Clinton Supporters Judge the Media
Some blame sexism for primary losses
Saturday, June 07, 2008, By Bruce Alpert, Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON -- As Sen. Hillary Clinton prepares today to end her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and endorse Sen. Barack Obama, some Louisiana supporters are expressing disappointment at her failure to crack America's ultimate glass ceiling and wondering whether sexism torpedoed her effort.
"I think that every person who supported her is feeling a little regret at the moment because we've traveled quite a long way with her," said Deborah Langoff, a Clinton delegate from New Orleans. Langoff said she first got interested in politics in 1968 as she watched the tumultuous Democratic National Convention in Chicago that nominated Hubert Humphrey to run against Richard Nixon.
"If you had told me then -- that 40 years later there would still not be a Democratic female president or vice president, I wouldn't have believed you," Langoff said. "This looked like the year."
But Langoff said there are strong Obama supporters in her family, and she'll enthusiastically vote for him in November.
Kim Gandy, a Clinton supporter, president of the National Organization for Women and a former New Orleans prosecutor, said that Clinton endured attacks from a "frat-boy commentariat." Singling out the NBC and CNN TV networks for special criticism, Gandy said that Clinton was analyzed and evaluated "on her voice, her laugh, her clapping, her clothing, even her ankles."
Mary Leach Werner of Lake Charles, a Clinton delegate, said she believes it wasn't so much sexism that led some reporters and commentators to incorrectly declare the race over early in the primary process. She believes it was a desire to impress viewers, readers and their media colleagues with their ability to foretell the future.
Felicia Kahn of New Orleans, who at the age of 81 remembers attending Democratic functions in the 1960s when woman made up less than 5 percent of the delegates, said that the disappointment for her -- and she suspects other women -- was the belief Clinton was the most qualified candidate with the best chance of being the first woman to win the presidency.
But Kahn said Clinton wasn't judged the same way as male politicians, and that when she demonstrated toughness in trying to define her positions, it was seen "as over the top."