No Dynasties for a Democratic Republic
This great cartoon is from Nick Anderson and the Houston Chronicle. It was reprinted this past Wednesday in the Louisville Courier-Journal, where Anderson was previously employed.
Let me be clear:
- I have no problem with a woman serving as U. S. president. I thought Ambassador Carol Mosely-Braun, who tried for the Democratic nomination in 2004 would have made an excellent president and I was sorry that she dropped out even before the Iowa caucuses. I hope female candidates become routine in the presidential campaigns of both major parties. And when Clinton talks about women in their ’90s coming up to her and saying they hope to live to see a woman president, I get it. I still remember the look on my mother and sisters’ faces when the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified by enough states to become law.
- I am horribly disturbed by the misogynistic nature of extreme “Hillary hatred.” That misogyny was discussed last night by Bill Moyers. There ought to be no excuse for radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh referring to Clinton’s “testicle lockbox,” Tucker Carlson (of MSNBC) saying that Clinton’s campaign and presence “feels castrating,” nor Clifford May of the Republican National Committee insisting that she call herself a “Vaginal American” if she is going to appeal to women! And, if Sen. John McCain (R-NV) had allowed a racist comment about an opponent go unchallenged the way he did the sexist comment about Hillary Clinton (“How do we beat the bitch?” asked a woman in the crowd. The audience laughed and McCain looked uncomfortable, but did not say anything about this being an unacceptable way to speak of his opponent and Senate colleague.), we would now be writing McCain’s political obituary. One can oppose her campaign without demonizing her in ways that suggest that any woman seeking the presidency must not be a real woman and is emasculating to men. It’s disgusting.
- I had problems with Bill Clinton and I think Hillary Clinton’s policies will be too close to his in ways that I can’t support. But I have never understood the extreme hatred of all things Clinton in some parts of the Right, especially some parts of the Religious Right. I haven’t even understood why they symbolize “evil liberalism” for so many. Yes, Clinton’s election ended the Reagan-Bush era and moved some things in a more liberal direction. Yes, the Clintons support legal abortion (almost the only issue on which Bill Clinton would fight the Gingrich crowd tooth and nail) and more equality for the GLBT community (though he never fought on this issue). But others are far more liberal on both these issues (including Rudy Giuliani) without ever generating the same amount of visceral hatred. On many other issues, both Clintons have far more in common with conservative Republicans than with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party–which is one reason I never cared for them. They are both committed “free traders,” they do little to support labor unions or keep jobs from fleeing to overseas sweatshops, are more worried about shrinking welfare rolls (itself a good thing) than ending poverty, and both turn the nation’s desire for universal healthcare into giveaways for HMOs and big Pharma. They are fairly hawkish in foreign policy, too. None of these things make either Clinton either wonderful or evil–simply a mixed bag.
- I don’t remember conservatives in this country, never mind the U.K., reacting this way to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose ideology was “Reaganism in drag,” (or was Reagan’s ideology “Thatcherism in trousers?”). I somehow doubt that if, say, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) were to be the GOP frontrunner for president that we would be seeing such misogynistic hatred–certainly not from Republicans and I doubt the opposition to her from Democrats would include patriarchal demonizing of her. Is it just Hillary Clinton or would this be the way any center-left woman candidate would be treated?
- Although I would be happy to vote for a woman for president, this woman is not my first choice. As a pacifist, I want someone MUCH more committed to international peacemaking than the hawkish Clinton. As a fair trade advocate, I don’t a president who loves the WTO. I want someone more concerned for the poor and for universal, single payer, not-for-profit healthcare.
- I also think that it is bad for any democratic republic to have 2 families dominate the electorate for decades. Since 1980, a Bush or a Clinton has been on the ticket in every presidential election. George H. W. Bush was VP for 8 years and president for 4. Then came 8 years of Bill Clinton, followed by 8 years of George W. Bush. If Hillary is elected, we face a potential further 8 years of a Clinton in the White House. Would we follow with Jeb Bush in 2012?? That is not healthy for a representative democracy. Dynasties belong to monarchies.
- Nevertheless, I find enough wrong with each of the GOP candidates this time around that if Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, I will (reluctantly) vote for her. Meanwhile, I hope for other choices.
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