This is sexist? Really? For real?

According to Big Tent Democrat at Talk Left, the remarks by Senator Obama about Senator Clinton, in the video below, are sexist:

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For those that can’t see the video, here is the meat:

I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.

- Senator Barack Obama, February 15, 2008

I’m trying to understand how. I’ve routinely said “feeling down” to men. In fact, when I was coaching high school football, one of my popular phrases was, “You come to practice feeling down, I’m going to lift you up with work!”. According to many in the blogosphere and MSM, the Clinton Campaign is down to the Obama Campaign in different ways:

1. Down in delegates.
2. Down in money raised.
3. Down in momentum.

So how is Senator Obama’s comment sexist? I’m asking this honestly without a shred of snark or sarcasm. Because if it is, I guess I’m sexist for saying “feeling down” to my wife and two daughters. And I’ve never been accused of sexism and I never engage in sexism. Inquiring minds would like to know.

Author: T-STEEL, Site Administrator

I'm not complex. Don't have time for all that. And all that complex stuff bad for the stomach. Just color me simple and plain with a twist.

25 Comments

  1. I took Obama's comment to mean that when Clinton's has been down in the nomination race, she launches negative attacks at him.

    As a woman that has been on the receiving end of workplace sexism, Obama's comments didn't even register on my admittedly hypersensitive sexism radar. Methinks BTD is reaching far far and away.

  2. Talk Left and Taylor Marsh are two of the most pro-Hillary Internet places. They each have postings about any support for Obama being a cult, a vote against all women, etc. And the commenters are off the chart in pro-Hillary and anti-Obama invective.

    Sadly, jumping on remarks and twisting them around could be avoided so easily. When Hillary won New Hampshire, she asserted that OBAMA was desperate and prone to make statements because of his frustration.

    Unless Talk Left knows something about Obama's gender that we don't, she wasn't being sexist and neither was he.

    And remember when Talk Left and other Hillary supporters are not complaining about Hillary being treated unfairly, they are twisting words around to invent attacks on her.

  3. This is my first time checking out Talk Left (very familiar with Taylor Marsh).

    I think the banter between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton has been MUCH more civilized than the earlier McCain – Romney Heavyweight championship.

    I've watched the video several times and I just don't see it has sexist.

  4. T-Steel, I don't think those comments are sexist in any manner shape or form.

    I went to the link and read some of the comments (not all) and I think the two words that being picked-up on are “periodically” and “feeling”. The women posters thought that when Obama said Clinton was “periodically feeling” down referred to the times when Clinton was “at that time of month”. I have never heard a woman refer to her period as “feeling down”. Usually women say they are “'moody” or “it's that time of month” or some other word/phrase. But most of those postings on the other sight weren't very lucid so I could be wrong….

    Besides Hillary is (most likely) past her monthly menstrual cycles (and probably has been for about 10 years). She probably doesn't have mood swings (except when Obama trounces her in the polls). So if that's what these people are picking up- that Obama was making references to Hillary's period, they need to understand that Obama was not referring to this at all since Hillary is more than likely past this stage of her life. If he had said the exact same thing and left off the word “feeling” (or periodically) I don't think people would have picked up on it. But then again we've seen some of the stuff people twist to their own purposes….

    I'd like to know if any older (roughly Hillary's age and older) find Obama's comment to be sexist or if it's just younger women who are still going through their monthly cycles that find Obama's remarks to be sexist. I also wonder how many of those women who did find Obama's remarks sexists were “at that time of the month.”

    I'll admit that I periodically feel down… and I'm a guy. So to those women who say that Obama was being sexist, I'd tell them that I'm a guy and I periodically feel down, and not in the way that they are implying Obama meant when he said it about Hillary.

    Hillary has a lot to feel down about at this particular stage of the election cycle… and it has nothing to do with a period she no longer has. :)

    Unfortunately Hillary supporters can now say, “It's been reported in the press that Obama has made sexists comments…”. They'll take that false reporting as all the evidence that Obama is a sexist.

  5. Sorry, the word “sight' in the last sentence of my second paragraph should read, “site”.

  6. I suppose this could be interpreted as calling Sen. Clinton a hysterical female but I've got better things to do than worry about it (and I support Sen. Clinton rather than Sen. Obama).

