politics


I’ve long said that what this country needs is a Democrat in the White House. I’ve said that I’d be giving my vote, my time, and my money to whichever Democrat wins the nomination, despite the fact that of the three biggest contenders, none really caught my fancy, and despite the fact that as the Obamaniacs get more strident and more self-congratulatory, I’ve had to swallow back my gag reflex (he, like Clinton, is a corporate Democrat, and I maintain that Clinton has already fallen as far as she reasonably can — has attained a sort of stasis in her ability to compromise her positions and ideals, whereas Obama has several notches farther to fall, which is why I think HRC would make the better president). But I’ve been losing enthusiasm lately. I’m tired of hearing Obama’s same old smug and empty rhetoric, and I’m tired of watching Hillary try to poke holes in that balloon that are immediately sealed up again by the momentum of popular approval and that just make her look petty and pedantic and slightly querulous, like the A student who says “It’s not fair!” to the teacher when the position of valedictorian goes to the most popular boy; if there’s anything this primary season has taught me, it’s that it isn’t fair, that any color of man is preferable (because less of a comedown for other men) to a woman, and that if Hillary were a man, she’d have walked away with the nomination long ago; she maintains a lead among Democrats (as opposed to Independents and Republicans voting in the Democratic primaries), which does make you wonder what the superdelegates are really going to do if they claim to represent the interests of the party rather than of the general population in choosing their nominee. But, you know, I realize how powerful the media is, and the media is saying Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee. So I’ve been getting ready to vote for him.

Then Nader announced his candidacy. Full disclosure: I voted for Nader in 2000 (in a state that went, as I thought it would, blue) and I don’t regret it. I tend to believe that buying into the two-party system by refusing to consider other options only makes the two parties more monolithic. I tend to think that the wild-eyed desperation with which fearmongers would cry “A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush!” is a bunch of crap and that such fearmongers are acting contrary to the spirit of democracy and the principles of freedom and populism upon which I believe (on a good day) the country was founded.

But I’m not too hot on Nader anymore. My pal Don expressed his misgivings thusly:

Nader. Oh, dear. I was once a stalwart, and voted for him both in 1996 and in 2000, without any regrets. But in 2004 he showed his ego and poor sportsmanship after the Greens failed to nominate him as their candidate (he had never even become a party member); he said that they had consigned themselves to irrelevance by failing to nominate him again. I thought that was in incredibly bad taste. I held my nose and voted for Kerry, and felt like a chump the morning after. I think Nader’s run in 2008 just shows his own failure to grasp his own irrelevance. I have no problem with a left “spoiler” independent race for president, given how conservative the Ds are. But Nader is no longer capable of uniting even the left.

–and I mostly agree; the only part I might qualify is “no longer capable” of uniting the left, as I don’t believe Nader ever was capable of uniting the left (this could just be my stubborn belief that “the left” consists of more that 2.74% of the population, which is what voted for Nader in 2000, at his zenith). Still, I agree with Don that Nader has become a somewhat unappealing figure, if not a polarizing one.

And yet I find myself considering voting for him.

Why?

Matt Gonzalez. Matt Gonzalez is a person I admire and appreciate tremendously. He was the only serious contender for Green Party mayor of a major city (San Francisco, of course, in 2003), and I campaigned for him, made t-shirts (I still have a couple: they’re bright yellow and read “Matt Gonzalez is a real person”), participated in a memorable fundraiser evening at the then-struggling Club Waziema, an Ethiopian restaurant and bar on Divisadero, which he was then helping, if memory serves, to get its liquor license. Matt Gonzalez was president of the S.F. board of supervisors; he got 47% of the vote that year (to Gavin Newsom’s 52%, I believe, and you can bet a few people are wondering what they were thinking voting for Newsom at this point), he’s a former public defender, a poetry lover, a smart and unpretentious person, and all-around, right up there on the top of my list of people who would really change this country. He is, in short, a true progressive, not a recent and incomplete convert, like Edwards, or a panderer whose identity appeal is a huge selling point, like Obama and Clinton (and he writes a great commentary here).

And yes, there’s probably no chance that a Nader/Gonzalez ticket would get anywhere near the White House, and yes, Ralph Nader, excellent consumer advocate and promoter of consumer responsibility and education though he is, has lost a lot of his appeal. But I am still a person who believes that kneejerk acceptance of the two-party system is a dangerous thing, and Matt Gonzalez is the first candidate I can get excited about.

