Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Politics, USA


I would be delighted if Hillary humiliated Obama today in West Virginia, say something above 70% against something below 25%.

But I actually think that it would be better for Hillary to win by a norrower margin: if the margin is too big and way out of line with anything we have seen in the last few months, then that will offer the MSM the perfect excuse – and God knows how desperate they are for it – to ignore Hillary’s continuing campaign – on the grounds that West Virginians are just freaks: starving racists with a religious problem.

Therefore it would probably be better if Hillary got a solid but realistic win: something comfortably above 60% to 30% something. That would ‘look’ better – while still guaranteeing a delegate landslide, district by district.

Then, with WV under her belt, Hillary should manage to hold off the party for another week to go on and try to win both Kentucky and Oregon next Tuesday (which, according to this very interesting post, isn’t impossible).

2008 presidential elections, democratic primaries, Feminism, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC, Politics, US

On Why We Must Elect A Wife: President Rodham

The latest criticism against HRC is that she is, in comparison with Edwards and Obama, the establishment candidate. She has been there, she has done it all before (they have turned her ‘experience’ argument against her). America’s still the same; it hasn’t changed. So she won’t be able to change it in virtue of not having changed it so far. This charge is, obviously, the result of Hillary being Bill’s wife. She is history, because she belongs to Bill’s ‘90s in virtue of having been the first lady. So while the problem does not seem to be her being a woman, it still is her being a wife; the last Democratic President’s wife. It would have been different, those people criticizing her will concede, if she had been any other woman; if she only weren’t Bill’s wife, then she could have been elected despite her being a woman.

So America, according to these people, would be ready for a woman; but only for a new woman. It’s not ready for an old woman, a wife. Let’s get this right: the problem is obviously not, in itself, that Hillary is married: had she been married to someone else, she could have still been a new woman, a woman for change. Because, as far as politics would have been concerned, she then would not have been a wife. The problem is that she is married to the past. So Hillary isn’t just married – that would have been fine. She is politically married: she is a political wife, not just a wife. Worse: the implicit accusation is that she is only there – in it with a chance – because she is Bill’s wife.

So far, this is all very truistic. But it underestimates the gender – and therefore power – revolution represented by a woman in charge of the world. What would it mean? Why would it be so significant? Because it would be the ultimate liberation: the woman liberation movement will have finally completed its journey only when a woman will have taken the world’s top job. No woman will ever be fully liberated until it is demonstrated that a woman can take (and hold) the top job. That, and only that, will be mission accomplished for the woman liberation movement, and aging feminists will finally be able to go back to knitting.

But where did that journey of liberation began? It began with marriage: it began with making marriage an equal, consensual, free relationship (as free as love allows, that is). The journey began with liberating wives from their husbands. It has been wives who have always symbolized the exploited woman. Wives bending on the sink to wash dishes. Wives bending on their children to tie their shoelaces. Wives bending for their husbands. It is first and foremost through marriage that women have been exploited: so the exploited woman just is the wife.

And that’s why liberation will be complete only when we elect a wife. But, as we said, electing any wife will be, politically, just like electing a woman. We must elect someone who is a wife even from a political point of view; we must elect HRC. So that she can finally, as President, shed that ‘C’ and be just her own autonomous self: President Rodham. Only when we will have liberated the first lady from the President we will have achieved the full liberation of women, of all women (at least potentially). Electing any other wife would be electing a liberated woman. It is only by electing the wife that we will have achieved liberation; because, paradoxically, Hillary (being, necessarily, one of the most liberated women on earth) isn’t yet liberated because she has not yet been liberated from her husband, the President. It is only by becoming President herself – President Rodham, not President Clinton – that she will finally liberate herself.

That’s why, if the election of the first woman president must be the ultimate liberation, then we must elect the wife, the first lady. Once the fist lady liberates herself, then any woman can.

democrats, edwards, Hillary Rodham Clinton, iowa, Obama, Politics, USA

Did Hillary really lose in Iowa?

This is what Bill Clinton must mean when he talks of the anti-Hillary bias in the media: the number of state delegates each Democratic candidate received has been widely reported; while the number of national delegates each candidates will get from Iowa has been massively under-reported. Why? Because otherwise the story would no longer sound as a crashing defeat for Hillary Rodham Clinton. In fact, Clinton got one more national delegate than Edwards (15 to 14), and only one less than Obama (16) – even though she got way less state delegates than Obama and a few less than Edwards, thereby giving raise to the embarrassing percentages that have been all over the news in the past two days. With the national delegates’ numbers, that are the only actual numbers in terms of who will be nominated, it looks a lot more like a race split three ways than the Obama triumph reported by the media (apart from the obvious fact that, counting national delegates, Hillary came second in Iowa and not third).

One more reason why it is unfair to report only the state delegates is, obviously, that while for Republicans we know the actual number of votes, for Democrats we only know how those votes translate into state delegates. So it is possible that, just like the number of national delegates is very close, so is the actual number of votes, which we are not going to find out. In the absence of the sheer number of votes, there is all the more reason for reporting both state delegates and national delegates.

2008 presidential elections, Blairites, Britain, David Miliband, general elections, gordon brown, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Iraq, John McDonnell, John Reid, labour leadership, Labour Leadership Contest, Labour Party, New Labour, Politics, Scotland, SNP, Tony Blair

Brown vs McDonnell

Brown got what he wanted (or, anyway, what he should have wanted): a contender who cannot win, John McDonnell. This is a much better outcome than no contender at all, which would have looked bad and it would have reduced Brown’s and Labour’s chances at the next general elections even further. It is also better than a Blairite contender with a chance, namely Miliband. Even if Brown would have defeated Miliband, which is probable, that kind of contest might have weakened New Labour; and, in the attempt to distance himself from Miliband, Brown would have probably lost a lot of the votes that will decide the next election. The only outcome which would have probably been better for Brown than McDonnell would have been an unelectable Blairite like Reid – who was wise enough to desist from his heroic journey of self-sacrifice.

McDonnell’s good for Brown: he will provide the Chancellor with a platform to discuss Iraq, and, if Brown cares to, that will be a chance to distance himself from Blair’s foreign policy. But Brown might discover that the only meaningful way to counter McDonnell’s anti-war rhetoric is to stick with Blair’s legacy of liberal interventionism: that would, indeed, be an interesting development. Otherwise Brown might end up in the kind of middle-ground trouble that Hillary’s in across the pond for not apologising over voting for the war.

Also, while the parliamentary vote is quite obvious, and the unions’ vote can be expected, it’ll be important to see how the popular vote goes: if McDonnell doesn’t do better there than in the parliamentary vote, then a lot of the anti-NewLabour rhetoric will have to go. There has been a lot of talk of New Labour losing votes on the left (the SNP in Scotland could be an example): this is a good time to verify that theory.

It might be objected that the kind of votes that New Labour has lost on the left aren’t votes of Labour Party activists and members. But that’s not how it is often put: people tend to say that, in the pursuit of Middle England, Labour has alienated some of its core vote. If none of that goes to McDonnell, then either New Labour has actually interpreted its core vote better than most commentators, or it has alienated it so much that people have left the party altogether.

UPDATE: it looks as though we should have waited before commenting on McDonnell’s challenge to Brown. The left-winger is still 18 (some say 16) nominations short of the required 45. He’s got until tomorrow noon.