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  1. Dana
    Dana February 28, 2008 at 2:34 am |

    It’s all or nothing. You can’t give me “some” freedom to my body and tell me it’s freedom. The more right the government has to telling me what I cannot do (abortion), the further it’s going to take it. Now I can’t have sex until marriage (and if I do, I’m a filthy whore who deserves to get pregnant and raise the child as a single parent). Now I can’t wear miniskirts because men will want to rape me (and I deserve the rape because I was a filthy slut who was asking for it). Now I can’t walk out of my house unescorted… and so on.

    No, I don’t take abortion lightly, and I’m sure like most other women, I’d avoid making that decision as much as possible. But I need the freedom to have one if necessary — whether for my health, my inability to care for a child, or hell, just not wanting to have one.

    And my politicians shouldn’t slide around the issues to appeal to conservative anti-choicers. I want to know, without a doubt, that he is not going to back down and allow legislators to slowly but surely, restrict abortion access until it’s not there at all. Get a backbone, Obama.

  2. bittergradstudent
    bittergradstudent February 28, 2008 at 2:40 am |

    He’s talking like any other lawyer/debater. Even you, Mr. save-the-babies, would admit that women have some right over their own bodily integrity. That word, in that context, seems to be to be as much of a challenge of the questioner as it does a rhetorical fallback on bodily integrity. Because, as soon as he admits that right, then his concern over the babies has to be tempered by soemthing else.

    Similarily, with the other statement, he’s refusing to talk about it because he’s afraid of the text of an actual bill that he hasn’t read, so he uses the ‘generally’ modifier as an ass-protection device.

    It goes back to the idea that it’s hard to pin Obama down on things, as he always seems to be more about playing political jujitsu games than he is about taking clear positions, but I think these details make him much more clearly pro-choice than he is in favor of most other progressive issues.

  3. hyrax
    hyrax February 28, 2008 at 2:44 am |

    I think it’s possible to hear his comments about older people and sex to mean that older guys shouldn’t be getting young girls pregnant, that sex isn’t a game for anyone. It’s also possible that he meant something much worse, but sex being something we all need to be responsible about is important, and I do hope his daughters begin their sex lives armed with information and the ability to get what they want out of the whole thing.

  4. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 3:01 am |

    Thank Obama for granting me some control over my body and the right to generally make my own decisions. Who gets to control the rest of it, I wonder?

  5. denelian
    denelian February 28, 2008 at 3:40 am |

    no one has “total” control of their bodies anymore.

    not to be an appologist… but this is the total fucking truth. if i try to risk my body in a way that is disapproved of by the state (like, say, not wearing a seat-belt, or taking a drug they don’t like or in a WAY they don’t like, or trying to sell my right kidney to pay off my student loans) i either am fined in some way, or its just NOT AVAILABLE (where can i sell anything but blood and eggs? well, and hair.) i am 31 goddamed years old, but i can’t be trusted to make my own decision for myself about my risks while driving?

    “some” control. so long as i cannot legally do ANYTHING AT ALL with *MY* body, thats all it is. right now, even in the most left-ist state (MASS? CA? i don’t actually know which is the mostest at the moment) i cannot do so many things with my body, i only have “some” control over it. even if i were male, this would be the same truth. of course, yes, add the ovaries and it gets WORSE. but men only have SOME control of their bodies, too. men, too, are banned and persecuted for driving without seatbelts, for smoking pot, for prostitution, for wanting to sell an extra organ (but somehow we can GIVE some of them away. just not for money. unless its a baby. we can sell babies. and people do).

    sorry, dont mean to be extra-rambly…

  6. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes February 28, 2008 at 4:19 am |

    I think Mr. Obama is reflecting the facts about many people’s attitudes, rather than expressing his own opinion, with that “some control” remark. His following remark about his own position says quite clearly that a woman is the best person to choose, based upon her own needs and moral beliefs.

    It is obviously a problem if most Americans believe that there are limits to the control a woman should be allowed to have over her own body when it comes to reproductive health, but I don’t think you can blame Mr. Obama for recognising that.

    Alternatively, of course, the transcript doesn’t give us the tone of voice with which Mr. Obama spoke – it’s just possible that it was said with a sarcastic sneer, as if to say, “dumbass, of course women should have control over their own bodies”. But I don’t think politicians do that.

    I think bittergradstudent probably has it right – Mr. Obama is hedging his bets while still trying to suggest that he’s a progressive guy. That’s just the way politics works.

  7. Loosely Twisted
    Loosely Twisted February 28, 2008 at 5:39 am |

    You guys are missing the point.

    I am sorry but I read his statements, and by the examples you shown, he is using the same method I used to expose my parents Bigotry, my parents sexism, and everything about them that was wrong. You can’t tell someone or demand someone give someone else rights. It doesn’t work that way, you have to slowly bring them around to your way of thinking. Being a BLATANT and BLUNT and forceful will not get you what you want.

    I think he is doing it absolutely the right way to bring MORE people to open mindedness and an ability to give the benefit of a doubt to all those women who disparately need it.

    It took me 20 years to change my Fundy evangelical parents. How long do you think it’s going to take to change the world? You think it will happen over night? I think not. and I think your reading more into his words then what is there. I understand it, and I see where he is coming from. It’s no wonder people are calling him the great hope. He is speaking to as many people as he possibly can from every walk of life. THAT is amazing.

  8. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 9:55 am |

    Who gets to control the rest of it, I wonder?

    :lol:

  9. Emily
    Emily February 28, 2008 at 9:59 am |

    The only part that really rankled with me was

    I don’t want my daughters ending up in really difficult situations because I didn’t communicate to them, how to protect themselves if they make a mistake.

    Suggesting that his daughters only need to protect themselves if they “make a mistake” is saying that whatever sex they might choose, thoughtfully, after communicating with him about safer sex and the values their family attaches to sex, is still a “mistake.” So that did bother me.

  10. norbizness
    norbizness February 28, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    It’s because he’s a politician, not an advocate, although he has maintained 100% ratings as far as I can see from the dawn of his legislative career.

    I think the most important thing that can be done with abortion rights is to appoint judges to safeguard it and de-emphasize the public policy talk surrounding it, so that it seems more like an established right and not one subject to the whims of legislatures. To that end, being “pro-choice” would hopefully become as anachronistic a term as being “pro-integration,” in that only the hardest of hardcore loonies would want to return to a pre-Brown v. Board of Education model.

  11. Roadrunner
    Roadrunner February 28, 2008 at 10:19 am |

    Look, he’s a politician, not the president of NOW. He has to meet people where they are, and bring them to his side. He won’t be able to talk the way we want him to talk all the time, because to convince someone you’re right, you have to use arguments they accept as valid. But as long as his *voting* record–you know, where the rubber meets the road, where he makes actual, binding, decisions–shows his commitment to reproductive rights, he has my vote. As someone says above, this is how you convince your crazy relatives that they may not like abortion, but making it illegal is not the best way to make it less common.

    He was a strong ally for Planned Parenthood of Chicago and was frequently a key player in their legislative strategies. That’s what matters.

  12. TQL
    TQL February 28, 2008 at 10:26 am |

    Step outside of your world where all sexual choices are fine and have no moral consequences and fetuses as parasites (language that I see here often). I bet if you did. you would find many that agree with what he said and that they are pro-choice and progressive, not evil, conservative fundies out to control women’s bodies.

