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Celebrity Politics

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In the last weeks before the Iowa primary, Obama has help from Oprah and Hillary is appearing with Chelsea and her mother, Dorothy Rodham. This news report suggests the point is to appeal to female voters:

“Oprah and Hillary — two women so famous that they are known by their first names — were vying for the attention of Iowa voters Saturday on opposing sides of the close Democratic presidential campaign.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York was joined by her mother and daughter Saturday as she vowed “change across the generations” and stepped up her pitch to the female voters who could hold the key to Iowa’s caucuses Jan. 3.

The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois — also interested in winning over women, who have been leaning toward Clinton in the polls — enlisted the help of Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey said worry about the direction of the country and a personal belief in Obama pushed her to make her first endorsement in a presidential campaign.

The weekend “Oprahpalooza” lends star power to Obama’s campaign, drawing huge crowds that he hopes will translate into votes. Tens of thousands were expected to turn out for Winfrey’s Iowa stops and visits today to South Carolina and New Hampshire with Obama and his wife.”

There was more regarding Hillary’s campaign:

“Clinton countered Oprah-mania by debuting two other women on the campaign trail — her mother, Dorothy Rodham, 88, and daughter, Chelsea, 27. The reluctant Chelsea Clinton’s public emergence normally would have been big news, but it was a last-minute announcement that was overshadowed by hype surrounding Winfrey.

Clinton noted that her mother fits the description of women who were born before women got the right to vote and are now pushing to elect the first female president. “She has seen a lot happen and change in our country,” Clinton said. “Not everyone is as lucky to have their mother or father or grandparent with them as we are.”

The multigenerational appeal was aimed straight at women voters.

I know the stereotypes about women voters but I wonder if women are more likely than men to be swayed by celebrity endorsements or quasi-celebrity families. If so, is it equally true of all women or does it vary by region, age, or financial or marital status?


17 Responses to “Celebrity Politics”

  1. Its good to keep in mind that stereotypes about women voters are generally media-instigated, driven and defined.

    As a married, middle-aged, economically middle-class female, I can tell you that celebrity endorsement doesn’t do much for me. In fact, I’m inclined to rebel against any prescribed gender expectations simply because it frequently panders to emotionalism and negates critical thinking.

    God gave me a brain to use. And I fully intend to continue doing so.

    Dana (ea6737)

  2. Dana,

    I’m familiar with the marriage gap theory that married women are more likely to vote conservative than single women. It’s tempting to hypothesize that conservative women are contrarians (like you) or more likely to be influenced by their conservative husbands. However, I find the latter hypothesis unlikely based on my experience and observations (although I realize anecdotal theories aren’t reliable).

    In any event, assuming the marriage gap exists, I don’t think the cause-and-effect involved is clear. It’s also possible that conservative women are more likely to stay married or that liberal women are more likely to get divorced.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  3. Reading the stories this election and looking at past elections; women seem to vote more on feelings (not to disparage anyone in particular).

    The quote (sorry I forget who said it) about the black woman who was torn about voting for Hillary because she was a woman and Obama because he was black seems to play into that (nevermind the issues).

    Now I’m not saying all women do that or even that all Democratic women (or Republican), just that it seems that quite a lot of them do (from personal experience, the D women I know are more prone to it).

    Lord Nazh (eb270b)

  4. Lord Nazh,

    That’s a good point, although I would state it in a slightly different way: I there is a widely-held belief that women are more likely to act on intuition than men, but I’m curious if this is true.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  5. How much were Hillary’s brothers paid to obtain pardons from Bill? Will they join her on the campaign?

    Just asking. I mean, is her family relevant, or not?

    Amphipolis (e6b868)

  6. Notice the Clintonian parsing in describing her mother — one who was born before women had the right to vote. I’m about Hillary’s age, and her mom appears much younger than my Mom who was born in 1918. But consider sufferage is adopted in 1920, so 21 years more would pass before Hillary’s mother was able to vote based on her age. Something tells me that this was not a constant, burning issue for Hillary’s mom. Just a little feminist pandering.

    red (9e9332)

  7. DRJ, perhaps part of the problem is the need to assign labels – I don’t see myself as a contrarian but instead an average jane who happens to be a woman and prefers thinking through matters and drawing my own conclusions.

    I was a Repub before I married. I still am 30 years later still believe it the sound path. It may seem an anamoly in light of the USA Today piece you linked to but I don’t think so. I think there are a lot of women that came up during the ERA wars and have found a way to think for themselves and not be squahesd into gender stereotyping either way….

    Dana (ea6737)

  8. Dana,

    My comment did sound like a label and I’m sorry. It’s ironic, however, since the point I was trying to make is that there is stereotyping here and I don’t think it’s correct. Not all married women are conservatives, and not all single women are liberal. On the other hand, in general the statistics support these categories. What I’m trying to get at is “Why?”

