Working With Us | Products | Case Studies | FAQ | About Online Media

Sistah Hillary

Jan
28
2005

Okay, so Hillary Rodham Clinton has pulled a Sister Souljah and gone to a Roe V. Wade commemorative meeting to talk about how Democrats should be less dogmatic about abortion and more interested in embracing a culture of life.
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? If you didn’t, the January/February Atlantic has a very good, smart essay “Clintonism RIP” on the Democrats and the Clintons by Chuck Todd.


For the most part, Todd says what I’ve been saying here for a long time: Bill Clinton’s politics only worked for Bill Clinton. They don’t work for the Democratic Party as a whole and, in fact, have hollowed out the party’s message by replacing substance with tactics. Wanna know why seven guys are running for DNC Chairman? ’cause Bill didn’t build no bench, that’s why. The sooner Democrats get away from that guy – and his wife – the better off the party will be.
But this graph in Todd’s piece came back when I read about Clinton’s speech:
There are two ways the Democrats’ Clinton problem can be solved. One is if Hillary Clinton runs successfully for the presidency in 2008, redeeming Clintonism as both a tactic and a philosophy. The other is if the party severs ties to Bill Clinton and those most closely associated with him, relegating him to the mythic status Reagan achieved, as someone whose great symbolic power for the party faithful can be celebrated and invoked—but only from a safe distance.
Well, the Clintons seem to be trying to get the Democrats to pick door number two; hence the play from her husband the ex-president’s campaign manual, telling a core group of supporters what they’re doing wrong.
This is going to be a slightly harder trick to pull off. It isn’t so much Clinton’s “culture of life” stance – that’s a perfectly admirable position for her to take and its one that I think most people agree on — but her ability to hew the well-worn line between supporting the values of those who are more conservative on this issue without the “punish the whore” thinking that far too often accompanies it. This is one delicate little dance as the cool reception Clinton received at her speech indicates. It touches – very tenderly on the class divisions within the feminist movement – in a way that could backfire very quickly.
This is a slope that could get slippery any minute. So I’ll tell you what Senator. You can concede a little of the feminist high moral ground on abortion if you can get the NRA to do the same on assault rifles and hand guns. There’s a trade we might all be able to live with.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 11:48 AM | Permalink

<< Back to the Spotlight blog

Chris Nolan's bio
Email Chris Nolan




Get Our Weekly Email Newsletter




What We're Reading - Spot-On Books

Hot Spots - What's Hot Around the Web



Spot-on.com | Promote Your Page Too

Spot-on Main | Pinpoint Persuasion | Spotlight Blog | RSS Subscription | Spot-on Writers | Privacy Policy | Contact Us