    What is wrong with encouraging people to make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality? I would hope that your blinders aren’t so thick that you can’t see that we live in a hyper sexualized culture that equates all sex is good sex, as if it has no emotional or (dare I say) spiritual attachment to it. What is wrong with encouraging people to pause and think about the sexual choices that they make. I know more women who lament their sexual promiscuity than hold it up as a badge of honor and who would rather have sex in loving, monogamous relationship than in hook-up after hook-up or a string of friends with benefits. I also know men, who value the sex that they have in a loving, monogamous relationship as better than the string conquests they had along the way. Yes, people are free to make their own individual choices in terms of their sex life; but I think to hold up all choices as equal and good without recognizing the value of monogamous, committed sex is problematic. It’s like we’ve swung from one of extreme of thinking that all sex is bad, to the other that all sex is good, when neither is accurate, healthy, or balanced.

    I know a lot of people who are pro-choice, myself included, who do have personal and moral qualms with abortion, who dare to recognize a fetus as a potential life, but think a woman is the best one to make the choice as to whether to continue the pregancy. But, most people do have a tipping point, where they think that there should be limits on that choice – and for most, that tipping point is late in the second trimester.

    I think the reason why the hairs stood up on your neck is because maybe you recognize that he is speaking truth that not only he, but many people feel, and he is not pandering to the right. And if he is speaking truth, then where exactly does that leave you…?

  13. Kathleen
    Kathleen February 28, 2008 at 10:50 am |

    All of Obama’s rhetorical gifts seem to abandon him as soon as he starts talking about sex, which leads me to believe his problem may not be misogyny so much as just good old-fashioned prudishness. Perhaps he’d feel more comfortable speaking plainly about the subject if he didn’t BRING HIS DAUGHTERS INTO IT. I mean, damn, creepy.

    But, yeah, he does also seem to be going out of his way lately–not only with this–to reassure more conservative types that He’s Not One Of Those Big Scary Liberals. I don’t know that there’s a way to do that that doesn’t imply that those of us who are big scary liberals are worth less to him.

  14. TQL
    TQL February 28, 2008 at 11:03 am |

    Actually, no the sqeamish don’t start supporting things like that – at least I don’t. Because I recognize that that such “concerned limits” are coming from folks who want to force women into not having abortions by tricky and insidious ways.

    It’s the gratuitous nature of some of these comments that bugs me; he could just as easily said that “women should have control over their bodies” as “some control.” He didn’t have to start talking about abstinence until marriage or adults need to be responsible in response to Mr. Innocent Sweet Babies; he could have conveyed the same point in perfectly neutral language while still keeping his focus on soothing the fence-sitters as he delivered them a strongly pro-choice, pro-sex-ed message. Because it seems like all those people want is for someone to acknowledge their “abortion is icky” feelings.

    Maybe he did have to talk about abstience and responsible sex it to broaden the conversation and recognizes that you can’t honestly talk about making abortion safe, legal, and rare, in a way that still recognizes a woman’s right to choose, without talking about sex. When most people I know talk about abortion, they talk about it in the context of unprotected sex and the sexual choices people make.

    And, given that he doesn’t have a section on his website (to which he refers people who want to talk issues) dealing with women’s health, abortion, reproductive rights or contraception, I have only his speeches to go on. And when he speaks, he really makes me wonder if he’s as with me as his record and his answers to RH would indicate, or if those votes were for the sake of political expediency.

    Really, does he need a section on his website that specifically talks about abortion and reproductive rights, if he has already made it clear that he is pro-choice and would maintain Roe v. Wade and that his health care plan would cover reproductive health services. I actually found it kind of refreshing that his website didn’t have up specific sections labeled “Women’s Issues”. As if we are narrow-minded voters who do not care about broader policy issues. I mean really, in a Democratic Primary, does he really need a section on abortion and reproductive rights, when the vast majority of the those who would vote Democratic are pro-choice?

    The broader question to ask is if he receives the nomination and he has to go up against McCain, will he have a section that lays out his stance on those issues. And I bet you ifhe does, it will reflect much of what he said in response to Mr. Innocent Babies, and I think doing so will help neutralize conservative’s ability to use abortion as a wedge issue.

  15. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 11:45 am |

    Step outside of your world

    where women actually want and deserve bodily autonomy?

    No.

    does he need a section on his website that specifically talks about abortion and reproductive rights

    When he can find the space to have sections on “Faith” “Sportsmen” and “Transportation”, it’s interesting that women’s issues didn’t make the cut.

  16. norbizness
    norbizness February 28, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    You mean McCain wouldn’t say “I don’t care what mealymouthed stuff you have on your website, you have a 100% RATING FROM PLANNED PARENTHOOD?” in the same way somebody would say “the ACLU” or “the John Birch Society”?

  17. SarahMC
    SarahMC February 28, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    I actually found it kind of refreshing that his website didn’t have up specific sections labeled “Women’s Issues”. As if we are narrow-minded voters who do not care about broader policy issues.

    Caring about women’s issues and caring about broader policy issues are mutually exclusive?
    You are basically asking women to “take one for the team.” How “refreshing.”

  18. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 12:17 pm |

    You don’t even have to label it “Women’s Issues.” I certainly wouldn’t, as if that was the only issue that women care about. Just label it reproductive rights. Believe it or not, it concerns men too.

    That he doesn’t address it on his website says to me that he doesn’t care all THAT much, though he will support reproductive rights if asked about it. But then maybe, if he needs more votes, or it will advance his career, he might make compromises.

    After all, if he allows that we have only SOME control, he could easily say, well, you get to have control, except when… or if…

    And Obama could have discussed safe sex and making good choices, without explicitly saying that pre-marital sex is a mistake and not a good choice.

    I disagree with your assertion that sex in a commited relationship is inherently better than casual sex. More meaningful, sure, but that doesn’t mean that its wrong to enjoy casual sex when not in a relationship.

    Reminds me of this guy I dated over winter break. We were talking through an instant messenger, and he mentioned about how the cheerleaders in high school were whores (probably he thought that would please me since I was a band geek in high school). Well that just froze me up with rage. He was on the football team in high school, and he said the cheerleaders were whores because they had casual sex with football players (he knew because they would brag about it I guess). Well I just about leapt on him, asking how he could judge the girls for their own choices, whether or not he would make them himself. When I asked him how many people HE’S been with, he told me three, but HE was in a relationship with them all at the time, which somehow makes it better. I told him some people would consider HIM a whore for having pre-marital sex, regardless of whether he was in a relationship, so how could he presume to judge the cheerleaders.

    Knowing I was a feminist, he tried to appease me by saying that the football players were whores too, therefore it wasn’t a double standard. Not that that was what I had even taken issue with.

    I always end up writing long posts without meaning to. I really need to cut down…

  19. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm |

    You are basically asking women to “take one for the team.” How “refreshing.”

    Sarah – it’s yet another round of our least favorite song – “back of the bus, bitchez!”

  20. TQL
    TQL February 28, 2008 at 12:26 pm |

    Betty, did you even read my entire comment, or did you simply stop at “step outside of your world..”

    Transportation is a broader policy issue that impacts poverty, jobs, and urban/rural infrastructure, I think it’s valid to have a section that outlines where he stands on that issue.

