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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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Thanks to Deborah Siegel who blogs at Girl With Pen for this inspiring article, written by Samantha French, age 14, and a student at Writopia Lab, a writing enrichment program located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It’s always intriguing to learn how political opinions are formed, and this young women clearly has a mind of her own–and better yet, she talks publicly about what she believes.
As we all know, the buzz around America’s college campuses is Barack Obama and how he represents change for America. According to the media, he has overwhelming appeal to the country’s so-called “youth.” And it’s true. The phrase “yes we can” is being inhaled faster than pot brownies and Jell-O shots at a frat party. However, what the media seems to be consistently ignoring is the opinions of the country’s real, good old-fashioned, disenfranchised youth: high school students. Who are almost unanimously pro-Hillary.
OK, so I’m dreaming.
As a female freshman in Bard High School Early College, one of New York’s more liberal high schools where nearly two-thirds of the student body are females, there is not huge support for Hillary, which makes me sad. Many people at Bard, both male and female, support Obama because they are “tired of the Clintons” (a notion which they have obviously been fed by their parents. Think about it: the last time a Clinton was in office they were eight at the very most).
At first, I agreed with them. My dad’s a die-hard Obama supporter and so are a lot of my friends. But the turning point came for me when I saw how upset and truly devoted Hillary was to the race after her defeat at the Iowa caucus. The moment that the cameras revealed her sad eyes, I realized that I was seeing in her something rarely seen in any presidential candidate: a human being. While my father continued to be very pro-Obama (re-recording Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” titled, I Want Barak,)—and put pressure on me to agree with him—I felt a connection with Hillary after that night.
I took an early morning walk today in Central Park with Joan Blades, founder with her husband Wes Boyd, of the progressive political on-line grassroots powerhouse, moveon.org. But her agenda wasn’t moveon.com. Joan is a serial entrepreneur and a very successful one, whether creating a software company or a new nonprofit organization. It was the latter she wanted to talk with me about today: her latest venture, MomsRising.
Joan has plunged her creative hands into a key mobilizing issue of the day, building a more family-friendly America in the workplace and public policy. Fresh from getting the New Jersey legislature to pass a paid sick leave measure, she brought me up to date on the organization she started in 2006 in response to her own experiences as a mom in the workplace.
MomsRising has over 140,000 citizen members already and is aiming for 1,000,000 to participate in their citizen advocacy agenda. Over 85 national and state organizations have aligned with MomsRising to create a coalition that works at the state and national levels to bringing motherhood and family issues to the forefront of the country’s awareness so they can advance workplace policies such as paid sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, flexible work hours, and equal pay for equal work. Quality childcare and healthcare access are also on their rather large plate. And they’re pumping up their political fundraising so they can do more lobbying on all these issues.
The worst mistakes I’ve made in life and leadership have always involved waiting too long to fire someone.
Whether I’m hanging onto a relationship long after love is gone or hanging onto an employee long after positive value to the organization has diminished beyond the point of return, my loyalty tends to trump my better sense. And like most women, including it appears, Hillary Clinton, I always think I can fix the situation. That I can retrain, redo the job description, or refocus the person’s priorities so his or her performance will magically improve. After all, maybe it was my fault; I didn’t provide sufficient direction or support to tease out their talents. Surely if I did, Ms or Mr. X would shine again.
Women are particularly sensitive to the connective filaments in the web of relationships that make up our organizations, just as we’re sensitive to them within our families. We counsel our kids to eat Aunt Ida’s hideous orange jello, carrot, and horseradish salad because she’s such a good soul after all. Past contributions, we think, deserve to be recognized, good intent respected
These qualities serve women well, until they don’t, as has been the case with Clinton and her top advisors. Many said she kept Patti Solis Doyle as her campaign manager out of loyalty (and perhaps fear of what the firing would do to her relationships with Hispanics) long after Solis Doyle’s effectiveness had waned.
Kudos to Air America for suspending Randi Rhodes because of her utterly inappropriate, unprofessional comments about Hillary Clinton. During a rant in San Francisco, at a public event sponsored by an Air America affiliate, Rhodes called Clinton a f**g whore, among other incendiary language.
Sexist slurs are no more right coming from a liberal commentator than from a Don Imus, and they are just as wrong coming from a woman as from a man. Air America’s swift and sure action was the responsible course. Rhodes should not be allowed back on the air until and unless she apologizes publicly to Clinton and the women of America. In addition, she should be sent for remedial training to the nearest Women’s Studies program.
Here’s what Air America’s chair, Charlie Kireker said in a brief statement. I encourage you to post your support for Air America’s action there. The Hillary haters are posting in abundance; they seem unable to separate their personal animosity for the candidate from the issue at hand, which is the continued and almost knee-jerk use of sexist language in the media to disparage any woman not in the favor of the talk show host. Sorry, but that’s unacceptable no matter whom one supports for President.