Frankly, I don't care who wins the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, Hillary, Obama, or Edwards. I like things about all three and I think that none of them is so close to perfect across the board and would be that much better a candidate or President that it would be a tragedy for the Party and the country if he/she weren't nominated or a disaster if she is.
A lot of progressive types in the blogosphere really, really hope that the nominee won't be Hillary. They don't think her stand on issues is progressive enough---surprise!---they don't trust her to stand up to the Right Wingers and their Democratic enablers in Congress---Hello, Joe Lieberman.---and they don't like her connections to old DLC types from her husband's administration.
They don't believe she can be elected, to begin with, and they doubt that if she is elected she can govern, at least not in any way that will make Progressives happy.
Matt Yglesias puts this case against her most persuasively:
On domestic issues, I think she'll mostly be fine but her instincts and those of her political team seem to lie squarely in the camp that thinks Democrats should try to govern from a defensive crouch.
I like Hillary. I happen to think that she is more electable than her two main rivals, and if I hear another Progressive sneer at the importance of a candidate's being electable I'll bite their head off. I wish her stands on certain issues were bolder but I think what's more important for the next (Democratic) President is not his/her stand on all issues but his/her ability to get done the things that need to be done. Hillary's rhetoric is not as soaring as Obama's and her vision isn't as far-seeing as Edwards. But based on what I know about all three I would say that of the three Hillary is the one who has the best idea of what it takes to get things done, and I'm not saying that because I think eight years as the wife of a President of the United States is the best school for aspiring Presidents.
But I look at Hillary's time as first lady, her six years as my Senator, her biography, and I see a person who has demonstrated a remarkable ability to learn and grow on the job.
I see someone who has shown she can take charge and lead. I see someone who cares about mastering the details of her job. I see someone who knows how to run things and make things run.
I'm not saying that either Obama or Edwards isn't that kind of person. I just don't see enough in their resumes that shows they are as talented or as geared that way as Hillary is.
George W. Bush has broken the government. Everything he's touched he's short-circuited, unhinged, derailed, or flat out smashed by not only politicizing every department he's been in charge of but by appointing incompetent and corrupt cronies and loyalists to run them.
Redbeard in a comment over at Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the case that the next President needs to have a bold vision and a willingness to experiment akin to FDR's in order to undo all the damage Bush has done.
I'd agree as long as it's also understood that by 1932 FDR had made an entire career, topped off by a stint as the governor of the nation's largest state at the height of the Depression, of putting his words into specific actions and pulling off experiments that worked.
The one potential Democratic candidate who comes at all close to having a resume similar to the whole of FDR's is still insisting he's not running.
We'll see how he feels after he wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
Compared to him, the other three, Hillary, Obama, and Edwards are pikers. Compared to each other, each is pretty darn good, each has strengths and merits the other two don't have, and each is far, far, far more preferable than anybody the Republicans will run.
To top it all off, the next Democratic President will only be as good as the next Democratic Congress, and I'm more concerned that the next Congress be Democratic. It's more important to me that the Democrats increase their majority in the House and actually achieve a majority in the Senate.
If you're planning on that not happening, then the best Democratic candidate is the one who will be best at going over the heads of Congress to get the People to rally to his/her side and I'm not sure which of the three can do that, although at this point Obama appears to be the best at inspiring strangers to rally to him.
All this is to say, I very much dislike this post by Garance Franke-Ruta at TAPPED.
Obviously, I'm not one of the major male Progressive pundits Franke-Ruta's referring to---and if this was only because I'm not a Progressive I wouldn't mind not being on the list. This isn't the time or the place to get into it, but I generally don't mind not being one of the major male Progressive bloggers, except when the major male bloggers who I know read this blog steal my best lines and some of my points and don't link to me. I'm not being paranoid here. You know who you are. I steal your stuff all the time, but I link to you! Nevermind. If I keep going down this path, Atrios will snark me dead.---I'm not one of those bloggers, but I am a part of that demographic Franke-Ruta says doesn't like Hillary for reasons, Franke-Ruta implies, of pure sexism and general male blockheadedness.
I'm not about to put myself forward as an exception that proves the rule. (Nor would I put forward Avedon Carol as a member of the demographic that Franke-Ruta says is wild about Hillary as an exception that proves the rule from the other direction. I just want to point out that Avedon is a major female Progressive blogger who isn't at all wild about Hillary and ask Franke-Ruta to consider the possibility that its a blogger's Progressivism more than his/her gender that determines his/her negative opinions about Hillary.) Nor am I putting myself forward as proof that Franke-Ruta's talking through her hat. I trust her on the numbers. I dislike her underlying point.
Scott Lemieux and Matt Yglesias have good rebuttals to her post, but both of them are more concerned with sticking to the issue of Hillary as a candidate.
Even though I disagree with Scott and Yglesias about Hillary, I am more bugged on their behalf than they are by Franke-Ruta's assumption that they and lots of other Progressive and Democratic men don't like Hillary because they're men and because they're men they're sexist and their opinions on any issue involving women and the causes that matter to them are so suspect they can be rejected out of hand.
She's accepting a now more than generation-old argument popularized by professors of literary theory that the victims of oppression have a special insight into things that members of the oppressing class are denied.
How this jumped from classroom discussions of Edward Said claiming Joseph Conrad knew nothing about the real Africa to people in the political world making a special case for themselves and their opinions based on their membership in an oppressed minority is probably the subject of a dozen books I haven't read and if anyone knows of any of them and can recommend them, assuming that they weren't all written by Right Wing Conservatives sneakily making the point that white male conservatives are an oppressed minority, please let me know.
At any rate, Yglesias touches on the point which has as its implicit thesis that only black people can speak righteously to the point for black people, women for women, gays for gays, working people for working people, and religious people for religious people, a very strange notion for people who have inherited the party of Franklin Deleno Roosevelt to hold. But I want to reject it out of hand.
Franke-Ruta's making the case here that the male Progressive bloggers just don't get Hillary because they're men.
Of course men can be obtuse about these things. We frequently are. But I would be more sympathetic to the theory, "You just don't get it because you're a man," if it always came with its inevitable corrollary.
"There are lots of things I just don't get because I'm a woman."
And it never does.