    Faith, is valid because it is something that Democrats have run from and made it seem like the only people that have any legitimacy talking about it are conservatives. As someone of faith who is progressive, I found that refreshing, and honestly it is something that made me give him a second look.

    Sportsmen, I’ll give to you as something he could’ve done without and is pretty blatant pandering.

    But you know, he didn’t mention women’s issues, or Black issues, or Latino issues, or GLBT issues as separate, distinct issues. Does that mean he doesn’t care about those folks too?

    You know why – because his entire platform is about unifying people and not allowing us seeing beyond our individual self interests to what will help make society better as whole. As a Black woman, I can see how his stances on broader policy issues will positively impact Black people and women and his thoughts on Civil Rights are inclusive of GLBT people. I don’t need to be hand held to my special section to show that he “cares about me”.

    In the broader policy areas he has outlined – from health care, to civil rights, to education , to poverty, to senior issues – there is a place and voice for women’s issues etc. to be heard to have a role in shaping policy.

    I get so annoyed with people who think that the ONLY issue that women care about is reproductive rights and the ONLY issue that Blacks should care about is Affirmative Action, and the ONLY issue that GLBT people should care about is gay marriage. Do those things matter, yes? But are they the only policy stances that determine whether someone is worthy of my vote – NO.

    And yes, I’m sure that McCain will say something like that, the question is whether or the words have power. And I think that his stance on abortion helps to minimize the power of those types of statements.

  21. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay February 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm |

    For the record, Obama did vote no on S. 403, the bill that would prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortions. (It passed anyway, in Sept. 2006, but apparently is still in the conference committee. Or something like that. It hasn’t been made law yet.)

    I’m really not concerned about the “some” and “generally” types of qualifiers because Obama tends to temper much of his speech that way. He tends to operate off of broad principles, but with the understanding that there are possibilities of extreme circumstances. Every rule has its exceptions and its nuances.

    The control issue is one such issue. Truth is, none of us exercise complete control over our bodies. The government regulates all aspects of our healthcare, from licensing requirements for health professionals to requirements for vaccines to the availability of procedures and drugs. The government outlaws certain risky behaviors, requires certain safety steps and regulates things like smoking and alcohol.

    Except for a few hardcore libertarians, people generally agree with the principle that the government has a role to play in these issues. We argue from here ’til doomsday about the details, but we accept the principle of certain types of government regulation.

    That, to me, explains the “some” and “generally.” I’m sympathetic to the tendency to speak that way because I do the same thing. (Ironically, that tendency to use qualifiers is considered “feminine” and thus often denigrated when used by a woman… but that’s a whole nother can of spaghetti.)

    Far more important to me are Obama’s underlying principles and his record on reproductive rights. His underlying principle is that women should be trusted to make the decisions affecting their bodies, and his record on reproductive rights is stellar.

  22. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses February 28, 2008 at 12:35 pm |

    I just don’t like this general mentality that if a woman chooses abortion, she somehow acted irresponsibly. How is getting pregnant by mistake but choosing pregnancy any more responsible than getting pregnant by mistake but choosing abortion? My parents sure weren’t acting responsibly when they made me, considering neither of them used any sort of contraception and weren’t planning to have another child for a couple years. But nobody would ever judge poorly for the decision they made. This idea that embryos and fetuses are innocent bugs the shit out of me too. People who have sex but don’t want a kid are guilty of something?

    I’m not going to defend Obama’s use of the words “some” and “generally,” but I’m going to offer a possible explanation. I tend to phrase things in the conditional sense because I’m kind of anal about saying something applies or doesn’t apply to every single case that ever happened or will happen. Three research methods classes where you’d get a full letter grade taken off if you use the word “prove” in an assignment will do that to a person. I don’t use such language when it comes to reproduction, but I do for nearly everything else. The more probable explanation is that he’s pandering to both sides to get swing voters, like you said. In my opinion, Obama should have stopped talking after the first part of his answer.

  23. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay February 28, 2008 at 12:35 pm |

    FYI – Here’s the portion of his website that discusses Obama’s record on reproductive rights.

    Admittedly, it was a little hard to find. The site needs to have a search box or some better organization. But it is there.

  24. Charlotte
    Charlotte February 28, 2008 at 12:36 pm |

    TQL, thanks for writing out loud what I’ve been trying to figure out how to say for the past couple of days while this debate has been raging on. There is theory, and then, there are political realities … and there are, indeed, liberals who affiliate with a theocentric faith and still respect women’s rights to their own bodies.

  25. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay February 28, 2008 at 12:38 pm |

    My comment didn’t go through, probably because of the link, so here is the link to the relevant portion of Obama’s website as plain text:

  26. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 12:40 pm |

    did you even read my entire comment, or did you simply stop at “step outside of your world..”

    Of course I read it. but the only bits worth responding to, I did.

    Your opinions on why he included some things is entirely irrelevant, unless you’re a staffer of his that had some control in this respect. He didn’t include a major one.

    He did, btw, include Civil rights. So, let’s have a look at what he includes under Civil rights:

    Strengthen Civil Rights Enforcement
    Combat Employment Discrimination
    Expand Hate Crimes Statutes
    End Deceptive Voting Practices
    End Racial Profiling
    Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support
    Eliminate Sentencing Disparities
    Expand Use of Drug Courts

    Still no mention of women’s issues.

    You can invent as many excuses as you like, to me, it’s a suspicious red flag. He didn’t include a major issue. But did include multiple issues far lower on the importance ladder.

    Of course it’s not the only issue that matters. It is, however, infinitely more important than faith and sportsman.

    That he chose to include those OVER women’s issues speaks very loudly about how much it matters to him.

    My vote remains for McKinney.

  27. anna
    anna February 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm |

    Not acknowledging women in any official way, not just being wishy-washy on reproductive issues, is part of his team’s strategy to run against core bases of the Democratic party. He give tokens to some of the other bases, but the campaign is definitely more concerned about losing the “dude” vote if they say ANYTHING positive towards women. (Seniors don’t matter much either.) In his speeches he lists “regionalism” as a scourge on the nation like racism, but not sexism? Then there is the rampant misogyny by his supporters and surrogates that is tolerated (and perhaps encouraged?) by the campaign.
    Its a repulsive marketing strategy, dividing against women and older people, typically used for beer, video games, or cars. And we complain when its beer, video games, or cars. But we’re good girls and good Democrats, so we’ll vote for him anyway?

  28. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm |

    But we’re good girls and good Democrats, so we’ll vote for him anyway?

    Hence my frequent use of the phrase “back of the bus, bitchez!”. Women (and LGBTs, etc.) are being, once again, pushed aside and then told to tow the line because ROE V. WADE! MCCAIN! TRUST OBAMA! DON’T LOOK AT THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

    It seems that he either expects women to vote for him because BOOGA BOOGA MCCAIN!, or he doesn’t care if they don’t.

    Neither is good enough for me.

  29. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 1:53 pm |

    Still no mention of women’s issues.

    Well, nice to know that we’ve completely solved the problems of employment discrimination against women, hate crimes against women (including lesbians), no job training for female ex-convicts, sentencing disparities that send women off for long sentences more often than men, and female drug addicts who could benefit from drug courts instead of jail sentences. After all, all of the issues you listed only affect men, so women need to just concentrate on reproductive issues and ignore things like employment discrimination and sentencing disparities.

