Also, no one said Gore was a liar:
Finally, the New York Times published the latest analysis piece which basically writes itself.

One person after another had written the piece at the Washington Post. Our press corps runs on repetition and recitation—and over at the Washington Post, the scribes were reciting hard.

Finally, the New York Times got itself into the game. In print editions, the highly familiar analysis piece was the featured report in Monday's National section.

It said what everyone else had already said. But also, it started like this:
BENNETT (8/12/20): No one, it is safe to assume, told J.F.K. he was too ambitious.

In 1956, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he campaigned aggressively to be vice president
, said Keneshia Grant, an associate professor of political science at Howard University. His father, she noted, had even offered to pay for Lyndon B. Johnson’s run if he promised to choose his son as a running mate.

“That was no secret at all,” said Professor Grant, the author of “The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century.” “And that was fine. People took him at his word.”
As presented, Professor Grant's last comment doesn't exactly make sense:

"People took [Kennedy] at his word?" They took him at his word about what? The Times report doesn't say.

Professor Grant may have explained what she meant, but no explanation appeared in the Times. This being the Times, some editor didn't notice.

So it goes at the New York Times. But also, so it goes when upper-end journalists all start writing copycat versions of some Essay Which Writes Itself.

Such essays emerge, live and direct, from the realm of Official Press Storyline. All of a sudden, everyone writes the exact same thing—and by the rules of this group game, their presentations don't have to make sense.

Monday's piece was written by Jessica Bennett. Back in October 2017, Bennett became the New York Times' first gender editor. Today, she's described as "a Times editor at large covering gender and culture."

On Monday, Bennett was writing an official "piece which writes itself." It was a piece about the sexism which was going to confront Joe Biden's VP pick.

A cast of thousands had already written this very same piece at the Washington Post. Rather belatedly, the Times was now playing the imitation game.

Having said that, let us also say this—it's entirely possible that Kamala Harris, who is now Biden's pick, will confront some sexist attacks as the campaign unfolds. We say that because Hillary Clinton was assailed by waves of name-calling misogyny for several decades, without so much as a peep of protest from the corporate career players at the Post and the Times and all over corporate cable.

Most of the sexist attacks against Clinton came from within the mainstream press corps itself. Today, the children within the guild are suddenly opposed to such conduct!

Starting in the 1990s, Clinton was called every name in the book; the stars of the firmament stared. She was slimed in openly misogynist ways by Chris Matthews on NBC cable. Also, by Maureen Dowd right there at the Times.

She was Evita Peron and she was Nurse Ratched; she was also Cruella da Vil. She reminded male journalists of their first wives. To Matthews, she was "witchy" and she was comparable to a "strip-teaser."

When Tucker Carlson was an MSNBC property, he admitted that he “involuntarily crosses his legs” whenever he sees the gal.

Career players across the press corps agreed to let this conduct go; Matthews and Dowd were big players. And then, sure enough:

When Keith Olbermann hit it big at MSNBC, he brought a noxious strain of undisguised misogyny along with him to the channel.

Olbermann would indulge his woman-hatred with his smutty friend, Michael Musto. For several years, we wondered if we could be the only liberal or progressive who was astounded by this repetitive, rancid behavior.

As it turned out, we weren't the only one; we were just the only one discussing it in public. Top progressives, including Rebecca Traister, were discussing Olbermann's "misogyny" in private discussions on JournoList.

They just weren't willing to speak up in public. Olbermann was a big star.

This is the way these life forms were playing the game until the past few years. In the past few years, a sudden flip occurred. Let's do a Before-and-After:
Before: Everyone agreed that they must never report, discuss or criticize any of this.

Everybody now agrees that they must discuss nothing else.
This is the way our "press corps" (and our species) works. Please don't pretend that it isn't!

And of course, there's one other point. When the children all agree that they will all Say The Exact Same Things In Support of Some Group Position, they also agree that no one will be held to any standards of logic or fact.

So it was that Bennett began her essay in the Times with that absurd presentation about JFK's much-loved ambition. Surely, no one ever criticized him about that! That's only done to the girls!

This morning, the letter appears. It comes from David Greenberg, author of Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.

Greenberg makes a point of agreeing with Bennett in principle. He just doesn't agree with her facts:
To the Editor:

Re “The Political Headwinds for Forceful Women” (news article, Aug. 10):

While the article is correct about our society’s retrograde discomfort with women who seek power, the suggestion that no one told John F. Kennedy that he was too ambitious is untrue.

As a young senator of modest accomplishments, J.F.K. was constantly derided as overly ambitious when he sought the vice presidency in 1956 and the presidency in 1960, including by Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman and other Democratic Party leaders.

Richard Rovere wrote in The New Yorker in 1960: “Early in his career … the number of his detractors probably equaled—and perhaps even surpassed—that of his admirers. His ambition was thought to be untempered by humor or charity.”

