You know, sometimes The Onion is just so true to life. Andrew Sullivan continues to insist that he is the best arbiter of what is and isn't feminist. Today he slams Hillary for "betraying feminism." Sullivan is outraged over South Carolina radio advertisements in which Bill Clinton lauds his wife's ability to turn around the economy and yes, mentions his own record of doing so during the 1990s.
Let's be clear: The vast majority of politicians who benefit from family connections are white men. But railing against dynastic politics does not make you a feminist. As Kerry Howley wrote in the New York Times, dynasties often advance the key feminist goal of bringing women to political power -- women who through a family assist, are able to break the glass ceiling and benefit the less well-connected women who will follow.
That's not everyone's idea of progress, of course, and within feminism, there's a lively debate going on this year about how to balance the net good of female leadership among a host of other progressive concerns, including a real distaste for what a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton succession would mean for our democracy. But whatever one thinks about Hillary Clinton, her husband, and their record, her current campaign's relationship to feminism is a complex topic that isn't easy for anyone -- even those of us who spend most of our days thinking about such things -- to wrap our minds around. Sullivan's heated "betrayal" rhetoric sheds no light on this topic. And it's safe to say that Andrew Sullivan -- endorser of Ron Paul -- may not have the best handle on what it means to be a feminist.