    I don’t like it when conservatives reduce me to my uterus, and I really don’t like it when it comes from my side.

  30. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm |

    I should say, as ugly as things have gotten in the blogosphere, at least we haven’t started stabbing each other over the primary.

  31. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA February 28, 2008 at 2:12 pm |

    It is obviously a problem if most Americans believe that there are limits to the control a woman should be allowed to have over her own body when it comes to reproductive health, but I don’t think you can blame Mr. Obama for recognising that.

    Yes, I can, and yes, I do. And as far as no one having complete control over their bodies:

    The government outlaws certain risky behaviors, requires certain safety steps and regulates things like smoking and alcohol.

    So if a woman is facing an extremely risky pregnancy, should the government be able to step in and force her to abort, or should the woman be able to make that decision with advice from her doctor and her support system? Really, where should the line be drawn?

    As far as having no specific ‘womens issues’ section on the website, no it would not be pandering to have on on the website, given the on-going and indeed escalating assault on reproductive freedom in this country. There’s a bill in CO seeking to give legal personhood to fertilized eggs, fer chrissakes! But reporoductive health and freedom don’t warrant a category on Obama’s webpage?

    gods, I miss John Edwards! Go Hillary!

  32. MJN
    MJN February 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm |

    I was looking through the website, and while he doesn’t have women’s issues incorporated into that issue pull-down menu, he does have bits and pieces of them incorporated into the other pages. And then there’s this, covered under “people” rather than “issues” – which I find to be an interesting choice:

  33. MJN
    MJN February 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm |

    Sorry, the link didn’t come through

  34. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm |

    It’s almost like he doesn’t want women voting for him because they’d give him girl cooties or something.

    Or, (and this is my suspiscion) he just expects us to vote for him because, hey, he’s not McCain.

    Given how many women I’ve seen on blogs over the last few weeks saying that they will ‘Hold their nose” and vote for Obama – over their own objections or uncomfortableness with it – because, hey, he’s better than McCain.

    Obama can totally ignore women and most will still vote for him because they’re really voting against McCain. I don’t blame them for doing such. I just can’t join them.

  35. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm |

    My strong sense from all of this is that, while he’ll vote pro-choice on others’ bills, he’s not much interested in taking the initiative on issues important to women. And I’m not really sure why he’s largely omitted mention of women’s issues, unless he thinks that Clinton has him beat on those.

    Frankly, I don’t think that Clinton is going to do much more than Obama would even if she’s elected. She will almost certainly have to run far away from reproductive issues to make sure she’s not seen as giving special privileges to women. (You know, those “special privileges” like equality, but anyway …) I’m still pissed off about welfare “reform,” frankly, and how it was used to distance Bill Clinton from those bad liberals.

    The people appointed at HHS secretary and Surgeon General will have much more of an effect on actual policy. I’d be curious to find out who each of the top candidates’ top picks for HHS would be since I think that would tell a lot more about what their policies would be as president than things they say in answer to “gotcha!” questions on the campaign trail.

  36. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |

    And then there’s this, covered under “people” rather than “issues” – which I find to be an interesting choice:

    Esp since he’s got “sportsmen” covered under “issues”.

  37. MJN
    MJN February 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |

    To say that he doesn’t want women to vote for him is absurd, and something you can’t possibly actually believe to be true. I haven’t had a lot of time to think through the choice of putting women’s issues somewhere else, but I’d like to think that the choice is an indication he doesn’t feel that “women’s issues” are some small sub-set of his larger campaign, but is a critical element incorporated throughout. That’s supported by the large list of issues he has for women, and it’s placement under people rather than issues.

  38. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm |

    Obama can totally ignore women and most will still vote for him because they’re really voting against McCain. I don’t blame them for doing such. I just can’t join them.

    Yes, because having Obama possibly be marginally less supportive of reproductive rights than a theoretical Clinton presidency would make him a worse president than a guy who thinks that abstinence-only education will solve the AIDS crisis in Africa.

    If Obama is the candidate and you don’t want to vote for him, then don’t. Just don’t try and fool yourself that McCain is a moderate of ANY kind on reproductive rights. He has a 100% approval rating from pro-life groups.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a LONG time between now and November. Deciding in February that (A) Obama is definitely going to be the candidate and (B) if he is, you won’t vote for him no matter what he says or does between now and November is a cop-out.

  39. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea February 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |

    Perhaps he’d feel more comfortable speaking plainly about the subject if he didn’t BRING HIS DAUGHTERS INTO IT. I mean, damn, creepy.

    I don’t find that particularly creepy, especially since interviewers often go there and ask questions like “But what if it was your own daughter who…”

  40. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm |

    Just don’t try and fool yourself that McCain is a moderate of ANY kind on reproductive rights.

    How on earth did you get from my comment that I was attempting to fool myself about McCain?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a LONG time between now and November. Deciding in February that (A) Obama is definitely going to be the candidate and (B) if he is, you won’t vote for him no matter what he says or does between now and November is a cop-out.

    Oh goody, yet another lecture about my voting options, complete with stuffing words into my mouth. That hasn’t happened in, oh, ten minutes or so.

  41. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm |

    Oh goody, yet another lecture about my voting options, complete with stuffing words into my mouth. That hasn’t happened in, oh, ten minutes or so.

    So you didn’t really say:

    Obama can totally ignore women and most will still vote for him because they’re really voting against McCain. I don’t blame them for doing such. I just can’t join them.

    Someone must be posting under your name, then. Better have zuzu track down their ISP so you can put a stop to it.

  42. Shankar Gupta
    Shankar Gupta February 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |

    I think the most important thing that can be done with abortion rights is to appoint judges to safeguard it and de-emphasize the public policy talk surrounding it, so that it seems more like an established right and not one subject to the whims of legislatures.

    Sorry to pluck this from way back in the thread, but I found this statement really thought-provoking. I think this is a good idea for a lot of rights, bodily autonomy included, but at the moment it seems like there aren’t any existing rights that have this status–All of the most basic freedoms in the Bill of Rights are subject to the whim of legislatures.

    Or is there one I’m forgetting that’s more or less sacrosanct?

  43. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |

    Mnemosyne, you’re ignoring the “So Obama can totally ignore women” part.

    It just says “Obama can totally ignore women and most will still vote for them.” No indication there that Daisy has any intention of changing her mind, and I haven’t seen any indication of that in any of her other postings.

    Again, if that’s her choice, that’s fine, but it does seem a little odd to completely make up your mind that Obama hates women 8 months before the election.

  44. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |

    So you didn’t really say

    Cute. Expect that wasn’t what you tried stuffing into my mouth, was it.

    You said this:

    Yes, because having Obama possibly be marginally less supportive of reproductive rights than a theoretical Clinton presidency would make him a worse president than a guy who thinks that abstinence-only education will solve the AIDS crisis in Africa.

    and

    Just don’t try and fool yourself that McCain is a moderate of ANY kind on reproductive rights.

    Both things I didn’t say.

    Just so we’re clear Zuzu laid the point bare:

    He’s being put on notice that a lot of women have that perception. He can do nothing to change that perception, or he can address it before he really does lose their vote.

