The Delegate Debate
This Week in Elder News: 29 March 2008

Guest Blogger: Linda Burnham

category_bug_politics.gif The article below was sent to me by Jan Adams who is the Gay and Gray columnist for Time Goes By. I don’t know the author, Linda Burnham, but I sure would like to. Her story digs into a lot of ideas about this year’s primary campaign that I’ve been trying to think about, but could not articulate well to myself and so, certainly not to readers of this blog.

One reason is that I’m just not as smart as Linda Burnham. Another is that as a white woman, I cannot understand the black experience any more than young people can understand the elder experience.

Lindaburnham Linda Burnham (expanded bio) has long experience in racial and feminist politics. She is a co-founder and executive director of The Women of Color Resource Center and she edits Crossroads, “a magazine that promotes dialogue and debate on the left side of the political spectrum.” Which is exactly what this important article does - open up areas of conflict between racism and sexism in the Democratic primary campaign and expose them to the light.

Linda's article is longer than blog posts here usually are, but oh so thought-provoking. So grab a cup of coffee, settle down and take some time to read and think about The Tightrope and the Needle.

The Clinton campaign can do all the distancing it wants from Geraldine Ferraro's chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, but this is not the first time Obama has been cast as the beneficiary of affirmative action. Here's Erica Jong, more than a month ago, on the same issue. After allowing that "Obama is smart and attractive. Maybe he'll be president some day," she goes on to say:

"Obama is also a token - of our incomplete progress toward an interracial society. I have nothing against him except his inexperience. Many black voters agree. They understand tokenism and condescension."

Right now, black female voter that I am, I'm most definitely understanding the condescension - and righteous indignation - of white liberal feminists who believe Obama skipped ahead of them in line. I'm also understanding the sheer frustration of women who were headed towards an easy coronation, but then got sideswiped and stalled by an upstart prince.

It appears that all the mainstream, high-profile feminists got the same talking-points memo from the Clinton campaign. Ferraro, pit bull that she is, was just a little more raw in her delivery. If you didn't get the memo, here are the talking points.

  • Though the Democrats are blessed with an embarrassment of riches, with a black man and a woman contending for the nomination, Clinton is unequivocally the only one prepared for the rigors of the presidency.
  • Obama is all fluff, no substance, glib and attractive, but also a cocksure, ageist upstart.
  • Given the depths of Obama's inexperience, his present popularity can only be explained by the reverse discrimination effect: he's unfairly benefiting from his status as a black man.
  • Older white women are supporting Clinton because they recognize bottom-line competence, know how to vote in their own best interests, grow more radical with age, and are ready to make history.
  • White men are supporting Obama because of their latent or blatant sexism. They're confused by the unfamiliar choices presented them, and more freaked out by the prospect of a woman in the White House than they are by the prospect of the first African American president.
  • Maybe Obama will be a candidate to consider once he's more politically seasoned, i.e., after eight years of Clinton.
  • Sexism is the most pervasive and persistent form of discrimination.
  • Racism is on the run, nearly vanquished save a few remnants.

From Gloria Steinem to Robin Morgan to Geraldine Ferraro to Erica Jong, they're all playing the same tune. Now we can't blame the women for fighting hard for their candidate, but it is disappointing, to say the very least, that in heralding Clinton as the proper choice for every feminist and all women, they have also managed to dredge up some of the least attractive features of liberal feminism.

For nearly forty years feminists have wrangled over how to integrate issues of race, class, sexual orientation and other markers of inequality into a coherent, powerful gender analysis.

Women of color insist on the complex relationship between racism and sexism and the central significance of racism in the lives of people of color.

White feminists nod their heads, "Yes, of course, we understand, we're with you on that." Then comes the crunch, when the content of your feminism actually matters - as it does in this campaign - and they revert to the primacy of sexism over all other forms of discrimination and oppression. All the tendencies that got feminism tagged as a white, middle- class women's thing are, brutally, back in play.

There's a lot of twisting and turning going on in the effort to explain Obama's viability. If he's so completely inexperienced, why are people coming out to vote for him in record numbers? Must be that racism is dead but sexism isn't. Must be that he's an affirmative action baby. Must be that people are mesmerized, charmed and bewitched by his silver tongue. Must be that people are voting with their hearts for hope instead of with their heads for hard-headed competence.

