Walk a Mile in My Shoes

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What kind of shoes represent you? Or, maybe the better question is: if you were a pair of shoes, what would you be? Cowboy boots? Sneakers? Bare feet? My red shoes, as pictured below express my agreement that all the votes should be counted so that all the people will feel their voices have been heard. Democracy takes patience and participation. (No Dorothy allusions, please–her shoes were actually silver.) Check out the Walk a Mile in My Shoes Website and let the Democratic National Committee know what you think. Be sure to post your comment here too!

Here’s what Ginny said:

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As my daddy used to say, “That’s what makes horse races.”

The many and multi-textured responses with varied opinions I received to my comments in the AP story last week which I link to in “Saturday Morning Coffee Questions on Women and Voting Power” below came via e-mail rather than on this site and warrant a post of their own. (Note to readers—I always love to hear from you, but I would appreciate your posting comments here on Heartfelt so other readers can have the benefit of them too.) Excerpts from two e-mails that especially touched me are below; I’ll introduce each one and share my reactions.

First from Lakeisha, whose depth of feeling about Obama’s candidacy is so compelling, it brought me to tears:

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I’ve been interviewed many times over the years by AP reporter David Crary, and he always does a great job of capturing sensitive and complex cultural issues that many other journalists can only simplify into polarized extremes.

His byline article today, in which he also interviews several of my most esteemed colleagues and fondest friends-with whom I don’t necesarily agree on this issue–is no exception.
Feminists sharply divided between Clinton, Obama


NEW YORK (AP) — No constituency is more eager to see a woman win the presidency than America’s feminists, yet — despite Hillary Rodham Clinton’s historic candidacy — the women’s movement finds itself wrenchingly divided over the Democratic race as it heads toward the finish.

At breakfast forums, in op-ed columns, across the blogosphere, the debate has been heartfelt and sometimes bitter. Are the activist women supporting front-runner Barack Obama betraying their gender? Are Clinton’s feminist backers mired in an outdated, women’s-liberation mind-set?

Read the rest of the article here… and tell me a) what you think and b) so what you think women ought to do, not about this disagreement necessarily but about using our voting power?

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Should Hillary Quit? Definitely Not.

So my Los Angeles liberal friend called while I was on the treadmill this morning. She helped me get an especially good workout today. In fact, I got so worked up I was panting.

LALF: What about your girlfriend?
(I didn’t have to ask her who she meant.)

Me: It’s highly unlikely she’ll prevail at this point, but she ought to stay in the race through the rest of the primaries. Let the process run its course. Then the winner can win with honor and the loser can lose with honor and they can join hands with dignity to go defeat John McCain in November. I hope on the same ticket, but even if not, they’ll work together.

LALF: But that’s not what people are saying out here. They’re all screaming for Hillary to quit.

Me: They wouldn’t stop a football game in the last quarter just because their team was winning. Why would they want to stop the presidential primary before the last states have voted?

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The Biggest Winners in Indiana Don’t Even Live There

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I just guest-posted this commentary on PunditMom‘s “Mothers of Intention” column. Much will be said about last night’s primaries, but I always try to follow hockey star Wayne Gretsky’s advice, something like: “I don’t skate toward where the hockey puck is. I skate toward where the hockey puck is going to be.”

Sometimes when you win, you lose.

That’s the lesson of the Indiana primary.

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IN HIS NPR BLOG “POLITICAL JUNKIE”, Ken Rudin says he wishes he hadn’t compared Hillary Clinton to Glenn Close’s character, the villainous stalker who wouldn’t die in Fatal Attraction. You have to scroll down to nearly the bottom of his column “The Democrats’ Fight to the Finish” to find it, but it’s there, claiming of course that he was misunderstood and by the way, was sooo distressed about the tone of some of the responses he received. Poor baby.

Nevertheless, it’s a start at righting a serious wrong. Here’s what Rudin said:

Finally, did I really say on CNN that Hillary Clinton reminded me of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction? I did. I wish I hadn’t. It was a facile and dumb comparison. And for all the people who took their marching orders from the Clinton campaign’s e-mail blast instructing them to express their displeasure to me, rest assured, I have read every note. Some have been quite thoughtful, enough to establish some sort of dialogue. Others, regrettably, have contained an astonishing amount of vitriol and hate. It’s distressing that many of those who complain the most about bigotry and ignorance exhibit it themselves.

The point that I was inartfully trying to make, as I wrote in one e-mail, is that I was mocking the “when-will-Hillary-drop-out?” conversations that have been going on since New Hampshire — as in, well, if she loses N.H., she’s finished. If she loses Ohio or Texas, she’s gone. I wanted to make the point that she’s not leaving the race any time soon, nor should she. She wins in Pennsylvania by nearly 10 points and people still want to know when she’s getting out? Nonsense. I concede that I damaged my case by making the Glenn Close comparison, but I was trying to say sorry, you’re not going to get rid of her. This is only the seventh inning. The race hasn’t been going on “too long.” In fact, these states — Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, etc. — haven’t been part of the conversation for decades. Let the people have their say and then we’ll see who should drop out.

The “so-what do we do about it”?

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Media Matters: So Now the Press Tells Candidates When to Quit?

