TNR's Katherine Marsh writes that watching Barack Obama celebrate his victory Tuesday night, she felt triumph, but also regret.
I couldn't help but feel a little sad that this political season has been so disappointing for women.
While Barack Obama succeeded in running a post-racial campaign, neither of the two women candidates succeeded in running a post-gender one. Hillary Clinton came closest, running on hard-earned competence in the early months of the primaries, but both using and succumbing to identity politics once her organization was tested. Sarah Palin, who was clearly out of her depth and shamelessly allowed herself to be used as a token, may have singlehandedly reversed Clinton's feminist gains.
In some ways, I'm feeling more positive. The emergence of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin as national candidates dealt a blow to sexism, at least in a symbolic sense. And Clinton's campaign, of course, was more than mere symbolism -- it proved that a woman can pass the "commander in chief test," and it left the New York senator, arguably, as the most powerful American spokesperson for mainstream feminist politics.
All that said, the initial names leaking out of the Obama transition team for key appointments are almost exclusively white and male. Hope that changes soon.