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Clinton and Gender


I should say that I take a somewhat more charitable view of what GFR is arguing than Matt does here. I don’t think she’s arguing that I oppose Clinton because I’m a man in some reductive sense. Rather, as I read her she’s claiming that 1)the male dominated pundit class is not likely to have representative views of what Democrats think of Clinton, and 2)people’s judgments can never be fully abstracted from their social circumstances. Both of these points are, I think, correct. How would I evaluate Clinton if I had experienced an enormous amount of sexism in my life? I have no idea. I make the best judgments I can based on what I know, but that’s not an all-seeing or infallible perspective (to put it mildly.)

Having said that, I endorse the rest of Matt’s post. Yes, Clinton is infinitely preferable to any possible Republican nominee. Absolutely, liberals should counter the inevitable deranged media and conservative attacks (whatever combination of sexism, obsession with her husband, and the general triviality of our political discourse) that Clinton has likely to face. But none of this means that she should get the nomination. As Matt says, “In Clinton’s case, you would need to convince me that there are some important issues where she’s likely to make a better president than would the available alternatives, and/or that she has some clear electability edges. And I don’t really see it.” On both metrics, I think she’s clearly worse than Edwards or Obama, and compared to Richardson is no better on substance and less electable. And it’s worth noting that, despite a few bits and pieces here and there, Garance hasn’t made this case either. We may all be missing something, but it’s up to Clinton’s defenders to make the case.

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