Many, many years ago, when I was just becoming aware of the notion of feminism and the power of women in the political arena, I joined EMILY’s List, an organization “dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.” Being firmly pro-choice myself, I could see no better fit for my support, both financially and morally. That was until the 2008 Democratic primary. When Ellen Malcom, the President of EMILY’s List, endorsed Hillary Clinton and threw the support and network of her organization behind the Clinton campaign, I understood. The stated purpose of EMILY’s List is to support female candidates. But when EMILY’s List help distort Senator Obama’s record on choice, sending out mailers containing outright lies, I resigned my membership and turned my back on that organization. And after Malcolm issued some really harsh criticism of NARAL Pro-Choice America for their endorsement of Senator Obama in May, saying that it was “tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton ,” I was even happier that I had distanced myself from her organization.
On June 6, however, Ellen Malcolm sent out a letter to her members, in which she said several things that please me, including:
…. And now that (the primary) is over, I wholeheartedly congratulate Barack Obama. What a triumph for our new leader! He has inspired millions of Americans and shown that he is more than ready to take on John McCain.
…. EMILY’s List members, like all Democrats, are experiencing varying emotions — but we are unified in our determination to undo the damage created by George W. Bush and the Republicans. I am confident that our party will unify as well, and come together to take the White House in November. And, once again, EMILY’s List will unleash the political power of women to help Democrats win at every level in 2008 so we can begin to rebuild a progressive America.
The differences between Sens. Obama and McCain dwarf the nuanced policy differences between Obama and Clinton. We can never forget what John McCain stands for: continuation of the war in Iraq, minimal changes on health care, economic policy that rests on tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, and a steadfast determination to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Electing John McCain is simply perpetuating the policies of George W. Bush. For the country’s sake, we cannot let that happen.
I cannot, honestly, see myself supporting EMILY’s List again. The tactics employed by Malcolm and her team were too dishonest. But I am happy that she has come on board in the spirit of a unified Democratic party. It’s about damn time.
I will be blogging from the Democratic National Convention on behalf of Zennie’s Zeitgeist. Maybe I’ll get a chance to ask someone from EMILY’s List a few questions about their behavior during the primary and their plans going forward. Who knows? Maybe they’ll change my mind.