Diary

Will Hillary hit the campaign trail for Obama?

A factoid known to all those of us addicted to the blogs: Obama will ask beg, plead, entreat and implore Hillary to campaign to keep the women’s vote.

It seems likely that Hillary will, in fact, play the faithful Democrat and campaign more visibly for Obama. If this were to appear on a lefty blog, it would point out that Hillary will once again play the dutiful ___ (wife, Democrat, party member, whatever) and come to the defense of her man. It would also pity the poor woman for craving acceptance so deeply that she must defend the __ (husband, opponent, Uber-Messiah) that ridiculed the very thing that the ____ (husband, opponent Uber-Messiah) now needs: her gender.

Still, a picture of abject emotional neediness is more complimentary than the fact that Hillary needs $24 million, and Obama has that same $24 million. Obama needs 18 million votes, and Hillary “has” each of those 18 million votes. (I question that. More below). Hillary also needs to maintain the appearance of party loyalty for her run in 2012. The only real decision that Hillary has to make is how to get the money, look loyal, and make sure that Obama loses.

But there is no doubt that Obama is in danger of losing a lot of votes. Women have been mad at Obama for a long time. If, as above, this was a lefty, thoughtful, insightful post, there would be careful and philosophical consideration that perhaps Obama came by his anti-feminist views by virtue of being black and his exposure to Islamic teaching on gender in his early, impressionable years. The fact is, black politicians are not known for their deep loyalty to the rights of women. No black politician is on the leading edge of women’s rights: not Jackson, not Sharpton, not Rangel. Sharpton’s anger at Imus’ comments about the Rutgers basketball was due to race, not gender. Feminists support black candidates because of white guilt, not because of any quid pro quo that expects matching support.

Can Hillary turn the woman vote back to Obama? My guess: a few.

True, Hillary got 18 million votes.

What is not true is that not all of those 18 million votes were feminists hardened in the battle against the patriarchy. Some of those votes, at least 40%, were men, though I seem to remember that the white male vote was stronger for Hillary than 40% (sorry, no links). And a lot of women voted Democrat because they are, well, Democrats, not because they are feminists. Example: what percentage of the Catholic vote is Democrat because of economic reasons and not because of the Democrats’ deep and abiding commitment to abortion rights? More than a few, I would guess.

I would also guess that there are more than 36-37 million Democrats, which would be the sum of the Obama totals and the Clinton totals (no, I’m not concerned with Biden’s 9 thousand votes, thought that may be the key to the election).

Reducing the Hillary appeal to strictly a feminist vote seems risky. Much like Obama’s choice of Biden emphasizes his deficiency in foreign affairs, using Hillary to appeal to women emphasized Obama’s treatment of women. (Isn’t calling a woman ‘sweetie” somewhat morally equivalent to calling a black man “boy” or “uppity”? Just asking.)

Other woman surrogates have been proposed: Napolitano, Sebelius, and Wasserman.

I frankly don’t understand the threat posed by Wasserman. All that I can really remember about her are the nightly C-Span shows of her practicing her public speaking before cameras in a deserted Congressional hall. I’m admittedly biased, but I don’t remember any real speaking ability, deep political insight, or anything else, really. My impression was that the small cadre of young Democrats had their own chapter of Toastmasters and they practiced hard (no criticism of Toastmasters implied. I thought they needed the practice, actually). But someone is going to ask poor Debbie how she can ignore the needs of her children while she pursues a career in Congress.

(Campaign paragraph in a future Palin speech: “I completely understand the commitment of many women to stay at home with their children. What I do not understand is hypocrisy of mothers who have built careers in public service now condemning other women who have tried to serve their nation.” Ahem, Debbie Wasserman. And Pelosi. And …)

Napolitano may help, but I’m not sure where. She is currently from the red, red West, and has experience, but that does not really translate into a massive feminist outpouring. I see her helping more in a general sense than with women.

Sebelius will likely do more harm that good. Much more harm. As a Catholic, she has been banned from Communion for her views on abortion, which are pretty extreme. Her defense for Dr. Death, George Tiller, will open up again the issue of partial birth abortion, Obama’s unwillingness to provide medical care to babies born alive, and the whole Catholic-abortion dialog that started with Pelosi and grew under Biden. Somehow I have to believe that more than a few Democrat Catholics will listen to their church leaders, and bringing Sebelius to the forefront can only hurt that effort.

Hillary is the best bet for Obama. She has strongly implied that she has limited time to campaign for Obama, since has to spend time raising money to pay off the $24 million dollar debt. Personally, I think she was threatening Obama. “If you want my help, you uppity boy, you will buy it.”

And he may buy it, though his money numbers don’t looks so good. Probably most of you have been keeping up with Patterico’s analysis of Obama’s money management, and you know that $24 million is a sizeable chunk from his campaign chest.

Still, 18 million votes is a pretty good bargain for Obama. That’s what, a buck thirty three per vote? ACORN costs him a lot more than $1.33 per vote.

By Chicago standards, that is a steal. If Obama actually gets Hillary’s support by paying off her debt, that will likely go down in history as the single most successful campaign purchase in Chicago.

Of course, that means that Hillary’s supporters can never find out that they were worth $1.33 to Hillary.