“The Could-Be Columns”: Why The Misogynist Media Are Trying To Create A Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren-Caroline Kennedy Catfight
How terrifying is it to the political establishment that a woman might actually have a clear shot to becoming the next president?
Enough that the parlor game of the moment in Washington is to start listing the Other Women – that is, the scary females (“scary” being a function of “female” in this case) who might end up challenging Hillary Clinton in a Democratic primary. Or a Jell-o fight or mud wrestling match, to go by the absurd speculation in the media.
First, we have Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who for some reason is seen as Clinton’s dangerous threat from the left. Warren is a real rising star, to be sure, and arrived to the Senate with an already-elevated status, given her knowledge of financial regulation and consistent commitment to consumer rights and other liberal causes. She’s not showy; she’s smart and a solid workhorse –like the senator who pre-preceded her, Edward M. Kennedy. There’s nothing she has said or done to indicate she has her eye on the White House in 2016. Her former national finance chairman has told donors she is raising no cash for a 2016 run, which pretty much ends it there – you can’t run a presidential campaign without money. And Warren herself has told the Boston Globe “no, no, no no” in response to the question.
Ah, but even in politics, when a woman says no, some in the media think she means yes. We have The New Republic speculating about a possible Warren-Clinton showdown. And we have the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, always up for a woman-bashing column, talking about how a Warren presidency would be, in his mind, even worse than an Obama presidency. At least Cohen has the journalistic integrity to note parenthetically that Warren has expressed no interest in the job.
Then we have Caroline Kennedy, whom Post blogger Jennifer Rubin suggests might also be up for a run, noting Kennedy’s deft start to her new job as ambassador to Japan. That – plus the Kennedy name and experience watching family members in politics – seems to be the only justification for such random speculation. And it’s absurd on its face. Kennedy is indeed deeply committed to public service, but she is a somewhat shy person who does not enjoy being the center of attention. It’s one of the reasons she did not run for the Senate in New York. The idea that she could stomach the nonstop attention and scrutiny of a presidential run is nonsense. She is gracious and diplomatic, which makes her a perfect pick for an ambassadorship – not a presidential candidate.
So why the could-be columns? Part of it is the natural tendency in the media to find someone – anyone – to create a conflict or fight where there currently exists none. Clinton is the clear early front-runner for the Democratic nomination, should she decide to run. Vice President Joe Biden might give her a challenge, if he decides to run. But that’s not enough for the Clinton-wary, who want to diminish her potential candidacy by reducing it to some kind of brewing girlfight. Clinton with a clear path to the nomination is infuriating to this group, and a potential challenge from a man only gives credibility to her as a candidate. Ah, but present her future as one where she has to kick Warren or Kennedy with her kitten heels and scratch out their eyes to be the Democratic nominee – now that’s a storyline misogynist America finds appealing. Fortunately, the three women in question aren’t agreeing to those roles.
By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, December 3, 2013
“Voting For Governor Is One Thing, For President, Another”: The Wrong Election Takeaways From Christie’s Win, Virginia, and More
The conventional wisdom on New Jersey: Huge Chris Christie win sets him up to steamroll his way to the Republican nomination in 2016, proving that a more mainstream conservative can win in a blue state. The conventional wisdom on Virginia: Ken Cuccinelli’s stinging loss in a purple state in an off-off-year election against Terry McAuliffe, a flawed Democratic candidate, shows not only that he was too extreme but also that Virginia is inching its way into the Democratic column. As the Times put it in its headline, “McAuliffe Win Points to Virginia Changes.”
Well, God invented conventional wisdom so people like me could beat it down. In New Jersey, Christie doesn’t emerge from his victory nearly as strong as he appears to. And the Virginia outcome isn’t really very strong for Democrats, especially down the ballot. No, I’m not buying into the right-wing spin that Cuccinelli’s narrow margin of defeat really represents some kind of loss for Obamacare. It does not. What I’m saying is something different. But let’s start with Joisey.
Barbara Buono, Christie’s Democratic opponent, volunteered for a suicide mission when she agreed to run against him. Surfing on an ocean of media hagiography, Christie seemed unbeatable just when it was time for Democrats to declare themselves. Buono couldn’t raise money, couldn’t attract much media, couldn’t get anyone to believe she could make it close, let alone win.
In such a circumstance, a lot of voters just mentally write that person off. Most people don’t care passionately about politics. Most people care…some. When they look at a race and see someone who looks as if she’s going to get clobbered, they just decide they’re not voting for her, in the same way they might decide they’re not going to let themselves get too invested in the idea of Rutgers knocking off Florida State in a fantasy matchup.