In fact, it must be anything except that he's knit together a coalition the existence of which most political actors could not have predicted, much less activated.

Except that his politics and presentation of self have motivated millions of new voters and re- energized previously disaffected millions more in ways that her politics and presentation of self have not.

Except that voters have weighed his experience and hers and concluded that she's not bringing appreciably more to the table than he is.

Except that she's pegged her vaunted experience to her White House years and a fair share of voters (raise your hands, y'all) were not enthralled with the policies of the Clinton presidency.

It's just not such a terribly long walk from the Clinton campaign's insistence on Obama's lack of experience and complete unreadiness to lead to the notion that he's gotten as far as he has not on his own merits, but as a result of the workings of some pro- brother bias. That is, to put it baldly, the playing field is tilted in favor of the minority candidate who, despite his thin resume, has managed to leapfrog over the more qualified white candidate.

There's a reason this reminds you of every reverse discrimination complainant from Allan Bakke forward. It undermines the legitimacy of affirmative remedies for identifiable, quantifiable discriminatory practices while simultaneously denigrating the qualifications of people of color in high places, whether they got there by means of affirmative action or not.

Then there's the basic categorical confusion. Let's go back to that historic juncture, wherein a black man and a woman are close contenders for their party's nomination. If his race is noteworthy, Obama the black man (regardless of how many ways his blackness has been interpreted), then so too is hers. [For those of you who believe we're living in a post-racialist society, if you haven't tuned out already, you'll probably want to skip the rest of this piece.]

This is a contest between a black man and a white woman. Voters orient themselves toward Obama along a broad spectrum of racial attitudes ranging from, "Of course I'm voting for the brother" to "I'd never in a million years cast my vote for an African American." And everything in between.

The point is, most sane people recognize that Obama's race matters. Well then, how is it that Clinton's doesn't? If Obama's blackness is a positive incentive for some voters, a liability for others and a source of confusion and ambivalence for still others, how is it that Clinton's whiteness is a big fat neutral. Is it not at least theoretically possible that some voters are positively inclined toward Clinton because she is white?

There is a brand of feminism, amply critiqued but still very much alive, that focuses on gender bias while consistently downplaying the salience of race. And the easiest way to avoid acknowledging that whiteness comes with its privileges is to avoid acknowledging it at all.

Whiteness as default, normative, unworthy of note. Clinton the woman; Obama the black man. In fact, Obama as doubly favored, as a man and, with reverse discrimination and tokenism in play, as an African American. Clinton, meanwhile, is hobbled by her gender and, since her whiteness is unacknowledged, neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by her race. This is the topsy-turvy world we're being asked to accept as reality.

I, for one, am going to take a pass on delusion. In Mississippi, though Obama took the state, 70 percent of white Democatic voters chose Clinton over Obama. In South Carolina, Obama took over 75 percent of the black vote but only 15 percent of the over-60 white vote, with similar results in Alabama.

Isn't is possible that at least some of those white voters would prefer to see a white person in the White House, regardless of gender, than an African American? And isn't it possible that whiteness is an element of Clinton's appeal in Ohio, Texas and, potentially, Pennsylvania, states in which Reagan Democrats (and Nixon Democrats before them) were won over to the Republican Party, at least in part, on the basis of frankly racist appeals?

As long as Clinton's whiteness is unacknowledged, so too are the dynamics that work to her advantage in this campaign.

The deep disappointment in the voting behavior of Obama-supporting men (read white men; see above) while officially chalked up to misogyny, has, in the argument of some feminists, crept uncomfortably close to a howl of anger at racial betrayal. In a Chicago Tribune article entitled "Sexism, not Racism, Thriving," a clearly frustrated Frida Ghitis claims.

"We may be winning the war against racism, but sexism is putting up quite a fight…Women are voting for Clinton and blacks are voting for Obama…If we look for someone who looks like us, for whom should a white man vote?...White men are giving their vote to Obama over Clinton." *

Let us grant without argument that many men, and a good number of women as well, would prefer to see a man in the White House than a woman. Is this evidence that sexism is alive and well? Indeed it is. But, as our own political processes constantly remind us, voting behavior is more than a little complex. Perhaps white men should be excoriated for their persistent sexism; perhaps we should be celebrating their transcendence of a centuries-long resistance to placing African Americans, men or women, in positions of power.

