Saturday, April 26, 2008

Progressive Hypocrisy in Alleged Clinton Violence

I'm not normally going to find myself in agreement with the Tennessee Guerilla Women, but I do appreciate TGW's post pointing out the utter hypocrisy of those far left Obama supporters who self-identify as "progressives."

It turns out Keith Olbermann's currently under fire for making comments that could plausibly be construed as advocating violence against Hillary Clinton. The background on this is at Rachel Sklar's post, "
Keith Olbermann's Idea For Beating Hillary: Literally Beating Hillary.

The comments are caught on
this YouTube as well:

More on the background in a minute, but here's what TGW had to say about Olberman and Obama's "progressives":

The outrage over Keith Olbermann's latest misogynistic missive -- directed at Hillary Rodham Clinton -- cries out for a little context. Keith Olbermann is the darling of "the progressives," or as they are more aptly termed these days: the Obamaphiles.

That an overt misogynist is the hero of "the progressives," strongly suggests that a little intensely critical introspection is long overdue. Because you certainly cannot be progressive while espousing blatantly misogynistic views of women.
TGW goes on to provide additional commentary on this alleged misogyny, but what was really interesting in this mini-scandal is Sklar's commentary at the Huffington Post:

Olbermann was discussing the election with Newsweek's Howard Fineman, a frequent guest. They topic was, how can a winner finally be determined in this never-ending Democratic race for the nomination? Of course, the assumption was that it was Clinton that should be shown the door (despite clearly still earning her spot in the race thanks to, um, voters). Fineman said that, all the delegate math aside, ultimately it was going to take "some adults somewhere in the Democratic party to step in and stop this thing, like a referee in a fight that could go on for thirty rounds. Those are the super, super, super delegates who are going to have to decide this."

Said Olbermann: "Right. Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out...."

What does that mean? Really, it can only mean one thing: Beating the crap out of
Hillary Clinton, to the point where she is physically incapable of of getting up and walking out. At minimum. We know this. We know this because we have all seen movies where people are invited into private places to have "discussions" and the unruly party is, um, dealt with accordingly. It's an unmistakably violent image.

Do I really think Olbermann thinks
Hillary Clinton should really be violently beaten to the point of physical incapacitation, or worse? No, though some have taken that statement to its logical conclusion. But it is an unmistakably violent image — and that point seems to be undisputed by those who have written about it so far (Google "Olbermann" and "take her into a room" and you'll see results like "Keith Olbermann Advocates Violence Against Hillary" "Olbermann: Misogyny 101" "Calls To End Race Turn Violent""Olbermann: How To Snuff Out Hillary Clinton"). Even Fineman seemed taken aback by the statement - there is a distinct pause after, and it's an eternity in TV time. He's not facing the camera but you can tell that the statement was jarring. (Even so he agreed, saying, "Yes, yes exactly.")

There really seems to be only one interpretation here, and the only point of debate is on whether it's okay or not. I'm going to cut that one short: It's not. To the fellow (male) journo I wrote to about this yesterday, who waved it off as just some colorful film-noir imagery, I say: can you IMAGINE if someone had said that about
Obama? That he should be taken somewhere and dealt with, so that he wouldn't come back? Can you imagine if some right-winger had talked about getting Obama out of the race "the old-fashioned way?" If that last one makes you cringe, it should, because it evokes a history of violence against black people in this country that is raw and real. Well, frankly, the same goes for women — many of whom have been taken somewhere private, and never returned.

I can already hear the outcry of those who can't believe I'd equate the gender card with the race card. Well, too bad. They're both issues, they're both factors, and in the first presidential campaign where both a woman and an African-American have a real shot at the nomination, they're both all too germane. Each of the candidates is a complex person whose appeal or lack thereof can be endlessly parsed and attributed to all sorts of factors. But sexism is one of them, and part of the problem is that too many of such comments are waved away as being just jokes or not a big deal or geez, take a chill pill.
If you check the links provided, the "logical conclusion" mentioned is that some might suggest Olberman's advocating call for Clinton's murder.

I think that's going a bit far on this.

What's interesting, though, is how the Olberman "take Hillary in a room" comment reveals how nasty is the identity politics of the Democratic Party in this nomination race.

I wrote a post on this previously, "
Democratic Party Identity Politics," and as well as a couple more abstract entries, for example, "Radical Schizophrenia? Making Sense of Democratic Party Constituencies," but sometimes you just have to sit back and let the razor-bladed cock (and hen) fight take it's toll.