Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

June 7, 2008

Which Mattered More in Obama vs. Clinton: Racism or Sexism?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:09 pm

I was crossing the street in 100 degree heat we’re having here in New York City and perhaps because of heat derangement it occurred to me that every blogger is required to have an opinion on this racism vs. sexisim question. This was shortly after listening to Hillary Clinton’s putatively final concession speech. (If you want to know the truth I don’t think the ambiguity over whether she has “released” her delegates or wants a nominating speech and a roll call vote for “history” has been resolved and I have a feeling it will become an attention grabbing issue between now and the convention. And that she’s still hedging against the possibility of “somethng happening” and not dismissing her troops between now and August. Anyone who’s read Prince John’s dirty trick in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2 will know what I’m talking about.)

But to return to the racism versus sexism question. I’ve read a lot of blogs claiming how terribly Hillary Clinton was hurt by sexism, and there were many ugly instances indeed, but in fact I think she benefitted more from the fact that she was a woman, which allowed her candidacy to become a cause that transcended the other part of her identity: her the corrupt legacy of Clintonism, of both Bill and Hill. I think she gained more votes because of her sex than she lost because of it. While the stunning drop off in white votes for Obama after Super Tuesday makes clear that he lost more votes because of his race than he may have gained.

I think his winning the nomination was a civil rights landmark even if he loses the election–sometimes progress comes in stages. But I also think the primary election process revealed something ugly about the perisistence of racism in America, particularly in the Democratic Party, even among so called liberals, as anyone who spent time reading some of the comments on the pro-Hillary blogs, and pro Hillary comments on pro Obama blogs can testify.



  1. We’ve seen how far you can get with an appeal based on race– Jessie Jackson was as successful as that pitch gets, and managed to be a second place candidate too. I’m surprised that the Rev. Jackson comparison wasn’t something that more pundits spotted, actually– he ran a campaign that resembled HRC’s in many ways. The chief difference, I’d say, is that Jessie was never so profoundly wrong on anything as HRC was on Iraq.

    Comment by Bill Altreuter — June 7, 2008 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  2. Hillary lost 11 straight races by boxcar numbers. Any other candidate would have been forced to withdraw in March, but her special status as a special woman saved her. Barack’s blackness was the central issue, pro and con, in his candidacy. He was nominated because of his special brand of Afamnitude and he may also yet be defeated because of it. His blackness sticks to America as her Clintonness sticks to him. Meanwhile the good old USA comes unglued. Stock up on apples, the hedge fund of next year.

    Comment by charlie finch — June 9, 2008 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  3. Hearing a lot of leftist I’m-moving-to-Canada hysteria as usual. Is it more predictable when four years pass than crocuses in spring? The liberal label has been poison at the ballot box since McGovern, and that’s a long time ago. BO is the most liberal candidate the Democratic party has ever nominated. Hello? Doesn’t this have more to do with it than “racism,” that weary old trope so dear to the left?

    Comment by Banjo — June 11, 2008 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  4. “primary election process revealed something ugly about the perisistence of racism in America, particularly in the Democratic Party”

    The Democratic Party primary revealed one of the ugliest displays of racism I’ve seen in a long time and that was from Obama’s church & several of his associates.

    It is bone chilling watching Rev. Wright, Fr. Pfleger,etc..spew that kind of hatred and then to have people cheering and clapping and reveling with such joy at those terrible words.

    Comment by sheryl — June 13, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  5. […] for who “sent” Obama … the jury’s still out. Ron Rosenbaum suggests, ever so obliquely, that he’s Prince […]

    Pingback by who are they wearing? « the stories of our lives — June 17, 2008 @ 6:30 am | Reply

  6. Sheryl, Rev. Wright has three published, widely available books. One assumes if there was any smoke, let alone fire, in those books, Rush and quote would have been quoting with glee. What does the silence tell you? That FOX new can’t afford literate interns?

    Ron, you are 100% correct in my view, and put it beautifully and with far less Hil-Hate than my take.

    Comment by Eddy — June 25, 2008 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

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