For as long as people have been criticizing Hillary Clinton, we’ve been hearing her supporters retort that the only reason we dislike the former First Lady is because we can’t stand (or fear) strong women.Â Which means that some of my friends, acquaintances and family members are self-haters.Â But, then, we gay Republicans know it’s par for the course for our ideological adversaries to call “self-hating” those whose views they refuse to understand.
In my case, it doesn’t even help when I remind these Hillary lovers of my reverence for Margaret Thatcher, quite possibly the most successful female leader in the West since the Sixteenth Century.Â It seems, however, Mrs. Thatcher’s politics render her gender irrelevant.
The biggest contrast between that great woman, indeed and other successful female leaders and Mrs. Clinton is that they did not dwell on their gender, merely show by the power of their personality and the nature of their accomplishments that they could do they job better than a man.Â As Jay Nordlinger asks:
Did Margaret Thatcher ever go on and on about how she was a woman? Or kvetch about glass ceilings? Did Indira Gandhi? Did Golda Meir? Didn’t they all just get on with it? I thought that Mrs. Clinton’s stress on her sex was unseemly â€” made her seem kind of affirmative-actiony, rather than a person who stands on her own two feet
Why is it that those on the left must dwell on someone’s membership in a supposedly persecuted (and therefore in need of protection) class.Â Shouldn’t the goal be to make those differences incidental, that we not be judged by our gender, our race or sexual orientation, but our qualities as a human being?
So focused are they on these distinctions that they see us judging candidates not based on their political philosophy, policy positions or their accomplishments but by that supposedly defining aspect of their being, their race, gender, class or sexual orientation. Â Indeed, some pundits contend that racism is the only reason McCain might beat Obama (Via Best of the Web).
Funny, as Nordlinger points out that when “standard white liberals” beat black Republicans running for Governor in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Senate and Maryland, no one claimed racism accounted for the defeat of these men:
But did anyone say that the voters of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland had behaved rakishly? Not that I heard. You? How about the American electorate, if the Republican should happen to win this November?
Just like it is for those of us who revere the Iron Lady, gender doesn’t matter when the female leader is conservative so race becomes irrelevant when the African-American politician is a Republican.
But, wait, isn’t that the way it should be, that race, gender or sexual orientation shouldn’t matter? Â
Why then do all too many on the left dwell so much on these categories when considering conservative opposition to various liberal politicians coming from these various classes? Â Is it that they can only see us as making such distinctions?
They’re the ones who keep bringing them up.
UPDATE: Â Echoing a theme of this post, the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger writes:
Yet amid a universally described lack of clarity about Sen. Obama’s experience and core political beliefs, it is now being said that if the people in blue-collar counties don’t vote for him, they, and their nation, remain racist.
This is false. If they don’t vote for Barack Obama, it won’t be over his personal roots, but because they’re confused about the roots of his politics.
The assertion that workaday white people in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, Altoona, Pa., or Macomb County, Mich., won’t vote for a black man reveals more about the race-based obsessions of the intellectual elites making these claims than the reality of this campaign.