Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Anti-Hillary Craziness

Any long time reader of this blog probably knows I'm a right of center kinda guy. When it comes to presidential candidates I'm, for the most part, interested in Republicans, although I'll make an exception for a Democrat who I really believe is fiscally responsible. (I still miss Paul Tsongas for example.)

As none of the current batch of Democrats running for the White House could be considered fiscally sound (hell, they all want the Federal government to take over health care for 300+ million people one way or another), I haven't given them much thought. But I've kept an eye on developments, which isn't hard to do as they get about twice the coverage of the Republicans in the MSM. I have to say, the rather vicious turn against Clinton by the media has me a little unnerved. It is unhinged and definitely far removed from reality, and it has taken hold in the blogs as well. Basically the imputation is that anyone who tries to run against Obama is a racist, Bill and Hillary Clinton included. (It had already been announced by some that John Edwards was a racist cracker for even being in the race against the anointed one.)

The media is consumed in their quest to cram Obama down all of our throats by telling us over and over that his empty platitudes are in reality the wisdom of JFK, RFK, and MLK rollled into one. Bullshit. Obama is a politician, and from what I can see a pretty shallow and useless one at that.

I may not care for the Clinton's politics, but the character assassination is completely uncalled for.


Justin Gardner said...

Hmmm, craziness? Really? What I have over at Donklephant are numerous posts that document and detail a trail of Clinton dirty tricks against Obama. You can think that's me trying to cram Obama down everybody's throat, but Clinton's own tactics have turned me against her, not the media's love for Obama.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

What dirty tricks?

All I ever see linked to is a comment Bill makes that Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina as well. That's true right? Jackson's wins in South Carolina didn't mean he had pull in other parts of the country. Thats a simple fact. I'm not sure how it is out of bounds to point out the fact that South Carolina's Democratic voters are majority black, and they went for Obama over 80%. That is not a situation Obama will enjoy anywhere else, so Obama's true support is yet to be measured.

All of that is either fact (Jackson's wins, the makeup of the South Carolina electorate, etc) or opinion that can be borne out by further observations (Obama's support in other states). In fact Clinton still has huge leads in the overwhelming majority of Super Tuesday states, which further indicates that Bill had a legitimate point. The bile thrown up by the media in response to these remarks is simply irrational.

The other things that gets jumped on is Hillary's remark that you needed political leaders in Washington ready to act to bring the moral vision of MLK into the realm of political reality. That is simply true. Yet the media acted as if she was running down MLK. That episode was complete and utter bullshit. Look you are never going to get a Political Scientist to tell you that minoroity rights legislation get acted upon without allies in the political world of Washington. It NEVER happens that way. The implication that Hillary said anythng even UNUSUAL is simply false. And it creates a chilling atmosphere when simple truisms are no longer allowed in the name of whatever the hell one calls the Obama hysteria.

As for cramming Obama down our throats, I was talking about the media more specifically. Blogs are, by their very nature, a take it or leave it proposition. I don't read blogs as a primary source of information, so I dont care if you have a particular spin on things. I do expect blogs to take a more critical eye to what they see in the media more generally....and it is a little disappointing when folks turn off that particular faculty as election time draws nearer.

It always struck me that that is when we as citizens should be more skeptical of what we are fed, not less.

Alan Stewart Carl said...

I think the media do tend to favor Obama -- although I think that's mainly because he's such a good story and not because the Clintons have no fans in the media. I don't think the media are manufacturing the kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle racial politics being used by the Clintons. The evidence is pretty clear and there's nothing wrong with those who condemn the Clintons for once again using every means available (regardless of the amorality or immorality) to win.

The Jesse Jackson quote was just the last in a long series of manuevers by the Clintons and their surrogates in a two-pronged effort to 1)subtlely paint Obama as a black boogie man (mainly by mentioning his youthful drug use in ways that played up his race)and 2) paint his candidacy as a niche candidacy, a black thing that seeks to exclude whites (the Jesse Jackson remark was part of that effort). Both lines of attack use race as a divisive tactic -- an especially egregious move when you consider how much undying support the Clintons have received from the black community.

