is this for real?

The New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women has posted a rather hyperbolic and certainly outlandish press release on their website condemning Senator Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama:

Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, and the Family and Medical Leave Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). “They” are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). "They" are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women's money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future.

This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation- to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who “know what’s best for us.

I have a hard time believing this is legit.

First, if a political endorsement is "the ultimate betrayal" of women, I have some very serious problems with NOW-NY's grasp of history. Groundless hyperbole doesn't serve anyone, people. Also, with the litany of complaints leveled against Kennedy in that opening paragraph, one is moved to wonder how NOW-NY could even be surprised about this so-called "betrayal".

Secondly, I find it offensive that NOW-NY is somehow conflating support of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid with generalized support for women. Hillary Clinton represents all women? Is this simply because she is a woman? I doubt anyone can make a credible argument that support for a particular male candidate somehow expresses support for Men In General. But here we are, being told in no uncertain terms that not supporting Hillary is the "abandonment" of women.

Thirdly, NOW-NY clumsily calls out all the left groups who aren't supporting Hillary and declares it's because they're all simply sexist. I say "clumsily" because the sentence actually reads "He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton". Who is Hillary Clinton. Perhaps NOW-NY is not aware that Hillary Clinton is not terribly popular among the activist left because of her politics. Hillary is a pro-corporate American hegemonist (like, granted, pretty much all the presidential candidates). It's insane to expect the left wing to be happy about Hillary Clinton simply because she's a woman. And, also, isn't singling out gender as the trump-card ur-characteristic the exact kind of sexism that NOW theoretically fights against?

Finally, the last paragraph doesn't even parse properly, and this is one of the reasons I'm suspicious that the press release is a fake. What I think is being said here is that Kennedy's endorsement is demonstrative of the second-class status of women in American politics. But what is all this inane crap about women having an "obligation" to "...elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman..."? An obligation? Really? Would NOW-NY feel "obliged" to elect Ann Coulter if she were running, simply because she's a woman? Somehow I doubt it.

What all of this makes me wonder is how NOW-NY feels about black politicians, male and female, who may endorse Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Are they also handing down the "ultimate betrayal" of women? Or do they magically get a free pass because of their skin color?

Come on, NOW-New York State. You can't really stand behind this, can you?

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