Saturday, August 30, 2008

Democratic pot attacks Republican kettle.

When it comes to the election I don’t have a horse in the race. I am equally disgusted with McCain as I am with Obama, and when it comes the two major parties, both turn my stomach. As for third parties, please! Bob Barr is besmirching the libertarian label and the theocrat from the Constitution Party is about as appealing as Torquemada. In other words, I’m not voting for any of them.

Democrats broke ground by nominating a black man for president -- sort of. I say sort of because, in all truth Obama is also half white. But apparently “black” blood trumps “white” blood in this sort of catergorization that some people find so important. McCain decided to go the identity politics route and wants a woman, Gov. Sarah Palin, as his vice presidential candidate. Neither the race, nor the gender of a candidate, is an issue to me. I can think of some black men I’d be happy to see in the White House and lots of white men who should be shot if they get within 100 miles of Washington. I’ve worked on the staff of female candidates in the past and promoted several over the years. I have absolutely no problem with female presidents.

Over at the New York Times they published a commentary on the situation by Gail Collins, which, if it isn’t PC to say it, was especially bitchy and sarcastic. Apparently Ms. Collins, failing to have real ammunition for her viewpoint, resorted to put-downs, sarcasm and sneering instead. It makes me wonder, while I have no problem with female presidents per se, I might be not so generous when it comes to female columnists. At least not to female columnists named Gail Collins.

Collins main point is to rattle McCain’s chain for jumping in on the identity politics bandwagon. She writes: “The idea that women are going to race off to vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong. “

Pardon me! That was precisely what was behind the hoards of women lining up behind Hillary as opposed to Obama. Hillary was the “woman’s” candidate merely because she was a woman. Of course Collins claims the real reason for this was that she the “best-prepared candidate in the Democratic pack.” In comparison having a female run in the Republican Party for vice president is “like a step back.”

What a trite and absurd comment on her part. Hillary was not the best by any means. In American politics I can assure the best get nowhere near the top. Her major reason for being a strong candidate was two things: her husband’s career and influence, and being a woman. Hillary had little responsibility for either. She was someone who held no elective office until she moved to New York and used the massive funds her husband could raise for her to win a Senate seat.

Then with very little experience in the Senate she turned around and suddenly decided she could be president. And the Democrats, who have monopolized identity politics for decades found it difficult to know what do do. She had almost no experience at all and was widely disliked as a person, both in and out of the Democratic Party. But she was a WOMAN!! And being a WOMAN raised her several levels in the hierarchy of identity politics. Pity she was white but there was little they could do about that -- without people noticing.

What could trump the identity politics of being a WOMAN in the Democratic Party. One thing could --- being BLACK. Obama comes into the race with about as much experience as Hillary -- in other words almost none. He does trump her in education and job experience. And he did it without sleeping with Bill --- although it is clear that Bill did not find the idea of sleeping with Hillary satisfying enough. Obama doesn’t have the experience either.

The Democrats have let identity politics run their 2008 campaign. Experience is weak but being a WOMAN or being BLACK has been a major issue for Democrats.

Collins says that it is “offensive” to think women will vote for Palin. Why? Is it also equally “offensive” to think blacks will turnout to vote for Obama? Apparently not. That’s different -- somehow, really, it is, somehow. Polls in various states showed that Obama came out ahead of Hillary because of race loyalty. Black voters were happy to vote for a BLACK man over a WHITE WOMAN. Even black women were inclined to vote for someone of the same race before voting for someone of the same sex. And you can’t blame the vote difference on the positions the candidates took. They were never that far apart on the issues.

The idea of women voting for Palin because she is a woman offends Ms. Collins. But she is apparently unfazed on blacks voting for Obama because of his race. To condemn the Republicans because McCain played the game of identity politics might be warranted. But supporters of the Democratic Party are in no position to do the condemning.

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