Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I'd Rather Vote for Chisholm

I won't claim to be an expert on the 2008 election, or the candidates. I dislike Edwards, Obama and Hillary less than I dislike all of the other candidates.

Wait a minute. Edwards, Obama, and Hillary...hmmm...something sounds wrong here...

Well, anyway, as a non-expert, I'm in no position to figure out why Barack Obama won in Iowa, and/or why Hillary Clinton didn't. That's why I'm bringing in a much more experienced politician, Shirley Chisholm, to explain things.

Unfortunately, Chisholm died in 2005, so we'll have to rely on her quotes.

"I've always faced more discrimination for being a woman than for being black."

Oh. Hm.

So, why "Hillary 08?" Why not "Clinton 08," or "Hillary Clinton 08?"

I know Hillary is trying to distinguish herself from Bill, but George W. Bush didn't seem to worry about being distinct from Bush Sr. (and in both 2000 and 2008, the candidates with the surnames of former presidents have run eight years after their predecessors left office). In fact, Al Gore's decision to distinguish himself from Bill in 2000 is now widely regarded as a political mistake. I concede that father-son, husband-wife and President-VP are each a very different type of relationship. But I don't buy that this is only about being distinct from Bill - it's about rampant sexism in American politics, which Hillary's campaign has regrettably participated in.

Some may recall Segolene Royal's failed presidential bid in France. I don't recall much about it, other than that I read a column on it by Maureen Dowd called "La Campagne, C'est moi," linked below.

Ever Thus to Female Politicians Complicit with Sexism


Chen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chen said...

(Made an edit on the previous comment.)

I wish that the reason she chose Hillary over her last name is because she wants her last name to be "Rodham Clinton" and it's too long to be a snappy poster. It would rest uneasily with me if she didn't recognize her maiden name. I mean, she does it use it officially, but colloquially people more often call her "Mrs. (or Senator) Clinton" than "Mrs. Rodham Clinton".

Segolene's campaign was a big deal for a while. It looked like for a while that she was going to win but as the election got closer, Sarkozy suddenly emerged.

To extend the comparison to Hillary Clinton, Segolene at the time of her campaign was the partner of Francois Mitterand, the leader of the Socialist party that she also belongs to.

Hm. Maureen Dowd. I only started reading The New York Times in the last couple of years and my opinion of her style is a hit or miss with me.

Admittingly, it's difficult to mix wit and intelligence. As one of two female Times columnists out of a board of 10, she can't help but represent women. Dowd's (in)famous snarky voice sometimes comes off to me as a moody tirade that Sarko accused Segolene of having. While trying to be witty, she cariacturizes -- yeah, I made that word up -- the people she writes about and in turns makes her seem dumber, as if she can only notice things like description of the little sandwiches that opened the column you linked to.