Gender Bias and Hillary

SNL 'women's news' skit was funny, but there's a serious underlying issue.

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A 20-something journalism buddy said "everyone" she knows is watching an online version of a Saturday Night Live skit from last weekend in which writer-comedian Tina Fey hosts a segment called "women's news." In it, she pokes fun at women who've "come so far as feminists they feel they don't need to vote for a woman" and instead blindly follow whatever Oprah Winfrey tells them to do.

The sketch is clearly meant to support Hillary Clinton's beleaguered campaign and is pretty effective in so doing. She chides voters who don't like the idea that the Clintons have run as sort of a team.

Sure, she says, it'd be terrible to have two experienced, intelligent people running the White House.

But she closes the sketch with an unforgettable line. She talks about media references to Clinton as a "b - - - -" and says, "B - - - - is the new black."

One has to wonder how big a factor gender bias is in Clinton's downfall. Of course, she entered the race with so much baggage that historians could spend centuries researching the issue without devolving an answer. A high-level Democratic strategist told me months ago that internal polls showed some groups of American voters were more likely to vote for an African-American man than for a woman of any color. And salon.com ran an article this week likening a Barack Obama-John McCain race to cop flicks that team a white man and a black man together, in the case of this campaign to overcome a woman:

The movies don't get any manlier than buddy cop flicks. They're romances for guys, portrayals of male marriage. Two men with clashing personalities—the strait-laced family man, the trigger-happy hot shot—team up to form a crime-fighting force that's more powerful than their individual egos. In the search for opposites, it's amazing how many movies cast a white guy and a black guy. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in "Miami Vice." Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in "Men in Black." Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon" I through X.

John Stodder, a 52-year-old blogger from Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., looks at the presidential field and sees another buddy-cop pairing: John McCain and Barack Obama, supposed mavericks who break their parties' rules, bound together by a common mission—keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

As former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers put it: "At least she became the first woman to ever win a presidential primary."