  7. First off, I think it's important to point out that it's not the Clinton campaign making these rather ludicrous claims, but simply supporters.

    And in this primary that's something I find I have to remind myself about. Don't project on Mrs. Clinton claims not made by her.

    That said, there's alot of talk recently about Obama supporters being “cult like”. This example shows that it's not just Obama.

  8. Yes, i agree with Davebo- it's not the Clinton campaign making these statements. And if Hillary wanted to use this “reporting” as “evidence” that Obama was a sexist, I'd think she was an opportunist. And we all know that being an opportunist in politics is expected- and some politicians are opportunists, others are not.

    I wouldn't fault her for being an opportunist, but I would fault her for using something that is so clearly out of context that she is gaining supporters by negative means.

    I haven't seen any comments by her on this, so the above is just my random thoughts.

    On the other hand, she could come out smelling like roses if she stood up and denounced it. She can be the “big person” here.

    I'm really inclined to think that both Obama and Clinton should just let it be, with no response. I mean it's just so totally out there that I have a hard time that any reasonable thinking person would consider it sexist.

  9. T: since Hill is post-menstrual, perhaps it was a keen oservation by Obama about Hill's realization that women her age often start growing facial hair.

    Just another random ridiculous explanation for a desperate and anomic candidate.

  10. As a woman who has received veiled sexist comments her entire working life, I understand the sentiment of the BTD posting. I don't know whether Senator Obama's statement was deliberate or as unconscious as President Clinton's remark that Obama's description of his stance on the Iraq war is a fairy tale. Harken back a few weeks and look at the sensitivity THAT remark chafed.

    I believe many women would find Senator Obama's remark to point to the irrational behavior attributed to menopausal women when then get a little “down” — are having mood swings. And I think that's no big stretch to understand that sentiment.

    However, I think many readers of even this MODERATE VOICE are probably inured to the blatant sexism posted within, and thus see nothing amiss with Obama's statement.

    For example, in two recent cases, there were blatant reminders of the status quo thinking that makes it appropriate to use sexism against Senator Clinton. One in which post-Super-Tuesday awards were given and a negative award was given to Clinton for mentioning that her mother couldn't vote when she was born. But a positive award was given to Obama for winning in Southern States where his Grandfather could not have voted. (That part, at least was true. Kenyan citizens cannot vote in American elections.)

    But the one that jangled my every nerve was in saying that Obama “spanked Senator Clinton soundly” in the Potomic Primaries. Really! Did McCain “spank” Huckabee? Did Clinton “spank” Obama in California.

    Language such as that serves to diminish Senator Clinton, infantizing her, and making him the Parent (or sexual partner??) in the relationship.

    Just watch it, boys. Your mothers are listening to your remarks.

  11. It isn't sexist, T-Steel. That was just silly. But TalkLeft is exasperated as I am about the fact that Obama can attack Hillary with impunity, while anything from the Clinton side is immediately distorted into an 'attack.' As explained here:
    Media Fashions Bill Clinton's Words Into Corkscrew

  12. Calm: You're an idiot.

    'But the one that jangled my every nerve was in saying that Obama “spanked Senator Clinton soundly” in the Potomic Primaries. Really! Did McCain “spank” Huckabee? Did Clinton “spank” Obama in California.'

    If you read the sports pages, the term spanked is routinely used to describe when an athlete or team defeats another, male or female, and it does not imply homosexual orgies, either. It has also been used in a political setting for decades.

    But here is the smoking gun of your statement: 'I don't know whether Senator Obama's statement was deliberate or as unconscious as President Clinton's remark that Obama's description of his stance on the Iraq war is a fairy tale.'

    Bill Clinton NEVER acts unconsciously in politics.

    In short, Calm, you show that you are just another random ridiculous supporter of a desperate and anomic candidate.

  13. Dam: 'It isn't sexist, T-Steel. That was just silly. But TalkLeft is exasperated as I am about the fact that Obama can attack Hillary with impunity, while anything from the Clinton side is immediately distorted into an 'attack.''

    Yet 'another random ridiculous supporter of a desperate and anomic candidate. Part 2: This Time It's Personal!'