    I’m sure someone has studied this (beyond the general statistics) but, if so, I can’t find it.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  9. DRJ, please, no apology necessary. I didn’t take it personally but more of a confirmation that we do tend to label as does the media (‘soccer moms’, ‘security moms’) and I think it causes people to adopt a certain mindset about those they classify as fitting the label and also, it then becomes too easy those willing ‘labelees’ to wear the stereotyped mantle and and let others do the heavy lifting of thinking, for themselves.

    Anyway, as I see it, liberalism appeals to emotions. There is not a lot of critical thinking, logic, or assuming of self-reliance and responsibility. And that perhaps is the ‘soft’ side of politicking that appeals to the soft or nurturing sides of women?

    …of course, that then leads to the possibility (gasp!) that women are indeed hardwired differently than men…where is that Larry Summers at anyway?

    Dana (ea6737)

  10. Ack. Horrible wording…let me try to rephrase it more coherently: It then becomes too easy for those who willingly adopt a label for themselves to let others do the thinking for them (group think). Thus, individual thinking and analyzing gets fades…

    Dana (ea6737)

  11. Please forget the gender issue with Hillary or the encouragements by Opra either.

    Opra’s fancy school was recently exposed in the media as the singular solution to all problems! Throw money their way and it makes it all better! Nope it don’t. It opens the doors to gaining something that one is probably not entitled to creates outright thieves.

    There is not a single brush large enough to cover the gender spread and the reasons for it matter not. Only votes.

    Generally women will indeed follow their heart/emotions/desires. And they reveal themselves in their works as well. Speaking about the obvious attempt at destructing the image of a father/male figure in the add campaigns. If a glass ceiling actually exists, it was built by women today.

    If Hillary is anything at all, she should be studied in HOW she managed to manipulate her situation into the current power she now holds. She did NOT gain such by being a feminist or Throwing her pig of a husband out on his ear. She knew she could get nowhere without him! HIM as in a MALE!

    She was far from honest with Bill and he was far from honest with her. They both had outside under the sheets companions. She just learned how to form them into her own goals. And Vince Foster paid for his trip under the sheets.

    Did you know that at Duke University a class is being held for this discussion? Would you cast your vote for gender/Hillary vs, Race/Ohbama!

    Just one example of what we pay for in institutions of higher learning.

    Opera is enormously popular and she will swing many to her words that will result in a vote. Substance or not, many do not understand substance! Sad but true. Oh and gender is not really the issue. Even though such is a massive knife between the ribs of Hillary!

    TC (1cf350)

  12. Hillary’s campaign is in trouble here in Iowa. She’s had to fire her 2nd county chair for forwarding an email about Obama that is a smear.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  13. You may have Oprah Winfrey, but I’ve got Chelsea Clinton! Boo yah!
    – Hillary Clinton

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  14. I wouldn’t hit a dead dog in the derriere with the best part of Hillary Rodham Clinton so I’m probably the wrong person to comment BUT here goes:

    Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton have the necessary foreign policy experience, nor to my view, sufficient SPINE to defend our nation at War. Nor can either point to a solid record of actual accomplishment – Obama’s been in the Senate for what only slightly longer than 10 minutes and while Hillary has logged 7 years, what legislation has she introduced, what positive achievements ON HER OWN is she able to take credit for? The answer is NONE whatsoever. She takes full credit for the few solid accomplishments of her husband’s two terms but NONE OF THE BLAME for his numerous failures. Talk about sleazy!

    And for the record, I am a 65 year old female who plans to vote for McCain or Romney in the primaries. But like most women, I am detail oriented and don’t find the deets of any of the other candidates, Dem or Pubbie, particularly appealing. To me, Kucinich is a loon (but then in my estimation so is Ron Paul), my view of Edwards is that he is a narcissistic pretty boy and a dishonest huckster. Don’t care much for Huckabee – if for no other reason than I don’t think we need another Arkansas governor in the near future in the White House – particularly not a minster! Richardson is nothing but a toady to the Clintons and his ideas about ILLEGALS are less than appealing. Thompson leaves me almost cold. Tancredo I like on ONE issue but have my doubts about the rest of his views, Giuliani is too liberal and then there’s the multiple marriage thing. See, to me, that means he cannot be trusted to make and KEEP a commitment (you know, marriage vows or that whole Preserve, Protect and Defend stuff?).

    I’ve said it other years but I wasn’t really serious; this year I am absolutely serious. I’m considering voting “no” for President!

    Gayle Miller (187b6e)

  15. As a woman and as a voter, I must admit that I am indeed swayed by celebrity endorsements of political candidates…..99.625% of the time, I am swayed not to vote for the endorsee!

    Bohemian (4cfcf8)

  16. “And Vince Foster paid for his trip under the sheets.”


    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

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