Saturday, June 7, 2008

Reluctant Convert Who Became An Apostate

t will help you all understand the impact of the misogynistic attacks on Hillary by the media and by Obama supporters both online and offline. Obama needs to make absolutely clear that feminism is a progressive issue. His supporters need to understand the motivation of many Hillary supporters and not dismiss them as the narrowminded racism of older uneducated white women. When Obama supporters tell me they didn't observe much sexism in the primary campaign, I realize we lived in different universes.

I started out as an Edwards supporter. As the misogynistic attacks on Clinton increased, I decided to support her. I always had misgivings; she was far too hawkish on foreign policy. I couldn't forgive her favoring the war. I convinced myself that she was far more liberal than she seemed to be, that a woman would need to be a hawk to be a serious candidate for president.

I am not an admirer of Bill Clinton. He could have been a great president, but he threw it away. His sexual morals were disgraceful. I vividly recall being in the car with my 15 year old daughter and two of her friends, listening to one of them reading excerpts of the Starr report aloud. But I believed Hillary would be a far better president than Bill, that she was her own woman. What has happened since New Hampshire has appalled me. I hate the idea of a Bill Clinton co-presidency. I can only tolerate Bill in the White House if he spends most of his time overseas being an elder statesman.

Ted Kennedy's endorsement was the final impetus I needed to decide to support Obama in the New York primary. Today, Ted Kennedy gave a terrific speech, turned Hillary's points against her, and converted me. The old lion can still knock it out of the ballpark. He seems much more passionate than the Clintons. Younger people might minimize Ted's impact. People of my generation realize what a great champion of progressive causes he has been for 46 years. For him to say, Obama will be ready on day one, means something. He quoted Harry Truman telling JFK he needed to be patient and not run for president yet. As I have mentioned before, I fell in love with JFK at the age of 11 in 1956 and have been intensely political ever since. The whole passing the torch theme in today's rally was very moving. And of course, it was anti-dynasty; there was no Kennedy to pick up the torch.

Caroline Kennedy mentioned what a influence her three teenage children had been on her. My four daughters and their husbands are all for Obama; we have never been on different sides before. A woman candidate meant much more to me than to them. But I have lost confidence in Clinton's commitment to fight for what she perceives as unpopular issues.

There is another issue that I find troubling to admit. I used to believe the media hatred of HIllary would switch to Obama once he got the nomination. Now I am not so sure. The media hatred of Clinton seems deranged--a 16-year-onslaught that cannot be withstood. Cable news reacted to HIllary's loss in SC as if they were dancing around a burning witch. Even if she could win despite such hatred, I doubt she could govern effectively. I hate to make this argument, because I seem to be conceding victory to the disgraceful media coverage.

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