From the Times’ editorial:
Is it really that “hard to see” the important principle that the Presidency shouldn’t be a white-men-only club? As Moseley Braun has said, it’s time to rip the “men only” sign off the Oval Office’s door. Since the Times sees the value in symbolic candidates, they should have no problem seeing the symbolic value of a black woman running for the nation’s hightest office.
Well, maybe it is hard to see why ripping that “men only” sign down is an “important principle” – if you’re a member of the exclusive club of white men who has reached the highest ranks at the Times.
There are a number of replies to the Times posted on NOW’s websites. NOWPAC has a detailed – and I think sometimes over-the-top – response. Here’s one of the good bits:
Despite her poll numbers and her outstanding performance in the debates, which has drawn appreciative commentary from many quarters, The New York Times trivialized Carol Moseley Braun’s seriousness as a candidate, NOW’s and NWPC’s endorsement, feminism, and women in general by assuming that the candidacy of an African-American woman cannot be serious. What more does Moseley Braun need to do to be considered just as serious as the male candidates? Oh, that’s right, raise more money, but without the help of women’s organizations.
Kim Gandy, the president of NOW, wrote a short response which the Times printed. What I enjoyed more, though, was the page of responses from other folks to the Times. This, for example, comes from a letter by Virginia Kallianes of New York:
Throughout the history of women’s activism, feminists have been trivialized by the mainstream public. To their credit, feminist political groups ignore this condescension and forge forward. Not surprising, when they support women in political roles, they are damned if they do … and damned if they don’t. When feminist groups endorse a woman candidate, they are criticized: “They are only endorsing her because she is a woman, not on her merits; they can’t be taken seriously.” When they don’t endorse a woman candidate, they are criticized: “How can they endorse a male candidate and not the female candidate? How do they expect voters to take women candidates seriously if the women’s groups themselves don’t endorse woman candidates?”
American women are tired of the litany: “Sure we would support a women for president, but … it’s not the right time, she’s not the right candidate, it’s not the right race, she’s taking someone else’s opportunity,” and so forth. But, how could a political group still consider itself legitimate and not endorse a candidate who it has supported through prior campaigns and who has a strong record on the issues it espouses! And, if feminist groups are not upfront supporting women candidates, who else will?
From Gay Bruhn, president of Illinois NOW:
In this race, Carol Moseley Braun—black, female, credible, qualified—is another rock in the stream. She deserves our support, we are proud to give it to her, and we will not be moved.
And this letter from Irene Weiser of New York:
What’s silly is that the other candidates don’t speak of these issues more often.
Serious issues. Serious NOW. Silly, sexist, New York Times.