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Saturday, August 23, 2008

OK, so you don't like the Biden pick. So what are you going to do?
Posted by Jill | 8:35 PM
Aside from the Hillarions, who are going to take their dollies and dishes and go home and sulk, and let John McCain pick two Supreme Court justices who are going to make sure that their bodies, and the bodies of their daughters, belong to the Federal government, I wonder who the people pissing and moaning about the Biden selection would rather see on the ticket.

I've just about given up on the Hillarions. It's kind of sad to see the 1970's brand of white, middle-class,focused-on-trivia feminism not only still alive and well, but wrapping its tentacles around the psyches of young women -- because it isn't all middle-aged women screaming that Their Girl Got Done Wrong.

I'm not saying that sexism isn't rampant in our society, because it is. I'm not saying that the coverage of Hillary Clinton wasn't repulsive and sexist and demeaning, because it was. And it is. And it will continue to be. And the demonization of Hillary, with its all-too-revealing invention of Hillary-leg nutcrackers and other emblems of male fear, is not something that would have gone away had she been the nominee for either president OR vice-president. But this elevation of Hillary Clinton to Feminist Icon and Saint has always baffled me, as has the notion that somehow sexism would have disappeared forever if we only had Hillary in the White House.

I look at the comments sections on blogs and I see not just women, but supporters of other candidates, considering voting for Ralph Nader, or staying home, because they feel it just doesn't matter anymore. But isn't this exactly what got us into trouble in 2000? This notion that there was no difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore? Can anyone really say that we would be exactly where we were now if Al Gore had been president?

Barack Obama is hardly a progressive dream candidate. From his first day in the Senate, he's been cautious and careful -- a conciliator rather than a fighter. Joe Biden is a fighter, but he's also a guy who played softball in the Clarence Thomas hearings and has voted the interest of MBNA over the interest of regular Americans. But I'm sorry folks -- Dennis Kucinich is not going to be the president. Neither is Bernie Sanders. Neither is Barney Frank. That's reality.

Both parties are like baseball teams that's full of overpaid veterans past their prime, who used to be able to hit home runs and now can barely manage singles, because they just don't care. They get their fat salaries, and so they can get away with just showing up for work. What teams with these guys usually need is some young kids coming up from the farm system in September -- kids who really want to make it to the Show, and so they play their hearts out.

The Democratic and Republican parties are full of these overpaid veterans. In our party it's people like Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi and the Blue Dogs who gave George W. Bush everything he wanted because they lacked the courage to do what's right. Or we have guys like Heath Shuler -- wingnuts in Democrats' clothing who are there because Chuck Schumer doesn't care what you believe, as long as you have a (D) after your name.

As I've written before, Joe Biden is as big a hack as we've seen on a national ticket. I don't expect Barack Obama, with his insistence that you can reach across the aisle to Republicans, and Senator MBNA, to turn this country into a progressive utopia.

But I would tell those people who think people like me are just rubbing their noses into Roe v. Wade as a weapon to think back, if you're old enough to the days before Roe, when you could get an abortion, but it was illegal and you had no idea if the person doing it knew what he or she was doing. And it made an unwanted pregnancy even scarier. If you aren't old enough, think about your daughter going to the local health clinic to get birth control and having the gum-chewing receptionist refuse to give her an appointment because this little twit at the desk doesn't believe in birth control. Because if you allow John McCain to become president, whether by voting for him or sitting home and sulking, that's what's going to happen. So is a military draft. Because in John McCain's world, anyone who looks at you crosswise gets war declared on them. And he's going to need cannon fodder to fight those wars. So is the continued bankruptcy of this country. Because John McCain, with his seven homes and his $500 shoes and his heiress wife feel that they and their friends need more money shoved into their bulging wallets via tax cuts. And if that means your kids' school is run-down, or there are potholes a foot deep in the road on which you drive to work, too bad for you. Because Cindy McCain needs a new Lexus.

I voted in my first presidential election in 1976. I have voted in eight presidential elections. Only in one of them -- in 1996 -- did I make an affirmative vote for the re-election of Bill Clinton. In 1992 I voted for Clinton, but regarded him as "a grinning, glad-handing sack of shit." Every four years, I watch as the candidate I support gets knocked out early in the race and I end up voting for someone whom I either despise or in whom I have little confidence. But every four years I do it because the alternative is just too terrible to even contemplate.

So if you're unhappy about our Democratic ticket, go ahead and stay home. Let John McCain become president. But do it with your eyes open about the consequences, and please just do one more thing: Help rebuild our "farm system." Work to elect better Democrats to office. Give money to people like Darcy Burner and Donna Edwards and Dennis Shulman and Andrew Rice and Scott Kleeb. And just maybe, before we all leave this God-forsaken level of reality, we can stop elevating war hawks and corporatists to sainthood just because we have no other choice.

But until then, this disaffected Democrat is going to show up with all the enthusiasm I can muster for Obama/Biden in November. Because the alternative is just too terrible to even contemplate.


