New York NOW and the Stupidest Thing We’ve Read All Week

1201623618We love to make fun of Ted Kennedy. He likes to take naps during the State of the Union. He’s got a great Massachusetts accent. There’s that whole Chappaquiddick thing that Howie Carr loves to bring up at least twice a week.

Aside from all his personal quirks and drama, Sen. Kennedy has done quite a lot for women. Which is why the New York State branch of the National Organization for Women’s denunciation of Kennedy is completely inexplicable.

The organization took Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama for president as a slap against Hillary Clinton, and used it as a springboard to hurl insults at Democratic party leadership as a whole.

We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). “They” are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) . . .

The press release then goes on to add the Alternet,, and “Kucinich lovers” to this list. Um, okay.

Ted Kennedy’s endorsement is far less damaging to women’s rights than the idea that women should vote for Clinton because she’s a woman. Yes, many female voters are excited to see a woman kicking ass on the campaign trail. But a candidate’s genitalia isn’t the only criteria for this election.

At a time when the economy is tanking, our troops are still in Iraq, and the country is just hoping to make it through the remaining days of the Bush presidency with its civil liberties and jobs intact, women know they need to judge a candidate on her or his abilities. And if a woman (or a man) legitimately thinks that they don’t like “this” female candidate, she (or he) should vote for the person who can get the job done.

The national NOW organization reflects this sentiment in an infinitely more reasonable release. In it, the group says it respects Kennedy’s decision and urging women to go out and vote for whomever they choose. Which is really what feminism and democracy are all about.