Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 5, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HILLARY AND RUDY....Andrew Sullivan on Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani:

They need each other. So do the polarized, professionalized political and media classes. That's why this race is already over, according to Washington, MSNBC, CNN and Fox. And they all make oodles of money off the classic left-right, McGovern-Nixon, Lib-Con circus. It's win-win. For them.

Then, responding to a reader who likes Hillary because so many right-wing blowhards hate her:

This is the logic of polarization as its own reward. It is faction and dynasty placed at the core of American politics — something the founders rightly feared would destroy a rational democratic polity. It is the toxin that won't go away. And when this country is attacked again and Clinton needs the trust and support of those who didn't vote for her? What will America do then?

Andrew likes Barack Obama and Ron Paul, so he's trying to play up the problems with other candidates. That's fine. We all do it.

But there's a huge difference here. A guy like Giuliani is polarizing because he actively chooses to be. It's part of his persona. He wants people to hate him

Hillary, by contrast, is polarizing not because she wants to be, but because the right-wing attack machine made her that way. She's "polarizing" only because a certain deranged slice of conservative nutjobs detest her.

And guess what? By this standard, Jimmy Carter is polarizing. Bill Clinton is polarizing. Al Gore is polarizing. John Kerry is polarizing. Do you see the trend here?

There are plenty of good reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton. But anyone who opposes her because she's polarizing is allowing the bottom feeders of modern movement conservatism to dictate who gets to run for president and who doesn't. If we want less polarizing politics, the answer isn't to oppose Hillary Clinton, who, outside the cartoon universe invented by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, holds almost relentlessly orthodox center-left opinions and expresses them in relentlessly garden-variety politician-speak. The answer is to send the right-wing rage machine back under the rock it crawled out from. Anything else is just caving in to bullies.

POSTSCRIPT: And anyway, keep this in mind from the latest Washington Post poll:

Many Republicans have said that they are eager to run a general-election campaign against Hillary Clinton, describing her as a highly polarizing candidate who would unite and energize the opposition. But, as of now, Clinton appears to be no more polarizing than other leading Democratic contenders. Nor is there a potential Republican nominee who appears significantly less polarizing.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they definitely would not vote for Clinton in the general election if she were the Democratic nominee, one of the lowest "reject rates" among the leading candidates in either of the two major parties.

Hillary isn't actually any more polarizing than anyone else. She just has more unhinged enemies.

Kevin Drum 5:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

One of the things I would look forward to in a Hillary campaign is that it would cause the 90s insanity of Clinton conspiracies to jump the shark. So far, every manufactured scandal about her, from her boobs to her laugh, have been hilariously overplayed and made the media, not Hillary, look like idiots. Engaging in this character assassination will just remind people about how crazy the 90s were, when the Travel Office was the greatest threat to Democracy, and how good things were by comparison.

They can't capture lightning in a bottle again. They'll just end up redeeming the first Clinton legacy.

Posted by: Memekiller on October 5, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
This is the logic of polarization as its own reward. It is faction and dynasty placed at the core of American politics — something the founders rightly feared would destroy a rational democratic polity. It is the toxin that won't go away. And when this country is attacked again and Clinton needs the trust and support of those who didn't vote for her? What will America do then?

I think he's not giving them the benefit of the doubt here. If you can count on the Bushies being assholes (a reasonable conclusion from all the evidence we have by now) than you might conclude that Hillary is a good liberal because the Bushies hate her so much, and they're in a position to know more about her beyond hoe the media portrays her than the public in general are.

Posted by: Swan on October 5, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post, Kevin. Hits the nail on the head perfectly. And, as a bonus, again exposes Sully as the shallow pathetic "thinker" he is.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on October 5, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

But ... but ... but ... what about all those people she had kllled? And all those cookies she never baked? Don't you liberals care about anything at all?

Posted by: DCBob on October 5, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

I must admit, as a bleeding heart liberal, lifelong Democrat, I cringe at the idea of Hillary as president. As far as I can tell, she's just another cog in the rich white machine. Check out the story that her proposed health plan is very like Romney's. Kevin, I like Obama too.

Posted by: April on October 5, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I need a clarification here. I do not like or dislike Hillary because she is polarizing. I dislike Hillary because she, like her husband, takes centrist or right-center positions in an effort to avoid being polarizing. Does that mean I am letting the bottom feeders dictate my choices for president?

Posted by: terry on October 5, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and by the way, GREAT post Kevin. A point often missed. Our existence brings this crap on ourselves.

