Admittedly, I was a bit surprised by Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama over Clinton. I immediately read it as politics — he thought he was joining up with the winning team. But who knows. One thing I will say is that I never would have suggested that it was due to Kennedy being anti-woman. I still don’t think it. But some do, apparently…
“Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.
And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). ‘They’ are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women’s money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future or whatever.
This latest move by Kennedy is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation – to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who ‘know what’s best for us.’”
This seems pretty ridiculous to me. Now I’m not defending Ted Kennedy’s record on pro-women oriented legislation, and I’m not defending his legislative status as a feminist (hard to swallow, given some of Ted’s historical shenanigans). So I’ll give NY NOW their say on that. But they have absolutely no evidence at all that Kennedy has turned to Obama simply because he’s a man. Frankly, it’s seems patently ridiculous to make the charge with no evidence other than the fact that he’s chosen Obama (the guy) over Clinton (the woman).
In fact, the only way to really accept their argument is to make a ridiculous move: that any self-respecting supporter of womens’ rights or of feminism will support Clinton (because she’s a woman). Thus, any support for the non-women candidates is a straight admission that one has abandoned women’s causes.
To take identity politics to that level is beyond stupid, it’s downright hurtful to women’s causes. It simply empties them of significance. If that’s what “being a feminist” means, then I would stop being a feminist. Luckily, I’m not gullible enough to sheepishly accept NY NOW’s definition of feminism, as in my book they left intelligent feminism behind with this stupidity.
I’d love to ask NY NOW: if it were Karen Hughes vs Obama, who would they support? What if it was Bay Buchanan vs Obama? Somehow I doubt they’d support Hughes or Buchanan. Would that make them anti-feminist? I mean come on.
This is so stupid it’s hard to know how to respond effectively to it.
(h/t to Professor Bainbridge. After three years of reading his blog, I think we’ve agreed twice. This was one of those two times.)