Would it be better, and for whom, if white men were to line up with white women and, as the saying goes, "vote their race?" Could this be what liberal feminists are advocating? Is Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the house?

It ought to be possible to point to the prevalence of sexism and misogyny, and their impact on Clinton's campaign, without downplaying the longstanding, ongoing, pervasive impact of racism in the U.S. But this is not the path they have chosen. In order to bolster their case for Clinton's relative disadvantage in the primary campaign, explain the white male vote in places like Iowa, Virginia, and Utah, and encourage white women to seize the historic moment, they impose a ranking order between racism and sexism, with sexism at the top, and insist on the declining significance of race.

Gloria Steinem:

"Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life…Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women." **

Those of us who witnessed the response to Hurricane Katrina; who check in occasionally on the racial demographics of the incarcerated; who are aware of the racial divide in income and, more significantly, wealth; who recognize that the public schools grow ever more segregated while the push-out rate for Black and Latino students rises ever higher; who track the relative scarcity of African Americans in professional schools, as well as in a whole range of professions; who know that the infant mortality rate for black babies outstrips the rate for white babies by two to one; who watch the dynamics of gentrification, dislocation and homelessness - we are not convinced that racism is an insignificant remnant.

And we're hard pressed to understand why this argument should be any more tolerated when it comes from liberal feminists than when it comes from the more frankly racist right wing. Since I'm not running for president I can be blunt. The denial of the significance of racism is a deep and abiding form of the thing itself.

Much has been made of the gender tightrope Clinton must walk. She can't seem too soft or too hard. She has to look attractive and expect that her hairdo, pantsuits, cleavage and ankles are all fair game for commentary. Tears will be relentlessly analyzed. She will be judged in ways that men never are. All of this is true, and an indication of how very far we have to go.But, interestingly, Clinton can and does directly associate her campaign with a potential blow against gender discrimination.

Obama cannot do the same with regard to race. Clinton regularly posits winning the presidency, breaking through that highest and hardest glass ceiling, as she puts it, as an historic win for women, more than 50 percent of the population. Obama, meanwhile, does not have the latitude to explicitly associate his campaign with the interests of African Americans or an anti- racist agenda. Part of this is simply about the numbers. But there's much more at work here.

While Clinton has been walking her tightrope, Obama has been busy threading the very narrowest of needles. There may be dozens of ways for a white man to campaign for the presidency and if our common history, both recent and remote, is any guide, just about any kind of white man can become president, as long as he has the cash and the connections.

Not so for the black man. At issue are not only his politics and his campaign craft, but also, crucially, how he inhabits his black manhood. (Now, up until a few months ago I couldn't have imagined that there was any way for a Black man to become a serious contender - to thread the needle - so we're all learning as we go here.)

White folks, in general, don't want to see any chips on the shoulders or any psychic scars on the soul. There isn't a black male in America over the age of 10 who doesn't have a few chips and scars, but letting them show is a major deal breaker in the halls of power. So props to Obama for a fine acting job.

There's a bargain that white voters have struck with Obama, and here, in brief, is what it is:

"You can be black, and we're happy to congratulate ourselves on voting for a black man, as long as you're black in a way that doesn't upset us, scare us, make us feel guilty, or make us feel too white."

Obama is holding up his side of the bargain, either because he's temperamentally inclined to do so or because he's carefully calculated what it takes to win over white voters, or some combination of the two. But the quality of his blackness is nonetheless an issue.

This is the meaning of the insistence that Obama distance himself from his pastor, Reverend Wright, and from Minister Farrakhan. Way too many chips and scars. Way too little regard for what white folks think. And way too much attachment to the African American community.

So, if Obama himself can't be tagged as too black for prime time, maybe he's too black by association. Further, while Obama has assiduously courted the black vote, he hasn't done so with an explicitly anti-racist message and he certainly hasn't posited the African-American community as the core of his coalition. Why? Because to do so would sink his campaign like a hundred weight stone.

This, in part, is the difference between the Jackson campaign, which built a disruptive, progressive coalition with Black voters and anti-racist politics at its core, and Obama's liberal coalition that is inclusive of and reliant upon black voters without centralizing their concerns in a way that would scare off white voters. Jackson ran as a direct challenge to the status quo, implementing an inside-outside strategy without the burden of expecting a win. Obama's first principle is viability, and he threads his needle accordingly.