Posted by: Memekiller on October 5, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

There is also the entire issue of the Presidency becoming an inherited dynasty which I guess we aren't even going to be allowed to ask about much less discuss.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 5, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

She won't leave the toilet seat up, either.

It's very difficult to listen to Republicans label ANY current Democrat 'polarizing'. They relished in Bush/Rove divisiveness for years.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on October 5, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Carter is polarizing. Bill Clinton is polarizing. Al Gore is polarizing. John Kerry is polarizing. Do you see the trend here?

Yes, the trend is that ALL liberals are polarizing. Why do liberals constantly attack George W Bush? Why do liberals constantly attack conservatives as Chickenhawks? Why did liberals attack the military and the troops by saying General Petreus "betrayed us"? Why do liberals constantly constantly attack people for their personal lives as they did with Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, and Larry Craig?
The trends is that liberals must use gutter politics and attack their political opponents mercilessly rather than debate the issues. Politics is polarizing and that's because it's the fault of the liberals.

Posted by: Al on October 5, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky, Terry and April all hit on reasons why i don't like Hillary and would love to see Obama as President.

Posted by: D. on October 5, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant job, Kevin.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on October 5, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

She has a great opportunity for judo.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 5, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for going on the record that you play up problems with other candidates. It clears up the reason for the creeping "pro-Hillary" undertones in some of your posts.

Posted by: Keith on October 5, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton haters can't stand Bill and his wife b/c they could not beat them. Democrats hate Bill and Hillary b/c they are jealous.

Posted by: bob on October 5, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Judging from the wing nut e-mails my brother-in-law forwards me, the right is still way over playing the “Hillary is the devil” theme. The conservatives are attracted to this kind of stuff like flies to shit. I still remember a wing nut acquaintance who in all seriousness first told me Hillary was a bull dyke, and than said she was sleeping with her Secret Service Agents. All the wing nuts were adamant that Bill & Hill had a marriage of convenience, and would split up as soon as he left the White House, yet there they are, still together. In truth, Hillary is about as main stream as they come, the product of a suburban mid-west middle class upbringing. There is a good chance her negatives will come down a bit as people see her campaign and realize she is not the 12 foot tall green liberal radical slime monster they claim she is.

Posted by: fafner1 on October 5, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK
Hillary, by contrast, is polarizing

Well, that's the CW, and it certainly was true at some point in the past, but is there any evidence beyond the assumption that once was once true must always be true that that is the case now?

I mean, before we explain the effect, shouldn't we actually establish that it really exists?

Posted by: cmdicely on October 5, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Hillary isn't actually any more polarizing than anyone else. She just has more unhinged enemies."

Are you insinuating that Republicans have become unhinged? My, oh my, what could they possibly have done to give anyone THAT idea?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 5, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Funny the way Hillary gets so much abuse for "Standing By Her Man" which is exactly what women are supposed to do, according to the Family Values crowd.

Posted by: thersites on October 5, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

You're polarizing if conservatives hate you. Conservatives hate you if you're not conservative. Therefore, anyone who is not conservative is polarizing and unelectable.

Vote Ron Paul.

Posted by: Memekiller on October 5, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is too much invested in his visceral hatred of Clinton. His opinion of her should be completely discounted.

In a perfect world, Obama or Edwards would be the next President. Let us hope that we do no worse than Hillary.

Posted by: gregor on October 5, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary isn't actually any more polarizing than anyone else. She just has more unhinged enemies.

Yes, she's polarizing. She polarizes the electorate into sane and insane camps.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 5, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary isn't actually any more polarizing than anyone else. She just has more unhinged enemies.

Hillary --> Kyl-Lieberman --> Demonize/Villify Target (Iraq 2001-2003) --> Bomb/Attack Target (Iran 2008-).

"Unhinged"

Drum.

Kleefeld.

Peretz.

Lieberman.

Hoyer.

Other "Chosen People" choosing AIPAC's Chosen Puppet and Bush' Chosen Course.


Hinged.

Glenn Greenwald.

Daniel Levy.

MJ Rosenberg.

Jeff Cohen.

Ezra Klein.

Other "Chosen People" and unchosen legions trying to choose a better tomorrow.

Posted by: Hinged on October 5, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Al asks some pointed questions:
Why do liberals constantly attack George W Bush? Because he's a mildly retarded, bull-headed, incompetent fool with awful ideas who has driven this country into the ground over the past 7 years.

Why do liberals constantly attack conservatives as Chickenhawks? Because they are.

