Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hillary Inspires, Too...

Well, she inspires the heck out of me. And Jennifer Baumgardner too.

There's a pro-Hillary letter going around that I thought I'd post here, since tomorrow's GUEST POST is pro-Obama. (Please note: this is not Girl with Pen playing it both ways, but rather Girl with Pen very much wanting to maintain an open forum where readers and guest posters are free to share their opinions!) Here's the letter, for those who might be interested, with info about how to sign on, below....

Feminists for Clinton

We are women who support Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States. We do so because we believe that she will be the best president for the entire country. And as feminists, we also believe that Clinton is the best choice for attending to issues of special importance to women.

We write to you now because it's time for feminists to say that Senator Obama has no monopoly on inspiration. We are among the millions of women and men who have been moved to action by her. Six months ago, some of us were committed to her candidacy, some of us weren't, but by now we all find ourselves passionately supporting her. Brains, grace under pressure, ideas, and the skill to make them real: we call that inspiring. The restoration of good government after eight years of devastation, a decent foreign policy with ties to world leaders restored, withdrawal from Iraq and universal health care: we call that exciting. And the record to prove that she can and will stand up to the swift-boating that will come any Democratic nominee's way: we call that absolutely necessary.

Clinton's enormous contributions as Senator, public servant, spokesperson for better family policies and the needs of hard-pressed women and children are widely known and recognized-even by her opponent. Her powerful, inspiring advocacy of the human rights of women at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1994 was heralded around the world as a stunning departure from the normal anodyne role of First Lady. Corporate special interests managed to defeat the health care program she advocated in 1994. But she kept on fighting, acknowledging her mistakes, and in ensuing years she succeeded in winning expanded coverage for children. Now she has crafted the only sensible and truly universal health care proposal now before the voters.

On the Iraq war, many of us believe she made a major mistake in voting for Joint Resolution 114 in 2002-along with the 28 other Democratic senators, including John Edwards and John Kerry. But we also note that her current opponent, when asked about that resolution in 2004, responded that he did not know how he would have voted had he been in Congress then. We do not know either. But we do know that at the time, his opposition to the war carried no risks and indeed, promised to pay big dividends in his liberal Democratic district.

Now, the two candidates have virtually the same plan for withdrawal from Iraq. And on the critical, broader issues of foreign policy, we believe that Senator Clinton is far more consistent, knowledgeable, modest, and realistic-stressing intense diplomacy on all questions and repairing our ties with world leaders.

We are keenly aware right now much is at stake-not just on national and international security, but on the economy, universal health care, the environment, and more. Our country needs a president who knows the members and workings of Congress, and has a proven record on Capitol Hill of persuading sympathizers, bringing along fence-sitters, and disarming opponents. There is an irony in her opponent's claim to be able to draw in Republicans, while dismissing her proven record of working with them as a legislator. We need a president who understands how to make changes real, from small things like the predatory student loan industry to large things like the Middle East. Hillary Clinton has the experience, knowledge and wisdom to deal with this wide range of issues.

Our country also needs a president who has a thorough mastery of "details"-yes, details - after eight years of Bush and Cheney. The job of restoring good government is overwhelming, and will require more than "inspiration" to accomplish it. We believe that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Justice Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, and many more can be restored to full and effective functioning only by a president who understands their scope, regulations, personnel, problems and history. Knowing these "details" and acting on them are essential to begin the healing and recuperation of the country.

How many of us have heard brilliant and resourceful women in the workplace dismissed or devalued for "detail-orientation" in contrast to a man's supposed "big picture" scope? How many of us have seen what, in a man, would be called "peerless mastery," get called, in a woman's case, "narrowness"? How many women have we known-truly gifted workers, professionals, and administrators-who have been criticized for their reserve and down-to-earth way of speaking? Whose commanding style, seriousness, and get-to-work style are criticized as "cold" and insufficiently "likable"? These prejudices have been scandalously present in this campaign.

With all this in mind, we believe that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for president, because she is the surest to remove the wreckage and secure the future. Politics is not magic. Hillary Clinton as president promises what government at its best can truly offer: wise decision-making and lasting change.

If you wish to sign on, please send your name to Ellen Dubois ( Please include any relevant affiliations and titles.

Ellen Carol Dubois, Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles Christine Stansell, Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago