Monday, October 29, 2007

Hillary's Bunions

If Hillary Clinton becomes president of the United States, it's safe to predict that every part of her body and most of her bodily functions will have undergone perversely fascinated scrutiny by a news media that operates 24/7 but apparently only thinks about the serious challenges facing the nation for an hour or so, say, every other Tuesday. Fortunately for Clinton, her poll numbers have moved steadily upward through the lunacies of the Cleavage Kerfuffle and Cackle-Gate (to which Roxie's World proudly contributed in defense of the candidate's hearty chuckle). Now that her lead in the polls and money is approaching the insurmountable point, news-starved reporters are finding their way back to the irresistible subject of Clinton's hair.

In fairness to Wa Po fashion/culture reporter Robin Givhan, whose article on Clinton's wearing a shirt with a V-shaped neckline on the floor of the senate officially launched the Cleavage Kerfuffle, the astonishingly vapid piece she published yesterday in the paper's "Style" section isn't, technically or primarily, devoted to Clinton's hair, but the cutesy headline on the story gestures in that direction: "Touching Up (And On) Feminist Roots." The point of the article appears to be to reflect upon how feminism has changed over the past several decades and how it is informing Clinton's campaign for the presidency. Givhan pursues the point through a strained comparison between Clinton's campaign and "WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution," the show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts that the moms and their friend the Shy One took in last Sunday. (I comment on the show in this post.) WACK!, which includes a number of women performance artists of the 1960s and 1970s who brought their bodies and sexualities into their work as a way of critiquing masculinist ways of seeing and depicting women, gives Givhan an excuse to mock that "old" work as "vulgar," "humorous," and "cliched," though she commends its feminism for having a bracing "clarity of purpose." Clinton, by contrast, represents for Givhan a feminism that "has become more nuanced, more reserved, more politically savvy, but also more painfully ambivalent." Givhan explains:
Clinton dwells on the uneasy relationship between making a historic statement for a group and being held captive by it. Of being proud of one's gender, but not wanting to dwell on it. Of savoring the pleasures of femininity -- ever-changing hairdos -- but not wanting others to be distracted by them.
On Givhan's planet, "the body has been, for the most part, banished from the cultural conversation" and "No one needs to spread her legs to make a political point." This, in her judgment, is a good thing, though she seems bothered by the supposed ambivalence of contemporary feminism, by its reduction, at least in the Clinton campaign, to jokes about weight and "bad hair days."

Robin, dear, we know you're a fashion writer who has probably, at best, only "dabbled in women's studies," as you put it in your article. We don't expect you to be strong in the kind of historical and structural analysis that would be necessary to explain that the Clinton campaign's careful tip-toeing through the minefield of gender politics is part of a broader cultural dynamic of ambivalence about women's power and female bodies in the public sphere. Breasts, hair, hips, that space between the legs no one needs to spread anymore to make a political point -- They are all relentlessly scrutinized (by people like you, in industries like yours) and severely judged (as when you wrote of Clinton's display of cleavage that it was "unnerving," because it came across as if "you were catching a surreptitious glimpse at something private. You were intruding -- being a voyeur"). Women's bodies have hardly been "banished from the cultural conversation." It's just a question of whether they are an audacious and liberating part of the conversation, as they were in those "old" works of feminist art you seem so eager to trivialize, or a half-buried yet compulsively reiterated subject that taps into deep-seated anxieties about sex, power, desire, and social change. You are a part of that conversation, and your ambivalence is every bit as palpable and problematic as Clinton's.

Meantime, here in Roxie's World, a planet populated by reasonable middle-aged women whose audacious bodies occasionally ache, we think about Clinton's long, hard days out on the campaign trail and worry about the one part of her anatomy that is not likely to garner significant media attention -- her feet. As she makes her way through the vast cornfields of Iowa and the snowy woods of New Hampshire, we hope she's wearing sensible shoes with good orthotics and that, at the end of the day, she's got someone to give her feet a thorough and vigorous massage. Really, Bill, it's the least you can do. Put the cigar down. Your hands have some serious work to perform.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Condi and Code Pink

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In the still of the night, a devoted new reader turns to everyone's favorite dog blogger for guidance. "Would love to hear your opinion on Code Pink's confrontation with Condi Rice," she writes. We assume she is referring to the moment captured in the photo above during Rice's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Code Pink's Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz, 50, managed to get past Rice's security guards and wave blood-colored hands in the secretary of state's face while shouting, "War criminal!" (Wa Po report on the incident is here.) (Huff Po has a link to AP video of it here.)

What is my opinion on this matter? So deeply do I feel the weight of my responsibility to hold forth on the questions that keep my readers awake at night that I have ordered my typist to stay in her bathrobe and help me to thrash this one out right away. She can brush her teeth later, much later perhaps.

On the one hand: Condoleezza Rice has sold her soul to perhaps the most criminal administration in American history. She has failed spectacularly in every position she has held in that administration and is only now being held to account for her negligent management of her department and lax oversight of security contractors in Iraq. (Details on that story here.) If anyone deserves public excoriation, surely it is she.

On the other hand: Roxie's World is generally opposed to rudeness, even toward people who totally deserve it, and to political stunts that aren't likely to do anything but make critics of the war and the administration look like lunatics. Appreciative though we are of extremism in defense of ending an unjust war, we've had doubts about Code Pink's tactics for a long time. Excoriating Rice is one thing, but excoriating Democrats who are making serious efforts to grapple with the strategic and political complexities of the war is another. We are firmly opposed to cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

On the other other hand: You know how we love our eye candy, and this photo is awesome eye candy. We love that in this shot Rice casts down her eyes to avoid seeing the bloodied hands of her accuser. We love that she is boxed into the picture by those very hands and that Ali-Fairooz's eyes occupy the center of the frame and seem to bore right into Rice's pinched little soul. We love the angle of the shot for making it seem there is barely a hair's breadth between the two women's eyes, noses, and mouths. Both mouths are open. It's easy to imagine the bloody hand reaching out and pulling Rice's face toward the face of the accuser, but for what -- a kiss? or some forced reckoning? Another shot shows the two women looking directly at each other. Rice looks contemptuous, Ali-Fairooz hysterical. This shot likely earns sympathy for Rice, the pearl-wearing professional being prevented from doing her job by a big-mouthed shrew who thinks a bottle of ketchup can stop a war.

(Photo Credit: Melina Mara, The Washington Post)

Bottom line: In the battle of images, this one's a draw, but we give Code Pink credit for slipping past security to make a point. Anything that makes Condi Rice look publicly uncomfortable is all to the good as far as we're concerned.

Sleep well, gentle readers. Roxie's World is here to tell you what to think. All you have to do is ask.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Night Grab Bag

Be patient, kids. Some day soon, Roxie's World will return to its regular programming of sophomoric humor, shrewd analysis, and heart-warming glimpses into the wacky world of Moose, Goose, and Roxie. For the moment, though, my typist is awfully busy writing the aforementioned lecture on blogging, which, ironically, reduces the amount of time available for actually blogging. I could dictate posts into my Paw Pilot (TM: RW Enterprises, LLC), of course, but I've decided to take advantage of Moose's distraction and the rainy weather to catch up on my fall napping, which is crucial preparation for my winter hibernation. In the meantime, here are some pics, links, and updates on things we darn near overlooked in the busyness of the past couple of weeks.

Bhutto Death Watch Update: Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is still, incredibly, alive and is planning to start traveling around her country this weekend, despite new threats upon her life. AP reports today that Bhutto plans to travel to her hometown of Larkana on Saturday to pay homage at her father's tomb, about 270 miles northwest of Karachi. The report continues: "She has also indicated that she plans to travel to Lahore and the capital of Islamabad, despite her professed fear that she will be attacked again." Um, okay, Benazir. We greatly admire you, but we can't decide whether we should declare you the Brave One or the Crazy Lady with the Death Wish. Since my typist is pressed for time, I guess we'll go with the former because it's more succinct, but be careful out there, will you?

