Watch out, feminists are causing trouble again! As David Paul Kuhn informs us in Politico today:
Many of the foremost activists in the women’s movement ardently believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton should be Barack Obama’s running mate — and primary wounds that are just beginning to heal may be torn back open should the Democratic nominee select someone else, as it seems very likely he will.
So who are these powerful women’s movement leaders, according to Kuhn?
1. Geraldine Ferraro — never a professional feminist, but the first female V.P. pick, in 1984. She was largely mocked and marginalized during the primary after she said on national television that white women were the real victims of racism, and that Obama would never have been a presidential prospect had he not been black. Many feminists were embarrassed and disappointed by the comments. Leading feminist blogger Pam Spaulding called Ferraro’s words “just plain old race-baiting idiocy.”
2. Marcia Pappas, head of the New York state chapter of NOW. It’s no surprise that a New York feminist leader would be a Hillary Clinton loyalist. But Pappas was decried by other feminists as “unhinged” after publishing a press release calling Sen. Ted Kennedy‘s endorsement of Obama “the ultimate betrayal.”
3. Pamela Sumners, head of the Missouri chapter of NARAL. Sumners is entitled to her opinions, but isn’t the more relevant fact that NARAL became the first national women’s group to endorse Obama back in May? Sumners’ opinion is a marginal one within her own organization.
In other words, none of these individual women are representative of the feminist movement as a whole, nor are they national leaders of institutional women’s groups — if that’s even how the women’s movement should be defined. If you’re interested in the opinions of the actual executives who run NOW, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other women’s organizations, check out my reporting on all of their get-out-the-vote efforts. The leaders I spoke to, including NOW president Kim Gandy, were ready back in June to unconditionally accept Obama as the Democratic nominee. Feminist groups are working hard to bring women to the polls in support of progressive policy goals; it’s not all about Hillary, and it never was.
As Gandy herself told Kuhn, although some feminists like the idea of Hillary as V.P., there are other ways to reach out, such as picking a politician of any gender who’s been loyal to the Clinton camp. The bottom line is that while there may be a small number of Clintonite feminists who remain angry, they are a tiny group who will have next to no effect on Obama’s electoral prospects. After all, four out of five former Clinton supporters are already planning to vote for Obama, and there’s no evidence that the remaining 20 percent is made up primarily of die-hard feminists. But who cares? Blame the feminists anyhow!
cross-posted at TAPPED