Politics has been big in this apartment for the last two months. Maybe I should say instead “bigger than ever,” since it isn’t as if Andrew stopped paying attention between 2004 and now. He reads newspapers and political blogs as hungrily as I read food blogs, craft blogs, cookbooks, and Vogue*, which is good news for me because I effortlessly end up with something in my head other than food blogs, craft blogs, cookbooks, and Vogue: since last summer, he has routinely turned to me with excitement to share the latest national poll results or a graph about the shifting borders of congressional districts in Texas. Besides offering these statistical treasures, he’s also like my personal news digest.
It’s a good thing we both support Barack Obama, because I have a feeling there would be trouble in the nest if we disagreed. (As the situation stands, the only domestic trouble I predict for us with regard to this election is that we are expecting our first child in early September. I have already warned Andrew that there will be problems if he is more interested in the run-up to November than he is in our baby!) Since at least 2004 I have believed that Hillary Clinton is unelectable. It isn’t very fair, and it isn’t 100% her fault, but it is, I think, true. And it isn’t because she’s a woman; it’s because she’s the woman she is, and a Clinton to boot. As a woman who feels no burning need to see a woman in the White House—it will happen, and why not to a woman who does not count “experience as First Lady” among her top qualifications for the office?—I’ve been surprised by the number of women who do yearn for this validation. Many women my age (30) simply seem to think it would be a good idea; many women my mother’s age seem downright angry that this first serious opportunity might not pan out. It’s made me question my experience as a woman in our society, and frankly it has made me very uncomfortable. I’m still working on it. But today, thanks in large part to the work done by women Clinton’s age, I definitely can’t think of white women who went to top schools as a significantly disadvantaged cohort.
The other great divide that has caused me discomfort is between Democrats who believe Republicans must be crushed and Democrats who believe their opponents must be lured into cooperation by sensible policies. The former group scoffs at the naïve idea that Republicans will ever cooperate; I think it’s naïve to count on vanquishing the Republicans, a feat whose means of accomplishment have eluded Democrats during my entire adult life. It definitely won’t be accomplished if the next Democratic president is elected with a slim margin and without a Democratic congress, as I believe would be the case if Clinton did manage to win. What’s more, I’m not convinced that she is significantly more experienced and effective than Obama, who has not exactly been at home giving teas and baking cookies. Her vote to authorize the war in Iraq is, as far as I’m concerned, unforgivable. (Yes, I felt this way at the time, too.) It shows poor judgment and reveals her to be calculating. Like you, I realized in high school philosophy class that all politicians are self-interested and calculating; but if their calculations end up hurting not just their constituents but also themselves and their own political prospects, that’s some pretty poor reckoning. With the judgment she has shown she would make America’s muddle worse; he would help Americans see the ways that they themselves can contribute to making it better. That’s why it’s so irritating when people claim he asks nothing of his supporters and just promises them magic. I don’t know whether he can deliver (because we don’t know whether any of these people would be able to deliver on their promises once elected), but at least he is willing to try a better way.
This is all by way of saying that yesterday after seeing Hillary Clinton’s Cat Cora’s Snickerdoodles on her campaign website (via Gawker), I couldn’t resist making them. In a short clip on Thursday night’s David Letterman Clinton announced the presence of the recipe on her website; the whole thing was very weird. I’m sure it was supposed to be lighthearted and self-deprecating, but I thought it rather leaden. Why would Hillary Clinton bring up cookies again, when they’re sure to stir up many of the sentiments that make people uncomfortable with her—whether you’re a homemaker insulted by the tea-and-cookies comment or a feminist irritated by the fact that she had to provide a chocolate chip cookie recipe to prove her suitability as First Lady? And I’m dying to know how Iron Chef Cat Cora got involved—is she a big Hillary supporter? Did the campaign decide to do the Letterman bit and then assign someone, “Quick, call Cat Cora, we need a cookie recipe!”
Anyway, the cookies were good. I don't think it would be very sporting of me to repost the recipe here after trying to make the case against her, but you can find it on HRC's campaign website.