It's good to see Erica Jong, a passionate Clinton supporter, do the right thing and speak out for a united Democratic Party in November. And yet one of her first commenter promptly attacked her with a "Democrats should vote Republican" screed that pushes a new website called "McCainb4Obama."
Fine. This debate should be held, and soon. With 2/3rds of Clinton voters in Kentucky claiming they won't vote for Obama and bitter Clintonite bloggers egging them on, it's time to start talking about the implications of staying home - or voting for McCain - in November.
If you're a woman considering a McCain vote or an abstention, why not just call "McCainb4Obama" by a more accurate name -"Feminists Against Women"? Consider what a McCain victory would mean for women:
- More back-alley abortions, once he's done picking right-wing ideologues as judges.
- More dead Iraqi women and girls, and probably quite a few in Iran too.
- More dead American women, to join the one hundred female heroes who have already given their lives in Iraqi combat.
- Gutting of efforts by the court system and the Justice Department to ensure equality in the workplace.
Sound good? Then by all means, support "Feminists Against Women" - I mean, "McCain b4 Obama."
Or maybe that group should just be called "Whites Against Blacks." Erica Jong is right: Clinton and Obama aren't far apart on policy, at least domestically. So why else would a Clinton supporter choose McCain over Obama? One quarter of Clinton voters in Kentucky acknowledged race as a factor in their vote, slightly up from West Virginia's results.
Not everyone agrees, of course. Commenter "AJKNYNJ" writes this on Ms. Jong's post:
"What you seem to want to not understand is that this is more than a simple 'personal bias' for many people. This is about large and growing numbers of people who do not believe that Obama is the change he professes to represent, about concerns for our national security under an Obama administration, about Obama's lesser health care plan, his extreme inexperience in the world political arena, and much more. We honestly believe that Obama would not be good for our country. This movement is large and growing. ."
This is the closest attempt I've seen yet to articulating McCain-over-Obama as anything except pique, resentment, and frustration. It's not exactly convincing on that score, but let's look at the arguments:
- "What you seem to want not to understand ..."
That's just a personal jab at Ms. Jong for her apostasy.
- "... they do not believe that Obama is the change he professes to represent":
The one thing that's certain is that Obama has changed the electoral landscape and energized a new generation. That's pretty exciting. But is he, personally, an embodiment of "change?" That's impossible to know at this point. The real question is: Would he be a better President than McCain?
- "... national security under an Obama administration":
Hey - if you think that eight years of GOP national security has made us safer, McCain's your guy. If you think we can safely occupy Iraq for decades to come, and that that will make us safer, McCain's your guy. If you think a President who can't tell Sunni from Shi'ite can protect us from terrorists, McCain's your guy. Otherwise, you may want to reconsider.
- "... Obama's lesser health plan":
As someone with 25 years' experience in the health field, I believe Obama's plan and Clinton's are similar, and that their only difference (the lack of a mandate) is a plus for Obama's. Some other experts disagree on that last point - but almost all of us agree that McCain's plan would lead to more uninsured Americans, less coverage for those who have insurance, and great benefits for large corporations. But, again - if that sounds right to you, McCain's your guy.
Of course, this may all just be idle threat. The commenter adds: "If the Democrats are to unite, they've got a much better chance if they choose to unite behind Clinton." Once the inevitable has taken place, let's hope that support for these groups will fade away as people realize the implications behind supporting them.
Hillary Clinton will eventually come out and express her support for Barack Obama, and she'll mean it sincerely. She's energized an enormous base of support, and she will use it to support the Democratic Party in November. As for Erica Jong - I've criticized her in the past, but she and other Clinton supporters do a great service to their country by supporting their party and its candidate. They do a service to women across the world, too.
Join them. Join all of us. It's been a tough race, but it's not too late to fight the good fight together.
RJ Eskow blogs: