Benny's World

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Liberal Lion's Endorsement Unleashes Anger from NY NOW Chapter

As BW readers know, I am not a supporter of Clinton nor Obama. I was disappointed that Teddy didn't come out and support JRE considering they worked for years together on minimum wage issues and patients' bill of rights, but I was not totally surprised either that he endorsed Obama. Personally, I think the endorsement is a help to Obama, but it could be negative too in the long run, depending on who the nominee is on the other side. I'll address that issue in another post.

But this incendiary news release by NY NOW in its outburst about the Liberal Lion's endorsement is an embarrassment to feminists everywhere. The press release begins with this comment:

Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, and the Family and Medical Leave Act to name a few.

WTF? The organization doesn't acknowledge that John Edwards is in the race. Never mind that Kate Michelman, past President of NARAL, is a senior advisor to the Edwards campaign, but perhaps they gave her a pass. Maybe it because they know Elizabeth Edwards is also a feminist.

However, like militant feminists who have done some good for us, but also have given feminism a bad taste in many citizens' mouths over the years, they believe Teddy has repaid them for their "good" name--debt he owes them-- in this way:

And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). “They” are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow).
Since Teddy endorsed a man instead of a woman, they wrongly jump to this conclusion:

This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation- to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who “know what’s best for us.
Read the response by Feministe, a well-regarded feminist blog:
In case you didn’t get that, women have been betrayed by voting on the issues instead of according to what’s in their pants. It’s like the Lifetime Movie version of a shitty-to-begin-with press release.

Thank goodness for Feministe, the voice of reason. They are spot on in pointing out that NY NOW is protesting Kennedy as though he is tarnishing its cause. Feministing and Culture Kitchen blogs are on record as that NY NOW doesn't speak for them either.

Geez, no telling what they thought of Kate Michelman, former President of NARAL, when she was hired as a senior advisor to the Edwards campaign. Did Kate betray us too? I don't think so. Kate channeled Liza at Culture Kitchen when she penned this observation at Open Left:
As women take a second look at the candidates, now that attention is focusing more on the issues and how each of the candidates would lead, how they would make decisions; now that making a choice is becoming real, less about celebrity, more about being president, legitimate questions are being raised about Senator Clinton.

snip, still Open Left...and where Kate speaks for me, as I have been a feminist since I was 17, Pro-ERA, etc:

Any serious candidate for president should make their views clear and let the American people know where they stand on issues.

And any serious candidate for president should be held to the same standard - whether man or woman.

Have we have come a long way? Well, far enough to know better than to use our gender as a shield when the questions get too hot.

Maria Pappas should heed Kate's advice. Moreover, the Clintons need to get a grip and so do their staunch supporters. Granted, Obama had too many "present" votes about women's reproductive issues when he was in the IL senate, but it's my opinion that one militant group does not attack the Liberal Lion on feminist issues when he has been fighting for women and children a lot longer than the Clintons have. We have to remember Mrs. Clinton was a Goldwater girl when she entered college, after all, and Teddy was already fighting his brothers' causes for economic justice. Granted, Teddy has had his infamous share of problems with women, but most of it was his own personal problems, not political ones as far as I know.

This kind of attack does not serve them or those who have supported the civil rights--including feminists and gays--movement since we were young.

Keep marching Teddy. I don't support your candidate, but I don't think you've suddenly become being against feminism either.

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