  45. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |

    To the people who are talking about how everyone really only have SOME control of their bodies:

    Granted, but still. I can get a bit anal about that, like if someone says, “You always do that!” I’ll go into smart-ass mode and be like, “Oh really? Always? Every single time?” I get the point, but its not like he had to say the women ALWAYS get to control their bodies. If he had just said, “Women should have control over their bodies,” would anybody really be jumping on him saying, “NUH-UH, not when this or this or this or…”?

    Honestly, right now, I feel like I don’t really want to vote for Obama if he wins the nomination. Just over a month ago I was rooting for Clinton, but I wouldn’t have hesitated to vote for Obama if he was the nominee. Now I feel like I’ll just write in Clinton or something. I can do that right? This will be my first time voting in a Presidential election…

    If I were designing his website, and he actually included these issues, I don’t think I’d put this stuff under “Women’s Issues.” I’d go with “Reproductive Rights,” “Gender Equality,” etc. I think that makes it less of a “Women Go Here” sign, like its our one stop for everything that will concern us.

  46. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |

    Again, if that’s her choice, that’s fine, but it does seem a little odd to completely make up your mind that Obama hates women 8 months before the election.

    My name is Betty. And where, exactly, did I say “hate” again? Oh right, that’s just more making it up as you go.

    Try asking before assuming. It helps you avoid, well, you know.

  47. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 3:57 pm |

    Betty, not Daisy.

    D’oh! Sorry to both.

    We may not have a better choice in November as between the two parties, but the point of all of this criticism is to make the (likely) nominee of the Democratic party pay attention and become a better candidate. And if your only leverage is your vote, then why would you listen to people who tell you to unilaterally disarm?

    And I said that … where, again? By all means, people right now should be fighting for their preferred candidate and doing everything they can to influence the candidates in the direction that they want. But things have been getting so vitriolic in the blogosphere that I’ve seen a lot of people declaring that they won’t vote for the other candidate if s/he gets the nomination.

    I’m not saying, “Oh, suck it up and vote for Obama RIGHT NOW!!!” I’m saying, “Don’t forget, one of these two will be the Democratic candidate, and convincing yourself now that Hillary is the devil/Obama will overturn Roe v Wade and therefore you can never vote for him/her is closing off avenues.” And, yes, I’m saying exactly the same thing to the whiny chauvinist babies who are convinced that their dicks will fall off if they vote for Hillary in November.

    I will emphasize again: I think that both Hillary and Obama are good candidates. I think either one of them can win. I will be happy to vote for either one of them in November.

    Right now, I think that Obama is running to the right of Clinton because that’s how he can put some space between them in the primary. They are extremely similar in their policy positions and their legislation. I still follow Illinois politics because I grew up there, so Obama to me hasn’t “come out of nowhere” — I’ve been following him since 2004. He’s a good campaigner and a staunch liberal even when he uses lawyer-speak in answering questions. So fearmongering about how he’s going to throw us all to the wolves if he’s the candidate is being a little excessive.

  48. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm |

    And where, exactly, did I say “hate” again? Oh right, that’s just more making it up as you go.

    So you will vote for Obama in November if he gets the nomination? Or are you being the equivalent of the whiny chauvinists who insist that their dicks will fall off if they have to vote for Hillary as president?

    If you want to remove yourself from the political process and decide to go third party/not vote in November based on what’s going on in February, you certainly have that option, but don’t expect me not to think it’s a foolish thing to do.

  49. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm |

    Which isn’t really what we’re talking about here. But if things don’t change, and he doesn’t start paying attention to certain issues, then it’s his fault he didn’t satisfy those voters who started raising the alarm during the primaries.

    And the reason you believe that things won’t change at all, or that he’ll lurch to the right and start denouncing Roe v Wade when he’s up against McCain is …. what, exactly?

    Let’s focus — for it is, indeed, the topic of this post — on what the candidates are doing, or not doing, to convince voters that they’re going to fight for what you care about.

    That is the topic of the post, but that’s not how the comments have gone, to say the least. I didn’t even jump in until #33 when it sounded like people were saying that employment discrimination and penal reform have nothing to do with women.

    Clinton doesn’t deserve my automatic vote because I have a uterus any more than Obama deserves my automatic vote because of white guilt.

  50. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 4:25 pm |

    And the reason you believe that things won’t change at all, or that he’ll lurch to the right and start denouncing Roe v Wade when he’s up against McCain is …. what, exactly?

    I…don’t think she said that.

    Clinton doesn’t deserve my automatic vote because I have a uterus any more than Obama deserves my automatic vote because of white guilt.

    Where did this come from? Were we even talking about that at all? Did anyone try to convince you otherwise?

  51. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 4:56 pm |

    So you will vote for Obama in November if he gets the nomination? Or are you being the equivalent of the whiny chauvinists who insist that their dicks will fall off if they have to vote for Hillary as president?

    As things stand now, no I won’t vote for him. And thank you for equating that with chauvinism. That’s very mature and honest. Really.

    If you want to remove yourself from the political process and decide to go third party/not vote in November based on what’s going on in February, you certainly have that option, but don’t expect me not to think it’s a foolish thing to do.

    I am at a loss, honestly, why you think your irrelevant, uninformed opinion based on your deliberate misrepresentations of what I’ve been saying is of any concern of mine.

  52. John
    John February 28, 2008 at 4:58 pm |

    You all love liberal social policies both Obama and Hillary claim to represent for their outcomes: racial equality, tax-payer subsidized health care so that everyone’s level of care is equal. Tax-payer subsidized education, housing, employment, public service… amnesty for illegals, etc. all on the moral premise that one person is just as valuable as another.

    And this has alot of attraction since Americans have a deep seated sense of equality going right back to the Declaration of Indepence that all men are created equal and that all have inalienable rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…

    So detailing and defining EXACTLY what constitutes liberty and pursuit of happiness is pretty important for Americans in the context of being created equal. It’s so important in fact that we have the motto chiseled into the frise of the Supreme Court “Equal Justice Under the Law”.

    Having clarity of words in what these rights happen to be, and laws to make sure everyone can vindicate those rights, and we progress towards a more FAIR society, do we not?

    In this context then it’s clear that we need to avoid euphemisms or vague language. We need to call things as they are, not as we’d prefer them to be.

    Which brings us right back to the fundamental inconsistency of the Democratic/liberal platform where equality and equal justice under the law clashes with the 800lb. Gorillia concept that when it comes to abortion, some human beings have rights while others have none at all.

    We’ve been here before as a nation and it didn’t end well. Then as now words mean things and euphemisms are deployed by the side who is against the fundamental belief that all people are created equal…

    A human fetus is not “potential life”, a human fetus IS A LIFE.

    An Egg or a sperm are “potentially human life”. Biology 101 tells us either only carry 23 chromosomes UNLIKE all other cells in the woman or man’s body that all have 46. So an egg or sperm will only be an egg or a sperm unless something “outside the box” happens – like fertilization.

    In which instance an egg and a sperm cease being “potential life” and become “actual life”. Not a part of the woman or man’s body, but a new body. And this is true in human beings as well as all other species’. It’s not political, it’s biological.

    Now what do we call an individual member of the human race if not a Human being? And where else would human rights come from if not from the fact that a being is human? If you believe rights come from location, size, health, or independence then you can’t believe in the concept of “inalienable” or “instrisic” human rights.

