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Monday, February 25, 2008

Re: Cool It In Ohio

posted by on February 25 at 12:45 PM

I’m not even going to address Josh’s WTO-as-EPA analogy, because we’ve been arguing about that for, oh, about 47 years now.

But I do have to take issue with his description of Maureen Dowd’s column calling Obama feminine and Hillary masculine as “smart analysis.”

For context, here’s Dowd:

And when historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival. …

At first in Austin, Hillary did not channel Jane Austen. She tried once more to cast Obama as a weak sister on his willingness to talk to Raúl Castro.

Obama tapped into his inner chick and turned the other cheek. To cheers, he said, “I think that it’s important for us, in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, for the president to be willing to take that extra step.”

Hillary tried to rough up Obama on copying his pal’s language even as she copied her husband’s line from 1992: “The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits that the people in this state and this country are taking every day of their lives under this administration.”

While Obama looked at her warily, even fearfully, Hillary suddenly switched to her feminine side. Getting New Hampshire misty, she said she was “absolutely honored” to be there with him and that “whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.” (Her campaign defended the originality of the John Edwardsian sentiment, saying it had even been expressed by the likes of Lindsay Lohan). The press hailed the moment as heartfelt, but it was simply Hillary’s calculated attempt to woo women and protect her future in the party — by seeming more collegial. She’s furious that the Chicago kid got in the picture.

Hmmm… Why does this sound so familiar? Oh, this must be it:

She won her Senate seat after being embarrassed by a man. She pulled out New Hampshire and saved her presidential campaign after being embarrassed by another man. She was seen as so controlling when she ran for the Senate that she had to be seen as losing control, as she did during the Monica scandal, before she seemed soft enough to attract many New York voters…

How humiliating to have a moderator of the New Hampshire debate ask her to explain why she was not as popular as the handsome young prince from Chicago


Or this:

Again and again at debates, he looked eager to greet her or be friendly during the evening and she iced him. She might have frozen him out once more Monday night had he actually tried to reach out.

But Obama is the more emotionally delicate candidate, and the one who has the more feminine consensus management style, and the not-blinded-by-testosterone ability to object to a phony war.

Or this:

The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.

Mistress Hillary started disciplining her fellow senator last winter, after he began exploring a presidential bid. When he winked at her, took her elbow and tried to say hello on the Senate floor, she did not melt, as many women do. She brushed him off, a move meant to remind him that he was an upstart who should not get in the way of her turn in the Oval Office.

He was so shook up, he called a friend to say: You would not believe what just happened with Hillary.

She has continued to flick the whip in debates. She usually ignores Obama and John Edwards backstage, preferring to chat with the so-called second-tier candidates. And she often looks so unapproachable while they’re setting up on stage that Obama seems hesitant to be the first to say hi.

Or this:

When pundettes tut-tut that playing the victim is not what a feminist should do, they forget that Hillary is not a feminist. If she were merely some clichéd version of a women’s rights advocate, she never could have so effortlessly blown off Marian Wright Edelman and Lani Guinier when Bill first got in, or played the Fury with Bill’s cupcakes during the campaign.

She was always kind enough to let Bill hide behind her skirts when he got in trouble with women. Now she deserves to hide behind her own pantsuits when men cause her trouble.

We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato.

Or this:

But maybe the qualities that many find off-putting in Hillary — her opportunism, her triangulation, her ethical corner-cutting, her shifting convictions from pro-war to anti-war, her secrecy, her ruthlessness — are the same ones that make people willing to vote for a woman.

Few are concerned that Hillary is strong enough for the job. She is cold-eyed about wanting power and raising money and turning everything about her life into a commodity. Yet, the characteristics that are somewhat troubling are the same ones that convincingly show she will do what it takes to beat Obama and Rudy. She will not be soft or vulnerable. She will not melt in a crisis.

And, unlike Obama, she doesn’t need to talk herself into manning up.

Or this:

When Hillary voted to let W. use force in Iraq, she didn’t even read the intelligence estimate. She wasn’t trying to do the right thing. She was trying to do the opportunistic thing. She felt she could not run for president, as a woman, if she played the peacenik.

