New Civilization News: Full Frontal Feminism    
 Full Frontal Feminism17 comments
picture11 Jan 2008 @ 10:07, by Richard Carlson

A man met a lad weeping. "What do you weep for?" he asked.
"I am weeping for my sins," said the lad.
"You must have little to do," said the man.
The next day they met again. Once more the lad was weeping. "Why do you weep now?" asked the man.
"I am weeping because I have nothing to eat," said the lad.
"I thought it would come to that," said the man.

---Robert Louis Stevenson

If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it's a waste of time looking for him further.

---Mohandas K. Gandhi

Drinking his morning tea
the monk is at peace.
Chrysanthemums.

---Basho

The picture is of author Jessica Valenti and her book of last year which was written especially for young women of college age. The image illustrates an interview with her at Salon [link] .

I've been trying to think how I got interested in civil rights. I know it was all the way back in early childhood, even though there was no "movement" to speak of then nor was my normal white family particularly involved in politics or social problems. What I think did it was a Walt Disney movie from 1946, which would have put me in 1st grade. Anything Walt made was OK, even though Mom worried about the scary parts in every one. To this day my worst fears can be traced to Snow White running and lost in the forest, or the disappearance of Bambi's mother, or especially the transformation of Lampwick into a mule in Pinocchio---all done with animated shadows...and sound. Neverthless, as a family we saw everything that came out, and so it was with a film called Song Of The South.

By '46, Disney was experimenting with live action and much less animation interspersed. Song Of The South is about a little boy, played by Bobby Driscoll, who lives on a big plantation in the South, although I don't remember that it was exactly slavery times. At any rate, he wanders one day into the area where his father's black workers live and meets a man known as Uncle Remus, played by James Baskett. The whole situation is a setup for Remus to tell the kid 3 of the stories about Brer Rabbit, collected in the writings of Joel Chandler Harris. Of course we shift to cartoons then, but it's the only animation I remember...except for the bluebirds when Uncle Remus sings the Oscar-winning song from the film Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

OK, if you're wincing at some thoughts of stereotype here, you're not alone. In the 1960s, the NAACP protested to Disney about the movie...and it was withdrawn. The song and the Brer Rabbit sequences still can be found here and there, but apparently the full movie only can be purchased in Japan. A friend of mine found a couple of copies of video from there up in Canada, and smuggled them in. As a result, I can report I've seen Song Of The South fairly recently---and had the chance to share it with my kids. What impressed me as a child was the racial interaction in the movie, how Remus and the boy came to love each other, and the social repercussions their relationship eventually produced. But isn't this strange---that the very movie I credit with developing an interest in me in the civil rights of American citizens, and people around the world, is banned as being prejudicial?

Well leaving all that aside, what happened back in first grade is I became open to friendships with people of other races and nationalities. At the same time we were beginning to learn folk songs in music class at school. My uncle, who was essentially a farmer and a United Brethren, got me started in stamp collecting. The whole world and its peoples were opening up to me and I loved it. But I was made aware of problems. A black school friend named Ronnie followed me home one day, and Mom gave me a talk about different people staying and playing with their own "kind." I didn't like that, and so a year or 2 later I went home with another black kid named Morris. When we got to Metallic Avenue, I saw there was no street there at all. In fact, 10 feet in front of the house, which had no door on it by the way, there was a tall wire fence...and 10 feet beyond that were the tracks of our town's major railway, the Erie. I guess I was pretty scared, and I went home.

Even more disturbing to the quiet 1950s lifestyle of the Carlson residence was my musical evolution into jazz and rhythm 'n' blues. I learned that jazz had started among black people in New Orleans at the turn of the century, traveled up the Mississippi with musicians employed on riverboats, and developed among whites in Chicago during the Roaring Twenties. Never mind that we now view this story as too simplistic, it got me to know who Benny Goodman was and his importance as a white man with an integrated music organization. By the time Martin Luther King was inspiring us college kids to hit the bricks in the late '50s, I was ready.

