Hillary Clinton: target of PC America
the left has turned against her and thus turns her most innocent comment into an occasion for a national wave of condemnation, I wonder if Hillary Clinton is starting to have some understanding of what it’s like to be a conservative.
I saw headlines on the Web attacking her for “raising the issue” of the assassination of Robert Kennedy in June 1968. There was this headline at the New York Times:
R.F.K. Killing as
Staying in Race
For which, the Times
said, she received “torrents of criticism.”
My gosh, I thought, what
did she say now? Did she, Dan Quayle-like, compare
herself to St. Bobby Kennedy? Did she say that just as Kennedy was martyred
for his beliefs, she
is being martyred too?
Well, no. She simply referenced the fact that in past years presidential primary campaigns were often not decided until June, and therefore it is strange that so many people are pushing her to quit the race now. Here is what she said:
“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,”
What’s objectionable about that? I myself have had the thought several times in the last few months that campaigns used to run much longer, and I especially thought of the epic national contest between Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, which went all the way to June, when Kennedy beat McCarthy in California and was assassinated. In fact, since California is the largest state, the climax of the race naturally came then. No one expected the nominee to be chosen by the first week of February. For crying out loud, the New Hampshire primary used to take place in February.
But the political world jumped down Mrs. Clinton’s throat. Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement: “Sen. Clinton’s statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign.”
What is it about the statement that has no place in the campaign? Burton did not say.
And it’s not just Democratic partisans who are attacking her. Kathryn Jean Lopez at the Corner says,
re: Hillary & RFK
There is something deeply wrong with the Clintons.
And Byron York, a fact-based, level-headed journalist, not an opinion writer, quotes the Hillary statement at the Corner and remarks
: “Now this is unhinged.” That is amazingly uncharacteristic behavior of York. You never see him use strong language about people, or about anything. For York to call someone’s statement “unhinged” is the equivalent of other people saying, ‘“This is the most insane statement in the history of the universe.”
ABC World News Tonight led with the story, referring darkly to Hillary’s “pattern of troubling statements.”
But again, what is the troubling statement? They never say. Is there some subtext here? Could they be hinting that Hillary is calling on Obama to be assassinated?
If that’s what Hillary’s critics are implying, then they are the people using vicious subtexts, not Hillary.
* * *
Larry G. writes:
Isn’t there anyone in the mainstream capable of handling thoughts more complex than those on a bumper sticker?
If Hillary manages to win the nomination, I think she will be a changed woman. McCain and Obama are coasting, while she is really struggling for it. Being betrayed by political friends, dumped on by the Left, seeing the blacks vote almost entirely on racial lines, and having the PC monster turn on her must be having some impact. Touring the country and meeting with ordinary people may cause her to rethink some things as well. She might well turn out to be a good president. She could get my vote. Certainly McCain will not, nor will Obama. On election night I’ll turn on Fox News, get down on my knees, and pray for an asteroid strike.
I wouldn’t go as far as Larry. Hillary is one of the hardest of hardened characters, and the kind of large scale change in her that Larry hopes for is unlikely. Yet it is not unreasonable to expect some kind of positive change in her as a result of her experiences in this campaign, and I and others began to notice such changes back in January
Adela G. writes:
I, too, was puzzled by the media’s ferociously attacking Clinton over her reference to RFK’s assassination. I heard a clip of her remarks and saw them quoted. By no stretch of the imagination could they reasonably be considered as anything other than a way of saying, “It’s not over till it’s over—and I’m in it till it’s over.”
Of course, reason doesn’t enter into the reasoning of liberals and conservatives have abandoned all reason in pursuit of liberalism. Nevertheless, the media attacks on her are so vicious that they remind me of the hatred directed toward Nixon in his final months, though possibly even worse, since there’s less justification for them.
Though it’s hard to verbalize, I can easily see why the left turned to Obama and turned on Hillary. The politics and policies of the two candidates are quite similar but she’s the stodgy, dodgy old white woman and he’s the cool young black guy. Inexperienced and clumsy as he often seems to conservatives, he’s got that lecturing, patronizing tone so beloved of liberals down pat. I’m surprised he doesn’t just finish his sentence, “Yes, we can—if that ugly old white woman would just get out of our way!” Then again, he doesn’t really need to finish it.
M. Jose writes:
“But again, what is the troubling statement? They never say. Is there some subtext here? Could they be hinting that Hillary is calling on Obama to be assassinated?”
No, but it sounds as if she is saying that she will stay in the race so that she can be nominated in case Obama is assassinated. Bobby Kennedy would likely have been the Democratic nominee if he had not been assassinated, so she seems to be implying, “Well, Obama won’t necessarily be the nominee. Something could happen to him, and I want to be there to inherit the nomination if it does.”
Perhaps all she meant to say was that we need to remember that the race was still going on in June, but that’s not what she said. She pointed specifically to Kennedy’s assassination.
If she had said “we all remember that Bobby Kennedy was still battling with Eugene McCarthy for the nomination in June,” you would be correct. But to infer from her statement that she thinks that she ought to stay in the race so that she can pick up the pieces if something happens to Obama is hardly a stretch.