Peggy and Pam in Outer Space Update: Pam Flips for Peggy -- Then They Embrace. The space shuttle Discovery, captained by Pamela A. Melroy, docked at the International Space Station, commanded by Peggy A. Whitson, today after Melroy had executed a complicated backflip maneuver so the underside of the shuttle could be photographed and inspected for damage from liftoff. The docking was the first time both the shuttle and the space station were under the command of women. Here's the photo of Whitson welcoming Melroy to her high-flying palace for girl geeks:
(Photo Credit: NASA, via Reuters)

Speaking of Backflips: Senator Barack Obama is trying hard to justify his decision to campaign in South Carolina with an unapologetically homophobic minister, Donnie McClurkin. His latest attempt to disappear the issue was to release a letter from a group of LGBT and black leaders who artfully explain the move as part of the inclusiveness of Obama's campaign. How's this for knee-slapping political humor?
We believe that Barack Obama is constructing a tent big enough for LGBT Americans who know that their sexual orientation is an innate and treasured part of their being, and for African American ministers and citizens who believe that their religion prevents them from fully embracing their gay brothers and sisters. And if we are to confront our shared challenges we have to join together, build on common ground, and engage in a civil dialogue even when we disagree.

We also ask Senator Obama's critics to consider the alternatives. Would we prefer a candidate who ignores the realities in the African American community and cuts off millions of Blacks who believe things offensive to many Americans? Or a panderer who tells African Americans what they want to hear, at the expense of our gay brothers and sisters? Or would we rather stand with Barack Obama, who speaks truth in love to both sides, pulling no punches but foreclosing no opportunities to engage?
Uh-huh. And we believe that pigs fly and lions will lie down with lambs and that those who lynch and those who get lynched ought to engage in a civil dialogue about lynching, because, gosh, there's just a ton of common ground between them. And we believe that those who believe they speak "truth in love to both sides" of any complex question are probably speaking out of both sides of their mouth and should not be trusted.

Dog Gone It, Ellen!: Somehow in the crush of the last couple of weeks, we neglected the amazing story of Ellen DeGeneres sobbing uncontrollably on her show over a dog that she had adopted and then given away (because of problems between the dog and her cats) being re-possessed by the pet adoption agency. Here's the vid:

Ellen, honey, we heart you big time for that whole bubbly-dyke-next-door routine you manage to play so convincingly, and of course we give a paws up to your love of animals. We do have one little piece of advice, though. When the adoption agency asked you how little Iggy was doing, all you had to say was, "Fine." Stop there, and the question has been truthfully answered and little Iggy gets to stay with your hairdresser. Stop there, and you don't have to do a blubber-fest on national television to try to get the adoption agency to relent and change its policy on giveaways. Stop there, and you don't look like a middle-aged lesbian neurotically invested in pets as surrogate children.

Not that we know anything about that here in Roxie's World. Not that we know anything about that at all. Peace out, kids, and remember: Dogs love you back. Really.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chicks Rule

(Photo Credit: NASA; Space Shuttle Discovery docked with International Space Station)

No, this isn't another Hillary post, though you might want to click on "I Am Woman" over there in the Music Box while you read, because it is a theme post and a bit of musical reinforcement might help clarify the theme for you. In the unlikely event that our post title isn't quite obvious enough.

Newsflash: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is not dead yet. Three days after returning home from eight years in exile, Bhutto is back in action, having survived a bomb attack that killed 136 people who attended a jubilant welcoming rally in Karachi on Thursday. She is vowing to press on with her campaign to become prime minister for a third time and to fight extremism in her country. Roxie's World will continue to monitor this situation closely because we think it might be a good idea if women took over a whole bunch of countries. I mean, really, kids, why not? Could things get much worse? In the meantime, we'll keep you posted on Bhutto's status. Maybe I'll see if the guys in Toys and Widgets can find a Bhutto Death Watch Widget so we can offer round-the-clock updates of the situation. Those fellas love a challenge.

Out of This World: Peggy and Pam in Outer Space. From an AP story:
A giant leap is about to be made for womankind.