I understand fully how you might see Obama as shallow. I don't understand why you'd accuse Clinton's critics of being unhinged. Some of the attacks have been rather shrill, but not the ones on the blog post to which you link. They are all well considered and from writers not known to jump on media-manufactured bandwagons.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any question that the media has a crush on Obama, as exemplified by the NBC news reporter who last week said on camera, "I having a hard time staying objective..." And they have been helping Obama, and possibly purposely misconstruing the Clintons' attacks.

Since there really isn't a dime's worth of difference between Clinton and Obama on the issues, the Clintons have resorted to throwing whatever crap they can find to see what sticks. First, they tried the kindergarten essay nonsense, then the drug thing, the LBJ thing, and finally trying to marginalize him by spinning the Obama victories as unrepresentative outcomes that are not likely to be repeated.

I have a hard time buying the racial angle that has been imputed to the Clintons--the drugs innuendo certainly does not imply any racial motivation (it probably says more about the one who propagated the inference about race, than the Clintons' intentions.) However, it's much harder to give the Clintons the benefit of the doubt on the Jesse Jackson remark.

I also have a few thoughts on the MLK/LBJ analogy. First, it's a stupid analogy. Hillary is no LBJ, and Obama is no MLK. LBJ was an accomplished legislator who knew how to make deals and get things done. What has Hillary ever accomplished? And as for Obama, his legislative record suggests that he is not a leader: MLK was willing to face police dogs, water hoses, and jail for social justice. Obama doesn't have the stones to cast a couple of tough votes. Give me break...

Furthermore, the LBJ analogy is highly suggestive of how simplistic and backward HRC's thinking is. In a narrow, pedantic sense, HRC is absolutely correct: LBJ was necessary to enact the civil rights legislation. In her view, the government was the hero of the story, beneficently providing civil rights to the little people like a good parent who cares for his dependent children. A broader view of the era suggests that the causality ran in the opposite direction: The civil rights movement started from the bottom, with people like Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks. These people knew what they wanted to live free of unwarranted interference in their lives, and they demanded it, eventually through King. Finally,given all the pressure that King and company applied, the government and LBJ had little choice but to act. It wouldn't have happened if people were as feeble and dependent as HRC seems to think. I find Hillary's little parable very suggestive of her imperiousness--not her best quality.

The irony is that the clear racially neutral line of attack against Obama is that his legislative record is quite light, and strongly suggests that Obama is not a leader, but a politician, and a worthless one at that). However, this would only serve to underscore her lack of accomplishments. I think the Republican nominee is going to have a field day attacking either one of them in the general election...

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Alan: So we have to assume Obama will fly for a general audience? Political correctness demands it? If that is so, why is it OK to do the same thing to Clinton on the issue of gender? That happens routinely and no one raises an objection to it. It is a double standard and I do not blame the Clinton campaign from pushing back against it. The complete inability of the media to contextualize this race in any way that doesn't bend over backward for Obama is a sign that the media has lost itself in its cheerleading. Obama is behind in all but two of the Super Tuesday states (and one of the ones he leads is his home state), yet they media is acting like there is an Obama juggernaut steaming to victory. That is not a reflection of reality, that is an attempt to influence public opinion for their preferred candidate. They are not even bothering to hide the fact anymore.

Its nuts.

Now, I'm not saying the Clintons are angels, and yes Anon the thing with the kindergarden "essay" was incredibly dim witted. (As for the LBJ comparison you can think it is a good point or a bad point, I'm just saying there is nothing beyond the pale about it.)

Generally speaking, I'm convinced the vitriol being spat at the Clintons has more to do with championing "the chosen one" rather than any actual slight perpetrated by those "evil bastard Clintons."

Alan Stewart Carl said...

It's not just that they said Obama appeals only to blacks, it's that they have tried to use that as a reason for white people to vote for Hillary (it's the old Southern Strategy). It's the divide and conquer politics that they have been good at for years (although not quite as good as Karl Rove). I guess you don't see it and that's fine. But just because others do see it doesn't make them crazy. There's a good deal of evidence.