So Christie got a lot of those votes. He got high percentages from Latinos (around half) and blacks (21 percent). Does it mean he’d get them running for president? No way. Indeed, the exit poll result that showed Hillary Clinton beating him 48-44 demonstrated Christie’s national weakness, at least against her. Think about it. On the night of his greatest triumph, a smashing 22-point win, exit poll respondents walked right out of the booth and said, “For president? Are you kidding me? Hillary all the way!”
About 2 million votes were cast Tuesday. We should perhaps be careful about reading too much into exit polls, but the results suggest that running for president against Clinton, Christie, who corralled nearly 1.25 million votes Tuesday, would give back about 370,000, or roughly 30 percent of them. That sounds about right to me.
People make different calculations voting statewide and nationally. Massachusetts voters, for example, have often elected Republican governors in recent times, but they would never let a Republican get within 20 points of winning the state in a presidential election. New York had a Republican governor in George Pataki not all that long ago; Connecticut had one just recently; Pennsylvania has one right now, and Michigan, and Wisconsin, and Maine, and New Mexico. Likewise, a few red states where Democrats haven’t been winning many presidential votes lately (Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana) have Democratic governors. News flash: People can distinguish between voting for a governor and voting for a president.
The Clinton exit-poll number, the 61 percent of Jersey voters who backed a minimum-wage hike that Christie had vetoed, and his basically nonexistent coattails suggest to me that he will have a hard time winning his own state in 2016, especially if he does a little pandering to the right between now and then, as he’ll surely have to. I don’t deny that he is a skillful politician. What I do deny is that a blowout gubernatorial win under these circumstances means much of anything about the presidency three years hence.
As for Virginia, I mostly come away from that race shocked that someone as divisive and reactionary as Cuccinelli could get 45.5 percent of the vote. His tally, combined with the Libertarian guy’s 6.6 percent, suggests that Virginia is still fairly red. I was also staggered that Cuccinelli beat McAuliffe among white women by 16 points. Surveys before the voting indicated that McAuliffe was much closer than that among white women.
Of course, a presidential-year electorate will be different. It will be younger, more black and brown, and so forth. I would think Clinton, if she were the nominee, could beat Christie there with a large enough “on-year” turnout. But if 46 percent of Virginia is willing to vote for that little reptile Cuccinelli, a die-hard caucus in that state is going to put up a fight. I don’t see McAuliffe’s win as the “bluing” of Virginia. That’s going to take one more presidential election, and it may well be that only Clinton can do it.
Finally, it’s lots of fun to watch the sparring between Republicans about why Cuccinelli lost. The establishment types say the party should have nominated someone more mainstream, while the Tea Partiers blame the establishment for abandoning Cuccinelli too soon. The truly enjoyable thing about this fight is that both arguments have enough of a grain of truth in them to keep the quarrel going on into next year. So let the Tea people keep launching their cannonade, and let the establishment overrate Christie. That’s about as good an ending as this election could have had.
By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, November 7, 2013
“How’s About You And Him Fight?”: Get Ready For A Whole Lot Of Hillary Vs Barack Stories Based On Nothing
Hillary Clinton has about a year and a half before she needs to make the final decision on whether she’ll run for president in 2016. Between now and then, and after she becomes an actual candidate (if she does), we’re going to be seeing an awful lot of stories that read as though an editor said to a reporter, “Give me a story about Hillary turning her back on Barack, and the two camps sniping at each other,” and the reporter replied, “Well, I haven’t seen much evidence of that, but I’ll see what I can come up with.” That gets you stuff like a piece in today’s Washington Post, under the headline, “In the Clintons’ talk of brokering compromise, an implicit rebuke of Obama years.” Let’s get to the stinging barbs Hillary and Bill are aiming at the President:
In recent stump speeches and policy remarks, Bill and Hillary Clinton have offered sharp criticisms of the partisan gridlock paralyzing Washington, signaling a potential 2016 campaign theme if Hillary Clinton chooses to run for president.
The Clintons’ critiques in recent days have been explicitly aimed at congressional Republicans, who helped spur a 16-day government shutdown and potential debt default in October. But their remarks also seem to contain an implicit rebuke of President Obama’s failure to change Washington as he pledged when first running for the White House.
The arguments suggest a way that Hillary Clinton could attempt to run in 2016 as an agent of change — potentially putting her at odds with the two-term Democrat she would be seeking to replace.