When space shuttle Discovery blasts off Tuesday, a woman will be sitting in the commander's seat. And up at the international space station, a female skipper will be waiting to greet her.

It will be the first time in the 50-year history of spaceflight that two women are in charge of two spacecraft at the same time.

This is no public relations gimmick cooked up by NASA. It's coincidence, which pleases shuttle commander Pamela Melroy and station commander Peggy Whitson.

''To me, that's one of the best parts about it,'' said Melroy, a retired Air Force colonel who will be only the second woman to command a space shuttle flight. ''This is not something that was planned or orchestrated in any way.''

That's worth a goosebump or two, isn't it, kids? Instead of making sexist jokes about whether the women's periods will get in sync or Melroy will have to call Whitson to ask for directions, let's read further down in the story to the funny part about the gift Whitson, the first woman to command a space station, was given before she took off in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft:

Before the launch, an official presented her with a traditional Kazakh whip to take with her. It's a symbol of power, Whitson explained, because of all the horseback and camel riding in Kazakhstan.

Smiling, she said she took the gift as a compliment and added: ''I did think it was interesting though, that they talked a lot about the fact that they don't typically let women have these.''

At least it wasn't a mop. The whip stayed behind on Earth.

What? No whips in space? Hmmm. Think I'll just stay in Roxie's World.

From Whips to WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution. This is for my DC-area fans or those who will be visiting DC between now and December 16. Y'all get on down to the National Museum of Women in the Arts to see this show. The moms went to see it today along with a newish pal whom I hereby declare the Shyest Grrl in Roxie's World (the Shy One for short), who lurks in these precincts and calls great stories to our attention (like the astronaut story above) but only comments off-stage (and yet she comments with such perceptiveness that we overlook the violation of Roxie's Rules on Behind-the-Scenes Action). (I wonder if I have any rules on Number of Parenthetical Remarks Per Sentence. I'll have to call the Style Police to check.) Anyway, back to WACK! It's a great, if at times overwhelming and messy, show. The moms and the Shy One kept turning to each other and saying things like, "I'm having a really hard time following this. Can you figure out what the show's narrative line is? What's holding all this together?" Then they saw the big sign that explained that feminist art was a rebellion against hierarchy, coherence, and other patriarchal conspiracies of order. "Crap," Moose said when she read that. "I told you grad school had ruined our brains."

Nonetheless, the show is a marvelous gathering together of women working in different media and disparate places under the influence of feminism and other social movements of the 1960s and 70s. The big names are represented -- Judy Chicago, Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman, Yoko Ono -- but so are many more obscure figures, such as an artist with the pseudonym Cosey Fanni Tutti who went so far as to become an X-rated performer, turning out self-portraits that appeared in adult entertainment venues as well as in art galleries. The moms were pleased that lesbian artists were a significant part of the history the show depicted. There was even a display case featuring such classics of lesbo art herstory as Tee Corinne's Cunt Coloring Book and the most execrable record Moose ever (briefly) loved, Holly Near's Imagine My Surprise.

Props to Connie Butler, who curated the show, which first opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in March, and to Susan Fisher Sterling, chief curator and acting director at NMWA for bringing in a show that may help the museum kick its reputation for mounting safe, stodgy shows not likely to offend Republican ladies who lunch. WACK! is a bracing reminder that once upon a time not too long ago feminism sparked an outpouring of creative and political energy aimed at transforming the world. The Republican ladies are welcome to the party -- but they should remember to bring their specula with them.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Welcome Home

(Photo Credit: Pedro Ugarte, AFP, Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan today after eight years in exile. She was greeted by enthusiastic crowds estimated at over 200,000 people. She had an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe today on her hopes for bringing democracy and equal rights to her country. It's here. Eight hours into the celebrations of her return, bomb blasts killed more than 100 people and injured more than 250. NYT report is here. Bhutto was not injured in the explosions.

We've always admired Bhutto -- You know, chick leader, cool eyewear, and a commitment to fair elections -- What's not to love? We wish her well. Plus, the pics are awesome.