In the early 1960s we began to hear about feminism and a sexual revolution. The combination of the Civil Rights Movement and invention of something called a birth control pill---and of course the inequalities college-educated women were encountering in the workplace---brought us plunging into a whole new era. I found myself developing a sensitivity and consciousness that never would I allow my white maleness to be of some unfair advantage in my life. But by the late '60s it all became more complicated with a Black Backlash. Now I found I needed to be secure and strong in my white maleness, while ready to confess many crimes of history. Then there was a Feminine Backlash in the '70s---and I guess I just sorta dropped out for a while.

During the 1990s I found myself resentful of racial groups and women who seemed to be playing both sides at the same time. Like, there were women who boasted they despised "housework" and wouldn't do it because their careers took up their creative time---but always needed big, strong men to come in to "take care" of their maintenance problems. I began to see myself as a second-class citizen as payback for sacrifices in "social standing" I thought I had been making for 30 years. I see the predicaments differently now, and the fact today that Democrats seem to be supporting Obama and Clinton as potential presidential candidates feels really good to me. As a nation we're beginning to face many of the issues of race and gender that have been such a major part of my whole life. I like what's happening.

From now until the election The Nation magazine online is devoting its blog, called Passing Through, to a different writer each month. That blogger can post whatever he or she wants as often as desired. Kicking off the whole thing is somebody named Jessica Valenti. I hadn't heard of her, but her star seems to be rising quickly. The Nation has a lot of assertive women in it, so I'm not surprised Valenti is the first choice. During her first week she already is stirring things up, having written entries about political paternalism and Bush, women who put down feminism and the "sex education" they shove into public schools, and violence against females and what Romney knows about it. Miss Valenti uses very strong language when she writes (one might even say foul language, but I have to be careful) so comments coming back are pretty tough too. [link]

I guess I have to say I like her style. Since she's 29 I think, she represents a generation that's increasingly refreshing. She's grown up through all these "wars" and has her own version...and a message certainly that's helpful to me. Last April when her book came out, ELLE magazine, which I subscribe to, did a little feature on her. It concluded with the note that her site, www.feministing.com, was first to publish that the sale of vibrators is banned in some states. Miss Valenti wrote this is an issue "that overwhelmingly affects women. In Mississippi you can buy a gun without a state background check, but you can't get the Rabbit. How f--ked is that?" Yeah, wake us all up Jessica!


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20 Jan 2008 @ 10:51 by jazzolog : In A Nutshell

"Maybe if the president had spent the trillion he squandered on his Iraq odyssey on energy research,
we might have broken the oil addiction."

---From Red, White and Blue Tag Sale
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: January 20, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/opinion/20dowd.html?th&emc=th  



21 Jan 2008 @ 21:23 by vaxen : What's foul...
is foul. And fowl can be just a bunch of 'game' running around the back 40 like, for instance, the hundreds of 'turkey' I often run across while out climbing the sacred burial mounds of the Cherokee Nation that everyone around here thinks are just hills like any other hills anywhere else in the nation where there are such hills. Yet...sacred mounds have distinctive markings.

Miss Valenti represents not 'her generation' but...big business. And, what do you know, civil rights are just not the same thing as "Un-a-LIEN-able" rights. Rights unto which no commerce junkie can attatch a LIEN! Talk about discovery!

I often look forward to the day when there are no blacks, no whites, no yellows, no reds, no whatevers! When all homo sapiens sapiens finally realise that we are not alone in this multiverse and that all 'scripts' are subject to editing.

But, then, I've lived in "Buttermilk Bottom" and know that 'racial' attitudes aren't beatitudes and that a lot of adjusting will have to be done. I also know the hidden MLK that no one wants to see beyond the "White Washed' charicature his 'day' re-presents for the 'dupes' among us.

Nice little piece, jazzo...but did you know that jazz' origins go deeper, much deeper, than NOLA? That 'jazz' just wasn't 'in-vented' here? Nah, no need to reveal the truth. Keep on keepin on, Bo Diddley, there's a new brass band waitin for you beyond those pearly gates. ;)

http://www.officer.com/  



22 Jan 2008 @ 05:42 by vaxen : Ah, and...
"Liverpool I left you but I never let you down." - Ringo Starr

For the Lady Carlson...some linkage: The Inconvenient Truth:The Sun Varies in Intensity

by Zuerrnnovahh-Starr Livingstone
http://educate-yourself.org/zsl/inconvenienttruth20jan08.shtml
January 20, 2008

For Malthus? Feministing?  