Now if only they would switch roles. Talk about bringing out the Latino vote!

Gonzalez 2008: Change you can actually believe in.

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Hello, Wisconsin! Nice to know you’re not above falling in line with “the wave” of coolness. Nice to know that, chubby and Germanic and working-class though you are, you, like your coastal brethren, can still fall prey to the latest trends.

Another busy week, coupled with some nastiness at work reminiscent of, say, having a root canal done by a dentist who failed to clean raw sewage off his hands after a water main break. But anyway. The coverage of this year’s primary rolls on, and NYCweboy has wondered out loud if the press has won, writing their story of Obama’s meteoric rise as they have, casting Hillary as an evil stalwart of the corrupt old guard. It’s depressing, and maybe it’s true: the vast majority of people I know (who, demographically, are mostly in Obama’s camp: the educated, the relatively well-off, the snooty, the idealistic, and the young; those who can afford to sing along with Scarlett Johanssen and erupt into fits of hormonal giddiness about Sir Talks-a-Lot’s oral prowess) don’t seem to really care what Obama is about, because his movement is real. Yee-haw.

So here we go, and I promised I’d give money and time to Obama if he gets the nomination because, obviously, nothing could be worse than another four or eight years of retrenched social and political conservatism in the form of aggressive foreign policy, failure to reform health care (although Obama has amply demonstrated he doesn’t really know how to do that either), and pandering to upper tax brackets. And I will. But I’m starting to feel less and less enthused about the Anointed One, mostly because I think that, however corrupt/calculating/disingenuous you find the Clinton camp, their criticisms are right on:

1)Obama is all about soaring rhetoric and not so much about ideas.

2)Obama plagiarizes his rhetoric. The evidence is pretty egregious. And yeah, maybe I’m a pedant, and certainly I’m a nitpicker, but it sticks in my craw that his obvious plagiarism of Deval Patrick’s speech is getting a free pass from the media, and from Patrick himself, even though the governor was obviously taken aback at his endorsee’s duplicity.

So maybe NYCweboy is right. Maybe the press decided this for us, and we went along, because that’s what we do, except for those of us who don’t. I’m a contrarian and an outsider from way back, and I see in Barack Obama an ability I never had: one to take all the characteristics that might have alienated people from him and play to their sentiments, to make himself the cool kid, the B.M.O.C., the one who makes you forget what he looks like or where he comes from. I don’t envy him it or begrudge him it, but I just don’t find it that appealing. Because to me, it ought to be more than a popularity contest.

I know I’m in the minority — where else would I be? And I know I’ve got about a snowball’s chance of seeing Hillary, whom I originally viewed as similar but now, due to what Christopher Hitchens accurately termed a “tsunami of drool” bestowed on Obama, see as the red-headed stepchild in this equation, get the nomination. But hey — “right” ain’t about “fair.” I’m not going to completely give up hope; to do so would be to say that the rest of this little democratic process doesn’t matter. So I’m going to keep gunning for the stepchild.
I have never been a political donor, but I’ve now given money to the Clinton campaign. Twice. And though I’ll vote for the Democrat this fall, I have just one wish if that Democrat is Obama:

Take a cue from Hillary. Turn up the substance, turn down the charm, figure out when to shut up.

Oh, and one more thing while I’m passing messages to the candidates:

Confidential to John Edwards: join forces with HRC. This is your chance to be a kingmaker, shake things up on Pennsylvania Ave., and actually fix a few of the things that are broken around here. As far as I can tell, being veep under B.O. will be all about making the cool kidz happy, and that’s no longer your thing, ennit?

I’ve been hammering and hammering away at all my privileged white friends, all of whom are voting for Obama for indefinable reasons, and it’s the indefinable reasons that bug me: because this campaign is so tainted by deep-rooted misogyny and because these selfsame white liberals I hang out with are giving themselves a free pass to indulge in it, and a pat on the back for being cool enough to get past the racism endemic to America and cast a vote for the black dude, that my internal justice meter is roiling with agita: I do know a couple of people who are voting for Obama, but most of the people I know are voting against Hillary (see this), and frankly, it’s starting to remind me of fifth grade, when arbitrary selections of “cool” became a reason for the ravening ten-year-old wolves to get their teeth in anything that didn’t conform and rip it to shreds. I saw a comment in the NYT that explained Obamamania thusly: “I just want something to believe in.”

