When the usual crowd of female Clinton supporters, who clearly support Clinton due to her gender and ignore any meaningful comparisons of the candidates, imagine sexism as an issue in the campaign I’m not surprised. The real sexism here is actually coming from some pro-Clinton sites which rely upon identity politics and regularly bash men to provide an argument to vote for Clinton. It is more surprising when male bloggers such as Big Tent Democrat fall for their claims.
Obama was responding to the many dishonest attacks made by Clinton (which I’ve discussed at length in other posts such as here). He said, “I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.”
Obama is trying to be diplomatic and downplay the dishonesty of the Clinton campaign here, but some portray this as sexist. It takes quite a leap of the imagination to think that “feeling down” is a reference to pre-menstrual tension, stresses of menopause, or in some other way sexist.
It should not come as a surprise that many people seeing a physician, regardless of specialty, have depression either as an underlying component of their medical complaints or sometimes as a consequence of their illness. I see many people who are depressed every day. Many others might not have clinical depression but still feel sad as a consequence of every day stresses, or the stresses of their illness. Sometimes people outright say they feel depressed, but generally they use a number of English phrases. I hear people of both sexes say they feel down many times a week. This has no correlation to either the sex of the patient or menstrual cycles.
It really discredits legitimate feminist goals and makes legitimate complaints of sexism sound less meaningful, when Clinton supporters become this creative in fabricating charges of sexism. The tendency of Clinton, or in this case Clinton supporters, to dwell on non-issues also strengthens the argument that after Clinton’s arguments based upon inevitability and her non-existent greater experience have failed, there really is no good reason to back Clinton.
Update: I’ve received some additional feed back on this post which makes a good point. I’ve assumed that Obama was referring to Clinton being emotionally down based upon some of the complaints I’ve seen elsewhere about this comment. It is also possible Obama might not have been speaking of emotions at all. He could have been referring to Clinton being down in the race, down in the delegate count, or down in the polls.