By throwing in with Joe Lieberman and the conservative hawks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issue, she once more overcompensated in a cynical way. She’d like to paint Obama as the weak reed who wants to cozy up to dictators, while she’s the one who will play tough. It was odd, given her success in the debates conveying the sense that she is the manliest candidate among the Democrats, that she felt the need to man-up on Iran.

Or this (imagining a conversation between Bill and Hillary):

Her voice softening, she asks, “Do you know what your First Lad project will be?”

“ ‘Just Say Yes?’ ” he proffers. Going back to his crossword puzzle, he asks, “Do you know an eight-letter word for `loving wife?’ ”

“Overlord,” she replies, smiling lovingly.

Or this:

Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband — under fire for lacking experience — as an undisciplined child.”

Or this:

I’m just not certain, having watched the fresh-faced senator shy away from fighting with the feral Hillary over her Hollywood turf, that he understands that a campaign is inherently a conflict.

The Democrats lost the last two excruciatingly close elections because Al Gore and John Kerry did not fight fiercely and cleverly enough.

After David Geffen made critical comments about Hillary, she seized the chance to play Godzilla stomping on Obambi.

As a woman, she clearly feels she must be aggressive in showing she can “deck” opponents, as she put it — whether it’s Saddam with her war resolution vote or Senator Obama when he encroaches on areas that she and Bill had presumed were wrapped up, like Hollywood and now the black vote.

If Hillary is in touch with her masculine side, Barry is in touch with his feminine side.

Or this:

When she was little, Hillary Rodham would sit on a basement bench and pretend she was flying a spaceship to Mars. Her younger brother Hugh, perched behind, would sometimes beg for a chance to be captain.

No dice. “She would always drive, and I would always have to sit in the back,” he once told me.

Through all the years of sitting behind Bill Clinton on his trip to the stars, Hillary fidgeted and elbowed, trying to be co-captain rather than just wingman, or worse, winglady.

In Iowa, her national anthem may have been off-key, but her look wasn’t. It was an attractive mirror of her political message: man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity.

For Maureen Dowd, politics is a lunchroom battle played on the national field. Tough girls like Hillary are mannish bullies, and boys who show their emotional side are wimpy, skirt-hiding girly-men. You get the sense that she really, really can’t get over the time that cute jock turned her down for Sadie Hawkins in 11th grade.

RSS icon Comments


Allow me to paraphrase: WAAAH!

Posted by A Non Imus | February 25, 2008 12:43 PM

Oh, please. Dowd never had prayer with any of the jocks. Not even the tennis team.

Posted by Fnarf | February 25, 2008 12:44 PM

Here we go again...

Posted by Andrew | February 25, 2008 12:46 PM

This is a new and interesting topic.

Posted by CodyBolt | February 25, 2008 12:47 PM

Who likes Maureen Dowd? I find her practically insufferable.

Posted by Aislinn | February 25, 2008 12:51 PM


Posted by Jeff | February 25, 2008 12:51 PM

If Dowd wasn't a woman, we wouldn't have to parse her writing this closely.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 25, 2008 12:54 PM

constructive criticism for ECB~

i immediately stop reading any post of yours if it is more than 2 paragraphs long. not because i disagree with you or that you aren't a good writer, but because it just your post is too damn long. it becomes a rant that i have no time nor desire to fill my day with.

keep it short!

Posted by ddv | February 25, 2008 12:58 PM

You would think Dowd would get tired of writing the same drivel again and again. It's like some days she has nothing new to say so she just goes back to these lame assertions.

Posted by Mike in Iowa | February 25, 2008 1:00 PM

geeks created jumps for a reason...

Posted by gnossos | February 25, 2008 1:01 PM

I think this says it all.

Posted by unPC = ECB | February 25, 2008 1:06 PM

Rock on.

Posted by sara | February 25, 2008 1:09 PM

maureen dowd still hasn't forgiven hillary for her alleged hand in trashing the women who accused bill of sexual harassment. so she channels her feminist rage into deranged, misogynistic attacks on hillary. go figure.

Posted by brandon | February 25, 2008 1:12 PM

Maureen Dowd is just dumb. Dumb, dumb,dumb. And completely insufferable when she's on Meet The Press. Ugh!

