Sunday, March 2, 2008

Can We Please Get Over the '60s Already?

Jesus, will that decade never end?

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem took to the stump on Hillary Clinton’s behalf here last night and quickly proved that she has lost none of her taste for provocation.

From the stage, the 73-year-old seemed to denigrate the importance of John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In an interview with the Observer afterward, she suggested that Barack Obama benefits—and Clinton suffers—because Americans view racism more seriously than sexism.

Steinem also told the crowd that one reason to back Clinton was because “she actually enjoys conflict.”

And she claimed that if Clinton’s experience as First Lady were taken seriously in relation to her White House bid, people might “finally admit that, say, being a secretary is the best way to learn your boss’s job and take it over.”

Steinem raised McCain’s Vietnam imprisonment as she sought to highlight an alleged gender-based media bias against Clinton.

“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience.

I'm going to assume Steinem was making some kind of joke here because the statement is patently absurd -- I don't recall any such questions being asked when Jessica Lynch was taken as a P.O.W. during the beginning of the war in Iraq. Then again, I can't help but get the feeling that Steinem's fictional "Joan McCain" did her hard time during a war that was fought a generation ago and not during any recent conflict.

Incidentally, John McCain has received the exact same criticism that Steinem suggests would be reserved for his alter-ego "Joan."

But Steinem serving as the messenger only adds a feminist icing to the argument's cake: experience. Right now Clinton is having a devil of a time trying to convince voters that she has more experience than Barack Obama -- neither of whom can hold a candle to McCain's foreign policy chops.

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