Thanks to the Washington Post, and a host of Supposedly Liberal Dood bloggers happily flogging these despicable Op-eds with smirking faux concern, now we know. First, Hirshman:
Maria Shriver sure has great hair. Stepping up to the microphone at a girl-power rally in Los Angeles on Feb. 3, California’s first lady tossed her tawny tresses with authority and instructed Golden State women to vote for Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary on Super Tuesday. So urgent was the matter, she said, that she had come to the rally “straight from my daughter’s riding lesson.”
Two days later, working-class California women, many of whom can’t even afford to give their daughters health care, much less riding lessons, ignored Shriver’s mane-shaking advice and voted for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton by a margin of 2 to 1, even as many of their better-off sisters fell into lockstep with the Kennedy heiress. …
… I can imagine the strategists for the senator from Illinois thinking, “What’s that song in Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’?” Women are fickle.
Turns out it’s true.
… Among women, the obvious thing would be for lower-income, non-college-educated white and black women to line up behind the candidate with the more generous social platform. Both Clinton and Obama have generous platforms, but Clinton’s health-care plan is more ambitious, and she was the first to propose mandatory paid family leave (which mostly women take). But women, black and white, stubbornly refuse to behave according to a strict model of economic self-interest. Black women of all income levels have gone for Obama. …
… Ominously for Clinton, the feminist movement split, generating a large number of “scribbling women” all over the blogosphere describing the gender-trumping call of the Obama candidacy. Before Super Tuesday, the group New York Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama! published a letter endorsing the senator from Illinois. Most of the signatories were educated elites — including Nation columnist Katha Pollitt, women’s rights historians Alice Kessler-Harris and Linda Gordon and actress Susan Sarandon.
Belatedly, an equally prestigious group of feminist leaders — icon Gloria Steinem, historian Christine Stansell, former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt — posted a counter-manifesto on behalf of Clinton on the Huffington Post Web site. But man bites dog, right? The mainstream media narrative became how feminists have failed to endorse the first major female presidential candidate.
So many feminists’ turn to solidarity with their own class is a surprise. For decades, they’ve been loudly proclaiming their loyalty to working-class women and criticizing reporters for writing chiefly about elite women who resemble themselves. … Now, though, many of the same women trumpeting the barista reality disagree with most working-class white women about which candidate would be better for the working class. …
… [I]t could just be that women with more education (and more money) relate on a subconscious level to the young and handsome Barack and Michelle Obama, with their white-porticoed mansion in one of the cooler Chicago neighborhoods and her Jimmy Choo shoes. ….
Read the whole thing here.
Now we move on to Charlotte Allen:
Here’s Agence France-Presse reporting on a rally for Sen. Barack Obama at the University of Maryland on Feb. 11: “He did not flinch when women screamed as he was in mid-sentence, and even broke off once to answer a female’s cry of ‘I love you, Obama!’ with a reassuring ‘I love you back.’ ” Women screamed? What was this, the Beatles tour of 1964? And when they weren’t screaming, the fair-sex Obama fans who dominated the rally of 16,000 were saying things like: “Every time I hear him speak, I become more hopeful.” Huh?
“Women ‘Falling for Obama,’ ” the story’s headline read. Elsewhere around the country, women were falling for the presidential candidate literally. Connecticut radio talk show host Jim Vicevich has counted five separate instances in which women fainted at Obama rallies since last September. And I thought such fainting was supposed to be a relic of the sexist past, when patriarchs forced their wives and daughters to lace themselves into corsets that cut off their oxygen.
I can’t help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning makes me wonder whether women — I should say, “we women,” of course — aren’t the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women “are only children of a larger growth,” wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right? …
… Take Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. By all measures, she has run one of the worst — and, yes, stupidest — presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex. As far as I’m concerned, she has proved that she can’t debate — viz. her televised one-on-one against Obama last Tuesday, which consisted largely of complaining that she had to answer questions first and putting the audience to sleep with minutiae about her health-coverage mandate. She has whined (via her aides) like the teacher’s pet in grade school that the boys are ganging up on her when she’s bested by male rivals. She has wept on the campaign trail, even though everyone knows that tears are the last refuge of losers. And she is tellingly dependent on her husband.
Then there’s Clinton’s nearly all-female staff, chosen for loyalty rather than, say, brains or political savvy. Clinton finally fired her daytime-soap-watching, self-styled “Latina queena” campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, known for burning through campaign money and for her open contempt for the “white boys” in the Clinton camp. But stupidly, she did it just in time to alienate the Hispanic voters she now desperately needs to win in Texas or Ohio to have any shot at the Democratic nomination.
What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental? …
So helpful to the sexists when women will make these observations. Another day, another onslaught of mainstream misogyny.
Update: In a similar vein, the excellent Historiann asks, “What is Wrong With Maureen Dowd?”