Here is Ross Douthat explaining why a billionaire, anti-choice zealots, and right-wing extremists hijacking U.S. politics is a victory for vaginas everywhere.
When historians set out to date the moment when the women’s movement of the 1970s officially consolidated its gains, they could do worse than settle on last Tuesday’s primaries.
I’ll give him points for a hilariously hyperbolic opening. Make your case, sailor.
It was a day when most of the major races featured female candidates, and all the major female candidates won. They won in South Dakota and Arkansas, California and Nevada. They won as business-friendly moderates (the Golden State’s Meg Whitman); as embattled incumbents (Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln); as Tea Party insurgents (Sharron Angle in Nevada). South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley even came in first despite multiple allegations of adultery.
But mostly, they won as Republicans. Conservative Republicans, in fact. Conservative Republicans endorsed by Sarah Palin, in many cases. Which generated a certain amount of angst in the liberal commentariat about What It All Meant For Feminism.
The question of whether conservative women get to be feminists is an interesting and important one. But it has obscured a deeper truth: Whether or not Palin or Fiorina or Haley can legitimately claim the label feminist, their rise is a testament to the overall triumph of the women’s movement.
Yesterday, I wrote about media pundits’ propensity to portray the extremely old and familiar as fresh and exciting. They do this to sell papers, drum up website hits, and to appear insightful and necessary. Maybe a handful do it out of boredom, or stupidity, believing what they are seeing really is something revolutionary.
In reality, there is nothing more sexist than assuming any woman’s political victory — regardless of the type of woman — is a progressive step forward for the feminist movement. Women are people, and people are a diverse bunch. It still matters what kind of woman wins the election. And the kind of women that won these races are either preposterously wealthy, staunch anti-feminists, or a healthy combination of both.
What happened on election day is an old story: rich, mostly white, right-wingers won. Oh, and they also happen to be girls. Hooray.
Basically, it will take more than Douthat calling this a victory for feminism to make it so.
Meg Whitman, the billionaire former eBay chief executive, won the Republican nomination for governor after spending a record $71 million of her money on the race. Quite simply, Whitman bought her victory, and this has nothing to do with the bonds of sisterhood or feminine strength. This is corporatism in a skirt.
In fact, Whitman herself seems to hate the notion of feminism. At least, she certainly doesn’t want anyone calling her such an offensive term. When asked if she is a feminist, Whitman replied, “I am a big believer in equal rights for all people … in a level playing field.” But she said, “I’m not a big label person.”
This could be NOW’s new slogan: Taking action for women’s equality since 1966…or whatever…we’re not big label people.
I know when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were taking on the male-dominated establishment, what sustained them was the thought that one day Blanche Lincoln (D-Walmart) would squeak out a victory despite being a corporate whore.
Apparently, it doesn’t matter than Lincoln is a turncoat Blue Dog Democrat, who voted with Republicans to allow warrantless government surveillance, the invasion of Iraq, and shot down the public option. All that matters is the stuff between her legs, which sort of goes against the whole notion of “feminism,” but nevermind. A girl won!
And then there’s Sharron Angle. I’ve written about her support of the right-wing extremist fringe, but Douthat skims over such silly details for the sake of preserving his narrative i.e. Things Are Super Awesome For Women Right Now. He’s going to jam this premise down your throat even though women earn around 79% of men’s median weekly salaries, and Congress just passed a healthcare bill that dramatically diminishes a woman’s right to choose the fate of her own body.
Angle proposed a bill that “would have required doctors to inform women seeking abortions about a controversial theory linking an increased risk of breast cancer with abortion.” (The abortion-causes-breast cancer theory is a myth, and was spread, in part, to discourage abortions). But I hear lying to scared, pregnant women for the sake of controlling their bodies is all the rage right now in the neo-feminist movement.
