Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gloria Steinem Gets It Wrong

In a blatant op-ed piece trying to gain sympathy for Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem gets it all wrong.
THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?

If you answered no to either question, you’re not alone. Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.
Being honest as Steinem asks, my answers to each of those questions is "How the heck would I know?"

Now, of course, Steinem is trying to argue that voters are keeping Hillary down because she is a woman and that if a woman were like Barack Obama no one would be voting for her. But that is a fallacious argument, first because it is a complete hypothetical. Second, it assumes that the reason why Hillary got beat in Iowa and will likely lose in New Hampshire is because she is a woman. Neither of which appear to be true.

How then does Steinem explain why so many more women voted for Obama in Iowa than Hillary? What will Steinem say about exit polls that will probably show the same thing in New Hampshire?

The fact is the Steinem simply ignores the fact that women didn't vote for Hillary the way Steinem would like. The fact is that Hillary Clinton is a legacy of the past, a figure that reminds too many people of Bill Clinton (not that she can necessarily help that). On the other hand, Obama has presented an opportunity for change, a message of change (whether change will happen or not is irrelevant--it is the message that matters) and he has engaged people in a way that Hillary Clinton cannot.

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