I agree that too many people today are made uneasy by politically hard-charging women, and that there is sexism behind many of the complaints. But the historical record shows that John F. Kennedy (and other men) have been subjected to similar criticisms as well.

David Greenberg
New York
The writer is a professor of history at Rutgers University.
Bennett's opening made no sense at all. In that way, it followed one basic rule of the guild:

Once they've agreed to all say the same thing, they're allowed to bend facts and logic to advance the group claim in any way they like.

This is the way our mainstream press works. It works this way when it's advancing a message with which a liberal may disagree. It also works this way when advancing a message which makes liberal hearts glad.

These group efforts come to us from the land of Propaganda and Error. More specifically, they come from the highly populous region of Group Repetition, a region in which Everyone Says The Same Things.

At the Post, Michele Norris wrote the column, then Monica Hesse wrote it too. Margaret Sullivan also wrote it. Yesterday, Paul Waldman did too.

The joy of Group Recitation is this—no one will ever challenge your work as long as you stick to the Standard Group Narrative. Example:

When Annie Linskey wrote the Post's front-page news report on this newly mandated theme, she started out by pretending that the Biden campaign didn't want the word to get out about all this coming sexism.

Presumably, that was pure nonsense. Soon, she was writing this:
LINSKEY (8/9/20): Kelsey Suter, a disinformation researcher with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm, is helping women’s groups identify sexist memes that begin in private or semiprivate social media groups, so they can point to the origins if they become mainstream.

When Biden makes his announcement, Suter said, she expects “a flood of content playing on common sexist tropes:
portraying her as crazy, untrustworthy, unqualified, dumb, or sexual—claiming she is angry, or extreme, or perhaps that she ‘slept her way to the top.’ ”

Suter said if past patterns hold, social media users will be bombarded with content saying the nominee is a liar or will say anything to get ahead. Images will be manipulated, showing her with crazy-looking eyes or in sexualized poses, said Suter, who added she has already seen such content in difficult-to-access corners of the Internet.

Viewers will “see these images across social media platforms, over and over, until they begin to look normal,” Suter said.
It may well be that Candidate Harris will encounter "sexist memes" and/or "sexist tropes." Under current arrangements, it's fairly clear that any criticism she encounters will be interpreted as such.

Once our journalists agree that they'll all say the same things, they say them in ludicrous ways. Consider these warnings from Suter:

"Social media users will be bombarded with content saying the [female] nominee is a liar or will say anything to get ahead?"

Those are precisely the two major themes the mainstream press corps pushed for two years in their successful war against Candidate Gore. They said it and said it and said it again. When he wouldn't utter lies, they simply made up his lies for him.

The female nominee will encounter “a flood of content playing on common sexist tropes," including the claim that she is unqualified, dumb, angry, extreme?

Did Nominee Quayle perhaps encounter such tropes? How about the very angry Candidate Howard Dean?

Sexism is real. Indeed, anyone watching the press corps in action will understand it has been real for a good many years.

Sexism is real, but so is stupidity, along with the ways of Group Action. Propaganda and error are very real too. More and more, in these tribalized times, these behaviors run all through the press.

JFK was assailed for being too young and ambitious? So was Candidate Gore, first in 1987, then in 1999 and 2000.

Meanwhile, did one (1) Democratic funder complain that Harris might be so ambitious that she would start seeking the presidency, at Biden's expense, as soon as she became VP?

Yes, that's right, one actually did! But this very concern was part of the basis on which Biden himself was picked to be Obama's VP!

You can read about it in the Times. Here are a couple of excerpts:
THRUSH (8/16/19): Mr. Obama, standard-bearer of change but conscious of the racial dynamics of his candidacy, was wary of asking voters to digest too much at once. In Mr. Biden, he found a running mate who would conjure the comforting past and provide experience he did not possess, but would not maneuver for the presidency from the No. 2 slot.


At some point, Mr. Biden also told Obama aides that “Barack would never have to worry” about him positioning himself for another presidential run. He was too old, he told them, and he viewed his new job as a capstone, not a catapult. But while both sides assumed that vow covered the duration of Mr. Obama’s presidency, what might happen after that was never explicitly stated.

Mr. Biden was the only one of the finalists to make such a promise. “That was helpful,” Mr. Plouffe said.


The next eight years are the stuff of buddy-movie lore—“a shotgun marriage that gradually turned into a love story,” in Mr. Axelrod’s telling.

Still, Mr. Biden’s simmering ambition was a source of unease for both men. Mr. Plouffe shut down an early move made by Mr. Biden as vice president to assemble a presidential team-in-waiting, blocking Mr. Biden’s attempts to court the party’s West Coast fund-raising elite...
There's nothing new about this, and it isn't just hauled out for women. Sexism is a real thing, but it isn't the only thing. It has just become the only thing now that the clowns have decided to tell the story that way.

It's very, very hard to see the truth about our upper-end press corps. These people just aren't impressive at all. They aren't "the rational animal."

