Yikes! 695 Days to the Election, and Brickbats Are Flying!
By: Carey Roberts
Most of us are still catching our breath from the watershed November 7 elections. But with Hillary Clinton the likely contender for the Democratic Party, the pundits are already cranking out their assorted hissy-fits, half-truths, and pre-emptive attacks.
Take last weekâ€™s content-free column by Susan Estrich, â€œFirst Whiffs of Sexism in Hillaryâ€™s Presidential Coverage.â€ [source]
With Mrs. Clinton now working the phones with her Democratic pals in Iowa and New Hampshire, people are talking about Hillaryâ€™s presidential ambitions. Itâ€™s one of those â€œWill she or wonâ€™t she?â€ storylines that most candidates-to-be yearn for.
But to Estrich, this speculation is proof-positive that the patriarchy is alive and well. â€œThereâ€™s something about Hillary. And it definitely has to do with her sex,â€ Susan wails.
And when political insider Dick Morris criticizes Hillary for her â€œcoy pretense of indecision,â€ Estrich hits the roof. â€œAre men routinely accused of being â€˜coyâ€™ for being organized, or is this just the beginning of how it will be to see subtle sexism at work in the coverage of a woman candidate?,â€ she rants.
(More on Mr. Morris in a minute.)
Finally Estrich plays the victim card for everything itâ€™s worth. She exclaims, â€œYou donâ€™t have to sympathize with Hillary to take issue with how she is treated,â€ as if to imply the vast right wing conspiracy has already staked out Hillaryâ€™s palatial Washington mansion for an old-fashioned cross-burning.
Estrichâ€™s over-wrought essay calls to mind her tasteless attack on Los Angeles Times editor Michael Kinsley, who was recovering from a neurological condition. She charged that Kinsleyâ€™s health condition â€œmay have affected your brain, your judgment, and your ability to do this job.â€
Yes, once upon a time we all believed that feminism would bring a more caring and empathic perspective to the world.
Now back to Dick Morris.
Heâ€™s one of those political operatives who was once known as â€œThe Man Who Has Clintonâ€™s Ear,â€ then was found cavorting with a DC prostitute (causing the break-up of his marriage with attorney Eileen McGann), and finally turned on bosom-buddy Hillary by releasing his tell-all book, â€œRewriting History.â€
Along the way, Dick Morris somehow reunited with wife Eileen. Howâ€™s that for a real-life rendition of Sex in the City?
So recently Morris looked at the Gallup polls and found lo and behold, 18% of Republican women (compared to only 8% of men) said they would vote for Condoleezza Rice in 2008. (It should be noted that Miss Rice has never explained her views on any domestic issues, has no campaign apparatus in place, and has never run for even county dog-catcher.)
On the basis of those numbers, Morris, now wearing his soothsayerâ€™s turban, concludes that â€œwomen want a woman president.â€ [source]
But a quick look at the poll results reveals Morrisâ€™ intellectual sophistry. The Gallup respondents were given a list of 12 potential Republican candidates to choose from — eleven men and Miss Rice. [source]
Seven percent of the persons had â€œno opinion.â€ So if 18% of the Republican ladies gave the nod to Condi, that means the remaining women â€“ about three-quarters — selected a male candidate, most of them picking Rudy Giuliani or John McCain.
Conclusion: Women prefer a male president.
Plus, thereâ€™s something demeaning about the implication that women are thinking only about gender when they step inside the voting booth. Whatâ€™s next, an article about Barack Obamaâ€™s presidential hopes with the racist title, â€œWhitey Wants a Caucasian Presidentâ€?
Morris makes other boo-boos in his arithmetic.
He says women represent 55-56% of the Election Day turnout. Wrong. In 2004, women represented 54% of the electorate. With that tiny error, Mr. Morris wrote off up to 70,000 male voters.
He also claims that women swung the 2004 presidential election. Thatâ€™s a hoot, Mr. Morris, because thatâ€™s the year men crushed John Kerry by an 11 point margin. [source]
So is Dick Morris mathematically-challenged? Is he making up an outrageous claim designed to garner headlines, like his famous description of Bill Clinton as â€œa great president from the neck upâ€? Or is he simply trying to milk more profits from his latest over-hyped book, â€œCondi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Raceâ€?
But who really cares about Susan Estrichâ€™s latest temper tantrum or Dick Morrisâ€™ female fantasies?
We all deserve a break from the fact-twisting and high-decibel punditry. Letâ€™s allow the Democrats to show their stuff in Congress and let the voters reach their own verdict. Thatâ€™s the way the democratic process is supposed to work.
This writer is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.