Are Democrats More Sexist Then Republicans?

Donald Bordreaux has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal which shows the absurdity of accepting Hillary Clinton’s claim that she is losing due to sexism. First he questions her argument:

So a woman who holds degrees from Wellesley and Yale – who has earned millions in the private sector, won two terms in the U.S. Senate, and gathered many more votes than John Edwards, Bill Richardson and several other middle-aged white guys in their respective bids for the 2008 Democratic nomination – feels cheated because she’s a woman.

For the sake of discussion, and making an interesting point, he goes on to look at what it would mean if Clinton was right:

This fact (if it be a fact) reveals a hitherto unknown, ugly truth about the Democratic Party. The alleged bastion of modern liberalism, toleration and diversity is full of (to use Mrs. Clinton’s own phrase) “people who are nothing but misogynists.” Large numbers of Democratic voters are sexists. Who knew?

But here’s another revelation. If Mrs. Clinton is correct that she is more likely than Barack Obama to defeat John McCain in November, that implies Republicans and independents are less sexist than Democrats.

It must be so. If American voters of all parties are as sexist as the Democrats, Mr. Obama would have a better chance than Mrs. Clinton of defeating Mr. McCain. The same misogyny that thwarted her in the Democratic primaries would thwart her in the general election. Only if registered Republicans and independents are more open-minded than registered Democrats – only if people who lean GOP or who have no party affiliation are more willing than Democrats to overlook a candidate’s sex and vote on the issues – could Mrs. Clinton be a stronger candidate.

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. But if I ever become convinced that Mrs. Clinton is correct that sexism played a role in her disappointing showing in the Democratic primaries – and that she truly is her party’s strongest candidate to take on John McCain – I might finally join a party: the GOP. At least it’s not infested with sexists.

Of course it is untrue that Clinton is winning due to sexism in the Democratic Party and it is untrue that Clinton would be the stronger candidate against John McCain. Therefore the above conclusion is not valid. However there are many Clinton supporters who are making both of these fallacious arguments. They should consider the logical conclusion which comes from these arguments. The absurdity of this conclusion, that Republicans are less sexist than Democrats, also helps demonstrate that there is something seriously wrong with the logic of the Clinton camp.

Update: I forgot two important “facts” in the writing of this post. First of all, Donald Bordreaux is an economist. Therefore to the Clinton camp he is an elitist whose views don’t matter. Secondly, to some Clinton supporters pointing out that their views are illogical is sexist, emphasizing the stereotype of females being illogical. Therefore even though Bordeaux’s logic shows that the Clinton supporters are wrong, they can feel secure in ignoring the argument.

If Michigan Had Voted

The Clinton camp is fighting to receive virtually all the delegates from Michigan, including both those “won” by Clinton as well as the bulk of the uncommitted delegates. Of course this will never happen as most in the party see this as absurd. Obama’s position of splitting the delegates seems much more fair, and actually might be doing Clinton a favor as compared to if they had an actual primary.

Initially I had assumed that if both Clinton and Obama were on the ballot but neither campaigned as agreed then Clinton would have won due to greater name recognition. Obama would lack the advantages he has in states after campaigning, as well as the advantages of a better organization. After seeing that Clinton only received 55% of the vote despite not having any major opponents on the ballot I am no longer so certain that she would have won if Obama’s name was listed.

A situation where the names on the ballot but nobody campaigns is still not a fair assessment of Obama’s strength. I’ve assumed that he probably would have won by around 4%, as some polls showed him leading after he was receiving more national attention. Clinton would have done well with the blue collar vote, preventing a big win for Obama. Obama would beat Clinton among the black voters, the more affluent suburbs such as in Oakland County, and in college towns such as Ann Arbor. Portions of western and northern Michigan would vote more like Wisconsin and Illinois keeping the race close.

This is all rather hypothetical. I find via Andrew Sullivan that has worked out a model to attempt to predict the Michigan vote. Their results are in the same ballpark as I had been guessing without as detailed an analysis:

Overall, we project that Obama would have carried Michigan by a narrow margin — about 4.0 percentage points or 80,000 votes. After accounting for delegates awarded at the statewide level, we project him to win 65 Michigan delegates to Clinton’s 63.