It's more than a little interesting that liberal feminists, so highly attuned to the ways in which gender frames how Clinton can run, are blissfully (willfully?) ignorant of how race and racism shape the Obama campaign. Black racial solidarity still reads as a threat in a way that gender solidarity does not.

One last talking point before we close: the voting behavior of white women. Every national election cycle we're treated to lots of commentary about the gender gap and its meaning. More eligible women vote than do eligible men and women are somewhat more likely to cast their votes for Democrats than for Republicans.

Clinton is undeniably running strongly among white women Democrats, especially those over the age of 50. Should we be reading this as further evidence that the older women voters get, the more radical they become, as Morgan and Steinem contend? [Steinem: "Iowa women over 50 and 60, who disproportionately supported Senator Clinton, proved once again that women are the one group that grows more radical with age." Robin Morgan: "Older women are the one group that doesn't grow more conservative with age."]

The two party lockdown ensures that there's no real way to register radicalism in presidential primaries or national elections. So let's assume that those voting Democratic are somewhat more radical than those voting Republican. In the 2004 presidential election, 55 percent of white women gave their votes to George W. Bush; 62 percent of white men did the same. A significant gender gap.

Meanwhile, 90 percent of African American women and a slightly smaller proportion of African American men voted for John Kerry. In the 2000 presidential election, an astounding 94 percent of African American women voted Democratic. I can't do the math, but I suspect that if you were to subtract the overwhelmingly Democratic votes of African American women the gender gap would narrow considerably.

Younger voters from 18-29 years old cast 54 percent of their votes for the Democratic candidate in 2004. Exactly the same percentage of voters 60 and over cast them for Bush.

I just don't see the evidence that older white women constitute a hotbed of radicalism, or even consistent liberalism. Had they followed the lead of African American women in 2000 and 2004 we all would have been spared a whole lot of grief.

Liberal feminists have every right to spend down their political capital on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hard choices have to made; political debts have to be paid. But it will not count as progress if a Clinton win is purchased at the cost of deepening the racial divide. It is inexcusable to support a candidate in the name of feminism while deploying racist argumentation, minimizing the existence and impact of racism, and denying the advantages of inhabiting the racial space called "white." It will not be excused. Nor will it be forgotten.

* A whole nother article could be written about the disappearance of Black women in this rumble. And we have the title already at hand, the 1982 classic All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave.

** And yet another article on the black folks who died trying to exercise the right to vote, right up into the 1960s, and ongoing black disfranchisement, down to today. The struggle for women's suffrage was a valiant and protracted one, as is the struggle for black political enfranchisement. The distinction in the character (and timing) of those struggles speaks to distinctions in the character and quality of racism and sexism, not to the primacy of one over the other.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Rabon Saip takes us into a long-ago club to share an extraordinary musical evening in Trio.]


Would someone Please, Please address the fact that Barack Obama is "only" one-half black? I think this is supremely important in this political scene that he is one-half white. Do white men more easily see themselves in the one-half than they can in the feminine?

That was an interesting article and well put for the arguments and issues that are being faced. I read another one that tried to explain why Obama is able to run as he is-- as a man more than a man of any color-- and it's because he grew up mostly in Hawaii where the racial issues are very different. It's worth doing a search to find that link as it made a lot of sense.

Being a 64 year old, white woman, I took my time deciding who to support in the Democratic primary; but once I did, and it was Obama, it was based on character, how he works with people, his organizational skills, and his stand on issues which while not as far left as suits some, suits me. I think voters can look past that one is a woman and one is of mixed race and vote on character and issues. It might be harder for some to do than others, but it's important and once a leader gets in, character and issues will be what matter more than gender or race.

A facinating article. Thank you.

I am an "Older" white woman who lives in Pennsylvania and intends to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary election. I am not voting "Against" Obama, I am voting for the person I intended to vote for long before I ever heard the name Barack Obama.

But, as I have said before, If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee for the presidency I will not only vote for him, I will campaign for him to the best of my ability.

Read Newsweek Magazine (March 31 issue)A wonderful article on Obama growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia and his college days at Occidental and Columbia. It gave me new insights into his character and personality. I came away impressed...

She makes some good points that can be analyzed from every point of view and many persist in doing so. I would welcome time, space and energy from writers, news media, candidates focusing on the multitude of problems this country faces so people of all color, all genders and sexual orientation can zero in on who does, indeed, appear to be the best candidate.

