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The Path Not Taken

Currently in the process of devouring Rebecca Traister's new book, Big Girls Don't Cry, a feminist take on the 2008 presidential election. Those of you who read my journal back in those days will know that this is an issue I felt rather strongly about, and Traister, a writer on politics and culture for Salon.com, was one of the bloggers whose writing about the campaign most resonated with me, so you can bet I snapped this book up when it came out today.

I hope I will come back with a more full report later, but so far the thing that's most struck me, reading this from the current perspective of a year and a half into a mostly-disappointing Obama administration, is the first chapter, which discusses why and how the feminist establishment fell out of love with Hillary Clinton. It's hard to remember now, but back in 2006 and 2007, many women who had loved Clinton as First Lady were not in love with her Senate record: shortly after being elected as Senator, she took a hard tack toward the center, working closely with the very Republicans and centrist Democrats who had tried to destroy her when she and Bill were in the White House; she had voted for the Iraq War and backed off her original positions on issues like abortion rights and healthcare, all in a bid to gain more influence in the Senate and, probably, setting herself up for her presidential run. Yet here we are, seeing the green grass on the other side where Clinton is serving as a most excellent Secretary of State and imagining how much better things would be, if only she were President. She wouldn't compromise; she wouldn't keep trying to meet these awful obstructionist Republicans halfway; she would have stuck to her plans! But would she have, really? It makes me wonder.

Anyway, so far, totally fascinating. I'll let you know what I think once I'm done.

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