Monday, October 15, 2007

You Heard It Here First

Roxie's World has been saying for months that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was bereft of ideas, her mind swept clear of anything resembling original thought. Apparently, Mo Do agrees! Her Sunday column was leased out to the sublimely ridiculous Stephen Colbert, who made much better use of that precious real estate than Mo Do does even when she isn't indulging in her passionate hatred of all things Clinton. Go read it. It's fun, even if its not-so-hidden aim is to flack Colbert's new book, I Am America (And So Can You!) Hey, Mo Do, how 'bout renting your little space out to me sometime, huh? The Times could use a bit of canine perspective if you ask me.

Further proof of our skill in spot-on political analysis may be found in Katha Pollitt's latest column in The Nation. Pollitt, unlike yours truly, has not made up her mind about who to support in the Democratic presidential primary, but her answer to the question "How Different Are the Top Three Dems?" is "not so much." She evaluates the leading candidates' positions on the war, domestic policy, and ties to corporations and concludes that Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve the thrashing she is getting from progressive media and Barack Obama doesn't deserve the halo lefties keep trying to fit on his smooth head. Why, kids, it's almost as if she read Roxie's World's endorsement of Hillary! Paws up, Katha -- Great minds do think alike!

Barbara Ehrenreich is no Clinton fan, but she's got a funny piece called "Running on Ambien" that criticizes Obama as well as Clinton for being boring in the course of the inhumanly long campaign season. "Just a year ago," writes Ehrenreich, "the hot question was, Is America ready for a black or female President? As the campaigns wear on, the question has shifted to, Can America survive the tedium of its black and female candidates?" She recognizes Obama is running as safe a campaign as Clinton is and, as a result, "hasn't turned out to be any more challenging to white America than re-runs of the Cosby Show." Fine, Barbara, but we're backing the dull one with all the experience rather than the dull one who is trying desperately to promote himself as a Black Jack Kennedy.

I'm sure you all missed me over the weekend, didn't you? You were expecting a nice, long weekend post, and you didn't get it and that made you want to cry into your scrambled eggs, didn't it? It was Moose's fault, of course. She ran away from home this weekend, if you can believe such a thing, went off to the beach all by herself to "write a talk." I said to Goose, "What's the deal? Moose talks all the time. Suddenly, she needs a script?" It's some English prof thing. She's been invited to go give a big fancy lecture to a bunch of people. When Moose finally came back this afternoon, I asked her what her lecture is going to be about.

"Well," she said, "it's kind of about you."

"Me?" I said. "Why do you want to go off and talk to a bunch of English profs about me?"

"Well," she said, "I want to tell them about your blog."

"My blog?" I said.

"Yes," she replied. "I want to talk about the happy little corner of the blogosphere you've created and what it can teach us about how people read, write, and connect with one another in the 21st century."

"Fine," I said, "but you'll explain how things work around here, right? I mean, you know, that I'm in charge and I do all the really hard stuff, like the thinking and the writing and the making up of names for new departments, right?"

"Absolutely, Rox. It's your world. I just type here."

"So when is this lecture, anyway?"

"November 8 at Rutgers University."

"Can anybody come?"

"Sure. It's free and open to the public. It's at 4:30 in the Alexander Library on the New Brunswick campus."

"Uh-huh. And does it have a title yet, this 'talk' of yours?"

"Yep. It's called 'On the Internet, Everybody Thinks I'm a Dog: The Queer Adventures of an English Prof in the Blogosphere.'"

"Cute. I would've come up with something funnier."

"I'm sure you would have, Rox."

"In the meantime, we don't even have a picture to go with this post. My readers expect that, you know. They love their eye candy."

"I know, Rox, and I'm really sorry. I sent Goose a pretty sunrise picture from the beach, but I can't figure out how to get it from my cellphone to the blog. How about a pretty dolphin picture? I saw dolphins while I was at the beach, and you know that's very auspicious."

