OK, not to beat the Caroline Kennedy horse, but this is ridiculous.  During an interview, with perhaps the most esteemed newspaper in the entire world, a female political “candidate” is asked, repeatedly, how her husband feels about her career ambitions, is later subjected to a Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy analogy, is pounced on for calling sexist reporting out and the resulting mainstream media coverage centers on how some bitchy, no-name political bloggers didn’t like how many times she said “you know?”

It was easier for a lot of people to play the ostrich when it came to the clear and appalling sexism faced by Hillary Clinton during her run for the Democratic presidential nomination.  To be fair, some of those ostriches were mere harbingers of what Sarah Palin would face when named the GOP VP candidate.  Still, those of us who didn’t think we had to throw the woman or women’s issues under the bus to embrace “change” recognized sexism when we saw it, and will continue to support women in public life who are regularly faced with it.

Kudos to Politico‘s Michael Calderone for calling bullshit in this instance, and to Kennedy for keeping her cool and her sense of humor.  Hopefully more people got the point Kennedy was trying to make when she asked for the Times‘ questions to be printed along with her responses.  How bizarre, criticizing a woman for giving less than substantive responses to queries intermingled with those one might find in the pages of US Weekly. Especially when that woman is only trying to satisfy a critical audience’s demand for accessibility while respecting the job she’s after isn’t really one subject to an actual political campaign.

Come now?

May 21, 2008

I suppose nothing about this election should phase any of us at this point, but I was really taken aback by David Gergen’s suggestion that Hillary Clinton should publicly renounce the votes of racists.  Has this woman really been dragged through so much mud that it can’t just go without saying that she isn’t reaching out to racists for support? 

As Gergen himself says, Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of civil rights her entire public life.  If we’re going to require Hillary to denounce the repugnant views of a small group of the millions who’ve cast votes for her, we’d also have to ask Obama to denounce those who voted for him because his opponent is a woman.    

How unnecessary either statement would be, and what undue relevance it would give the racist and/or sexist views unforutnately and inevitably held by a few in a sample of millions.  It’s clear that race and gender are still issues in this country, and it would have been nice if Hillary had been allowed to address sexism in a way Obama was allowed to address racism.  Yet, forcing statements near the end of a campaign that will only be seen as defensive is hardly the way to go about starting a national conversation on any social ill. 

Our candidate will either be an African American or a woman.  It’s possible our ticket will be comprised of an African American and a woman.  We’ve already illustrated that the Democratic Party really is the famed “big tent” of American politics and we need not have anyone making “duh” statements expressing views that are perfectly clear to anyone with a brain.