22 Jan 2008 @ 09:05 by jazzolog : Is Obama A Victim Of The Culture War?
A jazz theory maybe even you don't know Vax: Harry James always claimed jazz was invented in circus bands, in which Harry spent his childhood.

I hope you saw Princeton economist Paul Krugman's column yesterday~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
January 21, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Debunking the Reagan Myth
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Historical narratives matter. That’s why conservatives are still writing books denouncing F.D.R. and the New Deal; they understand that the way Americans perceive bygone eras, even eras from the seemingly distant past, affects politics today.

And it’s also why the furor over Barack Obama’s praise for Ronald Reagan is not, as some think, overblown. The fact is that how we talk about the Reagan era still matters immensely for American politics.

Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Maybe Mr. Obama was, as his supporters insist, simply praising Reagan’s political skills. (I think he was trying to curry favor with a conservative editorial board, which did in fact endorse him.) But where in his remarks was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?

For it did fail. The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder. Yes, there was a boom in the mid-1980s, as the economy recovered from a severe recession. But while the rich got much richer, there was little sustained economic improvement for most Americans. By the late 1980s, middle-class incomes were barely higher than they had been a decade before — and the poverty rate had actually risen.

When the inevitable recession arrived, people felt betrayed — a sense of betrayal that Mr. Clinton was able to ride into the White House.

Given that reality, what was Mr. Obama talking about? Some good things did eventually happen to the U.S. economy — but not on Reagan’s watch.

For example, I’m not sure what “dynamism” means, but if it means productivity growth, there wasn’t any resurgence in the Reagan years. Eventually productivity did take off — but even the Bush administration’s own Council of Economic Advisers dates the beginning of that takeoff to 1995.

Similarly, if a sense of entrepreneurship means having confidence in the talents of American business leaders, that didn’t happen in the 1980s, when all the business books seemed to have samurai warriors on their covers. Like productivity, American business prestige didn’t stage a comeback until the mid-1990s, when the U.S. began to reassert its technological and economic leadership.

I understand why conservatives want to rewrite history and pretend that these good things happened while a Republican was in office — or claim, implausibly, that the 1981 Reagan tax cut somehow deserves credit for positive economic developments that didn’t happen until 14 or more years had passed. (Does Richard Nixon get credit for “Morning in America”?)

But why would a self-proclaimed progressive say anything that lends credibility to this rewriting of history — particularly right now, when Reaganomics has just failed all over again?

Like Ronald Reagan, President Bush began his term in office with big tax cuts for the rich and promises that the benefits would trickle down to the middle class. Like Reagan, he also began his term with an economic slump, then claimed that the recovery from that slump proved the success of his policies.

And like Reaganomics — but more quickly — Bushonomics has ended in grief. The public mood today is as grim as it was in 1992. Wages are lagging behind inflation. Employment growth in the Bush years has been pathetic compared with job creation in the Clinton era. Even if we don’t have a formal recession — and the odds now are that we will — the optimism of the 1990s has evaporated.

This is, in short, a time when progressives ought to be driving home the idea that the right’s ideas don’t work, and never have.

It’s not just a matter of what happens in the next election. Mr. Clinton won his elections, but — as Mr. Obama correctly pointed out — he didn’t change America’s trajectory the way Reagan did. Why?

Well, I’d say that the great failure of the Clinton administration — more important even than its failure to achieve health care reform, though the two failures were closely related — was the fact that it didn’t change the narrative, a fact demonstrated by the way Republicans are still claiming to be the next Ronald Reagan.

Now progressives have been granted a second chance to argue that Reaganism is fundamentally wrong: once again, the vast majority of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. But they won’t be able to make that argument if their political leaders, whatever they meant to convey, seem to be saying that Reagan had it right.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/opinion/21krugman.html?_r=2&th&emc=th&oref=slogin&oref=slogin  



22 Jan 2008 @ 09:25 by vaxen : Yes...
I agree with the above...mostly. But when you consider who is really running the country and why then the horse and pony show can be seen for what it actually is. As for recession? Get rid of the Federal Reserve, the IMF (U.S. Treasury? ;) and Central banking (It's a bear market, now, silly rabbit!).

