“Feminist Pitch by a Democrat Named Obama.” That’s the headline of this article from today’s New York Times. Here’s an excerpt, describing Senator Obama’s pitch to women in early-voting states:
The breakthrough nature of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential candidacy has a powerful appeal for many women * * * The politics are complex; even as rival campaigns seek to peel away women’s votes from Mrs. Clinton, they are often careful to acknowledge and pay tribute to the broader significance of her candidacy….[Obama made] the case that the candidate’s sex is not, and should not, be the deciding factor. Women, he said,”can look at a whole series of issues and know, â€˜You know what? This guy’s going to fight for us, partly due to biography.’ Because I know what it’s like to be raised by a single mom who’s trying to work and go to school and raise two kids at the same time, doesn’t have any support from the father. These are issues I’m passionate about.”
Moreover, he argued, his leadership offers the best prospects for delivering on that agenda. * * *
Kate Michelman, a senior adviser to the Edwards campaign and a longtime abortion rights leader, said she told women that Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy was historic and exciting, and that”we have spent a long time and traveled a long road to get to this point.”But she added,”That doesn’t bring us to the place where gender becomes the only thing or even the most important factor determining our decision.”
This week the Obama campaign held a wave of house parties focused on women in early voting states; Mrs. Obama bluntly told 700 women activists linked by conference call Wednesday night,”We need you guys.”
Huh? I agree with Michelman that gender is not the most important factor in a Presidential election. The days of unqualified gender essentialism are long past (if they ever existed at all). But Michelle Obama should know better. Figure of speech or not, candidates and their spouses should not refer to women as “guys.”
Hat tip: Darren Rosenblum.