Posted by chris | February 25, 2008 1:13 PM

no matter how much i like and respect and admire hillary, it will be a mistake to let her have the nominatyion. she will cause so many people who might've voted for obama in the general election to vote for mccain instead--simply BECAUSE THEY DO NOT LIKE HER. it doesn't matter whether their dislike is unfounded. if they don't like a person, they won't for him/her. so giving her the nom would be just as bad for the dems (who i presume want to actually WIN the presidency this time) as it was for the prosecution when they got an LA trial jury for OJ.

(i suppose it's possible that the dems don't actually want to WIN the general election--they sure as hell have fucked up before. for christ's sake, how could you lose against BUSH JR?? and how could you lose against him in his RE-election bid?? i've heard some repubs say that it might be good for the repubs if they LOSE this time--since the next pres will inherit such a shitbowl situation. the next pres will have to try to get us out of a bad war, huge deficit, huge debt, recession, etc.)

Posted by glen keenan | February 25, 2008 1:14 PM

My lords this is a long post. Erica has been holding it in for weeks. I am almost tempted to read her whole post, but why bother when it is just another closet neo-con hit piece for Clinton. By the by, I wonder why the fixed election in New York for Clinton has never been mentioned on Slog, or the rest of the main stream media. Bloomburg, the Mayor of New York, said it was fixed. Makes me wonder what is going on in Ohio, and if those that dig Clinton’s pro war foreign policy are going to do themselves a favor. But if Slog Democrats focused on fixed elections, they could not blame Nader for the last 7 years.

Posted by Obamatron | February 25, 2008 1:14 PM

@15, you are right, the general election is not and never been about "best leader for the nation' It is about who you would rather hang out with and have a beer with.

Americans vote for cool and likeablity. And in that case McCain wins over Hillary. Sorry folks but that is the reality and the polling numbers reflect that reality.

Posted by Andrew | February 25, 2008 1:18 PM

or this, or this, or this, or this, etc etc etc etc barf

Posted by El Jefe | February 25, 2008 1:29 PM

wow...that went on longer than a medley of "Enchanted" songs and was just as unentertaining.

Posted by michael strangeways | February 25, 2008 1:30 PM

Though I agree that Maureen Dowd is often off-base in regards to gender politics, I actually agree with her point in this column. Obama most embodies the qualities I hoped we'd get from a woman president.

I don't care if my president is a man or a woman. I want a president who is brave enough to admit mistakes and reach out to enemies, and who will step away from the macho cowboy attitude that every president since Carter left office has adopted.

I think Obama is that person. Hillary is not.

Posted by Morgan | February 25, 2008 1:33 PM

Just like Project Runway, some time in the last year Maureen Dowd jumped the shark.

Posted by Big Sven | February 25, 2008 1:34 PM

The problem for the GOP and Hillary is that Obama is not just not effeminate, he is manly in a Ward Cleaver, Father-knows-best, kind of way.

The diry task for the GOP (and Hillary at this point, I guess) is not to paint him as effeminate, but rather to knock him off his pedestal and turn him into "an angry black man." I'm a little frightened about what the desperate right wing might be willing to do to try to elicit this response.

Posted by mirror | February 25, 2008 1:37 PM

@21 When was Maureen Dowd ever cool?

Posted by Morgan | February 25, 2008 1:40 PM

This post rocked! I am so tired of MDowd's unrelenting columns on feminism and Hillary et al. She takes a tone as though women actually appointed her to speak on our halves. Bullshit, Maureen.

Posted by INORIGHT? | February 25, 2008 1:43 PM

What a baby you are, Erica.

Posted by elenchos | February 25, 2008 1:47 PM
Obama most embodies the qualities I hoped we'd get from a woman president ... I want a president who is brave enough to admit mistakes and reach out to enemies, and who will step away from the macho cowboy attitude that every president since Carter left office has adopted.

I don't see why you'd think you are more likely to see this in a female president. It's not hard to read Hillary's hawkishness in rhetoric and refusal to admit mistake on Iraq, for example, as a misguided effort to avoid being perceived as weak-willed and stereotypically feminine. I think female candidates might (unfortunately) often feel the same pressure, while male candidates might feel they have more room to admit error.

Posted by tsm | February 25, 2008 1:51 PM

One would have thought the shout out from Tina Fey on SNL would have been enough for you, Erica.

No worries.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 25, 2008 1:51 PM

So...a bunch of underemployed men sitting around wasting time on the Slog are complaining because ECB posted something that was too long for them to read?