Simply put, we aren't wired that way, despondent top experts have said.

Tomorrow: Nagasaki?


  1. 1,500 dead yesterday.

    'New deaths' 7 day moving average is no longer going down.

  2. Sorry: 'New cases' 7 day moving average is no longer going down.

    1. Yes, this is disturbing. As we're opening up, we're seeing more new cases. Other countries are also experiencing a growth in new cases. This virus is a bitch.

    2. Yes, it is. It's a very hard thing to manage and lead a country through.

      Still, a major virus was expected and predicted. That's why I hope Trump will made to answer for his foolish judgements that have led to so much death.

      But the true corona chaos is yet to come.

  3. The NY Times spent 2016 pretending to care that Republicans pretended to care about Hillary Clinton's email protocols. Why would anyone (never mind any liberal) think the NY Times is liberal media?

  4. What is all this about, dear Bob? I see you ranting like an old drunk, but it's hard to catch the meaning.

    As for "Our press corps runs on repetition and recitation", no shit Sherlock. Here's where they learn:

    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
    - Joseph Goebbels

    1. Even telling the lie repeatedly doesn't work. Remember when they repeatedly told us that Trump voters were economically anxious, and not just a bunch of bigots?
      No one bought it, so they had to switch to blaming foreign power meddling to explain Trump's election.

    2. “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that’s true. But we’re doing great in our country. China, I spoke with President Xi, and they’re working very, very hard. And I think it’s going to all work out fine.” Donald Trump

    3. @11:45 There can be foreign power meddling AND bigotry involved in Trump's election. There is no doubt that Russia meddled. That is what the Mueller report is about.

    4. The Mueller Report is about detailing Trump's corruption. The Mueller indictment was about Russian interference.

  5. That the press is now on the lookout for sexism and is no longer willing to tolerate the sexism of a Chris Matthews or a Keith Olbermann strikes me as a good thing.

    That there are people like Valerie Jarrett willing to admonish the media is a good thing. It’s called progress.

    (“Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, asked on MSNBC. Ms. Jarrett is among a group of prominent women who sent a letter to news media leaders last week reminding them of the persistence of double standards in coverage of women in politics.”)

    Since Somerby agrees that sexism is real and that it’s a problem, he must also agree that there is a double standard.

    Why grouse about progress?

  6. “No one criticized JFK!”

    “no one said Gore was a liar”

    Somerby acknowledges that there is sexism, but these two contentions of his don’t disprove that.

    Also note that the Times author didn’t say “no one criticized JFK.”

    Somerby’s critique seems to be that being called ambitious is not a sexist charge. Or perhaps he is claiming that the author is saying that merely being criticized is sexist, if the candidate is a woman.

    But that isn’t what the author is saying.

    She cites numerous studies that specifically show how women who pursue leadership positions are treated differently than men, and how women are given a different set of suggestions to counteract the negative reactions their “ambition” engenders.

    1. “ She cites numerous studies that specifically show how women who pursue leadership positions are treated differently than men, and how women are given a different set of suggestions to counteract the negative reactions their “ambition” engenders.”

      If they have (D) after their names.

      Otherwise, it’s fair game.

    2. Um, no, Cecelia. The studies have nothing to do with political affiliation.

      Ask Carly Fiorina.

    3. She had the right perpetrators. Sarah Palin, not so much.

    4. So you agree that there is sexism? You seem to be saying that Palin was subjected to sexist attacks. Perhaps you can give examples. (I’m not saying she wasn’’s entirely possible.)

      What I did say, about the article, is that studies show that women in leadership in general experience sexism. Few GOP women would disagree.

    5. Which would make it entirely possible that GOP women are more affirmative on the matter than you.

    6. Ok, Cecelia. Thanks for the examples. Not.

      I am open to the discussion fer Chrissakes. You, I don’t know.

      Part of the problem is, it depends on what you consider sexist. Legitimate criticism can still be distinguished from sexist attacks.

    7. It depends upon who is involved.

      Which was the point of my first comment.

    8. Ok. I give up. I am trying to talk about what “sexism” means, since our blogger affirms its existence, and you keep deflecting from my simple request that you provide examples of sexism directed against Sarah Palin. Somerby provided examples of such directed at Hillary.

      You are trying to make some political point, which is not what I am talking about.

    9. I wasn’t trying to talk about what you’re talking about.

      I was trying to talk about what I’m talking about.

      You replied to MY post.

      You did a very good job of illustrating my point by preposterously questioning whether my statement means that I think sexism doesn't exist. and then flatly asserting that studies show that female leaders in general experience sexism at some point. Even GOP women would agree, you say...

      .However, with an actual GOP woman, you want examples.

    10. Cecelia, sometimes other commenters are fooled by your drive by quips and snark into thinking that you actually want to discuss something.