"Fine. Whatever. Just give the kids their eye candy. Can't figure out how to get a picture from a cellphone to the blog. Harumph. I'm going to bed."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pretty, Witty, and Gay

Happy National Coming Out Day, kids! Of course, every day is coming out day in Roxie's World, but we're pleased that other universes set aside some special time to celebrate sex and gender diversity. Funny that they do so while tolerating or actively promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, isn't it? Still, let's not be grumpy on such a special day. Let's throw up some links and dance!

Having gained the coveted endorsement of Roxie's World, Hillary Clinton's campaign issued a statement today in support of NCOD. Here's a link, and here's the statement:

The simple act of declaring who you are has often been a moment of courage for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Americans. National Coming Out Day honors the brave journey many have taken out of the closet. But even now, after so much progress has been made in the fight for equality and acceptance, many in the LGBT community continue to face discrimination and harassment.

As President, I will end the divisive politics of this administration and work to renew the promise of fairness for all Americans. This means supporting equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and allowing patriotic Americans to serve their country, and finally signing into law the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and hate crimes legislation.

So on this day, twenty years after the Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, let us rededicate ourselves to the ideal that all Americans should be treated equally, no matter who you are or who you love.

(Aside from Moose to Hill: Do you promise that "equal rights for gay and lesbian couples" will mean that some day, in the tragic event of Goose's demise, I'll be able to claim Social Security survivor benefits? You don't have to call it "marriage" if you don't want to. Shoot, call it "Little Bo Peep," as Goose would say, but if it doesn't extend the full array of rights and benefits to same-sex couples that straight marriage includes, then it ain't "equal rights." Got that? But, you know, would it really be that hard to explain to the American people that the right to civil marriage ought to be available to couples irrespective of their genders? Oh, never mind.)

Thanks to qta for pointing us in the direction of Film Experience's "Queer Hollywood" post in honor of NCOD. It's long, cool, makes no mention of the neither in nor out Jodie Foster, and has a great photo of the sainted Lily Tomlin near the end of the post.

On a more local note, the Pride Alliance (undergraduate LGBT organization) at the University of Maryland celebrated NCOD by holding a rally in support of (finally) extending domestic partner benefits to LGBT staff and faculty. Moose made a little speech commending the students for being less patient than the grown-ups on campus have been during the protracted struggle for pay equity for the university's LGBT employees. She didn't mention that students were lobbying for the extension of a benefit that doesn't apply to them, which makes their activism even more impressive. How many times have you worked for a cause that wouldn't bring a direct benefit to you? Hmmmm? Here's a piece by Pride Alliance president C. J. Rock that was published in today's Diamondback, the student newspaper at UMD. It's tempting to quote that line from Isaiah about how a little child shall lead them, except there was nothing childish about the out and proud students of the University of Maryland today. I swear, kids, they brought tears to Moose's jaded old eyes.

Paws up and a pretty pink tiara to all the queers and friends of queers who are working for sex and gender justice this day and every day. Keep the faith, beloveds. Justice will roll down like waters -- as long as folks stand together to give it a good hard push.

Monday, October 08, 2007


A New Yorker cartoon is worth a thousand (and more) words, we realize, but go to the New Yorker immediately and read the luscious little piece by Hendrick Hertzberg that accompanied this fabulous caricature of Senator Hillary Clinton. Hertzberg's comment begins with a pithy epigraph from a recent interview with the senator's husband:
Q: What don’t we know about your spouse?
A: She has the world’s best laugh.
Interview with Bill Clinton,, September 13, 2007.
We would happily cede our place on the BuzzFeed list of best bits on Hillary's laugh to the New Yorker, but we've slipped to 12th place and we need the publicity way more than the New Yorker does. What can I say, kids? It's a dog-eat-dog world, but go read Hertzberg now. Peace out.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Vote for ME!

Check it out, kids. America's favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball is suddenly running with the big dogs in the blogosphere. Our post endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, with its insightful commentary on the avalanche of commentary on the candidate's laugh, is sitting pretty at #3 on BuzzFeed's list of "Twelve Best Links" on the topic. We're right behind Huff Po and ahead of the New York Times! Click on the link below, and then click back here from the BuzzFeed link. It'll thrill the guys in our Department of Clicks and Eyeballs, and it'll help keep us on the BuzzFeed list.