Why did liberals attack the military and the troops by saying General Petreus "betrayed us"? They did not; they questioned whether or not it was terribly smart to take a general officer's highly politicized and methodologically flawed assessment of the war at face value.

Why do liberals constantly constantly attack people for their personal lives as they did with Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, and Larry Craig?
Because they are scummy hypocrites who continually rail against "liberal Hollywood values" in public while engaging in those same sordid activities in private. Why do conservatives not consider hypocrity -- the one sin Jesus speaks out against most forcefully throughout the Gospels -- more seriously?

Any other questions?

Posted by: jonas on October 5, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God, Hinged, that you and the rest of your not-unhinged list you are so full of goodness and light. Please let us know when you're ready to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, will ya?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 5, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, your assertion that Hillary was 'made polarizing' by the right is completely specious. No one can make an individual polarizing. Hillary is polarizing because she confuses power with leadership and is unable to create and build consensus within a diverse group of thinkers. That is why she is polarizing. She tries to drive issues without building a winning coalition.

All you have to do is look at how she managed healthcare..it was a 'my way or no way'..because she thought she had the power as First Lady to drive the agenda on her own terms without taking into consideration what the needs of others were.

No one told Hillary to divide 500 people into 34 committees and demand they not say anything outside of the meeting nor take notes in the meeting. The right did not make her do that.

No one told Hillary to take the fight to the Supreme Court on her terms for secrecy. Hillary conceived all of that on her own and she believed she had the power to force her ideas and agenda on others. The right did not make her do that. She simply lacked leadership and the ability to persuade others to the validity of her proposals.

Hillary is far more polarizing than any other politician during her political era. She in fact is going to be a reason for all the old partisian bickering and long standing grudges to come back to the fore meaning nothing will be accomplished.
Hillary has told people during her campaign for the Presidency that those not on board with her now will pay when she is the nominee. A hallmark trait of a vengeful politician not a leader.

So nothing has changed ...she is a fighter and a brawler...she is NOT a leader.

Which is why it will be terrible should she win the nomination.

Posted by: elrapierwit on October 5, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Great post. You're growing a pair.

Posted by: Econobuzz on October 5, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Unless you live in an early primary state, shut your mouth and take the candidate we give you.

Posted by: absent observer on October 5, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Damn straight! Sullivan's anti-Hillary rants are getting old. He finally admits he was wrong about the war, but it never seems to occur to him that the same bozos who sold him on that also sold him on hating Hillary.

And I've seen enough "Barack Hussein Obama" comments on winger sites to know that they will savage him just as they did Hillary. We've got to ask which candidate has the balls to fight back and I've got to say that I think Hillary does.

Posted by: Teresa on October 5, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary, by contrast, is polarizing not because she wants to be, but because the right-wing attack machine made her that way. She's "polarizing" only because a certain deranged slice of conservative nutjobs detest her.

Puh-leeze. She's plenty polarizing without help form anyone else.

Heck, Carl Cannon even said so in some magazine called Washington Monthly (anybody around here ever heard of it?):

Conservatives (and liberals) would consider it heresy to compare Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton. And Reagan is certainly a hard act to follow. He combined Main Street sensibilities and a soothing Middle America persona with an uplifting vision of America's place in the world that earned him a stunningly decisive victory in 1980--and 60 percent of the vote when he ran for reelection four years later. Sen. Clinton is a more polarizing figure, in more polarized times.

Posted by: Brian on October 5, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

One thing I have learned at halfway through 60....no candidate, if elected will ever be as terrible or as wonderful as their opponents/supporters claim they will be (with the one exception being our current "decider" who has turned out to be incredible worse than anyone could ever have imagined.)

I like Gore and hope he might run (I don't really expect it), but I have seen comments in recent blogs speculating that he might -- indicating a belief on the part of the writer that Gore is the one true hope for salvation.

I think Gore would make a good President, but nobody is a Messiah or a savior. Any candidate elected is going to face both standard political opposition and the irrational hatred opposition from the right wing. After the next election this dwindling group of increasingly irrational hotheads will be not just angry, but seething, and no matter who wins the Presidency on the Democratic side, the Drudges and Limbaughs will immediately begin another four year reign of terror and swiftboating designed to undercut them and make their life a living hell.

Whatever you can say about Hillary these days, so far, her campaign has been swift and deadly in its responses. They wingnuts been trying...articles about her cleavage, an attempt to attack her laugh by trying to term it a cackle....and all of the warnings that she will be the worst President ever.