Other than the novelty of having survived not one — but multiple — allegations of adultery, Nikki Haley is extremely typical of the right-wing fringe. She has a 100 percent rating from the anti-abortion S.C. Citizens for Life group, and she calls on her website for the deportation of illegal immigrants. Oh, and if any of her white supremacist base, who may confuse her for a “raghead,” were concerned, don’t worry. She converted to Christianity.
Modern Republicans have grown wise to the fact that they’re never going to defeat feminism. Try as they did to shame, humiliate, and dismiss feminists as a bunch of ugly, barren spinsters, who refuse to shave their legs and can’t land a man, the propaganda campaign didn’t stick. Now, they’re left with only one option: hijack the movement.
In the same way President Obama’s victory was a sign that affirmative action is “no longer necessary,” so the victories of a handful of women (be they billionaires, right-wing extremists, turncoats, or militant anti-choicers) herald the dawn of a new feminism: one that is staunchly anti-woman, and represents only a class of wealthy, pro-Business, right wing extremists.
I feel sorry for Matt Bai. It was just three years ago that he sighed over the wasteland of the Clinton era and pondered aloud, what was it all for?
Even without the allusions to the old days, his speech seemed strangely reminiscent of that first campaign, and not necessarily in a good way. Listening to him talk, I found it hard not to wonder why so many of the challenges facing the next president were almost identical to those he vowed to address in 1992. Why, after Clinton’s two terms in office, were we still thinking about tomorrow? In some areas, most notably health care, Clinton tried gamely to leave behind lasting change, and he failed. In many more areas, though, the progress that was made under Clinton — almost 23 million new jobs, reductions in poverty, lower crime and higher wages — had been reversed or wiped away entirely in a remarkably short time. Clinton’s presidency seems now to have been oddly ephemeral, his record etched in chalk and left out in the rain.
Yeah, what’s up with that? Why does America seem to be forever spinning its wheels, and why has politics been reduced to a series of empty promises and arguments about abortion and gay marriage?
Apparently, Matt has been asking this question for three years because he has yet to find an answer.
The audio from last week’s Citizen Radio Live! at the UCB Theatre in NYC is up here. (The video of the event is posted at Citizen Radio’s Youtube channel). Guests included: Chris Hayes (The Nation, Rachel Maddow,) Joe Randazzo (The Onion,) hilarious comic W. Kamau Bell, and the beautiful musicians Emilyn Brodsky and Anthony Da Costa.
The next Citizen Radio Live! will be on July 19th at 9:30PM, featuring musician and activist, Moby! More guests TBA. Keep checking back here for an announcement when tickets are officially for sale. And you’ll definitely want to get tickets fast because this one will sell out.
Citizen Radio airs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Subscribe to the show for free here.
Citizen Radio’s last episode from Australia!
This week, Allison and Jamie discuss Arlen Specter switching to the Democratic party, and why that means the Republican and Democratic parties are more similar than you may think. Also, find out what Arlen Specter has to do with bears and monkeys!
Jamie falls in love with bad television…again! Marvel at his ability to take a show about Greek sororities and fraternities seriously.
Next up: Jamie’s possibly life threatening upcoming gig in Boston, tea-baggers, and what Janeane Garofalo said to anger Republicans.
Citizen Radio will be interviewing Noam Chomsky again this month, so stay tuned for more wise words from the man the New York Times calls the most important intellectual alive. Listen to Citizen Radio’s first interview with Mr. Chomsky here.
Barbara Herbert, a course director at Tufts University School of Medicine, made a short, but compelling plea in today’s New York Times. Herbert argued that the United States government should convene a truth and reconciliation commission, using the one in South Africa as a model, to investigate into possible crimes committed by the Bush administration.
Such a commission would allow a nation to (a) find the truth of what happened from multiple perspectives, (b) develop an understanding of how it happened and (c) heal.
