N.O.W. Blasts Ted Kennedy's Obama Endorsement.

What is going on with Hillary Clinton’s surrogates? Between Andrew Young, Gloria Steinem and Bob Johnson, they’ve been doing a lor more harm than good.

None of those artless endorsements comes close to the shrillness of the New York State chapter of the National Organization of Women’s tirade, which calls liberal stalwart Ted Kennedy a traitor to feminist causes for his decision on Sunday to endorse Barack Obama.

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). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women’s money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future or whatever.

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.”

In a separate statement, Marcia Pappas, the president of the New York chapter, went on to call the criticism of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail ‘psychological gang-banging‘. (We don’t know about you, but nothing mobilizes us to vote more than the trivialization of rape.)

NOW’s national office backed away from the New York statement. “Though the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee has proudly endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, we respect Sen. Kennedy’s endorsement,” NOW President Kim Gandy said in the statement. “We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote.”



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • argh. i have things that i want to say abt this and abt how feminists are really turning me off in the course of this election in general, but i dont know how to put it together yet so i’ll be back.

    this is gettin crazy though. in my head sometimes i forget that there are OTHER ppl vying for the presidency other than these two.

  • quadmoniker

    NOW has problems saying anything without what sounds like vituperative ranting. And their comments, paired with those from Steinem and other feminists, echo some of the nasty, racist fights between early feminists and civil rights leaders when both were fighting for the right to vote. Gail Collins said in a recent column, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/opinion/22collins.html?scp=1&sq=Gail+Collins+and+Sambo&st=nyt, that Susan B. Anthony bemoaned “Sambo” (that’s what she said!) getting the vote before “well-educated, middle-class white women.”

    I wish there were more thoughtful pieces on gender and race in the press today, but there are not. Both Clinton and Obama face stereotypes, positive and negative, and both play with them.

    But I have heard too many people say they don’t have a problem with women, just with Hillary, and then list problems with Hillary that are inextricably tied to gender. In the end, of course, there is no way to say whether dislike of her is separate. And the responses to her voice, her policies, and her ability to “connect” or “inspire” voters are almost visceral, as if someone’s meddlesome mom were on them one more time to clean their room and finish their homework because she knew what was best for them.

    And women may feel that way more than men. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-antihillary7dec07,0,4762568.story

  • verdeluz

    I love it.. Hillary *is* feminism.

    NOW, of course, has reason to be sensitive.. it’s that time of the month! Hiyooo. Err.. no, a deeply-ingrained sexism clearly plays a pretty large part in a lot of reactions to and assessments of Hillary and her campaign. It’s disappointing, if not unexpected. But to go as far as to equate a vote for anyone other than The Female Candidate- ostensibly because she is The Female Candidate- with an across-the-board vote against women’s issues is ludicrous.

    Hillary has a number of strengths as a candidate. I would be voting for her.. if Barack weren’t running. I don’t think I’m alone in that position. But thank you, NOW, for helping me understand that all of my values and concerns- the same, of course, as those of all other women- would be automatically and fully addressed by the simple act of electing a Symbolic Vagina.

    (the use of ‘shrill’ in this post, by the way, is either hilarious or unfortunate, depending on whether it was intentional.)

  • Ugh… this whole thing is turning me sour. I consider myself pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to politics and I’ve watched the Obama/Hillary/Edwards battle unfold with interest… but when I read the NYT Steinham piece… I lost it. I can’t remember being so upset over an article. As a black woman, I felt trivialized, catagorized, and dismissed. After reading Slate’s response/debate between Steinham and MHL… I feel like she STILL didn’t get it.

    And now this (no pun intended)? *smh* I see why the Clintons distanced themselves from the “modern feminist movement” (releasing statements that the previous arguments in no way reflected the opinions of Hillary) … I hate the fact that some Democrats are forcing me to choose between my gender and my race… identities that are permanently intertwined!

    In conclusion, “Democrats” as a party need to get it together and look at the bigger picture. They’re whilin’ right now.

  • Leah:

    An important distinction should be made between feminism and NOW; NOW is a feminist organization, but doesn’t represent all feminists or feminism any more than the NAACP represents all black people.

  • LH

    Does NOW have in its head the idea that the Democratic high command should necessarily support Clinton because she’s a woman? Shouldn’t that thinking be antithetical to the mission of such an organisation?

    Its criticism of the Deans and the Kennedys implies that Clinton is a better candidate than Obama, but what makes her so? Even the candidates acknowledge that there isn’t much substantive difference between them, so why is it so unreasonable that Kennedy would support Obama? As much as anything, Hillary’s smear campaign and Bill’s invoking of Jesse Jackson prompted Kennedy to back Obama. Is NOW going to just ignore this?