Oh...it doesn't really matter if you do or not. The grass roots movement, beyond the pale of Washington and it's ilk, will eventually wisen up regardless of how much aluminum buy me now products are placed in the skies above us, in our water (Flouridation like the NAZI's did...), and in our food. They inbreed, we outbreed.

Obama's chief advisor? Brzezinsky! You can, incidentally, get his (Mr B's) famous book here: http://www.truly-free.org/ (A place I think you'll love). Not that I have anything at all against Brzezinsky for after all is said and done he is pretty cool, in my book, and understands the global dynamic in a way that most choose to lie about.

Clinton's globaloney (Factor in "The Great Game!") is easy to show up for what it's worth and even his, ah, wife made mention that 'if' she gets the coveted prize he'll simply be 'her lackey.' What crap!

I remember her interview with Katey Currick long before 'running' when she swore up and down that she would absolutely NOT be running for president. Par for the course. Of course we knew she would be 'placed' in this god awful mix of puppets in this Diebold run farce called 'the election' year runoffs.

Oi! Still, I have a well founded faith in what these people will never see. The invisible roots which make this country what it is. A piebald mare in heat. A pluralistic wonderland of races mixing and matching.

I do appreciate the article and also know about the origins of jazz in the 'circus.' Circus Maximus? ;)

Consider, for a moment, if you will:

Bush Signs Veterans Disarmament Act Then Flees to Israel

We are knee deep in tyranny. With all eyes on New Hampshire no one noticed the shit storm Bush was whipping up. On Tuesday Bush signed the Veterans Disarmament Act, (known in the main stream media as NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007).This bill was stalled in Senate for years, but a few months after the Virginia Tech shootings http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2007/190407mindcontrolled.htm the legislation came together with bipartisan support.

The typical lawmaking that has gone on since 9/11 has had the same formula, and this was no different, one person causes the trouble and we are all punished. The shooter at VA Tech, Seung-Hui Cho was seeing a psychiatrist and taking prescription drugs, so now we are all viewed as having questionable mental health. Our medical records may wind up with the FBI but the new law will not only block veterans who have been treated for PTSD from buying a gun, but it goes even further.

Anyone who has a restraining order filed against them, and anyone who was treated for ADHD as a child has no chance of ever owning a gun {link:http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usgun0109,0,3455274.story} .

Potentially we all could be disarmed under the new law, and you will have a difficult time removing your name because that process has been blocked for a decade. http://www.newswithviews.com/Pratt/larry81.htm

This law is an attack on the Second Amendment and it was not even enough for them, upon the passing of this law, the lawmakers pledged to keep fighting us, next is the "gun show loophole." And as early as March the Supreme Court will be hearing a case on gun control in DC. They will not quit, and when you can look at this issue from all sides the motives are clear.

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good"

-George Washington

http://www.noonehastodietomorrow.us/

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22 Jan 2008 @ 22:36 by vaxen : Suppose...
Mother Theresa's Prayer
May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.... But then I repeat myself.
-Mark Twain  



5 Feb 2008 @ 11:15 by jazzolog : So The Day Dawns
In Ohio we don't have to make a primary/caucus choice yet, but that choice next month may be affected mightily by what goes on in 24 states today. I've just spent about 3 hours reading stuff on the Internet that's gotten posted since yesterday...and I've hardly scratched the surface. Increasingly people who can read and write turn to the Net for news and opinion; I suppose the rest...and there are more and more in America...stick with TV and radio.

I had hoped the Green Party would produce a viable candidate this time. It has not...and Nader again would be absurd. So then I kept coming back to Kucinich, but he could not or did not mount a campaign that penetrated overwhelming resistance on all sides...including, some say, the Democratic Party in Ohio, which gathered a pile of characters to run against him for his House seat. If he loses that, I wouldn't be surprised if he gives up on this country entirely.