  14. But TalkLeft is exasperated as I am about the fact that Obama can attack Hillary with impunity, while anything from the Clinton side is immediately distorted into an 'attack.'

    I never would have thought that this historic run for the Dems nomination would get down to this. My wife (who is an outright Obama supporter while I'm just confused) constantly tells me how Senator Clinton is getting a raw deal in the press because she's female. When my wife, Obama Mama as she calls herself, says that, I have to look. And it does seem like she is getting the lion's share of the MSM barbs.

    I always wondered what would happen if Condolezza Rice was the Republican frontrunner with Obama and Clinton flighting it out. What a dynamic: black man, white woman, black woman. The MSM and blogosphere would simultaneously explode and implode.

  15. I have tried to engage people over at TalkLeft. I am an Obama support and make no claims otherwise.

    But there is a loud and hostile faction at TalkLeft that loathes Obama, for whatever reason. And they treat Obama supporters quite poorly.

    BTD is most certainly feeding this mentality. Jeralyn has been very cordial. But BTD seems determined to poke sticks at the Obama supporters simply because they don't agree with him. And it is a farce for BTD to suggest he is pro-Obama.

    I don't see this comment as sexist. Then again I didn't think the fairy tale comment was racist at all. Both were condescending but neither bigoted.

    The problem is that Hillary and Obama are competing for the same job. And it's difficult to determine what the ground rules are.

  16. T-steel,

    The problem I have with the whole They hate her because they are sexist argument is that it ignores the possibility that some people hate Hillary Clinton the person. This is particularly true in the press. Chris Matthews may be a sexist, his comments certainly give that impresison. But I think he also hates Hillary.

    So while I am sure some people hate her because she is a woman, there misogynists in the world afterall, I don't think that represents a majority of her opponents.

  17. Flyerhawk,

    Your probably right that the majority of her opponents hate Senator Clinton the person. I don't but I can't stand Bill Clinton AT ALL. But I don't hold that against her.

  18. Flyer: Yes, there are Hillary haters who personalize, as there are W haters. But most of the people hate Hillary the politician who has only one agenda: herself.

    T: 'Condolezza Rice'. Yes, the most incompetent NSA in American history. Yeah, she'd make a great President! She'd never win a single primary because of 9/11.

  19. You can tell how healthy the dialogue is by the fact that the comments are always closed.

  20. FWIW — I did a site-search on TalkLeft and discovered that they've used the word periodically 40 times or so.

    *gasp*

    Seriously, though. I do agree that there have been some truly vile, misogynistic comments made in this campaign. I also think that it's less visible to people than racist comments — which are also being made, but not in the more reputable blogs.

    But this ain't one of them.

  21. That was meant to be a reply to flyer's comment on TalkLeft.

  22. I suppose all the racist comments that HRC's scurvy crew has launched as well as her obnoxious loutish oaf husband's latest broadsides are utterly kosher to the TalkLeft/TaylorMush crowd.

    This demonstrates hysteria taken to a new height of cronish froth-mouthed nincompoopery. I just wish someone like Camille Paglia would put Taylor Mush into the memory hole this obnoxious nobody deserved long ago.

  23. Hillary was born in '47 and is therefore 60 … thus one might well conclude that she is unlikely to be having menstrual cycles.

    And she has periodically been tearing up recently.

    So what about all that is so sexist? Sounds like saying what the whole coutntry has been seeing on TV. Can't one speak plainly about what is obviously happening anymore it it is happens to be happening to a female?

  24. Jani,

    Yeah. I really do hope that BTD and some of the others come back to reason when the primaries are over. I think they simply are too emotionally invested.

    Poli,

    I think the problem is that racism is generally a lot easier to see. Sexism is more difficult to spot because the reality is that there ARE differences between men and women. We do act and operate differently. And we have thousands of years of gender roles ingrained in our pysche that we need to combat at times.

    In a political competition some traditionally feminine traits are not considered assets. So is it sexist to point them out?

  25. No matter which way you spin it, this is a putdown. Obama may not be sexist, but he is not above arrogance. Now he is qualified to explain Clinton's actions by analyzing her moods. In my personal opinion, it's all politics. Clinton attacks; Obama snipes.

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