A commission isn’t some kind of partisan booby trap thrown together in a frenzied quest for retribution as Harry Reid suggested last week. The formation of a nonpartisan commission also wouldn’t act as a nefarious tool to dismantle the foundation of The American Way (corrupting the sweet “mysteries” of life,) as Bush apologists like Peggy Noonan claim.
A truth commission would use the law as a compass, and its only goal would be to restore order in America. As Herbert wrote, “We need a chance for secular redemption and healing.”
On Tuesday, Jeremy Scahill reported that Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder officially requesting the appointment of an independent Special Prosecutor to “to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute torture committed against detainees during the Bush administration.” In order to restore credibility to the Justice Department, Holder must adhere to the rule of law, and not partisan demands. He must investigate into possible crimes committed under the Bush administration.
The law is not a fringe issue. Progressives may be the ones demanding an investigative commission, but the issue at stake here is the law itself. That’s not a partisan issue. The law should be sacred to all Americans: Republicans and Democrats. And if Democrats are proven to have been complicit in torture, then they too must be punished according to the law.
Otherwise, Americans will learn only one lesson: the law does not apply to our leaders. What a terrible lesson to teach young Americans.
Listen here: http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?show=6753
Citizen Radio discusses the human disaster known as Peggy Noonan, and her comments about not investigating Bush administration war crimes because life needs to remain “mysterious.” Wow.
Jamie talks about getting screamed at by a New Yorker at one of his Australia shows, and why Americans think they’re exceptional.
Jane Harman got busted trying to do AIPAC spies a solid, and she got caught by the very same wiretapping program she championed. Irony with a capital “I.”
Shepard Smith went crazy on FOX again, and Citizen Radio thinks that’s super!
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, Congressman Jim Matheson said he has many problems with the global warming bill currently in committee. The bill is Henry Waxman’s creation, and is already under fire from his fellow Democrats.
But it’s no shocker that Matheson is one of the first suits to screech at the bill, since he receives over 20% of his campaign donations from energy, natural resource, transportation, construction, and agribusiness industries. Such industries normally aren’t on the forefront of asking Congress to cap their own emissions.
During opening statements, the Utah Democrat detailed 14 big problems he had with the bill, and told me later that if he hadn’t been limited to five minutes, “I might have had more.”
I’ll bet. Matheson is one of 10 moderate Democrats (see: Blue Dog Democrats, or what they call themselves so people stop confusing them with Republicans) who are all worked up over Waxman’s bill. Strassel calls the bill “liberal overreach.”
Really. Strassel doesn’t bother to then explain why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest climate report states the following:
- “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.”
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to human activities has increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004.
- Continued GHG emissions “at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.”
Considering a bill that would stem these awful trends is “overreaching,” according to Ms. Strassel. Of course, she doesn’t mean “overreaching” in the sense that caring for the planet isn’t important. She means “overreaching” in the sense that it could cost politicians like Mr. Matheson their donors. Strassel writes:
Design a bill that socks it to all those manufacturing, oil-producing, coal-producing, coal-using states, and say goodbye to the very Democrats necessary to pass that bill.
Yes, it could cost poor Mr. Matheson over 20% of his donations. But on the upside, it could save the planet. Strassel taps into a very important issue here. Obviously, most politicians aren’t going to bite the hands of their donors. We’ve seen this trend extend from debate over the financial bailout, which was ripe with cronyism and corruption, to the debate over how to deal with our warming environment.
Corporate money corrupts, absolutely. During the bailout, politicians with close ties to the financial industries were put in charge of the bailouts, including the Senate Banking committee Chairman, Chris Dodd. Dodd receives most of his campaign contributions from the securities and investment industry, and two of his biggest donors are Citigroup and AIG. The problem is systemic as we see in the environment debate with “Democrats” like Mr. Matheson. He won’t be voting against his corporate donors anytime soon. Daddy needs his sweet, sweet corporate cash, or as Strassel puts it, Matheson is “championing energy diversity and his state’s fossil fuels” i.e. tearing up and selling everything that isn’t nailed down.