Two other points:
“What’s objectionable about that? I myself have had the thought several times in the last few months that campaigns used to run much longer,”
No, they didn’t. They used to last much later, but they started later, too. This campaign had already lasted at least seven months by the end of 2007 (May 2007 was when the debates really began in earnest; or at least when I started listening to them).
“No one expected the nominee to be chosen by the first week of February. For crying out loud, the New Hampshire primary used to take place in February.”
But this is irrelevant to the issue of her staying in the race, because in terms of when the states hold their caucuses and primaries, this is much later in the race than June was in 1968.
The fact of the matter is, only three states and territories are left, with 86 pledged delegates left to award. The only fights now are to try and get a huge number of the remaining superdelegates to side with her (or to get those who are supporting Obama to change their minds), to try and get Florida and Michigan seated according to their original, rule-breaking primaries, or maybe to get some of those pledged to Obama to defect.
I suppose she could still win (but not without likely destroying the Democratic Party), but to do so would rely on a whole bunch of things going her way. The practical matter is that the California primary is not in June anymore (nor is any major primary), so the comparison to 1968, where one large victory could completely turn the tide, is not really meaningful.
Her only hope to get nominated is that Obama dies or is incapacitated. Therefore, people interpreted her remarks to mean that she wanted to stay in the race just in case that happened.
“Something could happen to him, and I want to be there to inherit the nomination if it does.”
It’s been pointed out elsewhere that this argument holds no water. If Hillary dropped out, and something happened to Obama, the party would obviously turn to her.
The main question here is whether, when she mentioned the assassination, she meant it as anything other than a historical time marker. What’s the truth? On one hand, Hillary is a hardened, deeply cynical human being who’s probably capable of doing anything. On the other hand, given the nature of the subject she was discussing with that editorial board, given the context and tone of her remarks, given the fact that she said almost the same thing back in March, indicating that her interest was the time frame, not the assassination, the idea that she intended something sinister by mentioning the assassination seems highly unlikely. I think the statement was innocent. In her mind that assassination was the vivid event that made that primary memorable. At the same time, the statement was at best clueless and inappropriate, as she only needed to mention the fact of the 1968 California contest, not the fact of the assassination of a young, liberal, charismatic presidential candidate with a special appeal to minorities. If the media has simply criticized her for an impolitic and insensitive comment, I would have had no problem with that. But instead we have the absurd Libby Copeland at the Washington Post accusing HIllary of “uttering the unutterable, raising the specter of the unspeakable.” What we’re seeing here is the Democrats’ Night of the Long Knives.
Adela G. writes:
You write: “Hillary is one of the hardest of hardened characters, and the kind of large scale change in her that Larry hopes for is unlikely. Yet it is not unreasonable to expect some kind of positive change in her as a result of her experiences in this campaign, and I and others began to notice such changes back in January.”
I agree. Hillary used to seem uncomfortable trying to appear likable, almost as though it was a frivolous requirement that got in the way of her serious campaigning. But during the past couple of months, I notice she seems to be genuinely enjoying herself. I think that’s because at bottom, she’s a real scrapper. Finding herself cast as the underdog forced her to fight even harder, and in the heat of battle she’s lost that air of superiority and privilege . And I think she now feels some real appreciation for her supporters. She seems to have discovered, somewhat belatedly, that she actually likes being liked. Her smile is much more natural, too, and though she’s often photographed from unflattering angles, she just seems awkward, not malevolent, as in former times. Quite a change.
We used to see variations of this almost exclusively.
Now we see this.
It’s a tad disconcerting, to be sure, as she appears to be on the verge of hysterics. On the other hand, her teeth are in good shape.
Yes. Back in early January, I began, to my own astonishment (and without forgetting all the bad things about her), to see her as a sympathetic, doughty, highly capable woman striving against the odds. I knew some people would think it was weird and objectionable of me to say that, but it was what I was experiencing, and I expressed it.
The hard-core Clinton haters, like Michelle Malkin, like Lucianne Goldberg and her L-dotters, never saw any of this. They continued, to paraphrase Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee,”
To hate with a hate that was more than hate,
They and their Hillary C.
There seems to be a strange trend with Hillary’s faulty memory. Her re-telling of her Bosnia trip is so far the most famous. Also, her statement that her husband’s 1992 primary contest went until June is partly distorted, since Tsongas, the main opponent to Bill Clinton, withdrew in March. However, the race thereafter continued between Clinton and Jerry Brown.
Also, this is the second time she’s used the Robert Kennedy assassination. She said it for the first time in March. I don’t see any malice in it. But it is still a strange example to bring up twice.
There is a condition called False Memory Syndrome, in which people, due to some trauma, sincerely believe something happened that did not happen. This seems to fit Hillary’s adamant reluctance to change her Bosnia story, because she really believed it.
An Indian living in the West writes:
What goes around comes around. Richly deserved I must say.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 23, 2008 07:04 PM | Send