And under it all, of course, the repeated references to her "negatives". But when you look at the polls, she is steadily burying both her primary opponents and GOP candidates and climbing even in areas where the GOP should be dominant, including the south and the west.

They have tried to tar her so viciously that when folks actually pay attention to her and what she has to say, not a few are saying, "She ain't that bad." She ain't Joan of Arc either, but in their efforts to demonize her, the right wing has gone so far that their own bullets are increasingly blanks.

Posted by: dweb on October 5, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Vic-tim! Vic-tim!

On of the eeriest similarities between the Bushes and the Clintons is how they and their most ardent supporters are convinced that their respective critics are unfair, dishonest, and very, very mean to them. The heads of these two families, who have had life handed to them on a plate and been lavished with extravagant praise for decades, each feel themselves cruelly persecuted by ruthless, almost maniacal foes. They don't so much appeal for support as they do for sympathy. That the appeals work as well as they do would astonish Presidents of earlier generations.

Imagine Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman, or Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan -- every one of whom, except for Reagan, had enemies far more vituperative than what our two First Families do and every one of whom, except for Nixon, had actual attempts made on their lives -- contemplating the Bushes' and Clintons' tales of persecution and woe. What kind of language would their contemplation produce?

Wimp. Sissy. Weakling. Momma's boy. Pantywaist. Self-regarding, self-absorbed. Coward. Victim.

Bush and Clinton supporters don't expect their champions to actually confront their critics directly. The Republican base doesn't object to Bush speaking only in front of pre-screened audiences; Clinton supporters would applaud her for refusing to appear on Fox News. No, what these people want is for the people working for Bush and Clinton, in the administration and the campaign, to "get tough" with their respective enemies. Bush supporters know that their hero only wants to keep us safe; Clinton's fans are sure that she only wants what anyone can see is best for us. So shut up and do what you're told.

To be fair, there is a case to be made that the Bushes and Clintons -- united in their passion for the permanent campaign, in their ferocious sense of entitlement and in their shared sense of persecution -- are not essentially the same kind of people. Advocates for the heroism and victimhood of Clinton and the heroism and victimhood of Bush could indeed have a real debate that would enlighten us all.

So let's have it. James Carville could speak for one side, and Mary Matalin for the other.

Posted by: Zathras on October 5, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary, by contrast, is polarizing not because she wants to be, but because the right-wing attack machine made her that way. She's "polarizing" only because a certain deranged slice of conservative nutjobs detest her."

WRONG. Lots of liberals just hate hillary because she tries so hard to pander to the right--see Defense of Marriage Act, Flag Burning Amendment, close friendships with Rupert Mudoch and Joe Lieberman, to name but a couple of examples. She has the geopolitical goals of a Dick Cheney and the moral compass of a Karl Rove. If there is anything she wouldn't do to become president, I'd like very much to know what it is.

Also, lots of us folks just don't care for juggernauts. I voted for Bill Clinton twice but I will never vote for Hillary.

Posted by: Nicekid on October 5, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God, Hinged, that you and the rest of your not-unhinged list you are so full of goodness and light. Please let us know when you're ready to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, will ya? Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 5, 2007 at 6:34 PM

Hey you!

Yeah YOU. Donald Koelper from Hawaii

Why don't you kumbaya your fatass over here so you can really hold my hand up close and personal?

Or haven't you heard? Hill says we're partying here til' 2013.

You know what THAT means don't you?

Plenty of time for Myerberg Shain to write up grant proposals. Grants for body armour, prostheses, Blackwater escorts, five year supplies of Depends ...

You know. The stuff Chosen Cowards REALLY need to act like Chosen People.

Waiting for the touch of your plump, sweet hands,

Ronald

Posted by: Ronald from Iraq on October 5, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

>>Hillary, by contrast, is polarizing not because she wants to be, but because the right-wing attack machine made her that way. She's "polarizing" only because a certain deranged slice of conservative nutjobs detest her.

This is really the type of argument I expect to hear out of certain segments of the Right about Bush. Just substitute Bush for Hillary in that paragraph and "loony liberals" for "conservative nutjobs." Bush isn't "polarizing" -- the Bush-deranged left just detests him! And for no good reason. So unfair to poor Bush.

If you really believe that, Kevin, then you are truly blind. I do not know a single person, liberal or conservative or independent, that doesn't LOATHE Hillary. Of course, plenty of people on the Left don't loathe her. But to claim that she isn't a polarizing figure and that she is just a poor, misunderstood victim of the "deranged" Right (do they have "Hillary Derangement Syndrome" by chance?) beggars belief.