So her “implicit rebuke of President Obama’s failure to change Washington” is … criticism of Republicans? And if Hillary Clinton says she wants to see everyone work across the aisle to solve problems, that’s some kind of slap in Obama’s face? Well that’s odd, since Obama ran for president saying he wanted to bring Democrats and Republicans together, just like George W. Bush did before him (remember “I’m a uniter, not a divider”?), and Bill Clinton did before him. It’s what every presidential candidate says, even the most partisan ones.
I don’t imagine that Clinton thinks Obama has been a perfect president, and I’m sure there are things she thinks she could have done better than him. But there is going to be an endless stream of stories like this one, trying to gin up some kind of dramatic struggle between the two, full of anger and recrimination and Machiavellian machinations, all based on nothing but the barest wisps of evidence. It’s driven by the journalist’s endless need to frame stories around conflict, their preference for writing about personality, and the fact that if you’re going to write a story about the 2016 campaign three years before the actual election, you don’t have a lot of material to work with. But give me a break.
By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, November 1, 2013
OK. I’ve officially had enough of this Republican gloating about HealthCare.gov. Yes, it was a major and inexcusable fiasco, as I wrote last week. So they were entitled to a week of “we told ya so.” Or even two. But really, it’s practically a month now. Enough already. I know that we expect no decency from these people, so this will sound naïve, but truly, what they should be doing now is helping their constituents figure it all out. That’s what the Democrats did in a similar situation.
I refer, of course, to the Medicare Part D implementation in late 2005 and early 2006. That was the big prescription drug bill passed in 2003. You remember—it’s the one where the Republicans didn’t have the votes in the House, even though they controlled the House, and Speaker Tom DeLay held the floor open for 15 minutes after the bell rang as his lieutenants went around and badgered and threatened some GOP members until they changed their vote from nay to aye. My, how at home DeLay would have been with the Tea Partiers.
Anyhow. Most Democrats voted against the bill. In the House just 16 of 203 Democratic members voted yes. In the Senate, however, 11 of 48 Democrats voted for the new Bush entitlement. First, let’s just stop right there. Could you imagine 16 and 11 Republicans ever voting for an Obama legislative priority, something that was clearly Obama’s “baby” in the same way that the Part D bill was Bush’s? There’d be no end to the slobbering over Republicans for being so reasonable. As I recall, the Democrats were attacked at the time for not supporting the bill enough.
So they didn’t. And then, two years later, the rollout came. It was a mess. In mid-October 2005, the Bush administration announced a delay. Reason? It was Yom Kippur, and evidently no one wanted to offend elderly Jews who wouldn’t be using their computers. Right. So it was delayed. But a month later, as Jon Perr noted recently at Crooks & Liars, the planned comparison-shopping website still wasn’t up and running. Even after it finally was, it was confusing and a mess. Some sample headlines: “Web-based Comparison of Prescription Plans Delayed,” The Washington Post; “Glitches Mar Launch of Medicare Drug Plan,” The Wall Street Journal; “President Tells Insurers to Aid Ailing Medicare Drug Plan,” The New York Times.
Needless to say, some of the same people now trying to put the hex on Obamacare spent 2006 pooh-poohing—you guessed it—“glitches,” as Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) put it back then. I’m sure they’d say they’re different things, and it’s true the Affordable Care Act is a bigger undertaking. But they’re precisely similar in spirit—big, new government programs that depended largely on citizen interaction via personal computer. And the ACA fixes what was the biggest problem created by Part D, the so-called doughnut hole in prescription drug coverage. So the Obama bill corrects what was conspicuously awful about the Bush bill. Yes, they are different!
But the biggest difference is not how Republicans behaved back then but how Democrats did. Most Democrats voted against the law. But they did not then sue the Bush administration and try to take the thing to the Supreme Court and get it invalidated. And then, when the start-up was a cock-up, Democrats didn’t go around saying it was proof the law had to go. They tried to fix it. Hillary Clinton, then a senator, said: “I voted against it, but once it passed I certainly determined that I would try to do everything I could to make sure that New Yorkers understood it, could access it, and make the best of it.”
Interesting, no, that we have this quote, this wholly unremarkable quote, from someone the press has described over the years as one of the most polarizing women in America. Here she was being the exact opposite of polarizing, just doing what was then her job, being a normal and rational human being and public servant. She was deciding, amazingly enough, that the needs of her senior-citizen constituents who might benefit from the law once the kinks were worked out were more important than any grudge or animus she might bear toward the sitting administration.
