The Democratic Party’s Divorced Parents

I now view Hillary with the love/hate of an ex-girlfriend. Bernie’s been a great disappointment. Even Jeb Bush is more appealing at this point. A wimp like him would lead the country with safe inaction. But instead, we’ve got Bernie throwing chairs, and Hillary clutching her pearls in lofty dismay. Instead of demonstrating leadership, my party is in the middle of a bad marriage. Clearly, class issues matter here, too: Uptown girls make arched eyebrows and snide excoriations at Brooklyn street kids who resort to verbal shivs. We don’t talk about that, though.
 
In 08, feminist philosopher Nancy Frasier criticized Hillary and her supporters for “excoriating” people. Excoriate is an Ivy League version of “moan.” These are things we associate with whiny, nagging women, and angry feminists. As in when Bernie said: “Don’t moan to me about Hillary.” When Frasier used excoriate, no one called her a misogynist. In fact, Frasier characterized Hillary as an establishment politician much the same way that Bernie does. It’s easy to reject Bernie’s rhetoric because it lacks Ivy League polish, though. His talk rings strident and crass to some ears.
 
This is not the time for castigating. The demagoguery and populism has risen on “both sides of the aisle” for important reasons. Chair throwing and pearl clutching won’t help us resolve root causes.
 
To remind people, here’s what Nancy Fraser said about the last round of primaries:
 
“I was distressed to read that the President of NY State N.O.W. excoriated Ted Kennedy for “betraying women” by endorsing Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton (NYT, 2/1/08). But I was not entirely surprised. That view reflects what has by now become the mainstream self-understanding of American feminism as a political interest group. To the extent that feminists understand themselves in this way, as defending women’s policy interests within the existing framework of politics-as-usual, they have found an excellent standard-bearer in Hillary Clinton.”

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