Taking this into consideration shows that Obama is being more than fair in splitting the delegates in half, especially as he was the one who followed the rules and should not be penalized. There is certainly no justification for the Clinton campaign’s argument that he does not deserve any delegates.

Liberals and Libertarians

TPM Cafe is having a discussion between Eric Alterman and Brink Lindsay on liberalism and libertarianism. As is often the case in such discussions, I fall somewhere in between. Philosophically I lean more towards the libertarians while an objective look at the real world forces me to concede that in many (but certainly not all areas) liberals are more reality-based. My Utopia would be far closer to that of the libertarians as opposed to the socialist Utopia which many conservatives erroneously believe all liberals yearn for, but in the real world we often need some of the programs of the liberal state.

I’ll present a portion of one segment of this conversation where Brink Lindsay discusses differences between liberals and libertarians. This also demonstrates an area where I’ve differed from libertarians, having not had the affinity for conservatives which many libertarians have had (and certainly not preferring George Bush to Al Gore).  Brink writes:

As liberals of a certain type, we libertarians have sided with liberals and against conservatives on many important issues: civil liberties, censorship, drug policy, and separation of church and state, for example. Most libertarians I know are pro-choice, and most favor full legal equality for gays and lesbians. And although I was a Cold War hawk, and by misapplying those old attitudes to the post-9/11 environment I came to support the Iraq war (a decision I now deeply regret), the prevailing tendency among libertarians has been to urge restraint in the exercise of American power — a position that, over the years, has had more adherents on the left than on the right.

Yet despite our shared liberal heritage and a good deal of common ground on issues of the day, the fact is that, until recently at least, most libertarians like me have rooted for conservatives and Republicans in the political arena. Most of us cheered Reagan’s victories; most of us were delighted by the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. And most of us, heaven help us all, preferred George W. Bush to Al Gore. We sided with the political right because of its libertarian-inspired support for reduced government spending, lower taxes, and less heavy-handed regulation of economic activity. On these matters of central concern to us, conservatives may have been inconsistent allies, but liberals were dependable and determined adversaries.

Things have been changing in recent years, though, and old ideological identities and loyalties are now in flux. First, America’s political economy has shifted in a decidedly libertarian direction over the past few decades. Nobody believes in socialism anymore. Although there’s a fair amount of nostalgia on the left for the good old days of the Big Government-Big Labor-Big Business triumvirate, nobody really thinks the Galbraithian “technostructure” can be reassembled. Nobody’s looking to revive the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Civil Aeronautics Board, or reimpose fixed interest rates and brokerage commissions, or go back to Ma Bell. Nobody seriously proposes a return to 70% tax rates or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. So while libertarians and liberals can still find no end of things to disagree about, the stakes are much lower than they used to be. And the disputes feel more empirical than theological. These days a free-market liberal may be a member of a minority faction, but he’s not an oxymoron.

Meanwhile, libertarians’ marriage of convenience with conservatives has grown increasingly inconvenient. Fiscal incontinence, extreme assertions of executive power, an arrogant and witless foreign policy — the Bush years have been a libertarian nightmare. And the larger conservative movement has changed in character as well. Small government and free markets are no longer the priorities they once were. Instead, most of the energy on the right these days is generated by immigrant-bashing and dangerous fantasies of a new Cold War with Islam. Such xenophobic impulses are repugnant to anyone with any kind of liberal temperament.

As a result, libertarians’ alliance with conservatism is coming unglued — and a rapprochement with liberalism now looms as at least a possibility.

That possibility is enhanced, I believe, by Eric’s book. To his credit, Eric stresses contemporary liberalism’s classical liberal roots. His definition of liberalism’s big tent — a “bedrock belief in personal freedom” and Enlightenment values — is one that libertarians can embrace heartily. And his unapologetic defense of liberal cultural values is filled with libertarian applause lines.