Then I went to Edwards, who talked the issues and avoided any slinging. His message was about the weakening Middle Class and disproportionate influence of corporations upon our lives. He also questioned our dependence upon warfare for both our wealth and apparently even our sense of personhood. Yet he could not get a foothold, and so also dropped out. I wonder how his wife's health is doing.

So with this record, I figure whomever I might lean toward next will be doomed as well. Fortunately I'm among many progressives and radicals who swing back and forth day by day between Obama and Clinton. That's why today is important to me because I think a story may unfold from the results. I think something decisive may happen for both major parties.

Of the material I looked over today, I was particularly grabbed by Erica Jong's article on Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post yesterday. This is the strongest advocacy I've seen for her...and presented from the perspective of Full Frontal Feminism. Highly recommended!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/03/AR2008020303194.html

But Katha Pollitt at The Nation's blog wrote for Barack Obama on Sunday, and there are good points there too. She does say she'll give Clinton her all if she's nominated. As you probably know both The Nation and MoveOn have come out for Obama. Here's Pollitt's blog~~~

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/anotherthing?bid=25&pid=279745

I didn't bother to read the comments on either of those pieces. There's a ton of them though.

My friend Paul Quintanilla and his partner Ellen spent yesterday sounding the alarm about McCain, and I'm grateful to them. Much of their concern comes from an article by Johann Hari, who writes for the UK's The Independent, which appeared here last month in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer~~~

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/348434_mccainonline24.html

I loved the opinion piece Sunday in the New York Times about the new Real President of the United States. Wal-Mart. Yes, it's where Americans go for community, protection, bargain prices and their sense of reality. Now it has environmental policy, a health program and a prettying up of its image for true world leadership. Consider not voting at all this season, like most of the rest of your countrymen, and let Wal-Mart show the Way~~~

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/weekinreview/03barb.html?ex=1359694800&en=fa4a93ade12ede02&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

In this week's New Yorker, Seymour Hersh demonstrates again why he is the premier investigative journalist. This time he looks into the bombing raid into Syria by the Israeli Air Force last fall. What was it about, and why di no one talk about it?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/02/11/080211fa_fact_hersh

See you at the end of the day.  



5 Feb 2008 @ 14:11 by vaxen : Thus...
old Hegel wins the day, yet again. But...even though the pundits roar, the harpers harp, and the Prince of Wales eats his cuttlefish bone Diebold will call the shots. Lenin should be very happy at the end of this day as the lies come tallying forth from out of the grave denouncing truth in every corner of the land and claiming falsehood King.

The Delphi Technique is so easy to spot once you know it. A Hillary- Obama convolution has been called 'A Dream Team Ticket' and ticket it is. Same old Jerry/Jury Mandering and Pandering with the dumbed down 1st Amendment sell outs thinking that they really called the shots this time yet again.

Yeah! Walmart for president which is to say 'Red China.' More Skull and Bones piracy in the offing and the Pirates of Penzanse singing a beefy tune while Louie Armstong vomits the addicts tale in Mudflats Hollow.

I shan't disabuse you of your quaint notions that any of this really matters with the truth about what's happening behind the scenes as Television and Radio and the News-fragmag-papers of the MSM churn out their diabola and the idioti gobble it up lock, stock, and barrel.

America died a long time ago. Sig Heil!

Whenever a feeling of aversion comes into the heart of a good soul,
it's not without significance.
Consider that intuitive wisdom to be a Divine attribute,
not a vain suspicion:
the light of the heart has apprehended
intuitively from the Universal Tablet.
- Rumi

"STALLING FOR TIME WITH THE SAME OLD INTEL LIES"

http://www.worldreports.org/news  



5 Feb 2008 @ 17:03 by jazzolog : Thanks Anyway
for mentioning Satch, one of many Kings of Zulus through the years, on this Mardi Gras!  


13 Feb 2008 @ 10:26 by jazzolog : The Vertiginous Maureen Dowd
My wife and I were trying to come to agreement yesterday as to just how maddening Maureen Dowd can be. Dana says she never can forgive her for trashing Al Gore back in those days, but my contention is that when she's on a roll there's just no argument. I think her columns on the Democratic campaign have been spectacular, and particularly her insights into Hillary Clinton (and Bill). Today's article is no exception and as the nation struggles to decide, she makes important points...BUT describes the election as "not just vertiginous," and even after a look in the dictionary I STILL don't know what exactly she means---and that's maddening~~~

The New York Times
February 13, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
A Flawed Feminist Test
By MAUREEN DOWD
WASHINGTON

Russell Berman, a young reporter for The New York Sun, trailed Bill Clinton around Maryland all day Sunday. The former president was on his best behavior, irritating the smattering of press.

After Bill’s last speech at Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring, Berman interviewed two women in the audience.

Elaine Sirkis, 77, an Obama supporter, confided that she just isn’t sure she’s ready for a woman president. Betty Conway, 83, a Hillary supporter, confided that she just isn’t sure she’s ready for a black president.

As Conway walked away, Sirkis smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry,” she told Berman sweetly about her friend. “She’s a bigot.”

We’re not just in the most vertiginous election of our lives. We’re in another national seminar on gender and race that is teaching us about who we are as we figure out what we want America to be.

It’s not yet clear which prejudice will infect the presidential contest more — misogyny or racism.

Many women I talk to, even those who aren’t particularly fond of Hillary, feel empathy for her, knowing that any woman in a world dominated by men has to walk a tightrope between femininity and masculinity, strength and vulnerability.

They see double standards they hate — when male reporters described Hillary’s laugh as “a cackle” or her voice as “grating,” when Rush Limbaugh goes off on her wrinkles or when male pundits seem gleeful to write her political obituary. Several women I know, who argue with their husbands about Hillary, refer with a shudder to the “Kill the Witch” syndrome.

In a webcast, prestidigitator Penn Jillette talks about a joke he has begun telling in his show. He thinks the thunderous reaction it gets from audiences shows that Hillary no longer has a shot.

The joke goes: “Obama is just creaming Hillary. You know, all these primaries, you know. And Hillary says it’s not fair, because they’re being held in February, and February is Black History Month. And unfortunately for Hillary, there’s no White Bitch Month.”

Of course, jokes like that — even Jillette admits it’s offensive — are exactly what may give Hillary a shot. When the usually invulnerable Hillary seems vulnerable, many women, even ones who don’t want her to win, cringe at the idea of seeing her publicly humiliated — again.

And since women — and some men — tend to be more protective when she is down, it is impossible to rule out a rally, especially if voters start to see Obama, after his eight-contest rout, as that maddening archetypal figure: the glib golden boy who slides through on charm and a smile.

Those close to Hillary say she’s feeling blue. It’s an unbearable twist of fate to spend all those years in the shadow of one Secretariat, only to have another gallop past while you’re plodding toward the finish line.

I know that the attacks against powerful women can be harsh and personal and unfair, enough to make anyone cry.

But Hillary is not the best test case for women. We’ll never know how much of the backlash is because she’s a woman or because she’s this woman or because of the ick factor of returning to the old Clinton dysfunction.

While Obama aims to transcend race, Hillary often aims to use gender to her advantage, or to excuse mistakes. In 1994, after her intransigence and secrecy-doomed health care plan, she told The Wall Street Journal that she was “a gender Rorschach test.”

“If somebody has a female boss for the first time, and they’ve never experienced that,” she said, “well, maybe they can’t take out their hostility against her so they turn it on me.”

As a possible first Madame President, Hillary is a flawed science experiment because you can’t take Bill out of the equation. Her story is wrapped up in her marriage, and her marriage is wrapped up in a series of unappetizing compromises, arrangements and dependencies.

Instead of carving out a separate identity for herself, she has become more entwined with Bill. She is running bolstered by his record and his muscle. She touts her experience as first lady, even though her judgment during those years on issue after issue was poor. She says she’s learned from her mistakes, but that’s not a compelling pitch.

As a senator, she was not a leading voice on important issues, and her Iraq vote was about her political viability.

She told New York magazine’s John Heilemann that before Iowa taught her that she had to show her soft side, “I really believed I had to prove in this race from the very beginning that a woman could be president and a woman could be commander in chief. I thought that was my primary mission.”

If Hillary fails, it will be her failure, not ours.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/opinion/13dowd.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin  



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