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Blogger Rhode Island Rules said...
Also for all the Hillary supporters out there. Please don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Don't vote against your own economic interest.

More than anything I think as much as people liked Hillary (as I did more and more after seeing her in the debates) no one wanted a monarchy of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton in this country.

Hillary was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's all.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Please don't confuse Hillary supportrs with radical feminists of the grassroots. Hillary bellieves in women's rights. As a radical feminist in Washington
DC during the first 4 yrs of the Clinton years, she did not reach out to us th way that Jimmy Carter reached out to environmentalists.Don't blame we long time feminists for the Hillary obsession.

Her people are staid Democrats--not abortion activitsts, not die hard election workers.

Good post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I would rather see General Wesley Clark as Obama's VP.

Smart guy, plenty of foreign policy and executive experience.

Biden is old, a loose cannon and represents the old Washington that Obama promised to change.

Blogger Jill said...
CRB, I never thought I'd live to see the day that you would be supporting not just the netroots pick for president, but also their pick for the #2 spot. :)

I liked Clark too, but I think when he worded a very legitimate observation very badly -- that being shot down is not a qualification for the presidency -- he knocked himself out of consideration. Fair or not, that's what happened.

I think before all is said and done, Clark will turn out to have been just ahead of his time. Because even die-hard McCain supporters like Chris Matthews are starting to realize that playing the POW card is a cheap way of trying to play on people's guilt about Vietnam to make them give you the presidency out of some sense of entitlement.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Building the farm system. I like the way you said this. In the case of Obama, there's no question I'll vote for him. I still don't understand friends who seem to think there's nothing wrong with McCain. He's all but smearing it in our faces. He's another arrogant, abusive, dismissive bully. But I have friends who calmly say, "Well, I just don't trust Obama, so I guess I'll vote for McCain." You can attempt to drill down, to ask them how their beliefs square with what he says he'll do, or won't do, and still they won't wake up.

I'm voting for careful instead of craven. I'm going on personality. Hell, I'm going on astrological signs! I don't see Obama as mean or one who cracks easily. I see patient persistence, and once Congess oozes back into seesion in 2009, this persistence might pay off.

We're really on a knife's edge here. Either he'll command some loyalty to get a solid voting block to leave behind the damage we've seen, or he'll be frozen in place. Right now, I can't think about frozen.

I can't summon any anger or sympathy for Clinton. She was beat up by the media, but Obama has received equal helpings. And when she wasn't taking it on the chin, she was shoveling it for the opposition. I won't forgive that. She had a choice. One of her favorite words. Chris Matthews will be a navel-gazing jerk even on the day he's buried, but Clinton had a choice and showed her true colors. There is a difference between patient persistence and arrogance. She could have pulled the plug on Mark Penn. She didn't.

She likes to describe her brand of feminism as being all about choices. Her choices may well take choice away from other women.

Blogger Distributorcap said...
you are so on Jill

problem is i dont see a real farm team -- the corporatists are always going to win out, because even tho that start with good intentions, end up seeing that trail of money.

i like biden despite his being Senator Bank --- we havent had a loose cannon (in a good way) in a long time - and i think that is good - you cannot have everything. no matter who mcloser picks, he will be more of the same -- and i think a biden can actually make a difference this time -- something i never believe.

as for the hillbots like my mother, everyday i send her an email that starts "supreme court" --- it is working. and she lives in florida where he votes count, not in NY where mine is already a done deal

Blogger libhom said...
Your post misses the most substantial objection to voting Democratic in 2008. There has been a terrible pattern in the Democratic Party since 1992 of nominating politicians who are rotten, though not as bad as the Republicans.

The Democratic Party has been abusive and exploitive towards liberals and progressives for more than a decade and a half. If we keep letting the party insiders get away with abusing us, they will continue to do so.

If you are going to condemn voting for McKinney, (you seem to be doing this by implication) which has the long term benefit of building a real, second political party, then it is your responsibility to propose an alternative strategy to make sure that a corrupt, bloodthirsty, warmonger like Biden never gets on a Democratic ticket again.

Blogger Unknown said...
Can anyone really say that we would be exactly where we were now if Al Gore had been president?-If Al had carried his OWN STATE, we would not be having this discussion.

Also, to put people down for how or who they vote for is just wrong...it is a fundamental part of our Democracy..voting for whomever you think can do the job, or lodging a protest at the choices given us.

I won't be voting for McMansion, but I don't see anything that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling for the Big O either, his FISA vote, his stance now on NAFTA and a host of other things that bug the bejesus out of me. So this year it will be Scooter Lee-my old fat feline. ;p

Besides staying home IS stupid...there are usually other things on the damn ballot besides Pres and VP for crying out loud.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think the PUMA vote is largely a joke and nothing but Republican dirty tricks. I don't think there are more than a hundred of them frankly. This is all just lazy media journalism which we have become soooo accustomed to. Good post. I said as much today, with less good writing than you!