That is not to say issues of gender and race are not of concern in this country, or that we shouldn't think about these issues, take action to rectify inequities. I, for one, hope this race does not degenerate into voting on the basis of race, gender, or age, though for some those may always be governing criteria.

Excellent! Great discussion starter.

I am not sure how best to word this, for I surely intend no meanness, and perhaps it does indicate my own subconscious racial bias, but I just don't "see" Obama's candidacy as a "black" man's one. I see an extremely intelligent, polished and sincere candidate who appears to truly want to give service to his country. No blind ambition, no loud obnoxious soapbox, and no trumping with a race card for extra points - simply a terrific choice for president.

And it is very simple for me; Obama signifies a new America, a stronger America, a country with values and ideals and heart and not just a new saddle on an old nag.

Senator Clinton, on the other hand, displays the gender card up front, in your face and "how dare you NOT vote for a woman if you ARE a woman" kind of attitude.

Would I like to see a woman president?

Hell, yeah!

Does that override any other consideration for voting for a candidate?

Hell, no!

(this comment was inadvertantly stuck on the wrong post...don't even ask...TGIF)

I believe Prof. Thomas Nakayama was among the first to discuss whiteness as often constructed as a neutral or unseen (Whiteness: Communicating Social Identity, with Judith Martin, co-editors, Sage, 1998).

Here's how I see it: white trumps black (or brown); male trumps female of any color.

Obama is attractive, intelligent, and has comported himself graciously but yes -- he has skipped to the front of the line. His often youthful supporters have the qualities of true believers -- a persistent strain in American politics (Eric Hoffer, 1951, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements). If we stack up experience, Hillary wins hands-down, and mass euphoria scares the heck out of me. Jack Kennedy is only a great president because he was assassinated: Krushchev tapdanced on our doorstep with the Cuban missile crisis, testing a president whom had deemed naive. I've been writing about the Clinton-Obama face-off on my blog ( with links to folks who know more than I do or say it more effectively.

I am a Democrat. I am an aging white woman who supports Clinton, and I will vote for any candidate who offers a legitimate alternative to 100 more years in Iraq. As for this long article posted on Times Goes By: The lady doth protest too much methinks (Shakespeare?).

Linda Burnham has done an important service for us by bringing this thinking together in one place. I would also recommend Alice Walker's perspective appearing at on 3/28/08 "Lest We Forget: An open letter to my sisters who are brave."

What I would add is that all elder liberal white feminists do not think, feel or behave alike. Many understand that each of the oppressions of racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, antisemitism etc. runs along a continuum from inequities to psychological and physical violence. And we realize that any attempt to rank these oppressions is impossible and results in destructive horizontal hostility or competition among marginalized groups, while the people with the most power profit from our fighting.

I am also thinking a lot a about our language of "half white." I am part of a multiracial family. My black/white bi-racial nieces and friends do not think or talk about themselves as "half" but rather as a whole identity. Some refer to themselves as bi-racial, others as women of color. But in most cases they are perceived and treated as African American women. Their whiteness, becomes invisible while my whiteness becomes an unspoken advantage. Thank you all for this discussion.

Unfortunately, the only proof of a President is in the serving.

Tropigal's "...mass euphoria scares the heck out of me." strikes a resonant chord in me. Having seen, over the years, how mass hysteria and mass euphoria distort human reaction to stimulae, I fear that many of us are ignoring the verifiable and being swept away on a tide of mass euphoria.

Yes, John Kennedy had charisma (I voted for the man when young enough to be swayed by mass euphoria!); but, I too believe that he is only seen as a great president because of the circumstance of his death. We are frequently cautioned against a deal that seems too good to be true. I'm hoping that we are not being misled by a candidate who seems too good to be true. In my elder years, I am a contrarian to mass hysteria or mass euphoria. Currently, the only reason I could vote for Obama is to keep another right wing justice from being put on the Supreme Court.

yes, ronni, i'd like to know linda burnham too. here's an oversized hat-tip for including her brilliant essay here.

i'm embarrassed by older women, some claiming feminism, who can only push the negative button in defense of hillary. of course i'll vote for her if she's the party nominee but wariness will remain.

does it occur to others that she continues to diminish herself by having no control over the dreadful stuff coming from bill clinton? can we expect either to be enthusiastic campaigners for obama-- if he is allowed to be the nominee?

