One sure indicator that men are threatened by the notion of a woman with brains, strength, and tenacity is when they avoid the issues and immediately begin babbling about baseball. That’s exactly what happened at the conclusion of the last Democratic presidential primary debate as Hillary Clinton read the book to Barak Obama on a variety of issues beginning with health care, extending to NAFTA, and to a range of other topics about which her opponent was largely uninformed.
Chris Matthews immediately teamed up with buddy Keith Olbermann to engage in a pathetic and overabundant baseball metaphor. Did Hillary hit a “home run?” Would she have been more ladylike had she bunted instead of hitting away?
More salient issues might have been addressed by Olbermann and Matthews in the post-debate dissection. Olbermann might have pinned down Matthews on one of his comments about the much vaunted Obama oratory. Did you once again have “a tingling going up and down your leg” as Obama spoke? Political junkies will remember that awkward remark by Chris Matthews during one of the earlier debates.
While the MSNBC pundits Olbermann and Matthews tried to persuade viewers that Clinton was “peevish” in her remarks about the order of questions, it was an important point she brought up. In just about every question of any complexity, Clinton delineated a response reflecting considerable detail. Obama went second and repeated Hillary’s answer almost verbatim, validating Hillary’s charge that Obama represented “change you can Xerox.”
Even more revealing was the opening sequence in which two of Hillary’s television clips were aired. You’ve seen them, even if you live in Madagascar. The first one shows Hillary warmly congratulating her opponent in debate mode. The second one shows Hillary saying “Barak Obama, you should be ashamed.” There were no corresponding “conflict clips” shown with Barak Obama as the subject.
This inept and clumsy MSNBC attempt at catalyzing a lively debate was tantamount to a pot-bellied man in a beer-stained tee-shirt bullying his girlfriend in a tenement flat for being “on the rag.” The clips said more about the network which posed that question than it did about Hillary. What’s happening here, Hillary? Are you having hot flashes? Are the voters at risk of suffering a menopausal presidency? It was insulting, not only to women, who have every right to “steal second base”, but to the voter intelligence. This campaign, more than any other, needs to be free of both racism and misogyny. Yet, one can’t help but think it has drifted toward the latter.
If Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are truly worried about their shared and bonded communal manhood, I would suggest they switch to boxing metaphors. But then again, maybe they would worry too much about being knocked out.