It's a guy catfight!
Even better, it's a liberal-guy catfight.
And best of all, it's a liberal-guy catfight over whether you're a sexist pig if you don't much care for Hillary Clinton, you think she's running a campaign that puts the "bung" into "bungled," and you love seeing Joe Biden run against her because: 1) He's just plain more likable than Hillary; and 2) He's so darned entertaining. Just looking at a photo of Joe perks me up.
On the sexist-pig side: Scott Lemieux at the U.K. Guardian (What is it about some newspaper from Blighty always sticking its nose into U.S. politics? Remember when the Guardian asked its readers in 2004 to send letters to the residents of Clark County, Ohio, telling them why they ought to vote for Kerry, not Bush? The Clark County voters told the letter-writers where they could stuff those letters.):
Biden probably isn’t running, almost certainly wouldn’t win if he did and doesn’t bring any new perspectives to the party debate in the way Sanders’s campaign does. But he does have one characteristic that makes him seem more “presidential” to too many journalists: a penis. …
At this point, the sexism of the contingent eager for Biden to run becomes hard to deny. We need to find a generic white male with Hillary Clinton’s policy positions to head the ticket, even though his two previous primary campaigns were flaming wrecks on the highway? This is tantamount to putting a “No Girls Allowed” sign on the door of the White House.
In addition to the misogyny….
White men are taken more seriously as presidential candidates even when they’re objectively much weaker, and a lot of reporters really don’t like Hillary Clinton. Admittedly, the Clinton campaign hasn’t always dealt well with the press, but in light of how she and her husband have been treated, some measure of defensiveness is understandable. Regardless, Hillary Clinton will clinch the nomination, but the media’s double standard is one reason why women are underrepresented at all levels of political office in the United States.
On the non-sexist-pig side: Jonathan Chait of New York magazine:
One of the unfortunate habits overtaking the left is a tendency to conclude that any behavior that could plausibly be motivated by bigotry is likely motivated by bigotry. It is no doubt true that a misogynist would want Joe Biden to challenge Hillary Clinton. Therefore, Scott Lemieux concludes, people who want Biden to challenge Clinton are sexist….
The point is not that Biden would make a better nominee than Clinton. (As I said, I don’t even think that.) The point is that reasonable people can disagree about this. It’s not as though Biden were some obscure figure suddenly thrust forward in a desperate search for a plausible white male nominee. He’s the two-term vice-president of the United States. Sitting vice-presidents run for the top job all the time. Lemieux's argumentative method is to insist that, since he doesn't consider Biden more electable than Clinton, nobody could consider Biden more electable than Clinton, leaving only sexism as a plausible account for their beliefs.
This particular form of illogic has gotten endemic on the left. A racist would oppose Barack Obama, but that doesn't make all opposition to Obama racist. Likewise, a sexist would hate Hillary Clinton, but maybe we shouldn't spend the next 15 months — and possibly the subsequent four or eight years — defining all opposition to her as sexist.
Lemieux again, this time at Lawyers, Guns & Money, which does at least seem to be a Yank blog (don't the Brits say "barristers"?):
I concede that if one views my “tantamount to putting a “No Girls Allowed” sign on the door of the White House” one-liner in isolation, then it may seem as if I’m arguing that Draft Biden is entirely reducible to sexism. But as a certain recent high-profile Supreme Court case has taught us, this is not a sound method of interpretation. Given that I also discuss things like the hostile relationship between the media and the Clintons, the potential ideological reasons for wanting an alternative to Clinton, and the desire of the media to create drama in the primary campaigns, it should be clear that I do not believe that sexism is the only factor here. But, for the record, let me state that the recent spate of stories pretending that Biden might be a serious candidate for president cannot be explained solely by the single variable “sexism.” (I absolutely do not, as Chait implicitly acknowledges earlier, define “all opposition” to Clinton as sexist — this is just a flat mischaracterization of my argument. It would also make it hard to explain why I supported Obama in 2008.)
It is also true that the role that sexism plays in the movement to find a challenger, any challenger to Hillary Clinton cannot be established with scientific precision. But I think it would be wrong to therefore ignore its presence. Yes, Maureen Dowd is such an unserious thinker and believes so many nutty things that it’s hard to disentangle the sexism from everything else. But I think it’s well-established that sexism plays a significant role in her bizarre treatment of the Clintons. I don’t think it’s a reach to suggest that someone who attacked Al Gore by portraying him as “lactating” is inclined to see presidential leadership as inherently masculine….
Clinton will almost certainly be the first woman to head a presidential ticket in more than 200 years. There has never been a female governor of New York or California. Women are underrepresented at every level of political office. In that context, I don’t think it’s radical to conclude that the search for a white guy with Hillary Clinton’s views to replace Hillary Clinton that lands on a someone that already has two massively failed primary campaigns under his belt and has shown no interest in running is motivated in part by sexism. I agree that it would be wrong to conclude that intraparty opposition to Hillary Clinton is motivated entirely by sexism — but I don’t argue this, and I think it’s a willful misreading to conclude otherwise.
Methinks the Lemieux doth protest too much. And certainly too verbosely.
But I can't wait for the next feline hiss from Chait.