What The Clintons Did For Feminism

[Note: I’ve bumped this post from yesterday to the top, because it has some new content today, and is getting a lot of commentary]

Could Obama do for race relations? It is a situation, with a history, steeped in irony.

Younger people might not be aware, but there was a time, back in the early nineties, when feminist principles like opposition to sexual harassment in the workplace (including consensual sexual relations between people of widely disparate power relations) were viewed with widespread societal approval, and even made subject to civil law suits. It was considered intolerable by many to have any physical contact in the work place whatsoever. Beyond that, women who accused men of sexual impropriety were to be protected and provided with credibility, not derided and slandered in an attempt to reduce their credibility. Whether one agrees with it or not, this was the cultural norm, and became established law.

Then came Bill and Hillary Clinton, ostensible supporters of all of this. Until…until…it became inconvenient for them. Oh, they continue to pay it lip service, but when Gennifer Flowers accused Bill of having a twelve-year affair with him, and had audio tape to prove it, she was attacked as a liar and a slut, by the Clintons’ henchmen (and henchwomen), masterminded by Hillary. When Paula Jones, a lowly state employee, came forth with a story of being escorted by a state policeman to Governor Clinton’s hotel suite, whereupon he demanded that she fellate him, she was called “trailer trash,” and her lawsuit (perfectly legitimate) was fought on the basis that she had no right to bring a kingpresident to trial. When Kathleen Willey complained that she had been groped in the Oval Office when she came to ask the president for a job after her husband had committed suicide, she was essentially called a liar by the president’s lawyer. Her tires were slashed, her children were threatened, and her family cat was found dead. When Monica Lewinski’s activities were exposed, there was a back-channel whispering campaign by people like Sid Blumenthal that she was a “stalker,” and mentally unstable, and not to be believed. This campaign would no doubt have continued ad infinitum had she not taken Linda Tripp’s sage advice and hung on to the blue-stained dress, which ultimately revealed who was really the liar in the affair.

In each and every case, in order to quell (in the campaign and White House’s own words) a “bimbo eruption,” the “bimbos” were considered fair game.

This is hypocritical and appalling enough in its own right, but what is much worse, at least for the people who originally developed and defended those feminist ideals that were trampled by the Clintons, was the degree to which, like Hillary, they were cynically willing to completely abandon them in order to defend not only the first “black president,” but the first “feminist” one. Gloria Steinem, yes the Gloria Steinem, wrote a famous piece in the New York Times in which she in essence said that the president was entitled to one free grope. Because it was the Clintons, the “sluts and nuts” defense became acceptable to the formerly easily oh-so-outraged gender warriors.

This sordid tale of hypocrisy, and destruction of feminist idealism by this cynical devotion to the Clintons was described extensively by libertarian feminist Cathy Young almost ten years ago.

Well, the Clintons have aged, and grown tiresome, and the media and the movement have “moved on” (so to speak), tossed the Clintons out like yesterday’s news, and found a new paramour–a young, fresh face, in the form of an attractive (to many) articulate person of color, even if the hue is less than full due to the taint of his white ancestry. They don’t need a faux black president, as Bill was–they can get a real one this time. Almost, anyway.

The parallels with the Clintons are in fact quite striking, in terms of the media love affair, the willingness to run interference for potential scandals, and now, in their willingness to toss overboard more supposed “liberal” shibboleths, in the interest of keeping his candidacy alive, just as they were willing to destroy feminism in order to save it, to keep a pro-abortion president in office (even though he would have been replaced with another pro-abortion president in the person of Al Gore had he been removed).

This time, it’s race, as Victor Davis Hanson explains:

…Wright’s speech on black-right brainers, white-left brainers — replete with bogus stereotypes and crude voice imitations — was about as racist as they come and at one time antithetical to what the NAACP was once all about. Again, the Obama campaign and its appendages have set back racial relations a generation. Just ten years ago, any candidate, black or white, would have rejected Wright making a speech about genetic differences in respective black and white brains. Now it’s given to civil rights organizations by the possible next President’s pastor and spiritual advisor — and done to wild applause for an organization founded on the idea that we are innately the same, while being gushed over by ignorant “commentators.”

As I said before, between Wright’s racism and hatred, and Obama’s contextualization of what he has said, we have so lowered the bar that the next racist (and he won’t necessarily be black) who evokes hatred of other races and then offers a mish-mash pop theory of genetic differences will have plenty of “context” to ward off public fury.