This is exactly why we need to move beyond the Bush-Clinton dynasty wars. If Hillary is the nominee, we are only going to get more of this idiocy (the "Hillary-deranged Right" etc.)

To be honest, I wish the entire Babyboomer-Vietnam generation would just die off already. Or at least fade away into senility. Most of us under 35 are sick to death of their pathetic culture war. Please go lock yourselves in the attic with your Fleetwood Mac records or Yanni cds or whatever, but get off the God damn stage already.

Posted by: jim on October 5, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

THANK YOU, Kevin, for finally addressing this. I was getting so tired of Andrew Sullivan's whining -- "You can't nominate Hillary or the right will be angry!" We get it, Andrew. You don't like Hillary. But seriously, if she gets nominated, it just might not be that bad.

Posted by: wilder on October 5, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Hillary bots are giving the Ron Paul bots a run for their money tonight.

Posted by: jim on October 5, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that will be interesting to watch, IF she gets the nomination and IF she is elected, is how her administration handles expanding her circle so far and fast. You can have half a dozen insiders run even a big state Senate office; you can have a couple dozen run a Presidential campaign; but it takes hundreds if not thousands of "insiders" to run an Administration.

Bill Clinton's peers, his close professional associates, talk about him the way Casey Stengel was said to talk about Mickey Mantle: just incomparable talent, limitless promise -- and he pissed it all away. People don't talk about her that way, cuz she's not like that.

Senator Clinton's closest allies and professional associates LOVE her. Go figure. But they know her far better than any blogger or talk show host I'm aware of.

Personally, I expect it'd take just one "okey-dokey, artichokey" for me, but the folks close to somebody like her generally do know 'em, as well as anybody can know a public person: and it counts for something that Senator Clinton has a level of personal loyalty that I don't think her husband ever had. She will have a tight core of folks -- mostly women -- who will have her back.

That doesn't indicate that her Presidency, if she gets one, will be good or bad, but it IS gonna be a factor, don't ya think? I doubt she will have the freelancers that her husband had, so maybe she will start fewer fires that she will have to stamp out. (Think gays in the military: if you're gonna do something like that, do it on PURPOSE.) F'r instance, very early in the Clinton administration no less than the VICE PRESIDENT'S office leaked that Gore had lectured Clinton on his lack of discipline.

You heard it here first: that won't happen to her.

Yet I cannot imagine that she will create the kind of vacuum Bush fostered where loyalty trumped substance: both she and her allies are way too wired into public arguments (like kids and health care and labor organizing, etc., not to mention her Senate record OR her husband's unfinished business) for that. She's not gonna do what Bush did to a key constituency/policy initiative, when he created faith-based initiatives as a shell game.

She could still stumble and fall, but remember: the reason a good football team establishes the three yards and a cloud of dust running game early, as her campaign has done, is cuz it makes your long yardage passing game much more effective, later.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 5, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody above stole my thought, brilliant post, truly.

Enough said.

Posted by: dennisS on October 5, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

>>Senator Clinton's closest allies and professional associates LOVE her. Go figure. But they know her far better than any blogger or talk show host I'm aware of.

You mean Hillary's friends and the people that work for her actually like her? That's hard to believe! I've heard that Bush's closest allies and associates LOVE him, too. And the people around Bush are insanely loyal to him, too. Small world! Bush and Hillary have all sorts of things in common it seems.

Gee, I guess I have to support Hillary now, though. After all, she has the support of people who work for her. And they know her better than I do. Game-set-match there.

Wow.

Posted by: jim on October 5, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Just a reminder Kevin: Those reactionary right wingers crawled out of the rocks right there in your own backyard -- until the 1970s, for the most part, they were confined to Orange County and the Irvine Companies and the John Birchers that make SoCal politics so fun.

You could have stopped them!

Sure their were pockets of them elsewhere -- but no one who was the wacky had the kind of financial clout that the boom years of the SoCal industry (mostly aerospace) gave to these nutjobs who then went on to fund Reagan and 30-40 years of increasingly insane right wing nutcases.

I say this as good portions of my own family moved to SoCal in the 1960s for aerospace jobs and became the nuttiest home-schoolin, john birchin', mimeographin, newslettered and talk radioed of the whole family.

Except for the one spur that became communist, but that's another story about California politics that I will save for another time.

Posted by: Inaudiblel Nonsense on October 5, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

jim: To be honest, I wish the entire Babyboomer-Vietnam generation would just die off already.