    11. Cecelia, I can only assume you can’t give me examples, or you would do so. I don’t clearly remember the coverage of Palin 12 years ago. The only reason we are discussing Hillary is because Somerby keeps bringing up the sexist coverage of her. I thought you might have some examples a la Somerby, since you seem to be more aware of the Palin coverage. Maybe you should ask Somerby why he never mentions the Palin coverage.

      Is there a Palin equivalent to “Nurse Ratched?”

      By the way, I doubt you actually think “Nurse Ratched” is a sexist label for Hillary.

    12. So I must engage in proving to you that Palin experienced sexism during her time in the limelight, otherwise I can’t prove it to you.

      Ladies and gentlemen, we have an exception to those studies that me referenced. A woman in leadership who possibly never experienced sexism.

      And surprisingly, she doesn’t have (D) after her name.


    13. Not mhAugust 12, 2020 at 8:51 PM:
      “Cecelia, sometimes other commenters are fooled by your drive by quips and snark into thinking that you actually want to discuss something”

      Look who’s talking.

    14. Cecelia, is English your native language? Your sentences are mostly non sequiturs. No one can follow what point you are trying to make, and when asked for clarification, just more confusion.

      Does anybody doubt that Palin has suffered from sexism?

      Somerby's post is idiotic, what's new?


    15. “Does anybody doubt that Palin has suffered from sexism?”- Anonymouse 2:29am

      mh is asking me to provide examples of Palin having experienced sexist treatment in order for him to ascertain the validity of such a suggestion.

      Asking for proof, even as he flatly asserted to me that studies indicate that women in leadership do experience it.

      You tell me, bro.

    16. You have far too much confidence in Bill Kristol.

    17. Me and the Right-wing media (AKA the media). He's been employed by them for decades, despite being wrong about everything.

  7. “His ambition was thought to be untempered by humor or charity.”

    That isn’t quite the same as criticizing him for simply being ambitious.

  8. It isn’t clear that Somerby understands what sexism is.

    His examples are all the usage of gender-specific epithets to describe Hillary Clinton (Nurse Ratched, Cruella de Vil).

    But it is more than that. By his own logic, you could debunk the idea that this is sexist by simply showing how male candidates have been compared to unflattering male characters.

    1. I’ll give an example. Al Gore was called “Eddie Haskell” by the media. This was an unflattering comparison to an unpleasant fictional male character.

      So what makes “Nurse Ratched” sexist then? If you were to describe Hillary as a cold, humorless, would-be autocrat, which is a description of the Nurse Ratched character, is that also sexist? Couldn’t that description be applied to a man as well? How does using the name in and of itself make it sexist?

      So, I’m trying to examine what Somerby means when he uses the term “sexism.”

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


    3. my, could I logically call a female politician an Eddie Haskell, or an Elmer Gantry, or a Guy Fawkes and get my point across about what I think of her character? I think that I could.

      If I called Gore “Nurse Ratchet” or “Cruella de Vil” wouldnt you take it as my saying something about Gore that is beyond villainy and having to do with a particular negative “ball-busting“ or vacuous character that is associated chiefly with women?

      You’d say that I was also questioning his masculinity.

  9. ""People took [Kennedy] at his word?" They took him at his word about what? The Times report doesn't say."

    They didn't question his ulterior motives or wonder about his psychological adjustment or sexuality (lack of masculinity) or likability (no one called him pushy or ruthless). Almost any woman understands what is being said. Ambition is just ambition for men, but it is loaded with other implications for women because it is incongruent with their gender roles. And it isn't just about politics -- look at the film All About Eve.

    1. It's not the most important point in the world, but neither Prof. Grant nor you nor Ms. Bennett nor her editors seem to understand what the phrase means.

    2. What is your basis for saying that I don't know what the phrase means? I'm fairly sure that both Bennett and Grant felt that they knew what it meant too. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if you and Somerby feel you don't understand it because of your very different life experiences from most (if not all) women.

  10. It's weird to say this, but I agree with every commenter. Bob has united his comments page. This post is a real clunker. It comes across as "sprawling" (to use one of his favorite words), and as a desperate search for stuff to criticize. It's always a bad sign when he has to bring up Al Gore for the millionth time. Does he really expect these mostly liberal-leaning media corporations to sanitize themselves of any criticism of Dems? I've been checking out his blog since the early 2000s, and I don't believe he has ever informed his readers that the NYT did officially endorse the candidacies of both Al Gore and Hillary Clinton for President. He's at his best when he finds stuff like that Franklin Co VA story to skewer.

  11. "Monday's piece was written by Jessica Bennett. Back in October 2017, Bennett became the New York Times' first gender editor. Today, she's described as "a Times editor at large covering gender and culture."

    But Somerby goes on to say that Bennett has written a piece that is pure storyline, that writes itself, that is the same as other pieces written by other authors.