And I thought I had low expectations of politics.

What this primary has demonstrated to me is that being a woman, particularly a woman married to a powerful man, is deeply not cool, because our consciousness is not yet mature enough to realize that a woman can be powerful without rejecting her womanhood (see: Amazons, Artemis, Joan of Arc, Thatcher).

And that our unconscious protection of these entrenched anti-woman attitudes will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo.

Prince wrote a song about this kind of problem, and the name pretty much sums up the problematic: “Pussy Control.” I think he’s right to say, “All y’all’s loaded.”

Or, as blogger Election-year Weltschmerz says, “Many whites understand that black people are justified in a legitimate struggle against their own oppression (however problematically they might think about it); many men (and some women) do not think that women’s struggles against patriarchy are so justified.”

Pity, isn’t it?

It’s been a busy week here at the rift, between wedding anniversaries, endless administrative tasks, lingering head colds, contentious departmental discussions, and avalanches of papers to grade, and I’m not halfway through the pile yet. It’s been so busy that I almost forgot the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday. But I snapped to it in time to click “refresh” compulsively on my browser, its tabs set to nytimes.com, cnn.com, and dailykos.com respectively, until the results became clear…

…and they were just about exactly what we all were expecting. I was looking for some dramatic reversals. You know the type: Edwards steals the entire undecided vote and comes out on top. Clinton becomes black by association and takes the African American vote. Obama loses, but retains a majority among white women. Wine and cheese liberals (if they have those in the Carolinas; in my personal experience, they have more of the ‘headcheese conservative’ type) rally for Kucinich, provoking him to rescind his decision to drop out.

Instead, South Carolina proved something else entirely: that this election is about identity politics, and that it’s too much to expect that your average voter will resist the heady influence of race. Something like 81% of the African American vote went for Obama, and this was the first time in a while more Democrats than Republicans voted in South Carolina’s primary. It’s not really surprising. If you’re a member of a group that has been oppressed historically, that has been marginalized, victimized by law enforcement, educationally disadvantaged, socially isolated; if you’re part of a people still seen as likelier candidates for success in sports or entertainment than in the more dignified (ahem) role of Chief Executive, then it may not be reasonable, or even desirable, to expect that you won’t elect a candidate who appears to stand for your race and its potential. The presidency is a symbolic office as much as a real one. The president is seen by many as the face of America. How wonderful, how unexpected, if the face of America were black!

I’m on board with the last statement (see post on Shirley Chisholm). But I’m not sure about the symbolic nature of this office. It’s all over the news that the Kennedys have endorsed Obama, and Caroline Kennedy’s op-ed piece “A President Like My Father” is currently wildly popular. In it, Kennedy stumps for Obama and stumps hard, glossing over policy points and voting records, and focusing instead on the soft’n’fuzzy aspects of the race for nomination: Kennedy is “deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president.” Aw. Caro. Let me get you a tissue. Kennedy is a patriot, she tells us, and her appeal is both personal and political. She has a dream, and its name is Barack Obama. Because only Obama “has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves,” and because, apparently, the presidency is not about heading up the executive branch of our government, but is about making everybody feel special. In Kennedy’s world, the symbolic nature of the office trumps policy any day, and image trumps action. It’s all so postmodern — I’d be applauding, except that I’m too busy gagging.

Because — and call me old-fashioned — I’m of a stripe that happens to believe that what the president does is more important than how he or she makes me feel about myself. I’m happy for Caroline Kennedy. It’s awesome that she thinks Obama is as charismatic as her pops. It’s great that she feels that, with Barack at our country’s helm, we’ll all be ‘inspired’ enough to “reach for what we know is possible.” But I want a president who’s going to do some reaching, too. I want a president who’s going to deal with all the other slime-coated politicos on Capitol Hill and come out on top. I want a president who doesn’t ‘have faith’ that if health insurance is available, people will buy it, but who understands that health care has to come along with citizenship, has to be mandated whether you want it or not, in order to be universal (seriously: how did “free market” health care become Obama’s “universal [sic] plan”?). I want a president who’s going to fix the damage inflicted by No Child Left Behind. I want a president who has more than ‘vision’ and ‘charisma;’ I want one who has a plan. And who understands its details as well as its vision. Most of all, I want a president who’s smart, who’s principled, and who’s not afraid to work hard — not just charming or alarming the public, like Bill or Barack, but behind the scenes.

