As long as we're all worried about Hillary Clinton and the 'gender card' we do realize that about 75 percent of the 2004 race between John "I've killed people" Kerry and George "no you're a windsurfing frenchman" Bush was a series of efforts to play the gender card, right?
It's actually stunning how much of thr erstwhile foreign policy debate is primarily an argument about the size of the debaters' dicks.
A bit overwrought, but, actually, not really.
Perhaps what makes this all the more crazy is that, as Ezra Klein noted, the comments Clinton made that provoked this "feeding frenzy" were really quite mild -- just a remark to a gathering of Wellesley alumni that the all-women school really helped prepare her for the "all-boys club" of politics. But, switching back to GFR, she raises the point that Clinton's statement can be seen as part of the "secondary conversation" women have with each other in private -- the one they are actively discouraged from articulating in public circles, lest they damage their professional careers.
So really, there are two lanes of response to this controversy. The first is that Clinton isn't playing the gender card at all, and her critics are just looking to draw blood at any opportunity. The second is that she is playing the gender card, but no more explicitly or distastefully than male candidates do for their fellow men in every race.
While normally I'd segue here into how appeals to men are "invisible" because they are the dominant caste in the American political sphere, in a sense, that doesn't really apply here, the reason being that there is at least a partial awareness among the political class that there are, in fact, specific appeals to men qua men during elections (the way we don't recognize it for, say, Whites). From union men to "NASCAR dads", there are plenty of male blocs that get appealed to. Nonetheless, the Clinton controversy has illustrated the limits to this insight -- even though we all know that male politicians play the "man card" all the time, we still are acting shocked when a female politician tries to swing it for women. That's bogus, but as Atrios says, "this conversation just serves to reinforce the obvious state of things in this country: white males are the most aggressive practitioners of so-called "identity politics" and always have been."
See also: Digby, Shakesville, Matt Stoller
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