Thursday, February 28, 2008

2--comment on sexism & racism....from a woman

"Maybe it's because she doesn't "play" the female role--timid, uncertain, passive, naive."

1. I'm not timid, uncertain, passive, or naive, and I pass as a female just fine.

2. You figure if Hillary were playing this role, or even faking it a bit, older white men would decide she'd make a great President?? A single welled-up tear sent this particular demographic into paroxysms of horror about a President who cries when she ought to be negotiating.

My own opinion is that Hillary would be doing a lot better right now if she were competing with someone like Edwards.

To put this typologically, Hillary plays from Extraverted Thinking. She defines a goal, figures out the steps she needs to get there, then assembles the elements that make the steps possible. Some people admire a mind that works like that; some people think it's old-school and lacking in creativity; some neandertals won't tolerate it in a female. But the real problem is that it doesn't make for a collective emotional response.

Obama, by contrast, plays from Introverted Feeling -- as many artists and preachers do. He sees through assumed social boundaries on the basis of felt human values. When a person does this well enough, he sometimes inspires new cultural forms, and people get excited and invested. Elvis Presley, for example, saw right through the boundaries that were assumed to exist between black and white music. He absorbed what he absorbed only on the basis of whether it was any good, and he changed an entire industry.

To put this another way: Obama is looking through the political boundaries that Hillary takes for granted, so he seems fresh and full of new ideas, whereas she just seems knowledgeable about how things already are.

I'm not saying that Obama actually has anything substantive to offer. I'm just talking about the reaction he's getting; it seems to me that Hillary's difficulties have more to do with the contrast between the two than they do with Hillary herself.

Maureen Dowd probably put it best, when she said that Hillary has had the abject misfortune of running in the large, looming shadow of one Secretariat, only to find another galloping past her as she's plodding her way to the finish line. She has so much to offer, but she doesn't have the kind of charisma that moves people and turns them into a force of nature.

Lest you think I'm not agreeing with you, I DO think sexism complicates this scenario; I just don't think this is her primary problem (pun purely unintended).

Entirely my opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary.

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