    Thereby, he dismisses Bennett's expertise as gender editor, ignoring whatever training or expertise she had for that job and instead attributes her ideas to some shared source -- he never does say where such storylines come from. As if a gender editor has no specialized knowledge (as sports editors, business editors and fashion editors must have).

    And then Somerby completely ignores these words in the letter writer: "While the article is correct about our society’s retrograde discomfort with women who seek power", which he repeats later in his later. The letter writer is not challenging the existence of sexism in politics, although Somerby uses his letter to discount it.

    I remember Kennedy's nomination in 1960. In CA it was contentious because the state delegates pledged to Adlai Stevenson switched their votes to Kennedy. Those who disliked Kennedy felt he was an upstart and hadn't earned his place, hadn't paid his dues. A charismatic candidate often does shove aside the hard-working contenders who have worked their way to the top. But that is not the same thing as feeling that his ambition was inappropriate for a man.

    Somerby was unable to picture Hillary Clinton as a legitimate candidate for president. That is sexism. The heat of his resentment toward her, and that of the Bernie bros, doesn't come from any lack of qualification but from an emotional rejection of women usurping men (in this case, Bernie, who was beaten). With JFK, people might have considered him a lesser qualified candidate, but no one questioned his right to run for the office, only whether he was the right man for the job.

    1. "Somerby was unable to picture Hillary Clinton as a legitimate candidate for president."

      Are you the same "Anonymous" who keeps making this strange assertion about Somerby's view of Hillary Clinton? I'm simply astounded that you can come to that conclusion.

      Rather than delve into past columns...can we start with this column? What do you think this column tell us about Somerby's attitude towards H. Clinton? What quotes would you highlight?

    2. Don't you think it is odd that in a column about sexism, Somerby doesn't talk about Hillary's experience with sexism (which constitutes a chapter in her campaign retrospective, What Happened) but spends all of his time talking about Gore? How is Gore's experience relevant to this topic?

      You don't decide what is sexist or not by looking at male candidates. Hillary's words might be very relevant, but Somerby most likely hasn't read anything she has written or said about it.

      Sexism isn't just name-calling, but that is all Somerby can think to list (Eva Peron, Nurse Ratched). You seem confused by the fact that Somerby has complained about the press mistreatment of Clinton on quite a few occasions. But he has also gratuitously blamed her for being a failed candidate on the basis of sexist dilemmas that would not arise for a male candidate. Right before the election in 2016, he repeated and reprinted excerpts of the very attacks circulating against her, supposedly to object to them, but only chastised the press, never refuting anything he so faithfully reproduced, thereby furthering the interests initially of Bernie and later of Trump. Giving a place of prominence to an ugly attack without refuting it is not the action of someone who supports a candidate.

      The conceptions here of what sexism consists of are incredibly simple minded, but Somerby has little interest in reading anything on the topic and seems to consider this an empty complaint that women make, a storyline that has no merit (which was not the position of the letter writer who Somerby quotes).

    3. @Mark
      He has stated his view of Hillary in past columns, so it’s odd that you want to exclude that here.

      As far as what we can glean about his attitude towards Hilary here, I would say next to nothing. His purpose here is to criticize the press. He doesn’t really state an opinion about Hillary today.

    4. As I said, he ignores what Hillary has said on the topic of sexism in politics, in order to focus on Gore's difficulties.

    5. There was that long series of essays Somerby wrote about how Hillary couldn't have felt like she was being stalked around the stage during that debate, because Somerby saw a different camera angle that didn't look like stalking.

      What is sexist about that? Somerby, who wasn't there and didn't participate in the debate himself, substitutes his own judgment based on camera angles to tell us that what Hillary experienced and felt at the debate, was wrong. She isn't allowed to have her own first-hand experience be accepted as real because Somerby would not accept it as such. This is a kind of gaslighting, where men bully women into rescinding their own judgments, feelings, understandings, because those are inconvenient to the men or conflict with some goal of theirs.

      Somerby doesn't understand sexism. His unwillingness to accept that Trump was manipulating camera angles and positioning himself on the stage in order to convey dominance, reveals that Somerby doesn't understand nonverbal communication either. Trump has had a lot of TV experience and has learned how to use space to his advantage. Hillary called him on it and Somerby rejected everything she said, essentially calling her either a liar or mistaken (which is just as bad for a presidential candidate).

    6. 2:08 Totally idiotic comment. It has zero to do with gender. By your logic, a woman can't be criticized.

      Hillary had a lot of problems as a candidate. And the only reason she was a candidate was because she married a truly talented politician. Otherwise she never would have been in the running. She never would have even been remotely close. She married into it.

    7. No, by Somerby's logic, a woman cannot claim sexism without him saying that she can't take criticism. You missed the point. You accepted Somerby's thesis that when a woman claims sexism, she is really complaining about being criticized. It is a subtle point -- think harder.

      Hillary was already a politician when she met Bill Clinton in college. They used to joke about which of them would become president. Hillary is talented in different ways than Bill, but the two of them together were more formidable than Bill would have been alone.