And the amazing thing (or it would be if it hadn’t become so depressingly familiar) is that the press doesn’t merely acquiesce to such destruction of heretofore liberal ideals–it actively cheers it, through empty-headed mouthpieces like Soledad O’Brien. Because their hero, Barack Obama, will not separate himself from his former pastor, they choose not the solution of abandoning their hero. No, instead, they are compelled to make a new hero of, and treat like a rock star, a bigoted, paranoid scientific ignoramus. And in so doing, to turn their backs on, and leave in shreds, what they once thought were racially enlightened ideals.

But I would reassure Professor Hanson on one point. If the next ignoramus to come down the chute turns out to be a white man, opposing racism will become fashionable once again, with all the continuing attendant hypocrisy.

[Update in the evening]

In response to some questions in comments, here’s an interesting quote from Reverend Wright, sure to put some soothing salve on the wounds of the nation’s racial divide:

“Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter’s being vilified for and Bishop Tutu’s being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I’m anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century; that’s what I think about him. . . . Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and he didn’t make me this color.”

Let’s leave aside for the moment the ludicrous hyperbole that Reverend Wright was ever put in chains, and ever put in slavery. Of course, no one living today put Reverend Wright, or any member of his flock, in chains or slavery. The closest slave to Reverend Wright would probably be his grandfather, if not his great-grandfather. And that person was at least two generations, and probably more, from being put into chains and being sold into that state.

But here’s the most ironic part. Louis is a Muslim, or so he claims. Anyone familiar with the history of the slave trade knows the religion of the people who sold blacks into slavery to be sent to the New World. Hint: it was not Christian. For the most part, the slaves were sold in Africa to the British slavers by (Islamic) Arabs, who remain one of the most racist peoples on earth to this day.

Yet Reverend Wright defends the hateful (and racist–and he did call Judaism a “gutter religion,” regardless of false denials that it was “only” about “Zionism”) Farrakhan by attacking white people living today, who have put no one in chains, and sold no one into slavery. I wonder what he has to say about the real slavery, that continues today, in Sudan and other places (predominantly Islamic and Arabic)?

Be sure to read the Wright/Obama-defending insanity in the comments at Milbanks’ post as well.

[Tuesday morning update]

Joe Katzman, on the mendacity and fascist nature of the Obama campaign and cult.

Errrr…but Joe? Just for the record, “belief” actually is a noun, not a verb.

One other thought. If Jeremiah Wright really does represent “the black church” and his beliefs mirror those of the black community, America is in trouble, and black America is in very deep trouble.

Fortunately, I think (and certainly fervently hope) that there are many black Americans who are as repulsed by Wright’s racist beliefs and words as the rest of us are, and recognize what a disaster they have been for their community. But we (and even more, they) need a lot more Bill Cosbys, and many fewer Reverend Wrights.

[Update a couple minutes later]

From a comment at Joe’s post, a good point. Obama has a much bigger problem than his pastor. He could have the mother of all Sister Souljah moments with Jeremiah Wright, and perhaps turn this around. But he can’t disown his wife.

[8:30 AM update]

I didn’t listen to Wright’s whole speech, but Lileks did, so we don’t have to:

Turns out that was just the warm-up act. I heard the entire Rev. Wright speech today, so I’m not talking anything out of context – unless there was some peculiar non-verbal aspect, like an aura or a thick cloud overhead that formed instructive and helpful shapes, the endorsement of Farrakhan, the attacks on “Zionism” in the context of UN resolutions, and the explanations of the effect on racially-distinctive brain structure on marching-band styles was pretty hard to misconstrue.

The most amusing response, aside from the sort of obdurate denial you might find in someone who just created a fantastic beach sculpture and sees a tsunami on the horizon, is the Conspiracy Theory. Who? Jews! Of course! On the radio today I heard someone who managed to combine the far trailing tips of leftist and right-wing nuttery, and tie them into a neat bow. The JEWS were doing this to shake Obama loose from Rev. Wright; the JEWS were the ones who had devised this non-issue and pushed it to the front through their tentacular media control. Apparently a team of crack Jewish Ninja Hypnotists got Rev. Wright to make these recent appearances, too.

Sorry, but there is no “context” that can change my opinion of the nuttiness, paranoia, and mindless anger of the excerpts that I’ve read and heard. I’m long on record of thinking that Obama can’t win in November, and this only reinforces that view. Even if he Sister Souljahed Wright now, it’s too late. It raises too many questions. How could he have associated with this man for twenty years, knowing what he believes, and preaches? Alternately, how could he have done so, and not known? He is either sympathetic to these views, or he’s clueless. Either way, he’ll be too thoroughly unacceptable to too many Americans at this point to be in any way electable.