I think what we're seeing is a rejection of the Clintons as much for what they have done as for what they are currently doing. They have a long history of screwing people over and lying to secure and maintain power. Because of that, any misstep they make now is magnified. Obama gets more of a pass because he has very little history. The Clintons are being punished as much for their past misdeeds as for their current. It's just that a lot of people are now waking up to just how calculate all those misdeeds have been.

You are right that the media (or at least a lot of media members) are fawning over Obama. But that doesn't make the Clintons innocent. Nor does it invalidate anything Obama has said or could achieve.

I find it humerous that the same people (not saying this aplies to you) who have long rejected the right's arguments of liberal media bias are now claiming their chosen one is being hurt by media bias. Either it exists or it doesn't, right?

Also humorous is how the "establishment" on both sides are complaining the insurgent candidate (McCain and Obama) unduly benefit from media love. The media is profoundly pro-establishment 95% of the time. Guess this is their chance to be branch out.

Alan Stewart Carl said...

Oh, and I can't say I've ever heard anyone associated with Obama pretend Hillary only appeals to women -- let alone use that as a motivator for men to vote Obama.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

they have tried to use that as a reason for white people to vote for Hillary (it's the old Southern Strategy).
How does that strategy get employed in any of the places having Super Tuesday Primaries? Which states exactly are prone to this strategy in a DEMOCRATIC primary?

I dont buy it.

Oh, and I can't say I've ever heard anyone associated with Obama pretend Hillary only appeals to women -- let alone use that as a motivator for men to vote Obama.

They dont have to. The media is more than willing to do this for them, and they have. Every network and the New York Times gladly chalked up Clinton's New Hampshire win to gender. (As if somehow women wont make up 50% of the votes in almost every state.) I dont understand, if to make what has to be considered, from at least a Poltiical Science point of view, a pretty suspect statement that Clinton's victory was somehow tainted by strong support among females is ok...why cant you make the same argument about race?

What I'm left with is that people believe its different because Obama is black.

Thats not good enough.

Justin Gardner said...

ICM, I agree that we need to be more skeptical. That's why i don't trust Hillary. Over the past month she's proven that she has a win-at-all-costs mentality, and after 16 years of that I've had enough. So, as a moderate Dem, I'm left with a decision. Go with a candidate who has just as much experience as Hillary, and credibly offers a message and mission of political reconciliation, or go with one who seems to say or do anything (seating Florida and Michigan delegates?) to win the nomination. The choice for me is pretty clear.

And do know that if Obama doesn't get the nom, I'll be looking to McCain in November. Simply put, I think there's a good possibility he could help unite the country and change the tone of partisan politics. What's more, he's in favor of real immigration reform and combating global warming. And a moderate Republican President mixed with a Democratic Congress might just be able to get some real legislation passed.

As far as identity politics go, I don't think there's anything I can say or do to convince you that the Clintons are unfairly playing the race card. I could point to numerous conservative commentators like Bob Novak, Dick Morris, Bill Bennett who say the same thing. But ultimately you have to believe that what the Clintons have done is not right, and you don't seem to think it's wrong. That's fine, but you'll obviously find some strong opposition to that stance from me.

Thanks for the time.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

As far as identity politics go, I don't think there's anything I can say or do to convince you that the Clintons are unfairly playing the race card. I could point to numerous conservative commentators like Bob Novak, Dick Morris, Bill Bennett who say the same thing.

And you dont think its possible that they have made a calculation that Clinton can win in november and Obama its best to run Clinton down?

But ultimately you have to believe that what the Clintons have done is not right, and you don't seem to think it's wrong. That's fine, but you'll obviously find some strong opposition to that stance from me.

No, I'm not a Democrat so I believe all identity politics is a little matter if you play it in a positive or negative light. (Which BOTH Clinton and Obama have done.) Basically I took umbrage with the blantant side taking of the media, and the seeming inability to call Obama when he uses race to his own advantage.

As for the dirtiness of political me a clean political campaign and you'll also be showing me a losing campaign. If you choose to believe in Saint Obama and the Devil Clintons you have the right. I just dont buy that the Clintons are running a Jim Crow campaign.