      You didn't live in New York as I did when Hillary ran for senate. She knew she was going to have to convince people that she could represent them, coming to a new home from Arkansas, so she took a car trip and visited small and large towns all over the state, engaging in a listening tour to talk to people about their needs and concerns. After that, she could talk intelligently to people about their local issues and she understood how to present her campaign. THAT is how she won and it is exactly what Bill Clinton did to win as Governor of Arkansas and later president. It is tempting to think that Bill Clinton won only because of charisma, but he learned how to campaign from working on Fulbright's campaign. Hillary had a lot of problems because she inherited Bill Clinton's enemies and because Republicans were afraid of her competence and thus worked extra hard to defeat her. Their tactics are the ones we are discussing here as sexist. Hillary won the senate in spite of having been first lady, not because of it. No other first lady has ever run for office in her own right like that. No other male or female candidate has faced the kind of determined opposition aimed at Bill and Hillary Clinton by an organized right wing. Even Obama could not overcome the obstructionist tactics of the organized right, where individual conscience has had no place in Republican politics and cooperation was considered undesirable. You and Somerby seem to give Hillary all the blame for being as hamstrung by that as Gore, Kerry and Obama. In fairness, Somerby should call all of them "failed" and "weak" candidates too. Only the incompetence of the right at governing is going to defeat them in November and it took electing a buffoon like Trump to destroy the right from within. No one thinks that Biden is so charismatic that he will win when others have not. Biden is acceptable to all and he will do well if the obstructionist tactics of the right can be eliminated. Too bad it will result in the defeat of so many Republicans, since I believe a multi-party system in which many different voter perspectives are represented is ultimately better than domination by a single party (right or left). But this is why we can't have nice things, in my opinion. And it is not because Hillary didn't deserve to run for office.

    8. "Bernie bros" is a sexist term.

    9. If a man were to complain they were being stalked by Trump during the debate and Somerby disagreed, would it be sexism?

      Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.

      Why don't you argue the merits of what he says instead of running to the hills and shouting sexism without even addressing his points every day? Ie what did Somerby say about the debate and the angles? How specifically is he wrong? Then, how is that tied to gender? What would be different if it was a man?

    10. Whoever you are, you are horrible at logic and reason.

    11. Unless you are a troll in which case you are awesome!! The greatest of all time.

    12. Bernie Bros is what some of them called themselves.

      If a man is raped, it is still rape but it isn't sexism. Sexism occurs when it is primarily women who are raped by men.

      You are of course trolling or you would know that we are all arguing the merits of what Somerby says here.

      You don't determine sexism by asking whether it would still be sexism if it happened to a man. You look at whether it does happen to men in the same way.

    13. That's not true but it doesn't matter, it's still a sexist term that you use all the time. You're politicizing sexism.

      A man could claim they were being physically intimidated by another man and be called out on it by someone else. Men use physical intimidation against each other everyday. So the debate is off the table as sexism. It happens to men in the exact same way.

      You're not precise. You're not even logical. You're boring. Everything is sexism. You're like a crybaby. This shit will never get you anywhere. Your life must suck if you act like this in the real world.

    14. 5:38
      Somerby himself says sexism exists and was used against Hillary Clinton. Do you agree with him?

    15. Why do you ask?

    16. 9:00
      I assume you’re the one who complained about the previous commenter finding sexism everywhere when men are supposedly treated badly too.

      Yet you think calling Hillary “Nurse Ratched” is sexist? It was just supposed to mean she was a cold, heartless tyrant. Is that sexist?

      Al Gore was called “Eddie Haskell” by the media in an unflattering comparison to a fictional character.

      Why is the one against Hillary sexist then?

    17. I have no idea what you're talking about. If you want to know what he means by sexism, email him and ask him.

    18. Somerby wants to deny sexism and racism. He thinks these accusations will turn off a certain portion of voters. His electoral politics are dumb, and he does not have the ability to admit it to himself.

      When identity politics work for Dems, when protests work, when there is a growing leftist movement, Somerby gets sad. Somerby could give a fuck about people suffering, people in need; he just wants to win points, and by his methods.

      He used to be a mensch and now he is a schmuck.

    19. Who could argue with that logic?

    20. Glad you agree.

  12. My own reaction on reading Bennett's column was to note that, if she had to go back 64 years to find a good (actually not very good at all, apparently) example of a male getting away with campaigning for the VP nomination, then perhaps a better example should be found, or the whole premise of the column should be re-evaluated.

    As Bob would say, re-evaluate premises? Dearest's just not done.

    1. She didn't go back 64 years to find an example. She is talking about what Grant said in her book.

  13. "It may well be that Candidate Harris will encounter "sexist memes" and/or "sexist tropes." Under current arrangements, it's fairly clear that any criticism she encounters will be interpreted as such."

