Two bloggers I read regularly, Andy Ihnatko and Wil Wheaton, have joined the popular media in declaring Barack Obama the 2008 Democratic nominee. Ihnatko characterizes Hillary Clinton as a “vanity candidate” because she’s lent millions of her own dollars to her campaign, like an author who uses a vanity press because no real publisher wants her book. Wheaton likens Hillary to “a psycho ex-girlfriend” who doesn’t know when to stop calling.
Very funny, guys.
These bloggers have also joined the Obama chorus singing the tired refrain that Hillary must drop out immediately before she irreparably damages the Democratic party, nay, the Democratic process itself.
Oh, please. If the Democratic party were of sound body and mind to begin with, then George W. would have lost in 2004 (too). Oh, and what does this whole Michigan/Florida thing say about the organizational soundness of the Democratic party?
They’re perplexed, flummoxed! Why doesn’t she just give it up! Why can’t she be more like Al Gore? Ihnatko wonders. Why can’t she concede the race for the nomination the way Gore conceded the race for president in 2000:
Gore had every logical reason to continue the fight, and plenty of legal justification. History may never decide whether or not it was correct for the Supreme Court to hand down a decision that in so many words chose the next President.
But Gore conceded. He conceded an election that he had probably won, fair and square.
Why? Because he had the makings of a great President: he put the needs of his country ahead of his own needs or those of his Party.
Fighting the Supreme Court decision would have dragged on the process for months…and there had to be an inauguration on January 21, 2001. An orderly transfer of executive power on that date was more important than any other issue or factor. It sure as hell was more important than Al Gore’s ego. It was a close approximation of the classic King Solomon decision. Q: To whom did the Presidency rightly belong? A: The petitioner who would rather give it up than see the baby harmed.
(News flash: If there’s an heir to the Clinton/Gore legacy in this race, it’s Hillary, not Obama. Shame on you, Bill Richardson, shame on you! But I digress.)
No need to be perplexed, fellows. I’ll tell you why Al Gore could drop out and Hillary can’t: Al Gore’s a guy.
Do you really expect the first woman who’s a viable presidential candidate to drop out? To give up? To accept the pat on the head: “You did your best, kiddo. Now take your dolls and go home.”
Do you really think Hillary is doing this only for herself? Do you think she’s not thinking if she drops out, what that will say about women? What will that do to the next woman who runs for president?
Now, I’m not the same generation as Hillary. But I was born before 1970. Let me tell you a few things about women born before 1970.
We’re the reason girls can play Little League. We’re the reason girls can sing in the choir and serve on the altar. We’re the reason women can be ministers and astronauts and CEOs. We’re the reason women can wear pants in restaurants. We’re the reason schools and colleges have to, albeit grudgingly, spend money on women’s sports. We’re the reason people figured out it’s possible to have your first child after age 30 (hey, somebody had to be the first one to try it). We’re the reason women can own millions of dollars to lend to their own presidential campaigns.
And we hate, hate, HATE being told to take our dolls and go home.
Women like me cheered when Shannon Faulkner walked through The Citadel’s gates. And our jaws dropped when, barely a week later, she took her dolls and went home, citing physical pain and psychological abuse.
The day she dropped out, the male cadets streamed onto the campus green and celebrated.
Shannon was born after 1970. She didn’t get it. Neither do today’s athletes who say, “I’m doing this for myself. If you don’t like the way I live, tell your kids to ignore me. I’m not a role model.”
Yeah, you are. Hillary is, too.
Reporters admit that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is more media-friendly. She hangs out with the reporters in the back of the plane, which Obama can’t be bothered to do. A presidential campaign is nothing if not physical pain and psychological abuse. Bring it on, Hillary’s probably saying to herself. Bring it on.
Ihnatko closes his argument by saying:
Withdrawing from the race and committing her supporters and resources to Obama wouldn’t have been as conceding an election that she had already actually won by popular vote, but it still would have been hot stuff. She could have come back in eight years, even stronger than before.
In eight years Hillary will be 68. Let’s be real here. Hillary’s MILF-factor will never again be as high as it is now. And a woman needs MILF-factor to get elected. Don’t shoot me; you know I’m right.
These days, you can’t say the N-word. Or the L-word. But long before that, people stopped using the F-word — Feminism. Maybe it’s time to bring it back.
And never, ever, take your dolls and go home.