    You all CLAIM to be for “reproductive rights” what does that mean if not “abortion”? Contraception is not “reproduction” and neither is abortion. Both are “anti-reproduction”. So it’s a euphemism. You dodge the subject matter and paint it in nice sounding but vague words.

    Just like claiming you are “pro-choice” when the choice in question, the choice you are defending is abortion. A dead baby.

    Well, you snort – the fetus is NOT human “for me” ergo, FOR ME, it’s not “killing” when I have it’s limbs ripped apart and its head crushed and its’ body sucked into the garbage.

    But two can play this game – and indeed two groups of people already have in the last 150 years. One group snorted that african slaves were not human “for them” and so they were justified in calling them property. Another group claimed non-Aryans were not equal with them on the evolutionary plane, so ‘for them’ it was not immoral to enslave or kill them.

    Both groups excelled in euphemisms and both reacted to those who disagreed with them with vitriol and spontaneous combustive anger. And both groups were on the opposite side of those people who claimed that all people are created equal and that law ought to treat all people equally as well.

    The accident of size, location, and dependency don’t make an individual member of our species “the woman’s body” or “a potential Life”. Unless of course, words don’t mean what they say and our will power can warp reality to suit our whim.

    This is biology 101. This can happen in a petri dish or the Mother’s uterus. So yes, words mean things and euphemisms typically are used by those who are pro-dead fetus.

    I continue to find it amazing that people whose domestic and foreign politics mostly rest on the principle of fairness suddenly shift their philosophical foundation to the principle of might = right when it comes to abortion. But morality doesn’t work that way. If might = right when the question is who can kill whom, then that principle inevitably WILL work itself into all other areas of life to include economics, politics, and social control.

    This is called unintended consequences – “blow back” if you will. Good intentions are not enough when moral principles are concerned. If you get them wrong, they destabilize society as a whole in ways you might not immediately figure out.

  53. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay February 28, 2008 at 5:02 pm |

    Let’s focus — for it is, indeed, the topic of this post — on what the candidates are doing, or not doing, to convince voters that they’re going to fight for what you care about.

    Okay, let’s focus on what he’s doing. He’s very consistently supporting reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education.

    Only, he’s not doing it with exactly the words you prefer.

  54. meggygurl
    meggygurl February 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |

    *sighs* I get so hopeful about him… then this stuff makes me worried. Though, ya know what’s sad… as a lesbian, i’m so use to being ignored by my own party, it never even OCCURRED TO ME to expect other wise.

    At the end of the day, I don’t like all of either of their policies. But I like Obama’s better. And it’s hard for me, cause I want a woman president… but Hillary’s view on the war scares me more then Obama’s lack of view on women.

    Honestly… i have a lot of faith in Michelle to make sure he doesn’t slip on woman’s issues. She seems to be a very hard core lady. I wouldn’t wanna mess with her.

  55. jamesPi
    jamesPi February 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm |

    no job training for female ex-convicts, sentencing disparities that send women off for long sentences more often than men, and female drug addicts who could benefit from drug courts instead of jail sentences.

    No or little job training is a problem for all convicts and its hard to think of a more disenfranchised group in this country, female or male. Sentencing disparities that send women off for long sentences more often than men? Where did you find this? I’ll put a link down at the bottom but every study or report I’ve ever seen on this has it as the opposite, the stuff I’ve read only goes as far back as ’84, perhaps it was different before that or are you talking about a specific kind of crime? The biggest asset you could possibly have walking into a sentencing hearing is being a white female. As far as drug courts, again those would benefit all and its a damn shame what the “war on drugs” is doing to this country.

    Does anyone else feel that Obama is just hedging his bets as much as possible until he has the nomination? I get that vibe from whoever the frontrunner or perceived frontrunner is at the time, do just enough to satisfy the base and lay a little groundwork for the general election, Obama and Clinton aren’t different enough, in mass public perception, to warrant going all out on reproductive rights or any other divisive issue right now. Thats how their actions seem to me at least. Inspiring? no. Pragmatic? apparently.

  56. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm |

    Does anyone else feel that Obama is just hedging his bets as much as possible until he has the nomination?

    I’d bet money on it. A lot of money.

  57. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay February 28, 2008 at 5:39 pm |

    *Any* words would be nice, but that seems to be a bit difficult for him to manage to get onto his website.

    It *is* on his website, and two links have been provided. It’s not under the “issues” tab, true. But it is there under the “people” tab. I fully agree with you that the presentation of the information leaves something to be desired. But it is not accurate to say it’s not there.

    Here’s the text

    REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE
    Supports a Woman’s Right to Choose:
    Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.

    Preventing Unwanted Pregnancy:
    Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.

  58. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 6:18 pm |

    Phoebe -

    Well that’s cute, compared what I just now found on Clinton’s website in less than 30 seconds:

    http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=5404

  59. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 6:19 pm |

    *compared to

  60. Astraea
    Astraea February 28, 2008 at 7:07 pm |

    Wow, Rika, Clinton’s statement is fantastic.

    I haven’t commented on this thread, but wanted to throw my support behind everything Zuzu has said.

    Obama’s statement on his website regarding reproductive freedom is the perfect example of what I find troubling about him as a politician. It reminds me of something Kerry said in one of his debates. He went out of his way to be sympathetic with a woman who didn’t want her precious tax money to pay for abortions.

    Progressives and Liberals already do enough compromising. I really worry when that’s the focus of a democratic candidate’s message, as if we haven’t been doing so all along.

  61. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay February 28, 2008 at 7:25 pm |

    Zuzu, it’s totally fair to want Obama to give reproductive rights a higher priority, and Rika, I think it’s clear that Clinton does give it a higher priority. In fact, I think it’s accurate to say that Clinton is definitely the strongest candidate on the issue of reproductive rights.

    What I don’t think is fair is an implication that Obama is weak on the issue or that he could somehow prove a threat to reproductive rights or women’s issues. He does have a solid voting record, and he has made many clear statements of belief on the issue.

    Maybe he’s not the *best* on this one issue, but he’s still *good* on this issue. He could be better, but he’s still good.

    I’m, rather obviously, an Obama supportor, but I’m not arguing this point to try to convert anyone. I understand the reasons for supporting Hillary, and if she wins the nomination, I’ll vote for her. I’m just trying to present accurate information and allay fears. Obviously, I hope that if Obama wins the nomination, everyone here will vote for him. But if they chose not to, at least they can make that choice with accurate information.

  62. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 7:28 pm |

    And now you’re misconstruing Betty’s comments and accusing her of all kinds of positions that she hasn’t taken. So I’m asking you to chill.

    And this is different than what she’s done with my comments?

    Nevertheless, I’m out.

  63. Rika
    Rika February 28, 2008 at 7:37 pm |

    I’m afraid that without pressure, he’ll focus on other stuff he deems more important. Like sportsmen and transportation.

    ha, that made me laugh.

  64. Glynda
    Glynda February 28, 2008 at 7:41 pm |

    Women’s issues are presented under the “issues” tab — even if reproductive rights aren’t (as others have mentioned, they’re under the “people” tab). The civil rights section talks about equal pay; the families section talks about flexible work schedule and sick leave; the economy section talks about work/family balance; the healthcare section has a short section on women’s health; and then there’s the section labeled women, under the people tab. And, as others have mentioned, there are loads of other categories on there that impact very real women’s lives every day.