Hillary's Laugh

We're so flattered by the attention that the geeks in the Department of Toys and Widgets installed a BuzzFeed widget on the bottom of our front page. Sorry to put it way down on the bottom, but it wouldn't fit on the sidebar, unlike the cute new Clinton campaign widget we just tucked in over there. (Get on over to Clinton's web site, y'all. Didn't I tell you to get on the bandwagon?)

In other me-related news, Roxie's World has also been nominated for its very first Weblog Award, in the category of Best Pet Blog. With dog as my witness, I assure you the nomination did not come from anyone associated with Roxie's World or any of its subsidiaries. Click here, and scroll down until you see us on the list of nominations. Vote for us by clicking the + sign in the lower right-hand corner. I know you're supposed to say it's an honor just to be nominated -- and of course it is -- but wouldn't it be cool to win? I mean, gosh, kids, what an extraordinary validation that would be of the hard work we've been doing. What a wonderful way to let the world know there's more to pet blogs than goofy photographs and aww-inducing cute sayings. (I say this with love and due respect to all of my fellow dog bloggers, especially the legions of amazing wire-haired fox terrier bloggers. Paws up to all of you!)

All right, enough about me. Let's get back to the Girl Who Will Be President. Look at this fabulous photo of her with the Rapscallion Boy Who Once Was President:

(Photo Credit: Darren McCollester, Getty Images)

Tell me again how the Clintons totally hate one another and only stay together to advance their nefarious political ambitions. (Oh, yeah: Ending the war, establishing universal health coverage, battling AIDS in the developing world -- Scary stuff, isn't it?) More Wa Po polling data out this week suggests that voters are showing signs of falling hard for these two love birds. An analysis by Dan Balz and Jon Cohen has nothing but good news for the Clinton campaign. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Former president Bill Clinton has emerged as a clear asset in his wife's campaign for the White House, with Americans offering high ratings to his eight years in office and a solid majority saying they would be comfortable with him as first spouse, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

But Americans said they would not regard the election of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as simply the resumption of her husband's presidency. Instead, two-thirds said she would take her presidency in a different direction, and half of all Americans said they believed that would be a good development. About half of those who said it would be a resumption described that as positive.

The survey also showed Hillary Clinton with an early advantage in a matchup of the party front-runners. A majority of those polled support her over former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has reveled in taking swipes at Clinton in recent weeks and yesterday offered an unflattering comparison of her to 1972 Democratic nominee George S. McGovern.
Tell me again how Americans are suffering from a bad case of Clinton fatigue and are tired of seeing the presidency handed back and forth between the Bush and Clinton "dynasties." (There I go again, helping Maureen Dowd write her next mindless trashing of the Clintons.) Tell me again about Hillary's high negatives and all the ambivalence voters supposedly harbor toward the idea of a woman president. Tell me again how polarizing she is and how robotic she is and how pathetically Gore-like she is.

And I will tell you something: Voters know better.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Funny Girls for Hillary

Newsflash: Roxie's World Endorses Hillary Clinton for President!

(Photo Credit: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press)

Why is this woman smiling? Hmmm. Let's see. Could it be because she's opened up a lead of 33 percentage points over Barack Obama, her nearest "competitor" for the Democratic presidential nomination, in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll? Could it be because she's at 53% among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents when voters are polled on 8 different Democratic choices? Could it be because she kicked Obama's bottom in fundraising for the third quarter, pulling in a total of $27 million to his $20 million, according to Wa Po?

Or could it be she heard she has gained the coveted endorsement of America's favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball? Yes, it's true, kids. We've finally decided to climb down from the fence and hop on the bandwagon. We are ready to do publicly what our hearts, heads, and the moms have been telling us privately to do for months.
Roxie's World is going with the girl. We do hereby endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. (You can get on the bandwagon, too, of course. Give to Clinton's campaign here.) (You might also want to click on the special song we loaded into the Roxie Music Box in honor of Senator Clinton while you read the rest of this post. Just a suggestion. Roar.)

