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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Eileen McNamara vs. Jodi Wilgoren

posted by Amanda at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Aziz posted (below) about Jodi Wilgoren's recent article on Dr. Judy Steinberg, in which several so-called "experts" opined about how "odd" Steinberg's absence from the campaign trail is and how bizarre her devotion to her own career is. Wilgoren even quoted "some analysts" (the identities of said analysts are helpfully not specified) who think that Steinberg's lack of presence on the campaign trail might prove even more controversial than Hillary Rodham Clinton's extensive involvement in her husband's campaigns and the work of his administration.

I'll pause a moment so you can guffaw sufficiently.

Anyone else think this sounds a lot like the GOP and their buddies in the media wishing vainly for another lucrative punching bag? Hillary sure has been a boon for their fundraising and ratings. Just sayin'. Not to mention, the notion that Dr. Steinberg is more controversial than HRC is, well, frankly, absurd. I think HRC has that market pretty well cornered.

Thankfully, Eileen McNamara at the Boston Globe is on the case, exposing the absurdity of this new meme. Take it away, Eileen:

It was only a matter of time, but even those of us who have been waiting for Dr. Judith Steinberg to get hauled before the culture cops did not expect the deconstruction of Howard Dean's spouse to come six days before the Iowa caucuses.


The historians' hand-wringing might be understandable -- they are paid, after all, to live in the past -- but what is journalism's excuse? News reports are supposed to be grounded in the present, where most married women, even mothers, work for a living. Some of us are doctors; more of us are sales clerks -- but most of us go to work every day.

Reading about the lives of women in the public prints is so often like being trapped in a time warp, as if the last 30 years had never happened. Of course, we are curious about the spouses of our presidential candidates -- we are a personality-obsessed culture -- but don't we expect them to live on the same planet, in the same decade as we do? We all know plenty of women who did not change their names when they married, and yet the media give us reams of analysis about the political wisdom of Hillary belatedly tacking ''Clinton'' onto ''Rodham'' and Teresa appending ''Kerry'' to ''Heinz.'' We all know plenty of outspoken women, and yet the media present Heinz's candor as some strange anomaly and a political liability, to boot. A spouse sitting out the primary campaigns is at least a political footnote, but what are we to make of the revelation that Steinberg wears sensible shoes and avoids makeup and earrings? The woman lives in rural Vermont, where the low temperature yesterday was minus 15 degrees with blowing snow. She should wear Jimmy Choos under her boots? Revlon over her lip balm? Diamond studs under her knit hat?

'Nuf said.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.