Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I just want to take a second to complain. News media is making a big deal over HRC's mild show of emotion. (Thank God Jon Steward is back for he too has mocked the media reaction!) Some people have even said she was "crying". She did not cry. She did get choked up. And it was appropriate for her to do so. She has been under huge stress and it has been a long run- for her and all of the candidates on both sides. I would venture that she has been under more stress because she has been more criticized due to her last name. She has been harshly judged by men and woman for her personal choices in her private life- only women get criticism like that by the way. No one would critique a man for staying with a cheating wife. As a woman, I know that her stress is a very different experience than for male candidates. Men release their stress in different ways, apparently by having a lot of sex judging by the level of scandal in Congress.

It is about time that we accept these differences and perhaps even celebrate them. Why the male/female wars? We accept racial differences. As Gloria Steinem points out in her NYT editorial, Obama is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations yet HRC is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club. I have said this before on this blog. The fact that black women are at the bottom of our cast system is further proof of the power of gender over race in this country. Sexism is one of those things like racism- unless you have felt it, you tend to deny it exists- that isn't to say that it can't work in your favor. I have also said this before in this blog.

HRC showed emotion with dignity and I don't think that should be headline news or a YouTube spectacle one way or the other. She should get a plus for being honest. I agree with Dr. S. I want someone who will vomit over that which is disgusting.

For now, she has my vote. I understand RBR's concern that she would be red meat to the Republicans. But I am not sure I want the Republicans dictating my vote in that way. I wanted to stay out of that issue all together by voting for Biden. But a bunch of people in Iowa have forced my hand.


Dr. Strangelove said...

"I just want to take a second to complain."

Jeez, isn't that just like a woman...!

(Sorry, couldn't resist. Really, I'm kidding. KIDDING!!)

Dr. Strangelove said...

On a more substantive note... I agree with USWest about how the media reported--and how certain people reacted to--Hillary's misty-eyed moment. I heard several people say she cried, and to my horror it was even reported that way in the Australian newspaper I still read.

Frankly, when I saw the clip, I thought, "THIS is what all the fuss is about?" She just got a little choked up for a moment, that's all. But the surprising part was the reaction of the women around her. At the very moment when my personal instinct would have been discomfort and desire for a quick change of subject, the women she was speaking with offered supportive applause.

The woman who asked her the question said on CNN today that she thought Hillary was an amazing person. That Hillary's emotional moment merely reinforced the woman's high opinion of her is a lesson, I think, in how women and men react differently, and in how they are viewed as well. But the voter also ended up voting for Obama. There is a lesson there as well.

Raised By Republicans said...

Yes, I agree with US West that the coverage of HRC has been superficial and with a strong tendency towards either patronizing "sympathy" or chauvanistic dismissal.

But has anyone on this blog criticized HRC for anything other than her percieved policy positions and the fact that the Republicans would turn out vast numbers to defeat her?

I'd also quibble about the placement of Black Women at the bottom of America's racial/class/gender prejudice ladder. Black men have a lower standard of living across the board and find themselves with the lowest life expectancy and highest likihood of incarceration or death by violence. But getting into a contest of "who's got it worst" won't solve anything.

Also, Obama isn't called a "unifier" because he mentioned Martin Luther King every now and again (and believe me, it's not like he uses MLK like Giuliani uses 9/11). Rather Obama is called a unifier because every speach he gives is about how we need to build a coalition of Democrats, Indepdendents and disillusioned Republicans.

I have no idea if HRC would intend to attempt such a thing (frankly, I doubt she would) but I am certain she could not pull it off. And it's not just because she's a woman - although the way the media deals with that fact certainly doesn't make it easier for her. She allienated the Republicans with three things. First, a lot of them will never forgive her for being a strong woman who was not going to play the role of demur First Lady. Second, another group of them despise her for her failed attempts to reform health care in this country. Finally, another group sees her as hopeless cynical, corrupt and power hungry (a fair description of most Republican politicians these days). That's not how I see her (although I do think she's more interested in being in office than in passing particilar policies) but that's how about 45-50% of this country does see her.

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, Biden was a dope. If you had been in Iowa to see him up close you would have agreed.

You should thank Iowa for "forcing your hand." We put up with a year of non-stop adds, phone calls, door knocking etc to weed out the hopeless causes for the rest of you.

The Law Talking Guy said...

If any male candidate had welled up like that, teary-eyed, it would have been curtains. I think the tears are partly responsible for the gender gap in NH in both a positive and negative way. Women may have emphasized, but men react sort of like "that doesn't seem like a Leader of the Free World to me." It's hard to imagine Maggie Thatcher having such a display. Men perceive crying in public as a sign of weakness, and - fairly or unfairly - such things just do not help make the case that she's really "ready to lead."

What I'm inartfully saying is that HRC should be very careful about showing such emotion in the future, for it will hurt her in the national campaign.

Btw, while Obama will allude to the civil rights struggles, I have never seen him try to pull a Black Preacher act. No "I have a dream" thing. He doesn't communicate often in the Black Idiom in the same way that HRC's emotional moment could be called communicating in a Female Idiom. If Obama were to do that, he would be more embraced by the black community but would alienate whites.

Can I have an amen?

The Law Talking Guy said...

er... that's empathized, not emphasized...

The Law Talking Guy said...

A breach of senatorial etiquette? John Kerry just endorsed Obama this morning. It probably means little for the race, but it does mean something for continued Kerry-Clinton relations. AFter all, he's advocating keeping her in the Senate with him.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Obama does not speak like a preacher, but he certainly does use some of the cadences from time to time. Listen to his post-Iowa victory speech. He decorates his speech with rhetorical flourishes a white candidate really could not use without being accused of trying to copy that idiom. Listen, for example, to how he sustains the final vowel as a long "a" in "They sa-a-a-a-a-id... It couldn't be done. They sa-a-a-a-a-id... (etc.)"

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. I was just going to mention that speech but you beat me to it. His speech the day before the Caucus was also moving in a "southern preacher" direction. A (white) friend of mine from Arkansas was with me at the event and said, "He's talking like a Southern preacher. He must be practicing for South Carolina." That said, both of us thought it was a relatively new development in his speaking style.

Raised By Republicans said...

Oh, and of course HRC has played up an affected southern style when talking to Southerners and Blacks as well.

USWest said...

Some of the affect in speaking style is going to occur naturally. It comes from being around people who have that affect. Put me with Brits and I start rounding out my Rs.

Black men are in Jail. Black women are, in terms of social status, still at the bottom. Economics may be something else.

HRC can't win. When she is stone cold, she is criticized for being so. When she shows emotion, she is criticized for that. She hasn't shown much emotion in the past. This is the first time. It is a commentary on the rock and hardplace women find themselves in so very often, especially the educated, successful ones.

And I disagree with LTG. Bill Clinton was known to emote and get choked up- and that isn't what caused him troubles.

I do agree with RBR as to why the Republicans dislike HRC. They are the party of misogyny.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Listen carefully to Obama's speeches. It's subdued. I would say the speeches allude to the style of a southern preacher rather than imitating it. There's a distinction there, as my ears perceive it.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The cynic would say Obama's rhetorical style mimics that of black leaders just enough to sound authentic to a white man's ears, without sounding threatening. But I prefer to think he has just found his own unique voice.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Returning to the original theme of this post... I just noticed another article that compounds USWest's point. An otherwise interesting post-NH poll analysis by Zogby refers to "Senator Clinton's crying incident" which is, as we all know, a lousy and biased description of what actually occurred.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. An equal opportunity cynic would remember that incident where HRC rather clumsily immitated Southern Black speech in an apperance earlier in the campaign.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I do not believe HRC's emotional reaction was authentic. I believe she wanted an occasion to look "more human" (as they say) on the campaign, and practiced beforehand gauging the precise level of teariness (no weeping or bawling, but more than moistness) required. That's not a real slam at HRC - I would presume the same if Obama ever had some sort of emotional outburst.

If you believe her emotional display was intended to provoke a media reaction, then it's not exactly unfair for the media or anyone else to call it as they see it.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The incident where Hillary imitated a Southern Black accent is of a different character entirely.

During that MLK day speech, Hillary imitated the voice of another person (it was a quotation); she did not intimate that the speech patterns were her own. Indeed, by speaking only that portion of her speech in dialect, she said, "I support you," but also admitted just as clearly that it was not her native voice.

Obama's subtle use of the dialect, however, is an attempt to claim that as his own voice... at least to an extent. That is different.

Hillary has attempted something comparable, in recent weeks, by adopting some of the language of feminism. For example, she said, "No woman is illegal," and only several hours later--when repeating the quote after a reporter questioned her about it--did she add, "no man is illegal either." Like Obama, she is attempting to capitalize somewhat on her "minority" status, without being so overt about it that she comes off as a minority candidate.

Dr. Strangelove said...

One commentator--rightly, I think--said that people's reactions to HRC's emotional moment are largely a Rorschach test where the observer projects his or her own beliefs onto the situation.

I believe it was an authentic and unplanned incident. But I also believe that Hillary---who by now surely has a sixth sense for these things--realized while it was happening this moment would likely be the clip of the day. So at that point she started picking her words more. I think you can hear it: just after she has welled up and gone silent for a moment, her words became more measured and perhaps more trite. I also think that the Hillary camp, when they saw the morning's tape, decided it should the clip of the day, and they suppressed all further events and focused the media's attention on it--which they are quite good at.

In other words, the emotion was authentic but the end of her little speech was not. HRC and her camp took advantage of an unplanned moment and spun it beautifully to her favor.