Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Funny Girls for Hillary

Newsflash: Roxie's World Endorses Hillary Clinton for President!

(Photo Credit: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press)

Why is this woman smiling? Hmmm. Let's see. Could it be because she's opened up a lead of 33 percentage points over Barack Obama, her nearest "competitor" for the Democratic presidential nomination, in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll? Could it be because she's at 53% among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents when voters are polled on 8 different Democratic choices? Could it be because she kicked Obama's bottom in fundraising for the third quarter, pulling in a total of $27 million to his $20 million, according to Wa Po?

Or could it be she heard she has gained the coveted endorsement of America's favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball? Yes, it's true, kids. We've finally decided to climb down from the fence and hop on the bandwagon. We are ready to do publicly what our hearts, heads, and the moms have been telling us privately to do for months.
Roxie's World is going with the girl. We do hereby endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. (You can get on the bandwagon, too, of course. Give to Clinton's campaign here.) (You might also want to click on the special song we loaded into the Roxie Music Box in honor of Senator Clinton while you read the rest of this post. Just a suggestion. Roar.)

But, Roxie, you may be thinking, what about her foreign policy votes, including that most recent one on Iran? What about the consistent pattern of splitting differences and tacking to the center, in that Democratic Losership Council style of politics that I know you and the moms deplore? What about the weaselly position on marriage equality, pretending to be opposed to same-sex marriage while promising to support extending the same set of rights and protections to gay couples under some less incendiary name?

I know, I know, kids, but sit down. This tired old dog blogger has something important to tell you:
We live (and vote) in the real world. John Edwards and Barack Obama are the only other Democratic candidates who stand a realistic chance of being elected, and when you go down the line on the issues there really isn't that much that separates them from Clinton. Oh, sure, Edwards has found a good line on poverty and deserves credit for getting the issue back on the political radar screen, but voters don't think he's ever done anything but try to get elected president. Same with Obama, and most of his positions are as centrist as Clinton's or even slightly further to the right. They are great guys, but neither of them would score significantly higher on the scale of left-wing political purity than Clinton would. Neither would bring American troops home from Iraq on his first day in office. And neither would survive the gravitas and experience test that Republicans are sure to set up in order to generate support for the creepy field of candidates from whom their nominee will be chosen.

Rest assured our support for the junior senator from New York is not based primarily on pragmatism or a cynical desire to win at any cost. As regular readers know, we've watched Senator Clinton closely over the past several months and have been impressed with her evolution as a candidate and with the smooth operation of her estrogen-fueled campaign machine. We are excited by the unprecedented combination she offers of leadership experience and the opportunity to make history. We've been moved to see her growing mastery of the difficult challenge of coming across as both womanly and presidential, which seems impossibly oxymoronic by the gender norms of American culture. We've been delighted to see her do all of this while projecting a sense of warmth and humor she has not always seemed comfortable displaying in public.

Which brings us, of course, to the subject of the Clinton "cackle." We have on several occasions in the past couple of months praised Clinton for having the confidence to laugh in the harsh glare of the media spotlight. Suddenly, it seems, everyone else is noticing the candidate's willingness to exercise her funny bone, but the general reception has not been as warm as it has been here among the funny women of
Roxie's World. It all started with an admittedly hilarious bit Jon Stewart did on The Daily Show suggesting there was something robotic about Clinton's tendency to burst out laughing during a series of interviews she did on the Sunday chat shows. From there, the subject snowballed into a full-fledged media much ado about nothing. (Wa Po media critic Howard Kurtz has a good analysis of the snowballing here.) (BuzzFeed has links to a bunch of the commentary and video here.) One commentator compared Clinton's laugh to the infamous Howard Dean scream and warned that it could get blown out of proportion. (Well, maybe, if folks like you compulsively dissect it because you have nothing better to do!) Some have noted the sexist double standard in much of the reaction: Clinton is damned if she doesn't laugh because it proves she's a humorless feminazi; she is damned if she does laugh because it proves she is either a) an automaton trying to pass herself off as human or b) a maniacal Bertha Mason who'll end up howling in the rafters on Pennsylvania Avenue if we're not real careful.

(Poll Graphic:
Jennifer Agiesta and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post - October 3, 2007)

I am an old dog with a leaky heart. It's been my good fortune to spend much of the past thirteen + years absolutely bathed in the sounds of women's laughter. (I've heard plenty of men's laughter, too, but that's not my point today, fellas. Love you. Mean it.) From my post on the couch, I've heard chortles and chuckles and belly-laughs and guffaws. I've seen laughers who snort, a few who scream, and a couple who cover their mouths with their hands because for some reason they feel self-conscious about being caught in the act of laughing. I've heard laughter in bed and laughter in the classroom and laughter mixed in with tears of sorrow. As my hearing fades, I strain to hear echoes of laughter every day because they remind me I am still alive.

This old dog loves laughing women and knows that a leader who cannot laugh or who laughs at people rather than with them is not to be trusted to exercise power with humility and compassion. My friends,
Roxie's World endorses the woman in this race with the hearty laugh. May she have cause and courage to laugh loud and long in the course of her extraordinary journey. Peace out.

6 comments:

  1. Candy Man10:54 PM EDT

    Roxie, I LOVE your link to Wikipedia's Jane Eyre page! The Bertha Mason reference is, of course, spot on.

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  2. Glad you liked that, Candy Man. The English profs here in Roxie's World may be Americanists, but they've read a couple of books from across the pond and like to show off their knowledge from time to time. Moose lobbied to call this post "The Madwoman in the White House," but I wouldn't let her.

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  3. Roxie, your welcome endorsement is one of many signs, every one of them significant, marking the entry into a completely different set of experiences politically than we have ever known. A woman who has fully achieved that right to be President. Nothing will ever be the same again.

    RA

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  4. I hope so, RA -- From your fingers to dog's ear! Here's to a new political world.

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  5. Got turned on to your blog last week by a fellow UM graduate student, Kelly McGovern. If y'all are planning on taking an active part in the campaign, please let us know--we want to join you!

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  6. Welcome to Roxie's World, Sarah, and stay tuned. Having appointed myself the (Un)Official Dog Blogger to the Clinton Campaign, we'll just have to see what develops!

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