Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hillary Sinks with the 'Kitchen Sink'

By Robert Parry
March 27, 2008

Ever since George H.W. Bush went into “campaign mode” in 1988 and exploited black convict Willie Horton to dirty up Michael Dukakis, it’s been a staple of modern politics that you can negate your own high negatives by driving up those of your opponent.

Except in 1992, when the “Passportgate” scheme for demeaning Bill Clinton’s patriotism blew up in Poppy Bush’s face, some effective smear has been associated with every Bush national campaign. Think of John McCain’s “black child,” Al Gore’s “delusions” and the Swift Boat lies about John Kerry’s heroism.

Read on.


Anonymous said...

I have added Consortium to the Hillary Haters. After reading Daily KOS, Consortium and Alternet and some of the MSM Hillary bashers, I have signed the NOW petition:

For the first time in our nation's history, the idea of a woman president is no longer limited to the fantasy world of TV or movies. Possibility could become reality this November, and some folks are just having a hard time dealing with it. That many of those people have high-profile jobs at major news outlets is a cryin' shame.

We've been down this road before –- yes, NOW called out the media's bad behavior several times last year, and thousands of women and men demonstrated their agreement by signing our petition demanding serious and fair election coverage. Well, we're barely into 2008, and already we have plenty of fresh examples of the media's failure to clean up its act.

The press have been brutal to Clinton, no doubt about it. Whether consciously or not, too many reporters, commentators, pundits and the like appear unable to critique Hillary Clinton without dusting off their favorite sexist clichés, stereotypes and insults. Some of these remarks seem mild, while others are offensive and truly outrageous. Taken together, they create an environment of hostility toward all women, not just Senator Clinton. At this moment it feels like she is a stand-in for every woman who has ever tried to get ahead and be taken seriously by the powers that be.

There are four common themes in media coverage of Clinton's candidacy:

First, Clinton is criticized using a gender-based grading system. The media evaluate how she looks, dresses, talks, laughs and even claps. She is held to double standards familiar to working women. A man demonstrates toughness and strength; a woman who behaves similarly is called icy and rigid. His behavior shows compassion and warmth, but her similar behavior shows too much emotion and maybe weakness. He knows how to work the system; she is manipulative. He shows a mastery of the subject; she is nit-picky. He thinks through all the options before charting a course; she is calculating. Familiar?

Second, our society still has not come to terms with ambition in women -- it is suspect. Clinton is frequently charged with doing or saying anything to win. But I think it has an extra sharp anti-woman overtone as it is used against Hillary. In other words, everything Clinton does to win the election -- strategizing, organizing, confronting, comparing and contrasting -- is interpreted as calculating, fake or just plain evil. But when a man campaigns hard, refusing to cede an inch, they call it . . . running for office!

Third, Clinton is presumed to be where she is today because of her husband, Bill. The fact that Clinton has a famous former president for a husband is used to discredit her own achievements and to imply that maybe she couldn't have made it on her own. I’m trying to remember if any of these commentators implied that George W. Bush shouldn't be taken seriously as a candidate because his father had been president. Or that people shouldn't vote for a certain male candidate because he clearly got a leg up from his powerful family's money and legacy? Or, say, from the advantages bestowed by his wife's fortune? Who's to say that if Hillary had taken the fast-track first, instead of Bill, she wouldn't have risen to the top before him?

Finally, when all else fails, belittle the voters. Women voters are irrational and biased, and voting only on the basis of gender, the press are happy to intimate (at least about the women who are voting for Hillary), and they not so subtly imply that all voters are stupid and shallow. When the pundits try to mind-read the general public to guess why they cast their ballots one way or another, they often conclude that voters make decisions based on the same superficial traits that fascinate the talking-heads themselves -- like who seems "comfortable in their own skin" or who strikes them as annoyingly nerdy.


Jay said...

It worked well for the last two Democratic nominees for president. No reason to think that the Repugs won't use it again. The only one it didn't work on was....

lessee...who was it?

Oh yeah. Clinton.

realist said...

Many of the Hillary-haters are petrified that she might come out ahead of Obama in the Pennsylvania primary, so they are upping the vitriolic attacks in an attempt to stop her in her tracks, claiming that she's "sinking" -- as though they want to drown her in the bathtub. (Some lefties are sounding like the unhinged Grover Norquist!)

Face it. Obama has not closed the deal -- he has not been able to pull ahead in a meaningful way, he is not a "stronger" candidate, nor is he a clean, above-board agent of change.

He's a politician! A tricky one, at that.

When you hear him waffle, hem and haw, and hmmmm, and "you know" on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, one begins to wonder, just what in hell do people see in this guy anyway?

White guilt sure is powerful.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm surprised at the anti-Hillary from Consortium News. But more surprising is the practically endorsing attitude about Obama. It seems to be a concerted effort on the part of the online 'lefty news' community. Rather shocking, really. Or is it? It's the same community that let the corporatists run candidates like Kucinich out of town with hardly a peep of support.

The real story is how all 3 candidates are so similarly funded in this financially record breaking election cycle. But apparently nobody cares. Won't you care, Robert? Give us some yummy stuff like that 24/7! Please!

I find that I am looking to vote other party.