6.6.13

QUESTIONING THE CULT OF THE PRESIDENCY.

It's some cat-fight on the left, but there might be something more substantive at work.
[Jessica] Valenti now views the feminist situation is so dismal that the likeliest available consolation is the symbolic victory of electing a moderate Democratic female president.

After resisting the siren song of identity politics for one entire election cycle, namely 2008, where Valenti rejected the “vagina litmus test” when choosing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, Valenti is prepared to vote for a woman “not because I believe the female Democratic candidate…is guaranteed to be the most feminist, but because I’m just too fed up to do anything else.”

The trap of valorizing any woman, and particularly Clinton, as an icon and losing sight of her as a politician was foreshadowed by the “Texts from Hillary” phenomenon and her social media renaissance, as I noted in The Nation last year. There are arguments to be made for and against Clinton as a candidate, but the problem is less about her than about a voter’s self-indulgent investiture of the nation’s highest office with redemptive powers.
That's a lesson for voters, no matter what their political leaning.  The presidency is a job.  It is a mistake to attribute redemptive powers to the office, let alone to the individual holding the office, or to suggest (as Hillary! herself did) that conditions in the Republic would be improved by the election of Barack Obama.  Her concession-cum-endorsement had some litany of the Good Things that would follow, and no doubt, more than a few of the women of the fevered brow went right along with it.

As the essay concludes, better not to "go for a feel-good fix -- especially one that may be no fix at all".

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