If you read this blog, you know that I’ve been mostly baffled by much of the anger directed at Obama’s nomination by some Clinton supporters who say that there is no way they will ever support Barack Obama. I just don’t get it, but I’m fascinated by their anger, which can be seen in all of its glory here and here.
In my entire voting life (which goes back to the 80s), this is the first time I have ever backed someone in the primaries who actually won the Democratic nomination. Winning feels good, but when I lost, even after some hard-fought and bitter contests (Jerry Brown and Howard Dean come to mind), I was able lick my wounds and go forward to support the Democratic nominee.
Losing sucks, but it’s part of politics.
So I was pleased to read this piece on Salon.com that helps explain the anger of some Clinton supporters.
1. They are angry because their candidate lost a close contest.
This is just simple human math, and it happens after every primary showdown. Remember that it took some Deaniacs months to come around to John Kerry in 2004. It’s just that most years, the contests haven’t also been identity-politics duels between two underrepresented social groups vying for a chance at a political position that has always been denied them.
And that is a part of politics, sadly.
2. They are angry because their historic opportunity is over.
3. They are angry about rumors that Obama may choose a woman other than Hillary Clinton as his running mate.
This is a tricky one. Maybe some Clinton supporters remain so besotted by the idea of their woman as the history maker that they won’t be satisfied unless Clinton or someone from her direct bloodline is the first female to breach the executive branch of government.
I don’t ‘get’ this one. Sebelius or Napalitano would be great VP candidates as they are strong governors and great politicians.And they happen to be women.
But if Obama picks a woman other than Hillary for VP, that would be bad?
4. They are angry that we started to talk about sexism only once Clinton stopped being a threat.
5. They are angry at the media’s repeated denial of sexism, and they are angry at Keith Olbermann.
6. They are mad at Howard Dean.
Not simply for allowing the massive befouling of the Democratic process that was Michigan and Florida but for addressing issues of sexism only once Clinton was out of the race. Seriously, the anger at Dean may be some of the most unexpected and intense. At the recent EMILY’s List conference, during a panel on gender and the election, Dean’s name was the only one that got booed.
7. They are mad at Barack Obama.
But for some, there is lingering sting — about the paucity of women in Obama’s top advisory team during the campaign, about the way they feel the Obama campaign stained Clinton’s supporters — and Clinton and her husband too — as racists, about the patronizing “You’re likable enough” comment during a January debate.
As for the racism charge, well, maybe it’s not PC to say this, but I did see some racist attitudes coming out of the mouths of some Clinton supporters. Remember Ferraro saying, “They’re only attacking me because I’m white?” Or Harriett Christian’s comments about an “inadequate black man?”
I always took the “likable enough” comment in that debate to be a throw-away attempt at humor on Obama’s part. It wasn’t all that funny, but I never saw it as the terrible jab that many Clinton supporters thought it to be.
8. They are mad at Bill Clinton. Um, obviously.
9. They are mad at Mark Penn.
10. They are mad at Hillary Clinton for conceding and not taking their fight on to Denver.
11. They are mad that everyone believes them to be old, white and racist. They are mad at the people they thought were supposed to be progressives for treating them badly.
They are mad at their party and its leaders because they feel this race has opened up a door, allowing people to rag on white women — as irrelevant and buffoonish, as ambitious and preening, as old school and boring and nagging and hectoring — in a way that demonstrates that women have a questionable place in liberalism and progressivism.
No. Women have a vital place in liberalism and progressivism. Women and liberalism should go hand-in-hand.
But at the same time, some of those angry Clinton people need to understand that many progressives could not support Clinton in the primaries given her vote on the Iraq war. Nor do we think 28 years of two-family rule in the United States would be good for Democracy. Others mistrust the Clintons because of Bill’s time in office during which he sold out many progressive ideas. And yes, I understand that Hillary and Bill are not the same person, but if she was running on Bill’s record as president, she should have also been held accountable for some of the Clinton administration’s failings.
12. And finally, they are angry because they feel they are held hostage by the party by their reproductive organs.
Yes, they’re going to vote for Obama. Of course they’ll vote for him. The truth is, they’ll probably love voting for him. But after what they feel has been done to them — the way in which they were written off, marginalized and resented, their hopes mocked and their history-making ambitions dismissed as retrograde identity politicking — damned if they’re going to be nice girls about it.
I hope they come around to Obama. We need them.