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Barack Obama ('04-'08)

Clinton vs. the Mad Men.

“[I]n spinning away her unsteady performance at Tuesday night’s debate, a Clinton advisor tells the Washington Post: ‘Ultimately, it was six guys against her, and she came off as one strong woman.’I’m just a girl? In a not-very-subtle appeal to her strong female base, the Clinton camp makes an unsightly resort to gender politics to explain away her opponents’ criticisms in Tuesday’s debate. “[I]magine for a moment that it was Barack Obama who stumbled in the face of criticism and pointed questions Tuesday night. Would his campaign dare to declare that it was ‘ultimately five whites and a Hispanic against him, and he came off as one strong black man’? And how would America be feeling about him today if it did?

Honestly, this makes me ill. Suggesting all political opposition to Clinton is a “pile-on” grounded in male hostility is as unsavory and disingenuous a tactic as the earlier claim that Obama and Edwards had abandoned “the politics of hope” for even daring to disagree with her in the first place. And neither strategy makes me very enthused about pulling the lever for Clinton, should she become the nominee. Surely, given her gimongous lead in the polls, Clinton can find more honest and substantive ways to address the ripostes of her Democratic opponents. If you’re the frontrunner, you’ll be attacked — that’s how it works, regardless of sex. Update: Obama calls out Clinton’s use of the gender card. Update 2: As does NARAL’s Kate Michelman.

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