Republicans and PUMAs
I’m not going to give Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard column the dignity of a lenghty response, I’d rather address what it says about the way the media/Republicans view Hillary’s female supporters, and what they are/may be doing to their own perceptions.
In short, the piece is really, really shameless. It titles itself “The Democrats’ Glass Ceiling,” without ever noting that the current Speaker of the House, a Democrat, is also a female. That is, of course, an historical first. It also makes no mention that you could look for eons without finding anyone comparable to Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton in the Republican Party. But more to the point, the general premise of the Kristol/Republican/media meme around Hillary’s female supporters is pretty straightforward; older women are irrational, emotional, and borderline dumb.
Let’s think of this on the merits. First of all, why would Hillary want to be Vice-President? As it stands, she has a fairly safe Senate seat and a national power/fundraising base that gives her a huge degree of autonomy to carve out a legislative agenda in the Senate. If she were Vice-President, she’d be charged with selling Obama’s policies, and putting her own opinions on the backburner. I suppose it’s possible that it would put her in a better position to run for President, but Biden will probably follow the Cheney route and retire at th end of 4-8 years, leaving an open spot Clinton could easily fill, after 8 years of crafting her own image, instead of being tethered to Obama. And if nothing else, the Senate isn;t a shabby job. And there’s also the fact that Bill Clinton reportedly refused to be vetted, which would pretty clearly leave Clinton out in the cold to any rationale observer.
But beyond that, are we really going to accept the idea that older white women just aren’t smart enough to realize that Obama is fairly close to Clinton on policy, while McCain is light years away? Do we really believe that Clinton’s supporters are uniquely impractical as to not be able to do what, literally, millions of people do at least every 4 years when their candidate loses a primary election? I’m not particularly ready to accept that idea, and I don’t for a second believe that feminists, in particular, wouldn’t recognize the sort of imagery being carved out for them by the media’s PUMA narrative.
Now this is not to say that Clinton supporters might not still be a bit heartbroken by it all. It’s tough to get over a loss, especially when your candidate seemed like such a lock, and especially when you were constantly told by the candidate and the media, falsely, that the contest was amazingly close. But there’s a difference between being disappointed and being irrational. Republicans, and the media, clearly think that Clinton voters fall in the latter category. I don’t buy it for a second.