Saturday, March 01, 2008


Again? Yup -- another pundit has decided that Barack Obama is a woman.

Maureen Dowd, of course, loves to describe Obama this way (e.g., as "Obambi," as a "debutante," and as comparable to "Hollywood starlets"), and we had Lucy Berrington and Jeff Onore in the New York Post in January asking whether Obama could be "our first woman president" -- and now, this week, there was Martin Linsky, a Kennedy School of Government faculty member, also using the "first woman president" formula in Newsweek. (Berrington and Onore live in Massachusetts, too. Is it something in the water?)

Linsky writes:

... this campaign will always be remembered for the emergence of the first serious woman candidate for president: Barack Obama.

Obama is a female candidate for president in the same way that Bill Clinton was the first black president....

Some of the reasoning here is just absurd. We're told that "Clinton proposes policy solutions to every problem" -- and Obama doesn't. (Never mind the fact that his policy proposals are fully as detailed as Clinton's.) We're told:

Obama is willing to acknowledge his indiscretions and not apologize for them. His drug use was part of his journey. He returned the campaign contributions of a former friend with an unsavory past.

(All sorts of politicians have admitted to using drugs -- most of them male. And just about every pol has to return a contribution or two these days, including Clinton.)

And, bizarrely, we're told that John McCain's "manner of exercising leadership" is "androgynous" (because McCain "is the only one who has regularly gone in front of hostile crowds and been willing to stand and defend positions -- on immigration, the Iraqi war, ethanol, restoring jobs in Michigan, and campaign finance -- that were certain to offend people whose votes he was trying to secure") ... but, somehow, McCain is not engaged in "gender-bending," as is Obama (and as is Hillary, whom Linsky, naturally, sees as male). I'm not sure why Obama is a potential "female" president while McCain is merely "androgynous"; these nuances are a bit subtle for me.


Linsky's actually trying to compliment Obama; meanwhile, however, the people who unabashedly want to destroy Obama are getting nastier, as David Corn notes:

...An unsourced email being disseminated claims that "someone taped former Muslim Barack HUSSEIN Obama at a black church when he was in South Carolina" and that Obama said:

It's clear that we give too much money to Israel. [cheers] Why... do you know that every American gives approx .20 cents A DAY to Israel? [jeers] We keep hearing how tough the Israelis are... how great an 'ally' they are... --but what if we gave the SAME AMOUNT of money we gave THEM to the poor Palestinians--I bet THAT would bring them finally to the table. We could have a two-state solution... a two-state solution--just like former President Carter outlined in his latest book. We can't have peace in the Middle East until we solve that problem down in Palestine. George Bush should have thought about that before he went into Iraq...[etc.]

The email goes on to note that Obama sounds "a GREAT DEAL like Malcolm X." It asks, "Instead of the 'Manchurian Candidate,' is Obama the secret 'Farrakan Candidate'"? ...

Here's the premise: Barack Obama, the focus of intense media scrutiny as the possible Democratic nominee, would go into a church (a black church, of course) in the thick of the campaign and insult Israel -- and expect not to be found out. That's what these e-mailers want people to believe. And some people obviously will.

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