    Here we see the "damned if you and damned if you don't" dynamic at play. If Harris were to complain about sexism, then she just cannot take criticism, but if she doesn't complain, the sexism stands and has its effect without challenge.

    Hillary Clinton chose not to call out the sexism she encountered, wishing to compete on the same basis as the male candidates. Some of her surrogates did challenge some of the most egregious examples, but what circulates in the dark corners of the internet is never rebutted. If she were to challenge it herself, she would be seen as weak and whiny, not up to the rough-and-tumble of politics.

    There are unfair things said about all candidates, including Gore being called a liar. But no one said that Gore was unfit for the job because of male characteristics such as mood swings or illogic or being too soft or not tough enough. These aren't part of the male stereotype, but they are what any female candidate must overcome.

    There were people who begged Hillary not to run for senate because she would be perceived as overreaching based on her husband's record, even though she had the same training as he did and a great deal more experience than other candidates.

    This isn't about who gets called a liar or not. Hillary got called things Gore was never called. Starting with the Hillary nutcracker (with its sexual implications). I'd like to see Somerby find some male equivalents to that.

  14. Somerby says: "Sexism is a real thing, but it isn't the only thing. It has just become the only thing now that the clowns have decided to tell the story that way."

    How can Somerby say that sexism is a real thing, when he argues away any example that a female professor or journalists puts forward?

  15. ...because he argued away this example, not "any" example.

    1. I argue that Somerby didn’t successfully argue away this example.

      He did not show that JFK was criticized for simply being ambitious. His only argument in that regard was a letter to the Times, which did not actually say what Somerby thinks it said, that JFK was attacked simply for being ambitious.

      The article is about women being looked down on for being ambitious. It links to numerous studies showing that that is true.

      Somerby has not debunked that premise at all.

  16. Mothers of sons who express a desire to become president tend to be proud and hopeful. Mothers of daughters who express a desire to become president worry about the difficulty of pursuing such a path and wish their daughter would pursue a more appropriate goal where she won't become a target for animosity only to be ultimately disappointed.

    This is what it means for ambition to be natural for boys but problematic for girls. When a loving parent murmurs "Of course, honey, you can be anything you want," they mean it for their sons but they are insincere with their daughters.

    1. When Hillary's parents said that to her, she took them at their word.

  17. Sexism is not only rampant in politics (based on the last election), but our president is a bully and a misogynist and he will use any ugly ploy to get reelected. He is not a good man. Yet, Somerby believes that when various columnists point these obvious facts out to readers, they are following some script about sexism rampant on the left.

    For women, sexism isn't an idea proposed by leftist professors and journalists. It is a reality of existence. Even Republican women know this, although they don't believe it can be changed, they think women just have to live with it. Liberals point out the sexism because recognizing it is a precursor to changing it, and it is the decent thing to do to acknowledge what women experience as they try to participate equally in seeking elected office.

    Reducing a real phenomenon to script has the effect of diminishing it, relegating it to the world of made up concepts that have no concrete reality. This is Somerby's denial of sexism, just as he has been denying the reality of racism in previous weeks, reducing it to identity politics and narrative. These are names for real things.

    Like conservatives, who similarly deny the legitimacy of racism and sexism, Somerby obstructs social change with this conceit, because you need to see how racism and sexism work in order to change them. White males, most of all, need to participate in this process, because they have benefitted most from privilege and they have the most to lose by admitting that change is necessary. So far, Somerby is unwilling to do that. That makes him unlike most liberals and very similar to conservatives and an assortment of others who we designate using the term bigot. Clearly he doesn't like that term, but refusing to name his behavior doesn't make him any more justified in clinging to ways that hurt other people.

    If anything, these various essays may preemptively strike against the unfair treatment bigots have enacted in previous elections. It may blunt the effect of it on those willing to read such essays with an open mind. That clearly doesn't include Somerby.

  18. Misunderstanding what Grant said in a quote presented by Bennett is a very slender hook to hang a diatribe against sexism on.

  19. It seems to bother Somerby most that four different authors wrote about sexism and racism. He complains about some script but isn't it obvious that Harris is biracial and female, so she will be a target for the bigots in ways that a white male would not be?

  20. "Sexism is a real thing, but it isn't the only thing."

    Whoa. No, dear Bob, sexism is not a real thing. It is illegal to discriminate on the ground of sex. If you are discriminated, file a complaint. And that's all there is to it.

    Other than that, whatever individuals might feel, occasionally, about sexes, 'all men are bastards' or 'all women are bitches', that's entirely their private business; personal opinions that they are perfectly entitled to have, as well as to state and publish, at their own expense. But that's not a "real thing" you need to worry about, dear Bob, for as long as anti-discrimination laws are still on the books.

    And of course you, dear Bob, are perfectly entitled to denounce angrily those personal opinions, if you have nothing better to do, or for the sake of virtue signaling, common among your comrades. That's fine too. Is that also a "real thing"?

