Ex-Democratic congresswoman Lynn Schenk, fresh from the local campaign trail as Hillary Clinton’s San Diego chairwoman, has circulated a lengthy email to volunteers and contributors giving her take on her candidate’s defeat, which she attributes to the media, along with the sexism of Democratic chairman Howard Dean. “Hello wonderful Hillary supporters,” the message begins. “Some people have asked why they have not heard from me after Hillary suspended her campaign. The truth is, I have been without words sufficient to express the many thoughts and feelings churning within me. I have lost my own elections and have faced defeat in other arenas, but nothing has affected me as this primary outcome has. Also, I did not want to write from anger.

“For the past nearly 40 years,” Schenk continues, “I have devoted a good part of my life, my time, my work and my money to advancing the causes of women — in law, in politics, in business and in society. Always, always I was fueled by hope that when sexism was pointed out that the ‘majority’ of people would see it and act to eliminate it.

“Oh, there would always be ‘those people’ who didn’t ‘get it,’ but in my mind they would be in the distinct minority because the good people of this amazing country, this breathtaking experiment in pluralism, would do what is right just because we are so fair minded.

“For over 40 years, my ultimate political fantasy, which would be the exclamation point to my life’s work, was the election of a Democratic woman as President of the United States. Yes we have eliminated so many blatant forms of sexism, so many obvious roadblocks to the advancement of women, yes we have created so many opportunities that 40 years ago were almost unimaginable.

“But I am suffused with sadness as I realize what effort still lies ahead. How do we get at the subtle sexism, the subconscious sexism the structural sexism that even good and well-intentioned people (some women as well as most men) don’t see and don’t acknowledge?

“The journalists who are indignant that they are being accused of sexism? I think most of them are good people who would be horrified to have someone point out examples of racist bias or bias against the disabled etc in their coverage.

“I believe that they believe they are not sexist. I believe that they believe they treated Hillary as just another candidate, customizing their questions and coverage to the sum of who she is. But that is why I am so sad. They don’t see it, understand it, or get it, that inherent in that ‘customizing’ is sexism.

“I am ineffably sad that the head of the Democratic Party, an otherwise good and decent man, did not understand his own sexism. He did not call out that ‘enough is enough’ when a woman in New Hampshire asked Sen. McCain, ‘how are we going to beat the bitch?’ or when men held up a wrinkled shirt and taunted Hillary with ‘iron my shirt.’ So there is so much left to be done.”

Schenk, an ex-aide to former governor Gray Davis recently appointed to the board of Sempra Energy, concludes by telling her followers to support the party’s presumptive nominee, Barack Obama, with conditions. “I have participated in several calls with [Clinton] and she is without question committed to a Democratic win in November. She is equally committed to her ‘team’ being treated with respect. So, if you are inclined to participate as she has asked us to do, please consider doing it in such a way that the Obama campaign knows you are doing so through ‘Team Hillary.’ ”

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Comments

realnews June 25, 2008 @ 12:42 p.m.

oh I think media was well aware of their sexism. It's just that their agenda is fraught with too many examples of misogyny, to detail. Including amazingly enough, from some so-called top tier journalists. Am not naming names but, okay maybe one, Peggy Noonan.

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beatrix June 25, 2008 @ 3:47 p.m.

I was a Hillary supporter myself, and I do believe that the media was sexist in their coverage of her campaign, but to say that Howard Dean is sexist just embarrasses me for Lynn Schenk. That assessment is way off base. The man went out of his way to remain neutral,and wait for the voters to decide and as always, his tenacity payed off and it was ultimately the right thing to do for the party. Howard Dean is the best thing that has happened to the Democratic Party since Bobby Kennedy. Stop with the circular firing squad already. Let's get behind our candidate and win this thing!

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Duhbya June 27, 2008 @ 6:59 a.m.

If you can't handle the heat, stay in the kitchen! Subtle enough for you, Lynn?

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monaghan June 27, 2008 @ 9:51 p.m.

Lynn Schenk has a nerve to moan about the treatment of Hillary Clinton at the hands of forward-thinking DNC chair Howard Dean. Dean was a model of forbearance who let Hillary continue to "campaign" -- read, shred Obama with half-truths and innuendo -- long after someone less tolerant and small-d democratic would have pulled the plug on her. Clinton was mean-spirited from time to time, but most especially at the end when she refused to concede graciously to Obama and then delayed her anti-climactic goodbye to a Saturday morning, when most journalists are at Home Depot. Hillary is a woman and she is smart and a contender and she broke a barrier, no doubt about it. But neither she nor her husband ever has drawn my admiration. She married a colossally ambitious, amazingly limited person who got to the White House by any means necessary, including peddling a more Republican outlook than many liberal Republicans of an earlier time. To get there, both she and Bill Clinton participated in destroying or trying to destroy many hapless female lovers of chronically-dallying Bill, including the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In spite of humiliation and ignominy, Hillary stood by Bill because he was the conduit to her main chance. As a necessary steppingstone, Hillary ran for the Senate and won and is reported to be a good representative for New York State. Then she decided to run for President, to claim what she had always wanted for herself. But it was not to be, and she lost big-time, and most definitely not mainly because of sexism. She just could not compete with Obama's charisma and message and freshness. It really is a new day and Hillary feels like the past.

I am offended by Lynn Schenk's phony distress, her feigned ineffable sadness, and her threat to maintain "Team Hillary" when she goes to the Democratic Convention as a delegate. Schenk backed the wrong horse this time and she is, for the moment, out in the cold. But it's nothing that a big bundled campaign contribution can't fix and I am sure she will be restored to the periphery of Democratic Party circles after she delivers. Shenck was handmaiden to Gray Davis and heiress to any inside-dopester slot that opened up among her always rich, always hybrid San Diego-area GOP/Demo friends. Her lament for Hillary's defeat seems to me like the shock of the new for a long-time wheeler-dealer who is surprised to have been out-maneuvered.

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jacquielowell July 2, 2008 @ 6:17 p.m.

Folks who campaigned for Hillary Clinton were just as fervent in their support for a Senator who has done a lot of good for her constituents and voted well for this country, as those of us who see in Barak Obama a JFK-like ability to people his administration with a competent "brain trust" and galvanize citizens to do the work necessary for positive change.

It was a hard-fought enough campaign, that whomever was on the losing side of the nomination would naturally harbor some hard feelings. However, the differences between these two candidates are miniscule compared to the differences between either one of them and McCain, so the important thing now is for folks supporting either candidate to unite behind the nominee and work for the positive change we ALL want to see take place in this country.

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vmje4s July 14, 2008 @ 12:20 p.m.

Amen. Quit moaning and complaining about what happened in the past. It's done! Just unite behind the nominee and work for a positive change!!

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