Her husband said it well Sunday, while campaigning with Terry McAuliffe: “But our side, we’re not so ideological. So instead of bashing them and screaming about how incompetent they were, most of our people just tried to help people understand the law and make it work, and then wait for it to get fixed.”
And yet here was Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on TV on Sunday spouting the same oogedy-boogedy that’s been gushing from their mouths for a month. And there was Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), having no earthly idea what she was talking about on CNN. Have Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Sen. Rand Paul had one kind word to say for Kentucky’s by all accounts excellent implementation of the law under Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear? About 15,000 Kentuckians had enrolled as of last week. I just wonder if a single one of them got a helping hand from staffers for McConnell or Paul.
It’s yet another stomach-turning state of affairs. I’m sick and tired of hearing it. Obamacare is an existential threat to their Weltanschauung, their idea of America? Grow up and get over it. It’s just politics. You lost a political fight. You may someday win it, but until the day you do, behave like adults. And like democrats (and Democrats, the 2006 variety). And for God’s sake, put your sick constituents’ needs ahead of your racial paranoia about the president. Enough, enough, enough.
By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, October 29, 2013
A Republican super PAC is promoting an online game allowing people to virtually slap the former secretary of state across the face. Depending on the person’s fancy, one can slap an animated image of Hillary Clinton while she is either speaking or sitting still via the convenient click of a button.
At first, I thought I had stumbled upon The Onion.
But no, “Slap Hillary,” a “game” originally launched in 2000, is real. The Hillary Project resurrected it this Monday, excitedly tweeting to reporters, “Have you slapped Hillary today?”
Is the game offensive? Is it funny? Or is it just something Clinton needs to “learn to deal with” as a public figure? .
I cannot believe I actually have to write the following: Encouraging people to slap a woman across the face — in essence, advocating violence against women — is offensive and disturbing, whether or not that woman is a public figure, and it is part of some “game” or joke.
The good news is some 105,000 people agree. That’s how many signatures UltraViolet, an online anti-sexism group, collected in 48 hours in support of a petition to The Hillary Project to pull the game. But, so far, no response.
So, women’s groups like Miss Representation and Emily’s List are joining UltraViolet in going over the super PAC’s head to the Republican leadership – RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner – to demand that they unequivocally condemn this sexist game, and to ensure the party does not benefit financially from promoting violence against women.
In less than 24 hours, UltraViolet’s second letter received nearly 20,000 signatures.
“For women, this issue is no laughing matter,” Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet said. “A woman is assaulted every nine seconds in our country. Everyday, three women die because of domestic violence.”
Many are taking to Twitter to voice their frustration and disgust:
“People everywhere are outraged,” Chaudhary continued. She said UltraViolet has received a flood of support from men and women alike and from both major political parties.
But “Slap Hillary” is merely the latest instance of a frustrating norm of sexist attacks on women in power. Take the misogyny-laced campaign against economist Janet Yellen, one of the top candidates to take control of the Federal Reserve. And surely we have not forgotten the 2008 presidential election, during which critics knocked the two major female candidates for being a shrill harpy and a dumb shopaholic.
In response to those outraged about “Slap Hillary,” the Super PAC fired back on Twitter this week that no one seemed to be upset with the “Slap Palin” game. And they do have a point…sort of.
“Whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann does not matter,” Chaudhary said. “Jokes about slapping women — of any party — ought to have no place in our politics.”
In other words, The Hillary Project supporters, you are correct in saying misogynistic attacks are common fare for women leaders regardless of their political affiliation. That does not, however, give you or anyone else the license to counter sexism with more of it.
Those at The Hillary Project and in the Republican leadership are remaining silent, much to their detriment.
On Wednesday, the Ready for Hillary PAC took advantage of the “disgusting tactics” of the Republican super PAC (which self-describes as “The Only Thing Standing Between Hillary and the White House”) by reaching out to supporters for donations.
Under pressure from the Virginia attorney general’s gubernatorial campaign, The Hillary Project’s treasurer awkwardly cut ties with the super PAC, Talking Points Memo reported Thursday.
By early Friday morning, The Hillary Project had suspended its Twitter account.
Until the “Slap Hillary” game is pulled, Chaudhary said women’s groups are not backing down. If the Grand Old Party, the same party that almost did not reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year, really wants to combat its “War on Women” stigma, it should start listening.
By: Alyson Neel, The Washington Post, August 9, 2013