    1. The existence of a law doesn't change whether sexism is a real thing or not. The law is about redress. Sexism still happens, just as other crimes happen despite the existence of laws against them.

    2. "Redress" means just that: setting things right. If you were deprived of something unjustly, file a complaint, and you will receive it.

      Crime is a different story. Criminals run and hide and often you can't get your stuff back. Anti-discrimination, on the other hand, is a simple correction of proscribed behavior.

    3. Ешьте дерьмо, тролль

  21. "A self-identified Ku Klux Klan leader accused of driving a truck through Black Lives Matter protesters in June was convicted on multiple misdemeanor charges and sentenced to six years in prison during a court hearing Monday, according to prosecutors."

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Not so fun fact about the USA: Every presidential ticket that has had a women on it (1984, 2008, 2016) has lost. Does that mean there is some special reserve army of misogynists who come out of the woodwork each time a women runs for high office, or was it due to other factors? Will the USA's break the streak with Biden/Harris? I hope so.

    1. "Does that mean there is some special reserve army of misogynists who come out of the woodwork"

      All that is needed is for a sufficient number of voters to tap into their inner misogyny and either stay home or vote for the other guy.

      Perhaps you would like to list those mysterious "other factors" Gloucon? In 2016, one of them was Comey and another was Russian interference. I don't know why anyone would vote for Sarah Palin but I think Obama just had more support than McCain, but in 1984 perhaps it was the man at the top of the Democratic ticket who lost? From what I've been reading, the VP never makes much difference to a ticket's chances one way or the other.

    2. Three examples are too small a sample to generalize about.

    3. I think Palin suffered from sexism. A man with her background would have been presumed to be at least adequate. A woman had to prove her adequacy -- something Palin failed to do.

    4. Biden is Catholic. I grew up with anti-Catholic bigots. So if this ticket loses, who's to say that wasn't a factor? Race, gender, religion are certainly factors. Is there anyone who knows what can be done about it?

    5. Yes, what can be done is to motivate voters, by any means necessary.

  24. Sommerby's point, as always, is that the press corps is lazy and can't be bothered to generate a coherent argument. Yes, women are subject to sexist attacks for being ambitious. But if journalists don't make the effort to educate themselves and their readers about how those attacks differ than those made against men, then they are presenting crappy arguments that just pollute the whole discussion. If any and every attack on a woman is labeled sexist then "sexist" loses all meaning. You can't put an end to sexism if you can't define what it is. Sommerby isn't against calling out sexism; he's against journalists treating it in a flippant manner by using false statements like "No one, it is safe to assume, told J.F.K. he was too ambitious."

    1. Unfortunately, Somerby is part of the problem with this. He doesn't seem to be using a definition of sexism any different than simply labeling attacks as sexist (while also saying that women do that as well). If you notice above, several commenters have complained that Somerby has no coherent definition of sexism.

  25. Definition of sexism:

    "prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex"

    So, calling Hillary Nurse Ratched isn't sexism unless the traits of the nurse are stereotypical. However, the point of calling her that is to equate her with someone unpleasant, a villain, because she was engaging in gender non-normative behavior, which is sexism because it punishes women for breaking norms.

    Calling a woman Betty Crocker, for example, would be sexist because of the stereotyping, even though the comparison is generally positive or favorable, because it implies that a woman is a good cook or homemaker.

    So it isn't the criticism that is the problem but the name-calling that is applied when a woman breaks norms, the punishment for exercising a right of citizenship that should be available to all but is generally held to be a male privilege.

    1. Men get called names and punished too, but it isn't for the act of running for office. The motive is not to keep them out of politics but to keep them from winning a specific race.

      If women were simply being treated in a competitive way, the attacks wouldn't be gendered, and they wouldn't be threatening or extreme or sexual in nature (nutcracker). The picture of Jon Favreau caressing Hillary Clinton's boob in a life-size photo was sexist because of the reduction of a candidate to her sexual role, that of pleasing men. So was Al Franken's prank. It involves both stereotyping and threatened assault (even though it was fondling of a picture, the implication is real, that men have the power to exert sexual control over women at will.

      These are all acts that have occurred in the context of political campaigns, and they illustrate how women are treated, beyond simple name-calling which Somerby pretends is what is meant by sexism.

    2. Franken's prank did not occur in the context of a political campaign.

  26. There was no name-calling involved when Chris Matthews said that Hillary should be taken into a room by two men and only the men should come out. Aside from the threat of physical violence, the punishment for breaking gender norms is clearly evident in that example. No one thinks that the men were going into that room to play pinochle with her. That's why it was so ugly. Kate Manne takes it a step further and calls that kind of thing misogyny because it involves enforcement of male privilege using violence and threats against women. Hearing that story does have a chilling effect on any woman considering going into politics. Who would want to experience what Hillary went through? And that is part of the point of why men do this sort of thing to female candidates.

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