Brilliant essay, Linda! I'm particularly interested in your comments on the failure of naming whiteness as a category == as blackness is affixed to us. It's been clear to me since I was an observant teenager that whites are the generic people and the rest of us are exotic -- and so it remains to this day despite arguments to the contrary. Once that is understood, the omission makes a kind of sense though is hardly rational.

I don't suppose whiteness as a category ever occurred to me before reading this essay. Now, after also reading Betty Reid Soskin's follow-up to that idea, it suddenly feels like the oddest thing for it not to be a category - as though whites are the default kind of person.

Or maybe I mean that it suddenly feels odd that black, Latino, Asian, etc. ARE categories in so many situations.

I wonder now how many times in my life I've, for example, told a friend about another and said something like, "She's smart, funny, a gorgeous black woman."

In my liberal smugness, I'm sure I'd not make a separate point of her color; I'd just slip in that adjective among the list of other qualities.

But I would never, in the reverse circumstance, say "She's smart, funny, a gorgeous white woman."

Good god, we have a long way to go.

Not until one's skin color (or religion or age, etc.) becomes a neutral description without potential negative baggage, can we say, "She's a gorgeous black (or Asian or Jewish or old) woman" with the same kind of meaning as smart, strong, accomplished or from Rhode Island.

Very thought provoking and insightful I, too, never thought of being white as being neutral or, as Ronni says, a default color; it was just white.

I am guilty of taking it for granted that all other colors flow from white.

This intelligent article has started a whole new way of thinking.

I have already said that women have always been at the bottom of any category in society.

The rich billionaires of the world are predominently male and from there down, at least financially, we can go to the bottom which is mostly female.

When our city of Seattle can boast four stadiums inside the city limits (built for predominently male sports) while there are still no free childcare centers or early childhood education centers or compensatory time for women nursing babies we are still putting women and the children that they bear at the bottom.

Intellectually we know that over 85 percent of all the genes in all humans around the world are alike, and yet we are still dividing ourselves up into colors and heights and other categories that separate us.

We put greater hurdles before women running for office than before any man. In fact, it is my opinion that the gulf between the sexes is the greatest gulf in the human kingdom.
Most humans, especially males, see themselves as their particular sex before they see themselves as human.

Why not finally be humans together and consider our human traits and talents first? I am nearing 88 and hope that before I leave this earth that females can at last be seen as human beings first and recognized for their human strengths and potential contributions to society.

Thank you so much for posting this essay. I did discover many years ago that white (heterosexual, male) equals normal. This, from Judith's comment above, makes the point so well, I think:

"Some refer to themselves as bi-racial, others as women of color. But in most cases they are perceived and treated as African American women. Their whiteness, becomes invisible while my whiteness becomes an unspoken advantage."

I never comment on political stuff, as I am neither an American, nor fascinated or knowledgeable in politics. Just wanted to say that I found this essay very enlightening.
It reminded me how as a young woman at the U of Illinois, I filled in my first form and was asked to tell my gender and my race (can't really remember if it actually said 'race' of origin) and to a Jewish French woman born right at the end of WWII, it was deeply shocking. I didn't even understand the terms used. The secretary said to tick "Caucasian" and again, to a Jewish woman whose mother was born in Poland, Caucasians meant people who lived in some place in the USSR (now Russia). How could I be Caucasian? The secretary said it meant "white".
I wonder if it still says "Caucasian" on the US forms?

late to this but thankful to have spent the time. Thanks for sharing this peice Ronni.

Linda, thank you for raising so many good points.

As for the inexperience aspect, usually more attributed to Obama than Clinton; let's turn to some hiring guidelines for customer service professionals. Hire people who care first, then teach them the technology to provide the support.

Every time I hear a speech from Obama, I am more convinced of his sincerity which unfortunately I can not say for Clinton. I'll take his sincerity and suffer willingly his "inexperience".

Steve--Sincereity does not equal competence nor does inexperience equal incompetence. I do believe that there is value in having wide exposure to the situations that one will be expected to handle. I do believe that a sincere person can absolutely benefit from a stint as second-in-command. As to Senator Clinton's sincerity: I cannot imagine her putting herself through that to which she has been subjected in the last 20 years lacking a sincere desire to serve the people. I know that Senator Clinton can take the hard knocks. I can only hope that Senator Obama can.

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