Geraldine Ferraro has not gone away, quietly or otherwise, since becoming a focal point of the charges of racism and sexism in the Democratic primary campaign. Today, she writes about healing the divide in the party, but not before the Barack Obama campaign acknowledges the hurt feelings it caused women and make amends. Since Obama’s advisers refuse to do so, Ferraro wants a study done to determine how much the two campaigns engaged in racism and sexism:
Here we are at the end of the primary season, and the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day. Perhaps it’s because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn’t an issue, but reverse racism is.
The reaction to the questions being raised has been not to listen to the message and try to find out how to deal with the problem, but rather to denigrate the messenger. Sore loser, petty, silly, vengeful are words that have dominated the headlines. But scolding and name calling don’t resolve disputes. The truth is that tens of thousands of women have watched how Clinton has been treated and are not happy. We feel that if society can allow sexism to impact a woman’s candidacy to deny her the presidency, it sends a direct signal that sexism is OK in all of society.
In response, a group of women – from corporate executives to academics to members of the media – have requested that the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University and others conduct a study, which we will pay for if necessary, to determine three things.
First, whether either the Clinton or Obama campaign engaged in sexism and racism; second, whether the media treated Clinton fairly or unfairly; and third whether certain members of the media crossed an ethical line when they changed the definition of journalist from reporter and commentator to strategist and promoter of a candidate. And if they did to suggest ethical guidelines which the industry might adopt.
Yeah, that’ll heal the party! Who said Operation Chaos couldn’t possibly succeed?
This typifies the victimology at the heart of identity politics. Instead of just asking everyone to get over it, the Democrats need to find a referee to see who can claim the prize of Biggest Victim of 2008. That pretty much describes Democrats in any year, but usually they just have everyone tie for the winner. Not this year!
It seems to me that voters can decide this for themselves, without Shorenstein studies or Victim of the Year presentations at Harvard. If women feel that insulted by Obama, then they can make a market-based decision to vote for someone else, or no one at all. If white Reagan Democrats feel as insulted as Ferraro postulates later in the piece — a group with which Ferraro had little contact in her career — then they will vote for someone other than Obama as well. We won’t need a Harvard study to determine that; all we need is a general election.
A television show from the 50’s used to crown one woman “Queen for a Day”, usually the one who could come up with the biggest sob story. It looks like the Democrats have decided to provide us with a remake.