For those who wonder how I chose the tag line for this blog, “Defending Liberty and Enlightened Thought,” I direct you towards the excerpt above, particularly the final chapter.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Hillary Clinton Invoking A Political Nightmare


Keith Olbermann has responded to Hillary Clinton’s recent comments on the assassination of Robert Kennedy as justification for her to remain in the race (video above). The full transcript is below the fold:


Hillary Says the Unspeakable, Creating New Uproar


Looking back at the year to date there are two headlines which could be repeated over and over. George Bush hits a new low in the polls and Hillary Clinton crosses the line (again). The year has seen a steady stream of Democrats dropping their support for Clinton. For some, such as myself, she became intolerable when she first started attacking Obama using Rove-style arguments distorting Obama’s positions and statements early in the year. Others looked the other way at first, but became repulsed by other claims from Clinton, such as her attempts to change the rules for winning the nomination, her belief that only her supporters count, her hypocrisy on Michigan and Florida, and her ridiculous claims of leading in the popular vote. For some the last straw came yesterday when she brought up the assassination of Robert Kennedy (video above). Even her apology made matters worse as she apologized to the Kennedy family but not to Obama or to all the Democrats who are so shocked by her behavior.

This statement is a problem for Clinton on so many levels. Primarily it is found offensive on a visceral level. Many interpretations have been made. At best she shows again that she is in her own world where all that matters is giving her the presidency which she thinks she deserves. At worst she is trying to create further fears about the consequences of nominating Obama, with some even suggesting she is trying to give a hint to her more deranged supporters.

There is no way to know for sure what was going on in Hillary’s mind. The problem is that she said this regardless of her motivations. If she wasn’t so lost in her own world she would have realized the reaction that talk of assassination would create, especially in a the case of the person who very likely will become our first black president after so many years of racial hatred and violence have disgraced this country.

I’ve received a number of comments here regarding the potential assassination of Obama ever since he became a credible candidate but I have not put these through. Discussion of the assassination of Obama, along with continued claims that he is a Muslim, paranoid conspiracy theories from supporters of Ron Paul (along with a number of racist and anti-semitic comments), and even a number of off the wall comments attacking Hillary Clinton intentionally never made it out of moderation for reasons which most rational people will understand.

If Clinton wouldn’t otherwise understand how a comment on assassination of Obama would be received, she should have considered the response to Mike Huckabee’s poor joke on the matter last week. Her claims that she brought this up now as she was thinking of the Kennedys in light of Ted Kennedy’s medical problems does not hold up as she made a similar reference in the past. Besides, if one is really thinking of the tragedy the Kennedy family is facing with the diagnosis of cancer in Ted Kennedy, is this really the time to bring up the assassination of his brother? Maybe she will next try to cheer them up by reciting the entire list of tragedies faced by the Kennedy family.

Clinton’s comment doesn’t even make any sense historically or politically. She claims people have been trying to push her out of the race since Iowa, but there is no truth to this. Sure many of us have predicted that Obama would win, but that is hardly the same as pushing someone out of the race. Obama certainly has not been trying to push her from the race. She ignores the fact that the nature of conventions have changed from the days in which they were expected to be a battle for the nomination. In recent years the primaries, not conventions, have determined the nominee. Instead the conventions are being used as a means to promote the candidate who has already won, and the party which does not do this is at a disadvantage, especially now that the conventions are being held even closer to election day than in the past. Sure, some contenders have not left the race until long after they should have, but the consequence has typically been a loss for their party in November.

If Clinton wanted to remain in the race until the final primaries were completed few would blame her. The outrage against Clinton is not that she remains in the race through all the primaries, but it is a response to the dishonest manner in which she is campaigning, along with her threats to remain in the race until the convention despite an insurmountable lead by Obama. Her attempts to change the rules, whether by falsely claiming a majority in the popular vote or by using invalid primaries in Michigan and Florida only increases the desire by most Democrats to see her put an end to this nonsense.

Clinton’s ultimate argument here makes no sense even looking at the possibility of Obama having to leave the race, regardless of the reason. If for some reason Barack Obama could not be the nominee it would not matter if Clinton had dropped out of the race. Her delegation would be the largest, and undoubtedly some Obama supporters would wind up backing her. The convention would most likely give her the nomination as the only remaining candidate who has an organization in place and has been actively campaigning. The only way that would not occur would be if Clinton repulsed so many delegates that they would rather take a risk on someone else. While unlikely, this could possibly happen if Clinton continues campaigning as she has been doing recently. If she really thinks there is a possibility that Obama will not receive the nomination, her best course would still be to suspend her campaign, at least after the last primary, so that she stops losing even more support.

Is Barack Obama Muslim?

Is Barack Obama Muslim? Of course the answer is no, but if we all like to this web site which says he is not the page might get a high ranking in Google searches whenever someone asks the question.