So, Caroline Kennedy: this is for you. I’m glad that you feel inspired. It’s awesome that a person who spends more money on handbags than I make in a year is telling me that from her white, upper-class perspective, Obama is the best presidential candidate because he can make me believe in myself. I won’t even go into how incredibly patronizing that is to me and all the rest of the brown people of our country who not only want “change,” but flu shots and foreclosure relief. But you’re not convincing me. Because you’ve summed it up yourself when you say “I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it” (emphasis added).

And I want more than that. I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to show me he’s more than a blinding grin and a figurehead. I want a president who respects Americans enough to know that they have plenty of courage, and what they need is strong leadership. I want a president who’s going to do some achieving himself.

Or herself.

Call me a pessimist, but I’m getting a little tired of what one of my colleagues might call “the election jiggery-pokery,” especially as I slog through the dozens of pages of South Carolina debate transcripts hoping to find a nugget of truth or a kernel of sincerity (I don’t watch the debates for three reasons: 1)at that hour, Thing One is still marauding around this house, and I’m asleep before the reruns, 2)I don’t have cable, and the TV is in a closet somewhere, which is why my children are not going to have ADD (insha’Allah), and 3)I can’t actually stand the strident tone of candidates’ voices when they’re going at each other like rabid pit bulls and/or whining for the favor of the camera. I need my politics “affect lite”; the neutrality of print helps me evaluate the choices based on what candidates actually say, rather than the fact that they probably want to drop-kick each other, especially HRC and BHO, and if I had had to watch John Edwards’s face while he was smarmily referring to himself as “the white male candidate,” I might have had to break out the Courvoisier — I was already wearing a rhinestone-encrusted pinky ring).

So I’m trying, this morning, in between grading papers and supplying my two-year-old with healthy, low-sugar snacks, to make sense of the debates so that I can confirm or dispute what I think I already know, but even I recognize this as a losing proposition, because as much as I and a bunch of other people deny how much election choices depend on identity politics and first impressions, that is exactly what they depend on. David Brooks makes that point in his op-ed, “How Voters Think.” This little tidbit pretty much sums it up: “In reality, we voters — all of us — make emotional, intuitive decisions about who we prefer, and then come up with post-hoc rationalizations to explain the choices that were already made beneath conscious awareness.”

America, you are not objective. Those of us who prefer to think we are, are of course just engaging in higher-level self-deception and post-hoc grandiloquence, which is, I suppose, true for the candidates as well. And while I believe it happens that a candidate’s words can alienate the voters, I think it’s much less frequent that his or her words can win voters over for exactly that reason: we have already made up our minds. It remains for us only to be dissuaded.

That actually explains why Clinton spent much of the debate trashing Obama’s integrity and he and Edwards spent most of it tag-teaming Clinton, fangs out, when Obama wasn’t taking polite digs at Edwards and Edwards wasn’t trying to look morally superior to the other two. Because their constituencies are with them now, and they’re going to stick. The real question is: how many of the other guy’s people can they confuse or disillusion?

Or maybe the real-er question is: is John Edwards going to reprise his role playing second fiddle in the national election this year? Let me be the first to say that, if he is, I’m happier with either of the front runners than I was with Kerry, to whom I threw my vote for one reason only. And the media machine certainly seems to be trying to promote that idea: after Iowa, there were whispers of “Obama-Edwards 2008,” and this morning, the headline “Clinton, Edwards hold private post-debate meeting” appeared on the Cnn Political Ticker blog. The entry features a photo of Clinton and Edwards looking chummy and sincere.

Of course, the photo was not taken at the alleged “private” meeting, which several aides have described as “accidental” and “consisting of light chit-chat.” But who cares? We’re being groomed to think that Hillary and John are either colluding against Barack, or experiencing a meeting of minds that might usher them both into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Together. Which, again, would do little more than placate Edwards’s tiny share of the vote, and which is probably based on the fact that — thanks to massive friction between Bill and Barack — there’s no way Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama are teaming up for anything but a Bush-trashing session.

I’ve been feverishly polling my friends and relations about who they’re going to vote for in the primaries, mostly because I can’t vote in the primaries and am thus desperate to live vicariously through them, and partly because I like arguing with whatever their choice is. It’s actually not been much fun on the devil’s advocate front, because most of the people I know are relatively privileged and relatively young and in stereotypical liberal careers, like teaching or urban planning or perpetual adolescence graduate school, and so they all wishy-washily tend to probably kind of like Obama, so I’m honing that argument but not getting a lot of practice knocking Clinton or Edwards (and my Kucinich-supporting friends have either given up or long since shut up, judging from the lamentably Dennis-free state of my inbox).

So it was with a mixture of anticipation and dread that I hurried to meet my father for lunch, leaving the first (and perhaps only) baby shower I have ever attended (for two mothers from Thing One’s preschool, and even though the invite said “families welcome” and I brought mine, it was like a coven of witches, if witches cooed instead of cackled and amused themselves by flinging miniature pastel outfits at each other while charging tables full of jalapeño dip and chocolate bundt cake, and K. was the only man there and was desperately ill-at-ease even though I reassured him that, since he not infrequently wears pink and reads Vogue, he should feel right at home). Both feelings could be traced to the same source: I was bubbling with curiosity about how the author of my days would be voting, and just as fearful that I wouldn’t want to know. Why, you ask? Because my father, the Sr. to my Jr., the person probably most intellectually and temperamentally like me in all the world, voted for George W. Bush.

Twice.

Now, apart from the obvious chagrin any designer-college-educated liberal such as myself might have at a family member who’d support a quasi-literate warmonger, my basic objections were just that: basic. My dad is not supposed to vote Republican. My dad is an immigrant, a scientist, a person of color, a product of public schools and the University of California (though he did go private for grad school). He should be a Democrat. I’m comfortable with the notion of him being a faintly socially conservative centrist Democrat, like a lot of the rich people I know, but he should, nonetheless, vote donkey.

I didn’t really discuss the Kerry election with him, but I remember very clearly his rationale for voting Dubya in 2000 (and the only argument that might have convinced me to vote Gore instead of Nader was the argument that it would cancel him out): character. Oh, he was concerned about the economy, and he wasn’t thrilled with how the Dems were taking care of him financially, but the crux of his argument was that the single most important factor in choosing a president was character, honesty, basic goodness and humanity, and he thought Bush edged out Gore. Yup, he had decided Bush was more pure of heart, which may have something to do with being exponentially dimmer, but the tragic part of it all was that his hierarchy of Existential Goodness went like this (first pick to last):

Bradley

McCain

Bush

Gore

–So in the race as it turned out, his vote went to the man who sent thousands upon thousands of troops to Iraq to kill and be killed, commit war crimes, and generally destroy their own humanity and that of their hapless victims. He was pretty much manifesting that old Winston Churchill chestnut about how everyone ages conservative if they know what’s good for them, and it was making me want to eat nails.

So today I was pretty worried, mostly because I think John McCain is the antichrist, which you understand is a figure of speech because I’m not a Christian. But I was sure my pop was going to be helping propel McCain to the GOP nomination, and this alarmed me because I’m pretty sure the American public is more likely to elect Craggy War Hero than it is Bug-Eyed Evangelist or Mormon “Hair Club for Men” Model. I’m really hoping Romney gets the nomination because my concept of reality won’t admit that the entire country could elect him, and that means the Dems will win. I’m afraid if McCain is the nominee, we’ll see another four or eight years of social conservatism and warmongering, and no, I am not reassured by the fact that McCain is against torture. Yeah. Is he going to go hang at Guantanamo Bay and make sure no waterboarding takes place?

So all this was present in my mind when I asked how my dad was going to vote. And just imagine my surprise when he said, “I think both your stepmother and I will be voting for Hillary Clinton.” Her I expected (my stepmother practically is Hillary Clinton, and is a staunch Democrat to boot), but he threw me for a loop. His reason? Because he thinks Clinton will be better for the economy, and he thinks she’s competent and observant, and he imagines she’ll have the sense to keep sending Bill to Africa (he loathes Bill, mostly because he sees Bill as a silver-tongued Evader of Consequences, and he’s not wrong).

So today I’m going to crack a Bud* and toast my dad, who has executed an amazing feat today: he’s articulated a preference for Hillary that has nothing to do with her gender or her spouse, something the rest of America seems to find impossible. In fact, all of my semi-young and reasonably cool ‘liberal’ friends keep citing Bill, or “the idea of Clinton dynasty in the White House,” as a reason not to vote for Hillary, and I am continually dismayed by this, because the idea that you could sincerely believe that you were a Populist Crusader by trying to Keep a Clinton Out of the White House strikes me as delusional and idiotic. And on the flip side, 56% of her supporters polled in New Hampshire said they would’ve voted for Bill if he could run again (presumable, Hill was the next best thing).