Other Democrats standing in the way of Waxman’s bill are Baron Hill (IN), Rick Bouche (VA), Gene Green (TX), Charles Gonzalez (TX), Charlie Melancon (LA), Mike Doyle (PA,) many of whom are quite publicly in the pocket of the oil industry. This isn’t some kind of scandalous secret. Most of their corporate donors are visible on public websites like OpenSecrets.org.
The scandal is that writing about such things is considered a platitude, an utterly banal thing to point out. The future of the planet is at stake, and pointing out the dirty money pouring from Washington politicians’ pockets evokes an eye roll from the mainstream press. Journalists like Strassel write about dirty donations as though she were reporting on the weather.
Politicians, who are reliant upon donations from industries that poison the environment, cannot be trusted to then form legislation to protect the planet. At the risk of publishing more liberal “overreach,” such conflicts of interest (the financial bailouts, and now the energy/environment debate,) are both excellent examples of why publicly financed elections are so important. If corporate money isn’t permitted to infect politics, then bills that could potentially save the planet may have a fair chance of surviving committee.
Strassel, Matheson, and company will surely roll their eyes at such a naive statement, but that’s to be expected. If you spend your life swimming in pig shit, after a while, you’ll swear it doesn’t smell.
The American media has a shockingly short attention span and is prone to bouts of hysteria. Just as September 11th was a game changer that was the Event to Change All Events, so the media tells us that the economic downturn is the new Event to Change All Events. These are unprecedented times. The law must be cast aside in the name of our collective panic attack. Torture be damned! There’s no time for rules!
We’ve been here before. We even have the same cheerleaders leading the frenzy. I wish I could dismiss people like Peggy Noonan as a silly blogger, but unfortunately she’s considered a “serious” political expert who frequently makes the rounds on Sunday morning panels. So her words are fair game for analysis. Here we go!
Peggy Noonan is a terrible columnist whose first response to tragic events is to rip open her shirt and throw herself at burly men who claim to have a “plan.” When there’s the slightest hint of an impending conflict, Noons practically shouts that she wants a penis inside of her. During the critical weeks after 9/11, she freely expressed her longing for John Wayne because he fits her image of one of those “burly men,” even though Wayne was a draft-dodging, woman-abusing drug addict.
Now, the Noons chastises Democrats for not thinking critically enough, and falling victim to the “Leader Knows Best” syndrome under Obama’s reign. Fair enough, but Peggy Noonan can’t seriously be lecturing from a pedestal. This is the woman, who just said we shouldn’t investigate into possible war crimes because “some of life has to be mysterious,” and it’s important to “just keep walking.”
Noons opens her column citing the agenda-setter, Matt Drudge, who has sarcastically labeled Obama’s First One Hundred Days, the “Best President Ever Campaign,” something Noons describes being (my emphasis) “marked by an abandonment of critical thinking among otherwise thoughtful men and women who comprise, roughly speaking, the grown-ups of journalism, the old hands of the MSM who have been through many presidents and should know better.”
Sometimes, I wonder how Peggy Noonan doesn’t experience constant brain aneurisms from all of the cognitive dissonance rattling around in her head. Yes, Noons. We need critical thinking. We need investigations into the Bush torture memos. Bush officials need to be held accountable. We can’t just “keep walking.” You’re one of the grown-ups you’re writing about. Except, you’ve regressed to a childlike state (again,) and you’re trembling behind poppy’s legs. Grow up.
Suddenly, the Bush apologist is summarizing those glorious years of Bushie’s war as something that “angered major allies. For seven years there was constant agitation, and the world was allowed to make a caricature of U.S. leadership.” But wait, I thought the Noons loved caricatures. At least, she did in the wake of 9/11. She masturbates writes:
I missed John Wayne.
But now I think . . . he’s back. I think he returned on Sept. 11. I think he ran up the stairs, threw the kid over his back like a sack of potatoes, came back down and shoveled rubble. I think he’s in Afghanistan now, saying, with his slow swagger and simmering silence, “Yer in a whole lotta trouble now, Osama-boy.”