This article from the media watchdog organization Media Matters is such a well documented analysis of the media’s current push for Hillary Clinton to exit the race for president that I wanted to share it in full. Regardless of which candidate you support, you can’t help but be aghast by how the echo chamber reverberates through and by the political media. The piece lays bare the process by which a narrative gets floated, then picked up widely from the New York Times to the local radio talk show, then beaten like a drum until it fills all the airwaves and leaves no room for a different point of view. And in this case, the narrative has a distinctly sexist tinge; all the better that a man, Eric Boehlert, wrote it. So no one can say the author is just being paranoid. Read on…

So now the press tells candidates when to quit?

History continues to unfold on many levels as the protracted Democratic Party primary race marches on, featuring the first woman and the first African-American with a real shot at winning the White House.

Here’s another first: the press’s unique push to get a competitive White House hopeful to drop out of the race. It’s unprecedented.

Looking back through modern U.S. campaigns, there’s simply no media model for so many members of the press to try to drive a competitive candidate from the field while the primary season is still unfolding.

Until this election cycle, journalists simply did not consider it to be their job to tell a contender when he or she should stop campaigning. That was always dictated by how much money the campaign still had in the bank, how many votes the candidate was still getting, and what very senior members of the candidate’s own party were advising.

In this case, Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic National Committee, said he was “dumbfounded” by public demands for Clinton to drop out last month. (He now wants one of the candidates to quit after the final June 3 primary.) Yet lots of pundits have suggested that in a neck-and-neck campaign in which neither candidate will likely secure the nomination based on pledged delegates, Sen. Hillary Clinton must drop out before all the states have had a chance to vote.

I realize the political debate surrounding the extended Democratic campaign remains a hot one, with people holding passionate opinions about the delegate math involved and what the consequences for the Democratic Party could be. I’m not weighing in on that debate. I’m focusing on how journalists have behaved during this campaign.

And the fact is, the media’s get-out-now push is unparalleled. Strong second-place candidates such as Ronald Reagan (1976), Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Jerry Brown, all of whom campaigned through the entire primary season, and most of whom took their fights all the way to their party’s nominating conventions, were never tagged by the press and told to go home.

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Pennsylvania Station 2008

Pennsylvania was clearly going to be either the semi-finals or the finals in this game. Looks like the semi-finals are headed into overtime. And that’s a good thing.

In the pre-internet old days of backroom politics, the party powerful would long ago have taken these two candidates into the proverbial smoke-filled room and knocked heads together until the smoke cleared and they struck up some kind of deal that resolved which one would be the party’s nominee.

Today, we have a much more transparent, much more participatory, much more democratic-with-a-small-d process.

The superdelegates are the closest thing the party has to the backroom now. Clearly, if they continue their trend to supporting Obama, then Clinton is sunk even though she won Pennsylvania. Quite likely they’ll ultimately go with whoever they perceive as a winner. Yesterday it was Obama. Tomorrow it could be Clinton, for three reasons.

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Image Politics: Everybody Lies About Sex, But Who Knew They Lie About Food, Too?

For those exhausted with Clinton-Obama debates I thought I’d comment on the recent Cindy McCain “farfallegate” recipe scandal–you can scroll down to the end to see the evidence:

Cindy McCain was probably clueless that an intern on her pugnacious war hero husband’s campaign staff had rifled through recipes published on the Food Channel’s website and presented several as Cindy’s own on Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign website.

Dubbed “farfallegate” in honor of the recipe combining farfalle pasta with turkey sausage (of course in today’s health conscious world, a low cholesterol recipe gets extra points), mushrooms, and peas that busted Mrs. McCain and docked the non-pay of the unlucky intern tasked with selecting just the right recipes to position Cindy as happy homemaker, the food scandal was bound to come to the attention of the ever-voracious press.

It’s hardly surprising that the campaign wanted to soften the eerily unreal image projected by her Stepford Wife eyes and shellacked hair as she stands ramrod straight as though at perpetual attention beside the senator, whose political career was calculated and in no small part brought to us by her wealthy beer distributor daddy. And what better way to warm up a candidate’s wife than to conjure a vision of the little lady in her conservative Republican apron stirring up some dinner?

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Dare to Compete

Have you been as mesmerized by the HBO series on John Adams as I have? The visual banquet of historical details is reason enough to watch the life and times of our second president, his family, and the men who were alternately his friends and his foes among the founding fathers. It is tempting for me to want to put the spotlight on his wife Abigail whose plea that he should “remember the ladies” in writing the new nation’s laws fell on deaf ears despite her place as Adams’ top and most erudite advisor. But I find most striking the sense of history. Adams was almost obsessed with defining the legacy that he knew he as a leader of a new nation would be creating for the generations to come.

Today, we also live in times that will define us as a nation. Watching John Adams spar with his nemesis, the calculating and complex Renaissance man Thomas Jefferson, it struck me that while technology has changed a great deal, critical elements of political leadership have changed little if at all. Nor have the challenges of cobbling together an electoral majority in our cantankerously diverse country become any easier.

This video look at the courage it takes to compete in a presidential election was sent to me by a reader of Heartfeldt Politics, KD. She or he noted the importance of this historic moment, and I thought it worth sharing.

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