me experience of dealing with evil men; come on, what was that about?
KLEIN: She does try to play a solidarity card. I think it‘s always smart for her to do so. Hillary Clinton gets that she‘s got to solidify women to go against --
MATTHEWS: It works in the Democratic primaries because 60 percent of the participants are women in the caucuses. Will it backfire in the general? I think it‘s the first time in the campaign she‘s traded general election votes for primary votes and she‘s so far ahead. I don‘t know why she‘s doing it. We‘ll be back with the round table. I seem to be the odd man out here—the odd person out I should say. You‘re watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with the round table. Carla Marinucci, I was just triggered into thinking about the number of times Hillary Clinton has yielded herself to this gender card; I‘m your girl out in Chicago. What gives me experience in dealing with evil men, and now this one, rallying the troops up at Wellesly. Is she going to do a seven sisters tour now, a college tour now with Hillary to rally the women against the men?
MARINUCCI: Listen, the men have come after her too, Chris. Let‘s remember Rudy Giuliani last week, talking about what has she really done, what experience does she have to be president? She doesn‘t have my kind of executive experience. I‘m sorry, but that sounded like a Ward Cleaver (ph), 1950‘s guy coming home after work with the woman with five kids and saying what have you done all day?
MATTHEWS: Where did you learn these lines? Marinucci, you‘re too young to know the 1950‘s. How do you know them? That‘s my dad. My mother had to hide the magazines that she read that day from my dad. I think that‘s so great.
MARINUCCI: That‘s what I‘m talking about, Chris. That‘s what I‘m talking about. Women hear that and that‘s why this whole thing is working for her right now.
MATTHEWS: I love that stuff. Anyway, what do you think? Suppose one of the guys says, why don‘t we all get together, guys, and let‘s vote guy.
KLEIN: I‘m pretty sure—
MATTHEWS: Imagine one of them saying, let‘s vote guy this year.
KLEIN: Thompson is running on the fact that he‘s a very tall man.
MATTHEWS: Who did that?
KLEIN: Thompson did. I think it‘s his campaign platform. He‘s not only male, but over six feet tall.
MATTHEWS: Did he bring that up?
KLEIN: Everything you see about Thompson says he‘s huge.
KLEIN: He‘s tall. He‘s big. He‘s manly. The guy‘s running—
MATTHEWS: I think that was my problem with John Stewart the other night, by the way. That‘s just a hunch. What do you think?
KLEIN: I think when Hillary says I‘m your girl, when she invokes her femininity, I think that‘s fine and it‘s good for women voters. If she made this—if she the attacks on me are unfair—
MATTHEWS: Like the boys have got their club house. We can‘t get in the boys‘ club tree house.
KLEIN: She‘s the only woman in this race. She‘s the first time we‘ve ever had a woman that may win.
MATTHEWS: Cillizza, what do you think? Is Hillary right to keep up this torrent of abuse against—just kidding. This torrent of feminism or is she smart to drop it after today? I say drop it. You made your point.
Sadly, this isn't just confined to Matthews. The village pooh-bahs and their enabling little TV harpies are all over this thing. (Kudos to Ezra Klein for being the only voice of sanity in that ridiculous exchange. And you've got to love Matthews view that his "problem" with Jon Stewart is that he's so tall. What a putz.)
I've got no problem with attacking Clinton on her voting record or her policies and I even think it's ok for Obama to make this a line of attack if he wants to take that chance. You know the Republicans will. But the Village blowhards are the ones taking the lead on this and those fools have no standing to play this game. They are a bunch of elitist little pricks whose influence is poisonous to our body politic. It's hard to see anything more antithetical to our democracy than this little fraternity of nitwits in charge of the political conversation.
Update II: Thank goodness for liberal men.