Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Linda Hirshman is boring

Feminist academic Linda Hirshman is whining because she "got the boot" from the TPM cafe at Talking Points Media -- which, in case you don't follow these things, is a big liberal group-blog site.

Hirshman blames her loss of TPM blogging privileges on an intra-liberal political dispute over something she wrote for the WaPo. It apparently doesn't occur to her that maybe TPM dumped her because she's dull as dirt.

I don't know about her blogging, but the op-ed she wrote for the WaPo was totally lame. A (mercifully brief) sample:

Female governors, lifelong feminists, union leaders, moms rising -- all rushing into the Obama camp. What's going on?
Maybe Obama is the best candidate, and these highly educated women, with their greater political savvy, have recognized his value. A less charitable explanation is that college-educated women don't need the social safety net as much as their less fortunate sisters do, so Clinton's early stand on family leave or her slightly more generous health-care plan aren't as important to them.
About as interesting as an AAUW pamphlet. Hirshman's thesis involves a gender-race-class theory of why so many upscale white women are supporting Obama rather than Hillary. It might be possible to do something interesting with such a thesis, but Hirshman didn't. Her op-ed has no legitimate merit as analysis; it's just special-pleading from a Hillary supporter.

What makes the Hirshman op-ed (and her subsequent whining about TPM) so annoying is her flimsy effort to suggest that there are important policy differences between Hillary and Obama, a difference that has some relevance to her whole gender-race-class theory. But this is absurd on its face. Policy-wise, Hillary and Obama are quite nearly clones. Both are doctrinaire liberals. They differ primarily in style, rhetoric and biography, not in policy.

For liberal Democrats, the real question should be, which of these two equally liberal candidates is most likely to win in November? I think that explains the Obama surge: He is a very telegenic candidate, with a strong voice and pleasant personal demeanor. He is likeable in a way that Hillary never could or will be. Obama looks and sounds like a winner, and thus more Democrats who want to win in November are supporting him.

Hirshman's dullness as a writer is exceeded only by her arrogance in thinking that the people who read her WaPo op-ed can't see that she's just a cheerleader for Hillary.

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