If you can put down your Obama love/Hillary hate=ECB hate blinders for a minute, you might actually see that this reflects a disturbing pattern in our media. Not just Maureen Dowd, but many commentators dismiss the first serious candidacy by a woman in history with misogynist terms that damage our ability to deal with real issues of sexism in our society.

If you think Obama is a better candidate or president--fine. But everyone should be concerned about the kind of Hillary hatred that seems acceptable in today's world.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | February 25, 2008 2:03 PM

maureen down is an embarrassment.

Posted by josh | February 25, 2008 2:11 PM

@26 I actually do think that Hillary's hawkishness and refusal to admit mistakes is partly her attempt not to be portrayed as a weak-willed woman. She's definitely in a tough spot, as ECB has pointed out many times in the past: act too feminine and she's weak, act too tough and she's bitchy. But I don't think that the best way to deal with that is to mold her politics to match or defy people's expectations. If she would quit worrying about people's perceptions of her and stand up for the things she actually believes in, she would be a lot closer to earning my vote, and I think she would do a lot better politically as well. I think we've all had enough insincerity to last us a long time.

To more directly answer your question, I don't actually think a woman president is more likely to embody those qualities. But I hope to eventually see a leader (of any gender) who embodies the stereotypically female virtues of compassion and diplomacy. You're probably right that any woman who has a shot the presidency any time soon is unlikely to fit that description. That's actually part of why I support Obama. I think that if he were able to change the tone of national politics (a big "if", I realize), it would be a lot easier for a woman to run for office without having to contort herself to avoid the snares of gender politics.

Posted by Morgan | February 25, 2008 2:16 PM

Whatever Hillary does or does not, it's either:

Too much, too early, too emotional;
Too little, too late, too bitchy.

She is not running for Prom Queen. She is not going to drop out because so many of you think it would be best if she just made nice and disappeared.

Plus, if she suddenly did drop out, capitulate, cede, surrender, admit her grave shortcomings - what the fuck would all of you have to talk about then?

Oh yeah - the unfairness of those foreign actors winning Oscars who actually deliver acceptance speeches with subjects & predicates, wit & elegance. Or pit bulls who drink milkshakes. Or why doesn't Obama legally change his middle name to Fitzgerald. Or whether McCain can still get it up.

Do discuss.

Posted by BELMONT PLACE | February 25, 2008 2:20 PM

ECB, I normally really enjoy your posts, I think you're making an interesting point here, and I would love to see Hillary become president. But don't you think it's more than a little bit inappropriate and unfeminist to dismiss a woman's political analysis with the suggestion that she must have been unattractive in high school? I mean, come on.

Posted by Marya | February 25, 2008 2:26 PM


Posted by come on now | February 25, 2008 2:27 PM

Just because you can use blockquotes doesn't mean you should. Links are better sometimes, especially when the main SLOG post is multiple screen pages on my giant monitor.

Is this passive-agressive retaliation for us telling you to stop posting NSFW images when you guys are hung over?

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 25, 2008 2:27 PM

8x "Page Down" key to reach bottom of post = long fucking post

Posted by Greg | February 25, 2008 2:30 PM


I am an Obama supporter after the exit of Edwards, but I too have been shocked by the vicious mysogyny opening displayed in our public discourse toward Hillary. However, it has substantially eminated from the right wing and the mainstream media, not Obama supporters.

I have concluded that until women of all political viewpoints join together to attack the mainstream media when it is a conduit for women hatred, that a women will not be elected here in the United States. I am very suprised by this.

Also, I don't think the male power brokers running her campaign care about her or her dignity as a women. I think the just hung her out to dry like an object. I don't think Mark Penn and those other mopes have a genuine understading of her strengths as an indvidual personality.

Posted by cracked | February 25, 2008 2:30 PM

@32: Get out of my head.

Also, ECB, perhaps one of your colleagues could teach you the phrase "after the jump"?

Posted by Yawn | February 25, 2008 2:50 PM

So bolding certain words in ten million articles someone else has written and then ending on a snarky comment is considered journalism? I was an Edwards supporter previously and am personally saddened that both the Obamatrons and Clintonistas have failed to distinguish themselves on core lefty issues.

