This is peculiar:
Coincidentally, contemporary conservatives Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam just published a book, “The Grand New Party,” in which they also suggest that Americans return to the real traditional marriage. Douthat and Salam propose that women not only put on the veil but also stop taking the Pill and stay home with the babies. The conservatives even suggest that society pay families (read: women) with children to stay home from work, using a benefit for which the rest of us would pay. They advocate for marriage confined to a man and a woman, strong social pressure and rewards to confine childbearing to such marriages, and a facially neutral but actually heavily gendered proposal to motivate women to quit their jobs and tend the home fires.
Almost nothing is true in this paragraph. It is true that Ross and I wrote a book called Grand New Party (not “The Grand New Party” — but let’s give Hirshman points for coming close).
Do we propose that women “put on the veil”? Well, we do argue that it is a good thing for women and men to get married, which is to say for women and men to, metaphorically, “put on the veil.”
but also stop taking the Pill
This is flatly absurd.
and stay home with the babies.
Also absurd. We argue that some parents — fathers and mothers — will choose to “stay home with the babies,” and that this is a choice that is as worthwhile as the decision to outsource parenting to professional caregivers.
Hirshman evidently believes that we mean the word “families” to read as “women,” which is peculiar. I am a non-woman, yet I am part of a family. I assume the same is true of other non-women as well, except perhaps clones generated under laboratory conditions.
They advocate for marriage confined to a man and a woman
Actually, I’m a proponent of legalizing same-sex civil marriage, so we didn’t discuss the controversy over whether marriage should be confined to a man and a woman in the book. This charge is made up out of whole cloth.
I have to assume that Linda Hirshman hasn’t read Grand New Party, which is a shame. Amazon is selling the book at a steep discount — $7.66 off. Hirshman could use the $7.66 to buy a clue.
Actually, that was mean. The truth is that ridiculous mischaracterizations are Hirshman’s stock in trade. Some months ago, Hirshman claimed that white women were being “intimidated” — I mean, close to intimidated — into supporting Obama.
When faced with a “movement,” resistance is costly. And for weeks now, online and on cable news channels, almost anyone who expresses criticism of Obama or support for Clinton has elicited a firestorm of disapproval.
Was this ever true? Almost anyone?
Obama’s scores of defenders — “Obamabots,” they’re called — immediately recite the anti-Clinton litany: Billary, Monica Lewinsky, Hillary’s Iraq war vote, identity politics. Well-regarded activists such as Planned Parenthood’s Feldt or successful writers such as Tina Fey who support Clinton are excoriated as worthless pieces of nonsense.
Tina Fey has been drummed out of Hollywood?
After Steinem wrote an op-ed on Clinton’s behalf in the New York Times, the New Republic published an article titled “Gloria Steinem’s Awful Op Ed.” Not wrong. Not misguided. But “awful.”
TNR is not allowed to use the word “awful,” evidently. “Awful” is beyond the pale.
Has this rhetorical firestorm had an effect on the political decisions of college-educated white women? I don’t know. But I do know that many of these women have succeeded by meeting or exceeding society’s expectations.
I.e., women who disagree with me are sheep. Or am I misreading this?
And the movement quality of the Obama campaign has certainly raised expectations of commitment to its candidate well beyond those of a normal political campaign. This has to be generating powerful peer pressure.
The commentary can feel like something close to intimidation, a gantlet of verbal punishment meted out to anyone who dares to disagree.
Note the slippery language: “can feel like something close to intimidation,” and “verbal punishment.” One would think Hirshman was Solzhenitsyn for daring to support Hillary Clinton in America’s Democratic primaries.
It’s well established social science that women on the whole are much more averse to political conflict than men are, so it’s fair to speculate that avoiding that gantlet may be one more reason women are tilting toward Obama.
Again, a generalized, vague claim that women are — let’s not mince words — sheep. Who is the sexist? Wait for it …
Whatever the explanation, the Clinton campaign could now be stuttering to its close, and Mark Penn has been criticized for everything from short-sightedness about the primary schedule to overspending on sandwich platters. But those failures pale beside the biggest one of all: not recognizing the fickleness of the female voter.
Fickleness: the reason Hillary Clinton didn’t have the support of all white, college-educated women.
The outright misrepresentations and falsehoods aimed at Grand New Party are one thing. (I mean, yes, Hirshman either didn’t read the book or she did and has a vivid imagination that was somehow incorporated into her “recollections” of the book.) This generalized damning of pro-Obama women is another.