Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can you be a Hillary Clinton fan and a Tea Partier?

Over at Slate, Hanna Rosin asks if the Tea Party is a "feminist" movement. To the extent that "feminist" isn't used as a synonym for "liberal woman," I think the answer is probably ... no. Yes, women are taking lots of leadership roles in the Tea Party movement -- and good for them! -- but I'm guessing that movement might lose some of its coherence if it became focused on "women's issues."

That said, I'm always perplexed when journalists turn up these types of folks:

For the last few years Anna Barone, a Tea Party leader from Mount Vernon, N.Y., has used the e-mail handle "The way they treated Hillary is unforgiveable, and then they did it to Sarah Palin," she said. "I've been to 15 Tea Party meetings and never heard a woman called a name just because she's powerful. I guess you could say the Tea Party is where I truly became a feminist."

Wait. Really?

Don't get me wrong: I think it's true that both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin received some sexist treatment in 2008. I'm just bewildered how one can go from being a Clinton backer to a Tea Partier in that time and have it be a consistent journey.

What's really earned the ire of the Tea Partiers this last year? Bailouts aside, it's been the Obama health reform bill -- which the TP critics say is A) too expensive and B) socializes the health care industry. Fine. But my question for Barone is: You realize that Obamacare is just the new name for Hillarycare, right? Right?

If you backed Hillary Clinton, you were backing a big expansion of the federal role in health care. Period. If you backed that, it's difficult for me to believe you'd be rolling with the Tea Partiers. Is Barone being disingenuous? Tribalistic? Or am I missing something?

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