But, Roxie, you may be thinking, what about her foreign policy votes, including that most recent one on Iran? What about the consistent pattern of splitting differences and tacking to the center, in that Democratic Losership Council style of politics that I know you and the moms deplore? What about the weaselly position on marriage equality, pretending to be opposed to same-sex marriage while promising to support extending the same set of rights and protections to gay couples under some less incendiary name?

I know, I know, kids, but sit down. This tired old dog blogger has something important to tell you:
We live (and vote) in the real world. John Edwards and Barack Obama are the only other Democratic candidates who stand a realistic chance of being elected, and when you go down the line on the issues there really isn't that much that separates them from Clinton. Oh, sure, Edwards has found a good line on poverty and deserves credit for getting the issue back on the political radar screen, but voters don't think he's ever done anything but try to get elected president. Same with Obama, and most of his positions are as centrist as Clinton's or even slightly further to the right. They are great guys, but neither of them would score significantly higher on the scale of left-wing political purity than Clinton would. Neither would bring American troops home from Iraq on his first day in office. And neither would survive the gravitas and experience test that Republicans are sure to set up in order to generate support for the creepy field of candidates from whom their nominee will be chosen.

Rest assured our support for the junior senator from New York is not based primarily on pragmatism or a cynical desire to win at any cost. As regular readers know, we've watched Senator Clinton closely over the past several months and have been impressed with her evolution as a candidate and with the smooth operation of her estrogen-fueled campaign machine. We are excited by the unprecedented combination she offers of leadership experience and the opportunity to make history. We've been moved to see her growing mastery of the difficult challenge of coming across as both womanly and presidential, which seems impossibly oxymoronic by the gender norms of American culture. We've been delighted to see her do all of this while projecting a sense of warmth and humor she has not always seemed comfortable displaying in public.

Which brings us, of course, to the subject of the Clinton "cackle." We have on several occasions in the past couple of months praised Clinton for having the confidence to laugh in the harsh glare of the media spotlight. Suddenly, it seems, everyone else is noticing the candidate's willingness to exercise her funny bone, but the general reception has not been as warm as it has been here among the funny women of
Roxie's World. It all started with an admittedly hilarious bit Jon Stewart did on The Daily Show suggesting there was something robotic about Clinton's tendency to burst out laughing during a series of interviews she did on the Sunday chat shows. From there, the subject snowballed into a full-fledged media much ado about nothing. (Wa Po media critic Howard Kurtz has a good analysis of the snowballing here.) (BuzzFeed has links to a bunch of the commentary and video here.) One commentator compared Clinton's laugh to the infamous Howard Dean scream and warned that it could get blown out of proportion. (Well, maybe, if folks like you compulsively dissect it because you have nothing better to do!) Some have noted the sexist double standard in much of the reaction: Clinton is damned if she doesn't laugh because it proves she's a humorless feminazi; she is damned if she does laugh because it proves she is either a) an automaton trying to pass herself off as human or b) a maniacal Bertha Mason who'll end up howling in the rafters on Pennsylvania Avenue if we're not real careful.

(Poll Graphic:
Jennifer Agiesta and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post - October 3, 2007)

I am an old dog with a leaky heart. It's been my good fortune to spend much of the past thirteen + years absolutely bathed in the sounds of women's laughter. (I've heard plenty of men's laughter, too, but that's not my point today, fellas. Love you. Mean it.) From my post on the couch, I've heard chortles and chuckles and belly-laughs and guffaws. I've seen laughers who snort, a few who scream, and a couple who cover their mouths with their hands because for some reason they feel self-conscious about being caught in the act of laughing. I've heard laughter in bed and laughter in the classroom and laughter mixed in with tears of sorrow. As my hearing fades, I strain to hear echoes of laughter every day because they remind me I am still alive.

This old dog loves laughing women and knows that a leader who cannot laugh or who laughs at people rather than with them is not to be trusted to exercise power with humility and compassion. My friends,
Roxie's World endorses the woman in this race with the hearty laugh. May she have cause and courage to laugh loud and long in the course of her extraordinary journey. Peace out.