If Clinton, the Sequel, is such a great leader then why is she running such a sloppy campaign? Maybe Erica needs to get over her Dowd fixation and answer some of the issues like these from :

The Clinton camp was certain that its moneyed arsenal of political shock-and-awe would take out Barack Hussein Obama in a flash. The race would “be over by Feb. 5,” Mrs. Clinton assured George Stephanopoulos just before New Year’s. But once the Obama forces outwitted her, leaving her mission unaccomplished on Super Tuesday, there was no contingency plan. She had neither the boots on the ground nor the money to recoup.

That’s why she has been losing battle after battle by double digits in every corner of the country ever since. And no matter how much bad stuff happened, she kept to the Bush playbook, stubbornly clinging to her own Rumsfeld, her chief strategist, Mark Penn. Like his prototype, Mr. Penn is bigger on loyalty and arrogance than strategic brilliance. But he’s actually not even all that loyal. Mr. Penn, whose operation has billed several million dollars in fees to the Clinton campaign so far, has never given up his day job as chief executive of the public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller. His top client there, Microsoft, is simultaneously engaged in a demanding campaign of its own to acquire Yahoo.

Clinton fans don’t see their standard-bearer’s troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

Posted by RichardZ | February 25, 2008 2:57 PM

Awesome, Marya, and so right. ECB: This "she never got over being dissed by a guy" shit from anyone else would, I'd think, make you furious. What's up with regurgitating it yourself?

Posted by leek | February 25, 2008 3:00 PM

Waaaah! Doesn't Maureen Dowd realize Hillary has a vagina? that makes her immune to any and all criticism. Dowd is a misogynist for not supporting a woman like her. Barack Obama is a big mean black Muslim man who will implement Sharia law. I can't believe how unfair these attacks are. Somebody pay attention to meeeeeeeeee!

Posted by Shorter Erica | February 25, 2008 3:03 PM

Man, what a bitch!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 25, 2008 3:20 PM

Column vomit cleanup in aisle ECB!

Posted by wbrproductions | February 25, 2008 3:33 PM

ECB-- this has been your best post ever on the sexism that has ruled this race, and how "liberals" are completely ignoring it. It's not a Hillary vs. Obama thing. It's just the disgusting way misogyny has crept into the dialogue. We should all be truly upset on how our candidates have been reduced to neo-con talking points. If you don’t see it you’re probably an idiot. The proof is unequivocal.

Posted by javier | February 25, 2008 3:34 PM


Now a skank (ECB) is all worked up becuase a skank (Hillary) has blown her whole campaign on dougnuts and sandwich fixins..

Skanks for president UNITE!!!!!

Posted by ecce homo | February 25, 2008 3:45 PM


Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 25, 2008 3:49 PM

And, @28, I don't think Aislinn is an underemployed white man ... at least not last time I checked. Or Marya for that matter ... in fact most of us work full time on SLOG.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 25, 2008 3:51 PM

Aislinn didn't whine about the length of the post and may not be underemployed.

But anyone who prattles in multiple posts about the length of a SLOG posting has clearly lost sight of what is important.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | February 25, 2008 4:25 PM

Anyone who is posting in SLOG has lost sight of what is important almost by definition....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 25, 2008 4:36 PM

USE A FUCKING JUMP! NOONE wants your fucking rants taking up 1/3 of one slog page!

It just shows lack of consideration for your fellow writers.

Posted by UGH! | February 25, 2008 7:16 PM

I agree. The sexism directed at Clinton from Dowd (and so many others) is bullshit. I fully support the post, if there wasn't so much sexism, it wouldn't need to be that long. I wish you would also note the racism directed at Obama. Discrimination is discrimination. As a Black woman both racism and sexism affect me. As a white woman both racism and sexims affect you too.

Posted by Papayas | February 25, 2008 8:20 PM

Seeing the words 'Maureen Dowd' is enough for me to stop reading.

Posted by Gomez | February 25, 2008 8:36 PM

Erica Barnett is right. MoDo has been banging away at this trope for a long time. In fact, I have some recollection of her pushing an "Al Gore is a pansy"-line way back in 2000. Crikey.

Posted by Medicine Man | February 25, 2008 9:01 PM

Wow! Best piece I have read so far that illustrates the bias towards HC. I am so sick of seeing sexist anti Hilary pieces that I will vote for her if given the opportunity!

Posted by AKGRL | February 26, 2008 12:10 AM

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