    This is not to say, in any way, that Obama talks about reproductive rights are much as Clinton does — or as much as he should. But it does not make a lot of sense to me to hold up his website as evidence of his lack of attention to women and our unique (or shared, but uniquely felt) issues.

  65. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 28, 2008 at 7:44 pm |

    Okay, one last thing, but only because jamesPi asked and I do think I was unclear with what I was saying:

    I’ll put a link down at the bottom but every study or report I’ve ever seen on this has it as the opposite, the stuff I’ve read only goes as far back as ‘84, perhaps it was different before that or are you talking about a specific kind of crime?

    I was talking about a specific kind of crime, women who are minimally involved in drug crimes but end up getting harsher sentences than actual drug dealers because they can’t plea-bargain their sentences down the way people with information can.

    According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the number of women in prison increased by 421 percent between 1986 and 1996, with the vast majority of them being non-violent offenders. The incarceration rate for African-American women rose by 800 percent in the same time period.

    That’s what I was thinking of.

    Okay, now I’m really out. My boss would probably like me to get some work done today anyway. ;-)

  66. jamesPi
    jamesPi February 28, 2008 at 8:55 pm |

    ah ok mnemosyne. it does suck that the lowest level of drug offender gets the worst deal, kind of like the ACLU and others fighting against the cocaine vs crack discrepancy and all the race and class issues behind that. as far as those women getting harsher sentences than the ones with real info to deal, like I said it does suck but it is logical. Of course if you wanted to you could argue that the patriarchy and discrimination hurt women in all levels of the drug trade as they are less likely to move up the ranks but im not sure that’d be a real popular argument. To put it on a shorter timeline, the number of female prisoners at the fed and state level increased 4.5% from 2005 to 2006, male incarceration rates increased “only” 2.7% but the totals were 112,498 women and 1,458,363 men. I would love to hear any real proposals on how to fix our prison system as well as the courts from any of the candidates but I wont hold my breath on that as those held in federal and state facilities have little or no voice and the prison-industrial lobby has too much pull. Sorry for the rant but this is one of the issues that never gets touched on.

  67. Lesley
    Lesley February 28, 2008 at 9:10 pm |

    One area where I think we should have significant agreement is on the idea of reducing unwanted pregnancies because if we can reduce unwanted pregnancies, then it’s much less likely that people resort to abortion. The way to do that is to encourage young people and older people, people of child-bearing years, to act responsibly. Part of acting responsibly – I’ve got two daughters – part of my job as a parent is to communicate to them that sex isn’t casual and that it’s something that they should really think about and not think is just a game.

    “I’m all for education for our young people, encouraging abstinence until marriage, but I also believe that young people do things regardless of what their parents tell them to do and I don’t want my daughters ending up in really difficult situations because I didn’t communicate to them, how to protect themselves if they make a mistake. I think we’ve got to have that kind of comprehensive view that says family planning and education for our young people and so forth – to prevent teen pregnancies, to prevent the kinds of situations that lead to women having to struggle with these difficult decisions and we should be supportive of those efforts. That’s an area where there should be some agreement.”

    This is exactly the kind of thing my mother said to me when I was 16, and I’ll stack my mother’s feminist credentials against anyone’s. She was one of the second wave feminists. She also had an abortion when I was 12, which I knew about at the time. I personally do not have an issue with this statement. In fact, I’ve always thought it was one of the more sensible things my mother ever said to me. YMMV.

    If you want to remove yourself from the political process and decide to go third party/not vote in November based on what’s going on in February, you certainly have that option, but don’t expect me not to think it’s a foolish thing to do.

    No one expects you to think a thing you don’t want to. However, voting third party or intentionally not voting is not removing oneself from the political process. Those actions can serve a long-term purpose. The fact you can’t see a long-term goal it might serve doesn’t make it any less so.

  68. procrastinator
    procrastinator February 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm |

    It’s also a little disingenous to say mention of “hate crimes” on his site can somehow be construed as attention to women’s issues. Can someone point me to a case in which a crime was actually prosecuted as a “hate crime” based on an intent to terrorize and target women? Which rape is, of course…but I digress. Don’t give him credit where it isn’t due.

  69. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie February 29, 2008 at 12:32 am |

    Really, does he need a section on his website that specifically talks about abortion and reproductive rights…

    Women are not some insignificant group. We are 50% of the population. And, like it or not, there are issues that affect women more than they affect men, or that don’t affect men at all.

    So yeah, if he gets the nomination and wants my vote in November, he’ll let me know, in very clear terms, where he stands on the issues that are important to half the population.

  70. Socraticsilence
    Socraticsilence February 29, 2008 at 3:17 am |

    Zuzu-
    The website is a bit of a problem, but honestly its also kind of a non-sequiter, for instance I can’t find anything on African American Issues on Hillary’s website under Issues, does that mean she’s ignoring African Americans and just assumning they’ll vote for her? (of course not, but that’s the standard you are in effect applying to Obama)

  71. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 29, 2008 at 9:56 am |

    So yeah, if he gets the nomination and wants my vote in November, he’ll let me know, in very clear terms, where he stands on the issues that are important to half the population.

    Prezactly. Agreed 100%. However, I also stand by what I said earlier – he has no reason to do this, because ours isn’t the vote he’s after. He knows he’ll get our vote anyway, if he’s the nom, because he’s not McCain. Look at how often that’s been reaffirmed in this thread alone.

    The one thing that gives me hope he’ll rectify the situation is the recent open letter to the LGBT community. While not perfect, of course, it does at least show he’s aware they exist.

    And this is different than what she’s done with my comments?

    *sigh* Where did I put words in your mouth? Where did I accuse you of anything that you obviously didn’t do?

    You did both. Funny how right after you’re called on it, you’re suddenly “out”.

    God, what a waste of time.

  72. meggygurl
    meggygurl February 29, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    The one thing that gives me hope he’ll rectify the situation is the recent open letter to the LGBT community. While not perfect, of course, it does at least show he’s aware they exist.

    Ooohhh… can i have a link? (I am staying out of the current discussion. But I would love to see Obama take a more forward stance on LGBT issues. I would love for ANYONE to honestly…)

  73. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle February 29, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  74. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 29, 2008 at 11:56 am |

    You did both. Funny how right after you’re called on it, you’re suddenly “out”.

    Zuzu asked me to in comment #61. If you’d like to continue the fight, I’d be happy to, but once the blog owner asks me to chill, I comply, because it’s her blog, not mine.

  75. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man March 1, 2008 at 6:06 am |

    Well, I can’t disagree that Obama’s campaign is not talking directly to women. His strategy seems to be to focus on other issues and pick up women’s votes where they intersect with his stronger suits. Maybe he’s reluctant to engage in identity politics? I don’t know. Maybe he’s reluctant to move onto ground where Clinton is going to be obviously stronger than him? I don’t know that either. I don’t think it is possible to tell what his reasoning is, before seeing what he does between now and November (presuming he gets the nod from the DNC). So yeah, what several people have said here is entirely true — Obama *is* hard to pin down on these things; and yes, that is a legitimate reason to be wary of him, his candidacy, and his promises. Under these circumstances, I would not presume to just say “trust him”. The truth is, as near as I can see it, is if your primary issue is women’s rights, Hillary Clinton is the safer, more sure choice. Obama isn’t bad, but he isn’t as good as Sen. Clinton.

