Sunday, March 09, 2008


Tina Brown in Newsweek:

What saddens boomer women who love Hillary is that their twentysomething daughters don't share their view of her heroic role. Instead they've been swept up by that new Barack magic. It's not their fault, and not Hillary's, either. The very scar tissue that older women see as proof of her determination just embarrasses their daughters, killing off for them all the insouciant elation that ought to come with girl power in the White House.

I really don't understand this line of reasoning. Brown is saying that the support of young women for Obama can't possibly be affirmative -- it can't possibly have anything to do with Obama himself. No, its foundation has to be a rejection of Hillary Clinton. And it has to be a rejection of Hillary as a woman, or, rather, as Woman. It can't be a response to her specific approach to politics or her past or present positions -- it can't be, to take the most obvious example, a response to her initial support of the war. It can't be a calculation about her electability. It has to be about feminism.

Yet Brown and others who talk this way don't believe the opposite -- they don't believe that the support of older women for Hillary Clinton is primarily a rejection of Barack Obama, as an individual or as an African-American.

Here's a radical thesis: Older female Clinton supporters and younger Obama supporters are actually voting for their preferred candidate. They're not voting against. In both cases, the enthusiasm is overwhelmingly affirmative, not negative. Is that so hard to imagine?

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