I just hope that the Dems don’t figure it out. Fortunately, based on a lot of the commentary from Obama defenders, both here and other places, they may remain in denial, right up until the convention and beyond. And if they do figure it out, they’ll lose the black and youth vote. They are royally screwed, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of identity-politics mongers.

61 thoughts on “What The Clintons Did For Feminism”

  1. Bill Cosby has good judgment

    Apparently not when it comes to political donations, if what you write is true.

    Actually, since you said that you wanted to see chaos in the Democratic camp, you should be happy with Wright.

    I’m not happy about the fact that he’s probably set race relations back years for this country. But then, you probably wouldn’t understand anything about putting concerns for the country ahead of partisan advantage.

    In any event, the Democrats are certainly getting what they deserve, and have deserved for decades of nurturing and encouraging this kind of toxic identity politics.

  2. Cosby is the kind of Democrat I actually like. He’s not pushy. He supports who he supports and has his opinions, just like everyone else. The major difference is that he doesn’t seem to talk down at anyone. He uses a lifetime of experience to bring across his points. I’ve always believed that we need the left side because the debate over issues is important. However, except for a few like Cosby, no one on the left debates anymore because the ideas they have aren’t new and they don’t care. Its not about ideas for them, its about power, and that’s a shame.

  3. I’m looking forward to posting at least one more comment on this thread, in at least partial defense of Wright, from a non-racist perspective. Work has to come first. My colleague says if I don’t stop posting in 60 seconds, he’ll kill me.

    For now, I just want to post the links to the transcripts of two of Wright’s very recent speeches for anyone who does want to take a look:

    This was the speech to the NAACP in Detroit, in which he discussed left brain/right brain learning styles. I want to argue that while Wright might be wrong on the research, he was not talking about neurology or genetics but about a learned cultural phenomenon.You can just search for “brain” and decide for yourself (I acknowledge the case isn’t open and shut, but I think he was careful to talk about “learning styles” while citing a reference to an education and linguistics professor – this made me think he was talking about cultural and thus learned behavior. It doesn’t mean he is right, just that he is talking about culture and not genetics.) You can also see his larger rhetorical structure – he was looking for differences to make a rather benign philosophical point. The truth matters, but this guy isn’t even in the soft sciences.

    As the link indicates, this is the national press club speech. It was the question and answer section at the end where he talked about Farrakhan, etc, and thus completely lost me.

    I do look forward to commenting again today (and thanks for the comments about the noses.)

  4. I’m looking forward to posting at least one more comment on this thread, in at least partial defense of Wright, from a non-racist perspective.

    Why? Why is it so important to you to defend Wright on this one charge, when there are so many others? Do you imagine that anyone’s mind will be changed?

  5. I saw much of the National Press Club discussion, particularly the question in answer. Yesterday, Wright removed any reasonable doubt I had that he was a racist.

  6. Apparently, Obama agrees with me:

    “His comments were not only divisive … but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate,”

  7. This is just music to the ears of Republicans. The Democratic party, shredded along race and gender lines, might just rediscover the virtues of individuality.

    BTW, anybody who lived through the OJ trial and its aftermath is not surprised at all by the attitude of blacks in this country. Remember the nationwide celebrations at OJ’s acquittal? There is not even any shame now, now that everyone more or less agrees he butchered two people.

  8. Robert since the Norwegian stuff is so completely off-topic (probably pining for the fjords! ^_^) I’ll paste that over here (including translations).

    I really like the idea of a black US president, it’s extremely shallow but I’ve got to be honest about it and if that’s as far as their attention goes then I can understand why so many support Obama, and particularly young people.

    However “like” is no way to choose a person for such an important job. By now I wish Obama wouldn’t even have gotten close to being nominated. He’s got disastrous policies that (when they differ) are worse than Clinton’s and even worse than Kerry’s nightmarish ideas about North Korea four years ago (ideas that have somehow at least partially slipped in under the Bush administration, while they’re obviously not publicly available I hope there are some truly sensible reasons for that).

    All that aside I’ve got to hope this Wright mess will become the final straw for a great majority of black Americans and that if they weren’t already they’ll get fed up with this kind of “leaders”.

  9. Thomas Sowell/Walter Williams 2008!

    I’d vote for that team, though I rather have Walter Williams at the top of the ticket. Considering McCain’s weakness on the economy, he would do good to pick either as a running mate.

  10. “Note that Wright didn’t originate this brain theory – he cites several sources during the speech.”

    The NY Times ran an approving story about Hall?, in 1983 or 1984, I think. It was the first time I’d ever heard a theory on how black brains (which learned by rhyme) were different from white brains (which learned by rote) from a source that wasn’t a racist. Oh, wait. No, publishing this trash made the NYT a racist newspaper.

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