In the most recent issue of The Nation, a letter from two readers appears which claims that if Hillary Clinton is not nominated for Vice President, these readers will instead vote for John McCain.
The dubious premise of this promised course of action is the writers’ belief that Clinton, as a woman, would understand the writers’ feelings of disenfranchisement over having their views ignored or rejected, presumably solely because they are women.
I won’t argue whether Hillary Clinton would necessarily have a better understanding – or, more to the point, make better policies – on women’s issues simply because she’s a woman (short commentary: Margaret Thatcher), but these writers’ position that if Clinton is not nominated to the vice presidency on Obama’s ticket, they will vote for McCain is, at the very least, sheer idiocy.
McCain has a zero percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and no doubt his voting record leads to similarly dismal ratings from other feminist groups. The letter writers refer specifically to Clinton’s health-care plan – while McCain is content to continue the existing practice of pretending insurance agents are qualified to practice medicine, Obama at least acknowledges there’s a problem. The writers also refer to Clinton’s “better assessment of how to work with our allies and [superior] temperament and life experience to handle international and local crises.”
How on earth a feminist could imagine McCain’s notions of working with allies (and, more relevantly, enemies) and temperament are more sympathetic to feminists’ views is a mystery to me.
And the idea that these writers would vote for McCain, so as to give Clinton a run at the 2012 nomination, is equally inane: yes, by all means give women (and others) four years of Bush-lite so that Clinton can, in 2012, try to fight all the advantages of a McCain incumbency for her not-all-that-radical, middle-of-the-road feminism-lite.
Again, two words: Margaret Thatcher. Just because a politician is female guarantees absolutely nothing about her commitment to feminist issues (or to those of progressives, generally).