Make sure John doesn’t crack you across the face during one of his drunken stupors, Noons. You wouldn’t believe how fast the romance of saving you from a fictional burning building wears off. Now, Noons performs mental gymnastics to explain why we need critical thinking, but we mustn’t stir up too much trouble will any silly investigations.
A problem with the release of the [torture memos] is that it opens the way—it probably forces the way—to congressional hearings, or a commission, or an independent prosecutor. It is hard at this point to imagine that what will follow will not prove destructive to—old-fashioned phrase coming—the good of the country.
Here we stare into the eyes of the beast. Yes, Noons. This very well could lead to independent prosecutions, and all kinds of truth-telling, and it could besmirch the names of men you’ve been shamelessly defending for close to a decade. And wouldn’t that be terrible for the country you?
It’s time all parties grow up and pay penance.
“Some things in life need to be mysterious,” Peggy Noonan explained. Americans needed the Noon’s guidance. You see, the unenlightened herd needs political elites to explain complicated and seemingly contradictory lessons in morality. Why is it okay if America tortures? Didn’t we sign that Geneva Conventions thingy?
Nevermind. Aunt Peggy is here to explain away the bad thoughts. ”Sometimes you need to just keep walking.” Indeed.
Roger Cohen agrees, and as usual, wrote a succinct summation that would have made Hemingway blush at his own rambling oeuvre: “In a thicket of words lies plausible deniability when the time for horror’s accounting arrives.” Cohen translates a few paragraphs down: “I’m wary of the clamor for retribution.” Oh.
Senate Democratic leaders, teaming with the Obama White House, rushed to support the study of Noonology, and said they would resist efforts to investigate the harsh interrogation methods used on detainees. (Emphasis mine).
Mr. Reid, who repeatedly denounced the use of harsh interrogation techniques when Mr. Bush was president, suggested that naming a special panel would signal an intent to exact “retribution” and he sought to paper over the disagreement with members of his own caucus, like Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who want a commission.
Apparently, upholding the law is now a fringe issue. Those on the “hard left ” want accountability, and the serious beltway “journalists” want to “keep walking” away from “retribution” so as to maintain life’s sweet “mystery.”
Sweeping away the government’s crimes is no longer the behavior of apologist sycophants. It’s called Noonology, and now you can try it at home!
Got some unpaid parking tickets? Not a problem. You march right into your local courthouse, look that mean ole’ judge right in his beady eyes, and say, “I’m not paying these tickets! I’m moving forward!”
Just lost your job? Never fear! Go rob a convenient store. When the cops try to arrest you, explain they’re shattering life’s sweet mysteries by prosecuting you under the law.
Neighbor playing loud music? Shoot him!** If society, or “the man,” starts harassing you about murdering a human being, explain that retribution is pointless, and by trying to hold you accountable for your deeds, the cops are tearing at society’s very fabric.
- Main Entry: noon·o·lo·gy
- Pronunciation: \ˈnün-ä-lə-jē\
- Function: noun
- Etymology: English, creation of a smartass blogger
- Date: 2008
** I’m kidding. You’ll totally go to jail because you don’t work for the government and so the law applies to you.
Listen here: http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?show=6692.
After the Unfunny But Totally Real Headlines, Citizen Radio discusses Australia, the cursed liberal media, torture memos, miseducation, prison, and Mumia Abu Jamal.
What’s more gross than grown adults pleasuring themselves to the thought of the U.S. military? When the press does it! Citizen Radio discusses the mainstream media, and how they’re miseducating America.
Next, Jamie talks about dropping out of high school and Allison comments on Noam Chomsky’s “On Miseducation,” a book that explores how institutionalized education encourages ideological domestication.
Upcoming guests include: Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Janeane Garofalo, and Jeremy Scahill.