Arianna Huffington started The Huffington Post with a read-my-lips-with-an-accent pledge: it would be an oasis of brainy progressivism, not a slash-and-burn hate site. That's a tough promise to live up to when you invite Hollywood mudslingers like Alec Baldwin and Bill Maher to the table. But even the women sling mud. Screenwriter Nora Ephron is starting out the week singling out white men as vile and ignorant boobs who shouldn't be allowed to pick the next president:
This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don't mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can't even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder -- after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn't believe any of those articles.)
To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday's primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain's temper will be a problem, don't bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what's more, they think it's normal.
Every reader should bow to the obvious point that Ephron is laying it on a little thick for comedic effect -- but given the seriousness of her thesis by article's end, where does the comedy end and the serious bashing of white males begin? Nora Ephron ought to avoid taking out her bad marriage to the faithless Carl Bernstein on the whole (white) male gender. Ephron concludes seriously that she thinks Hillary Clinton has a chance at the Democratic nomination, because she knows how to connect to those oodles of patriarchal racist white males (in a Democratic primary, no less):
....these last primaries will show which of the two Democratic candidates is better at overcoming the bias of a vast chunk of the population that has never in its history had to vote for anyone but a candidate who could have been their father or their brother or their son, and who has never had to think of the president of the United States as anyone other than someone they might have been had circumstances been just slightly different.
Hillary's case is not an attractive one, because what she'll essentially be saying (and has been saying, although very carefully) is that she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can. Nonetheless, and as I said, she has a case.