    Now, that said, I do think some of the objections to him here are pretty baffling. The man’s legislative record is a far better indication of what he’ll do for women than the organization of his website or some conciliatory language he used in a speech. If he hasn’t run his campaign aimed squarely at women voters, I can think of a few reasons why that might be; the primary of them being that he can’t win the nomination using that strategy. Holding him to blame for that, while dismissing HRCs similar decision vis a vis the black vote is not very honest either.

  76. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle March 1, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    What fight? The one you keep trying to start? No thanks.

    She asked you to chill, and suddenly you just had to leave. Because continuning on – and not being able to distort and insert words in my mouth – wasn’t any fun, apparently.

    __________

    Now, that said, I do think some of the objections to him here are pretty baffling. The man’s legislative record is a far better indication of what he’ll do for women than the organization of his website or some conciliatory language he used in a speech.

    So basically, just trust him.

    If he hasn’t run his campaign aimed squarely at women voters, I can think of a few reasons why that might be; the primary of them being that he can’t win the nomination using that strategy. Holding him to blame for that, while dismissing HRCs similar decision vis a vis the black vote is not very honest either

    No one has given HRC a free pass for the same behavior. This post simply wasn’t about HRC.

    It’s not even about blame. It’s about confusion. He wrote an open letter to the LGBT community, so obviously “identity politics” aren’t exactly off the table. Everyone keeps saying “look at his record”. However, his campaign is clearly focused on other voters. If they are the ones who get him elected, because paying any attention to female voters in the primary process wouldn’t get him there, then they are the ones he will beholden too.

    If he can ignore us, and still get the nom and possibly the election, what, exactly, will his motivation be to pay attention to us after all that?

    That’s the problem I see. If he can get there without us, he’s got little reason to care later.

  77. Sharon
    Sharon March 1, 2008 at 6:23 pm |

    Whoever that was that said abortion should be limitec to late second trimester: I disagree. I think we are not incubators, and it should be up to the day of birth. Good luck trying to find a doctor to do it, but damn, it smacks of the “some control.” Thank muffins I’m fixed now, and not in my twenties anymore.

  78. S.H.
    S.H. March 1, 2008 at 7:55 pm |

    Which makes me wonder what else will come out when he doesn’t have the advantage of an undividedly fawning press.

    Bingo. I’m becoming more convinced that is exactly what’s going to happen. He’s going to get the nomination when no one, certainly not the press, has vetted him or tested his strength. But now its too late and there’s a very good chance he’s going to get the shit kicked out of him in the general election. The love affair with Obama the press is currently having will end quickly because there’s nothing the press (and the public) loves more than to build someone up only to watch them fall. There are alot of people who have alot to lose if the White House goes to the democrats, and I have a feeling when they get on a roll it’s going to make swift boating look like a tea party in comparison. Now that’s not to say Clinton would’ve done any better given the pretty crappy campaign she’s been running already, but if she so much as blinked wrong there was a condemnation by every press outlet not to mention almost all the liberal blogs. But Obama’s been protected by both an adoring press and swooning fans. It’s just not going to last.

  79. RJ
    RJ March 2, 2008 at 12:23 am |

    So, if you can have freedom of chioce to have an abortion, why can’t you have freedom of choice to be a prostitute? It’s your body, why can the government stop you from selling it? Morally wrong? Not if abortion isn’t. Against your religion? Probably not, if abortion isn’t. At least no one gets killed or wounded and both people leave the trist having gained something? Why don’t you fight for that right?

  80. APoxOnBoth
    APoxOnBoth March 2, 2008 at 2:40 am |

    There is a lot of stew being made from very little oyster here. What, exactly, is the core question here? Women’s issues not being part of the Obama platform? That’s not actually true, they just aren’t framed generally as specifically women’s issues, but as part of larger, wider issues. Front and center of his Civil Rights page, in fact the very first “Problem” bullet point, is the gender pay gap, for example. There’s also an explicit affirmation of a woman’s right to choose, apparently it’s not prominent enough to suit you, but it’s certainly there. Hate Crimes legislation, which these days is inextricably bound up in LGBT issues, is also front and center in Civil Rights. He’s not ignoring these issues, he is making them part and parcel of a larger, broader issue.

    Really, this all starts with the words “some” and “generally”. You’re upset that he would use anything less than absolutist statements while in front of an audience that would immediately refute them with their own absolutist positions. Instead, he pointed out an uncomfortable truth: Both absolutist positions are logically flawed and indefensible. “No compromise” positions that fly in the face of simple reason, cast the debate exactly the way the “pro-life” movement wants them: You’re either for killing babies, or you’re for taking away women’s freedom. That’s not a winning frame for the debate (we take away freedom of men and women for being a threat to others all the time). So he’s reframing it.

  81. Mercurial Georgia
    Mercurial Georgia March 2, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    I forgot, is viagra sold over the counter in the US or not? Cause Viagra causes heart attacks, and its approval while Plan B is not available, is yet another clear proof that it is about punishing women for our bodies.

  82. unclekracker
    unclekracker March 21, 2008 at 5:29 pm |

    Hey zuzu, I just read your post here and I ended up stumbling onto something.

    This one’s dedicated to you: http://tinyurl.com/23c4z8

    I’m curious to know what you think.

  83. unclekracker
    unclekracker March 22, 2008 at 2:24 am |

    Hey zuzu, I just read your post here and I ended up stumbling onto something.

    This one’s dedicated to you: hhttp://tinyurl.com/yuvzkb

    I’m curious to know what you think.

  84. A bit more on Obama and abortion « The United States of Jamerica

    [...] Shakesville notes – that Obama doesn’t know how to talk about reproductive rights: I’ve long had the feeling that Obama just doesn’t know how to talk about these issues in a way that makes it clear that [...]

  85. It’s more than just sweetie « Pizza Diavola

    [...] Zuzu: Words mean things, part 2: And, to his credit, he does come out strongly here for comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education and calls abstinence-only out as the boondoggle it is; he also supports confidential access to contraception and reproductive health care for teenagers, as well as over-the-counter access to EC. He’s even against the Hyde Amendment and wants to cut off federal funding to crisis pregnancy centers. [...]

  86. Why Obama and Biden Need To Fight The HHS Rule Change « Pizza Diavola

    [...] In this campaign, Obama’s talked about how abstinence education is “important” and the “sacredness of [I'm assuming heterosexual] sexuality”. He’s called “mental distress of the woman” just “feeling blue” in the context of third-term abortions and said that he “[doesn't] think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother”, i.e. mental health does not count as part of health. In the same quotation, he talks about how it’s acceptable to ban late-term abortions with just a physical health exemption. He’s said there’s a “moral dimension to abortion,” which pro-choicers just haven’t thought about enough. Despite not wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade, he saw no problem with confirming a Supreme Court justice that once wrote, “We continue to believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled,” until an advisor told Obama that it would come back to haunt him if he ran for president. When someone asked him what he thought of the House measure that banned transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion, he said he hadn’t read the legislation and didn’t give a direct answer. [...]

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