The idea that a person (woman) is necessarily so heavily influenced by her spouse as to make her independent thoughts and actions irrelevant in the face of his (witness the way people responded to this story about Bill’s Nevada exploits) is not just disrespectful and depressing, it’s indicative of an inability to see women as actors. It seems much of America suffers from this limitation. I’m wondering if maybe my dad not being among them has been an enormously freeing force in my life, one that I am only now coming to appreciate.

I’m thinking maybe it is. I’m thinking that a lot of the women I know have families who give lip service to the idea that women have brains but still embrace a lot of insidiously misogynistic ideas, and a lot of these women grow up with the nagging conviction that they can’t really do or think or be anything without a man in charge, and I’m thinking I’m damn lucky not to be one of them.

*A figure of speech; naturally, I only drink microbrewed beer (when pressed), and prefer single malts, Sapphire, and Bordeaux.

So I finally read Meghan Daum’s little essay about how we, the American public, are subjecting Hillary Clinton and her candidacy to The Rules, and it irritated me intensely until the last two sentences (which were more mitigating than redemptive). If you don’t remember The Rules, it was a dating advice book that advocated manipulation and concealment of one’s true motives as the best strategies for marrying Mr. Right for those women so desperate to marry Mr. Right that their frothing mouths scared all the boys away (me, I’m of the post-rules generation, and I like to think of myself as more of a Kelis girl than a Rules girl: my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard). Daum uses Rules philosophy as a framework for explaining why much of America is put off by Hillary: because she’s hungry. But so effectively does Daum subject Clinton to this retrenched Father Knows Best and The Little Woman Can’t Get Around Him attitude that it’s unclear whether she even objects to its unfairness until, at long last, she writes, “The problem is, political campaigns aren’t won by following “The Rules.” That’s why we may be further from electing a female president than we’d care to admit.”

Well, as my ex would say (and when he said it, it was at least three syllables): “Duuuuuh.” And more fuel to the burning pyre of remarks that attest that, at least in the world of politics, the testosterone card trumps the Anglo card, because masculinity is politics’ stock-in-trade. I don’t have much truck with the mainstream media, but yesterday I actually begged my chiropractor to take her time getting to me so I could finish the election coverage in Newsweek, much of which predictably focused on identity politics of this primary, including a piece detailing one black woman’s vacillations: gender? or race? or gender?

Now, I happen to think that voting your gender or your race is a crock of shit, but I guess it’s a more appealing crock than voting your religion, which is what those voting in the Republican primary seem to be doing (even if, at least temporarily, their religion is the Detroit Tigers — hey! Maybe Romney could get an endorsement from Tom Selleck!). But since that’s what people seem determined to do, and since I hate to see poor John Edwards continually befuddled by questions like how it feels to be part of a three-way with the first viable black candidate AND the first viable woman candidate, I have found for you a solution, one which comes from the annals of history:

Shirley Chisholm.

For those of you who don’t remember, Shirley Chisholm was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 1972. (Apparently a lot of you don’t remember, a fact which I would like to lay directly at Bush Jr. and Sr.’s doors, because American education has been circling the drain for the last 20 years; nonetheless, she’s been hovering in the forefront of my mind since this brouhaha all began, and I wasn’t even born when she ran). Let’s run down some of her attributes:

1. Woman.

2. From New York. In fact, from Brooklyn! (Could use Beastie Boys as victory party act.)

3. African American!

4. The Hair. Nobody can compete with The Hair. The Hair is awesome.

5. Working for the common man: she fought for minimum wage.

6. Compassion for others: visited her rival, famous bigot and pro-segregationist George Wallace, in his hospital bed when he was shot during the campaign.

Chisholm was, to paraphrase another prominent black woman (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Dr. Bailey), a poster child for “rising above.” She was a pioneer, a brilliant and charismatic figure, a snappy dresser, and a tough broad. She ran for president in 1972, people! Big ups to Shirley!

So what I’m proposing isn’t really that more far-fetched than cloned White Castle burgers. Chisholm for President 2008. All we need is a time machine.

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