Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro Must Exit Clinton Campaign

I seem destined to always bite the hand I support. After this, I’m not sure many candidates will actually want me on their side. But don’t cry for me. I’ve always had a contrarian streak. And wrong is wrong. I just call em like I see em.

Geraldine Ferraro is getting a lot of flack for this statement:
"I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama's campaign - to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against," she said. "For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Is it wrong to call her on this? You betcha.

Geraldine Ferraro is a public figure. She should know that her words would be quoted. And she’s been around long enough to know exactly how such a statement would sound.

I don’t believe she’s a racist anymore than I believe Samantha Powers is a misogynist. But just as Powers had to step down from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Clinton a monster, Ferraro needs to step away from Clinton’s campaign.

Of course, unlike Powers, Ferraro isn’t a paid operative who can be fired. And I’m not sure that Hillary’s campaign has the stomach to tell a fundraiser, not to mention a supporter of Geraldine Ferraro’s stature, to get lost.

Ferraro made history, herself, as the first female vice presidential candidate. Back in the day, feminists were proud of her for blazing that trail. That’s why it’s even sadder to have to condemn her words now. What she said also obscures her point that there is still a tremendous amount of sexism in the media. Don’t believe it? Then, just check out Charlotte Allen’s recent insulting satire in the Washington Post Outlook section, which demeans Obama as much as it does his women supporters. That the WaPo editors didn’t recognize that it was sexist speaks volumes about them.

But Ferraro’s very real outrage over the lingering sexism in the media and the country does not excuse her from the remark she made about Obama. It was a racist statement and the Democratic Party has no place for either racism or sexism. So, she needs to follow the example of Samantha Powers and apologize. Then she needs to exit so that she does not become the topic of the campaign.


Anonymous said...

even worse is what ferraro said on npr last week in reference to john lewis's switch from hillary's camp to obama's. lewis, you might remember, faced tremendous anguish is changing his support which he said was more difficult than the decision to march in selma. in ferraro's words, the reason that lewis had a harder time making the superdelegate switch than marching for civil rights was because the switch was a political calculation and not embedded in any emotional attachment. To ferraro, the reason for the switch was to fend off a primary challenger in the upcoming congressional election. lewis worried about a primary challenge? you've got to be kidding me--this man is loved in his district and routinely wins with 70% of the vote. how disgusting of ferraro to cheapen his decision to mere political expediency.

Ed said...

It is a regrettable comment and I have similar sentiments to you. Two other thoughts came to mind as well.

The first was: is it that bad now in the Democratic race? Are the two camps so polarized and divided now that this type of chatter is inevitable? I almost felt like Ferraro represented those Hillary Clinton supporters who would refuse to vote for him if he got the nomination.

The second thought was: don't you people get it? Don't you Democrats see that you are tearing yourselves apart in ways that the Republicans did not. Don't you have any discipline, party loyalty or good judgment? It's as if someone put a hate pill in the Democrats water and made them drink it.

This all makes me uneasy. I have to admit to listening more and more to John McCain recently. He's sounding very Presidential.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Sadly, Ed, you hit the nail on the head. It seems that Democrats in both camps have lost all common sense.

The irony is that we keep expecting the conservative Republicans to implode. We keep thinking we'll win an election because they will stay home or cross party lines. If we think that's going to happen, we'll be waiting into the next century, while we lose the Supreme Court to boot.

Their base may complain loudly and threaten their candidate with desertion. That's almost an election ritual with them. They do it to remind their candidate not to be tempted to tack too close to the center. And it works. But they never really break rank and never intend to. They are too savy to do that.

We, on the other hand, always manage to shoot ourselves in the foot. And unlike them, it's not even over an actual principle.

You just can't argue that Obama is more progressive or Hillary more representative of the base. They are very similar.

I think the less substance the argument has, the more vicious the fight gets because then it's about intangibles like personality. And that feeds emotion rather than logic.

Silence Dogood said...

I wasn't going to comment because I think you managed to cover just about everything that needed to be said, but since you mentioned it:

Who in the heck is Charlotte Allen?

I googled her and aside from the fact that she once went to college and wrote a book no one read, I cannot for the life of me understand why the Washington Post thought either that I would be interested in her banal, poorly-written opinion, or that she was somehow entitled to use their publication as a platform for her opinion. Plus I can't tell if she's purposefully writing at a 7th-grade level because it reinforces her overarching point (to wit: "women are stupid") or if she's just a woman who happens to be stupid, and her thesis is unintentionally ironic. Either way, the fact that I can't tell really bothers me.

Catzmaw said...

I was sad to see Geraldine Ferraro, whom I've always respected, descend into something that sounds like race baiting. What is it with so-called liberals who insist on shoe-horning people into categories and cliques? This highlights the problem I have with the Democratic party, which I have never officially joined, because there is an almost compulsive urge to demand orthodoxy of its members and an equal compulsion to condemn those who disagree for being in one of the "bad" categories.

This is why a pro-life Democrat with sincerely held beliefs and a reason-based opposition to abortion gets condemned as an "anti-choicer anti-woman reactionary". This is why Democrats who may have solid Constitution-based arguments against things like hate-crime legislation or affirmative action or other types of legislation are accused of not believing in civil rights or of hating minorities or of not being real Democrats.

All through 2006 I kept hearing about the big tent and the new willingness of Democrats to cut each other some slack and to promote unity toward common goals, even though there might be disagreement about how to achieve them. Then I see Geraldine Ferraro managing somehow to make Hillary Clinton sound like the pitiful victim of an anti-woman campaign and Obama an undeserving recipient of a pass because he's black. Wow, it speaks volumes.

From my perspective Hillary isn't being attacked for being a woman. She's strong to the point of stridency, she plays hardball hard enough to be accused of overdoing it, and she's hampered by her extensive time in Washington. Does anyone buy that she's being attacked just because she's a woman? The same goes for Obama. Does anyone believe it's only white guilt and black chauvinism which has catapulted him so far? It has nothing to do with his intelligence, his charisma, his message? You're right, Geraldine Ferraro has got to distance herself from the campaign.

Anonymous said...

This is all just very very sad.
Ms. Ferraro seems to have forgotten those who said she was on the ticket with Mondale was solely because she was a woman.
Seems some people never learn and even more just don't get it.

Julia said...

I voted for Ferraro, but bluntly I thought at the time and still do that she wasn't properly vetted because they thought an italian catholic woman from a northeastern state was going to help them. I find it really difficult to believe that a male candidate would have even tried to say that he had no idea about his wife's finances and it was none of anybody's business.

So no, I really don't think she should have gone there.

spotter said...

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is way beyond sad. It's outrageous, it's deliberate, it's a betrayal of all that the Democratic party supposedly stands for. Hillary Clinton should pack it in now, before she further embarrasses herself and those around her.

Isophorone said...

The ticket on which Geraldine Ferraro ran in 1984 wouldn't have done so well if she weren't a woman! LOL

It is interesting reading all your comments. From my perspective, all I can really say is that you all have brought the identity politics upon yourselves. That and you have excused the nastiness of the Clintons' campaigning for so long, it has come home to roost.

On another topic, I am interested in your reactions to the Clintons' delay in releasing tax forms. How long are you going to tolerate that, too? Everyone else has released information.

"What complaint do they now have to make? That the universe is irrational? Is it?"
-- Dr. Hugh Akston, from Atlas Shrugged

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Clinton should release her tax forms immediately and Geraldine Ferraro should exit gracefully. Her inappropriate and racist remarks should not be the conversation.

That doesn't change the fact that Hillary is a competent, brilliant woman with a clear plan for this country that would improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

Since Obama basically stands for the same things and even has on his advisory staff many former Clintonites, why not go with the original?

And Iso, it is frequently an irrational universe but I used to like Ayn Rand at one time too.

Then I saw the outcome of laissez faire economic policies. They just don't trickle down.

Isophorone said...


I will disagree qith you about Clinton or Obama having plans that are good for the country. As far as laissez-faire (or free-market) economic policies go, I will also disagree with you. I might point out that highly restrictive socialist ones (as witnessed in many European health care plans) are also expensive and counterproductive, to put it kindly.

Nice to know that you at least read Ayn Rand. Many on your side of the political spectrum (and mine) have not. Supposedly, a film version of Atlas Shrugged starring Angelina Jolie is going to be released in a year or two.

Anonymous said...

The unfortunate thing here is that every time someone comments about obama he cry's racism.

Her comment was just factual. If a person (black, purple, green, jewish, muslm, catholic or any other dynamic) gets 80-90% of that specific voter group; and that group is large enough, it can be said that it is because they belong to that group.

example; huckabee got 90% of the Christian vote and the single MAJOR difference in him and everyone else was the fact that he was a Christian preacher, it would be fair analisys to conclude that the reason he would be ahead was because he was a Christian preacher. (and if he did receive 90% of the Christian vote he would have been ahead)

The only person injecting race into this race is obama and his kool aid drinkers. This is going to be a "big" problem for our country later, especially if he loses the nomination. If he really cared about this country he would stop playing the race card every chance he gets.

adept2u said...

Ms. Ferraro,

I am terribly disappointed. Your recent suggestion that Mr. Obamas’ success happened only because he is black is especially painful. To think that being black in America is a lucky thing strikes me as being inconsiderate.

I am a black person born the same year as Mr. Obamas’ wife 1964, and I can tell you at no time in my life was being black a lucky thing, or are you unaware of the sad and continuing legacy of American race relations. You disregard Mr. Obamas’ legitimate and laudable accomplishments by attributing them to one thing, and it’s the one thing Mr. Obama tries least to be – a man of race. Mr. Obama is a child of God, a husband, a father, a university graduate and a lawyer. Mr. Obama has been a stellar state representative of Illinois and he is currently a United States Senator, and great American. Somewhere probably in the high teens of the list of things Mr. Obama is would be black man.

The statements you have made and defend amount to making his race his primary attribute. You are playing the race card in a manner that is insulting, and quite frankly would be more expected from the kind of reactionary people America has hopefully outgrown.

In 1984 I was a student at the University of Southern California an institution with a traditionally conservative bent. I remember campaigning for and ardently defending a certain congressperson from New York as being more than just a woman, but a person regardless of gender worthy to potentially lead this country. I’m sorry to know now that I was wrong, and all the time any Gerard really would have sufficed.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Actually Anon 1:37, I don't even think Obama is doing it. It's his more rabid supporters who keep invoking racism for everything. He has disavowed that himself.

I don't think Ferraro is a deliberate conscious racist. That's what made her remarks all the more sad. It did hurt her legacy too. They were racist remarks.

I don't believe that this was a deliberate plan on the part of the Clinton campaign. Just the opposite.

I think it put Hillary in an extremely uncomfortable situation, having to either be accused of racism herself or disloyalty to a friend and feminist icon.

No politiican in the middle of an already hotly contested campaign would wish for that type of added controversy.

Anybody who thinks she welcomed it, let alone encouraged it, is being silly.