We're dying as fast as we can, but at our age you can't expect us to get things done as fast as we used to.

Most of us under 35 are sick to death of their pathetic culture war.

Under 35! What the hell is with kids today? Why, in my day we never spoke like that. Heck, 34 was old and washed up. See you in the retirement home old-timer.

but get off the God damn stage already

We would, except that you have to be at least 35 to be president. Looks like the Constitution has us locked into a geriatric government.

For a solution, see Wild in the Streets (careful though, anyone over 14 gets aged out).

Posted by: alex on October 5, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

@alex,

Ok, you can live a little longer, just don't run for office.

>>Why, in my day we never spoke like that. Heck, 34 was old and washed up.

Haven't you heard? 40 is the new 30. Now it's "Don't trust anyone over 40." So 34 is the new 24, which I guess means half of the 34 yr.olds today are living in mom's basement eating Fritos on the couch -- which may be washed-up, but at least not old.


Posted by: jim on October 5, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's post is a little silly in the sense that he seems to think Hillary has zero responsibility for being polarizing. It is all the fault of her "enemies." To some extent, she obviously has earned her polarizing image.

Posted by: brian on October 5, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

jim: Haven't you heard? 40 is the new 30.

Yeah, I've heard that line - mostly from old farts trying to rationalize their next birthday.

Posted by: alex on October 5, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hinged or not, I'm not right winger and I don't like Hillary. I don't like her because I don't like dynasties, and I don't like the fact that she refuses to confront Bush on the war, and worst of all that she is providing cover for a Bush attack on Iran.

As far as I can tell, she is pretty much in the pocket of the same neocons and right wing zillionaires that have gotten us into this mess.

I wish Obama and Edwards would dare to take her on on these issues, but they seem hardly different.

Posted by: capitalistimperialistpig on October 6, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary is C.F.R.

So is Rudy....

You get the same thing except Hillary wears suits better.

Posted by: Paul Weber on October 6, 2007 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

capitalistimperialistpig: I don't like her because I don't like dynasties...

Agree, although I wouldn't put it so much as a dislike of her per-se, but as unease with the dynastic trend you describe. I remain conflicted...

A part of me says the best candidate is the best candidate, and that is who I should support. Another part of me says that, best candidate or not, we're establishing a very unhealthy precedent.

As much as I'd like to think I view her as objectively as any other candidate, the apparent drift towards dynasty nags at me, especially coming on the heels of Bush 41 & 43. I wonder how many other voters have the same feelings.

Posted by: has407 on October 6, 2007 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

You get the same thing except Hillary wears suits better.

Yeah, but Rudy looks better in a dress, so it's a wash....

Posted by: Disputo on October 6, 2007 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

We still should oppose HC. For the same reason we would oppose a candidate that had cancer. It's not her fault, but still, the polarization exists. I feel bad for her, she deserves better (a seat on the Supreme Court), but I won't vote for her.

Posted by: KathyF on October 6, 2007 at 4:18 AM | PERMALINK

Ronald in Iraq, I'm sorry that you were offended by my flippant remark. And I'm very sorry that you're in that Mideast hell hole (I'll take your word, as only the truly demented would lie about such a thing), and if this is part of a multiple deployment on your part perhaps that's why you sound desperate and angry.

So, here's to your swift and safe return, and here's to hoping that you will seek the help you so evidently need to work through your justifiable feelings of bitterness and rage toward those whom you feel failed you and your fellow servicemen and -women. Nobody should have to endure what you're experiencing, especially on behalf of a wretchedly ill-defined cause. It won't be easy, but we will get you out of there, and back home where you belong.

May peace be with you in your heart and soul, if not necessarily in your present surroundings and circumstances. You obviously have my e-mail, etc., so if you feel the need to talk about anything, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Take care.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 6, 2007 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

The oldest ploy in the world: work the victim angle for all its worth, gather a circle of supporters to commiserate at how awful it is to be a victim of meanies, take absolutely no responsibility for the accumulating divisive venom, become a symbol of victims triumphing over meanies, adopt the 'crush 'em' war-mongering language of the meanies to show 'strength', substitute 'titting for tatting' for leadership.........same old coin, flip side up.
Seriously, take away the victim role and the energy it generates, and what is left is an unappealing mediocre thin resumed candidate. Anyone brave enough to look behind the victim mask will quickly be drowned out by renewed shouting about victim issues. What a winning strategy for continuing the same-old same-old. But hey, it worked for the pro-lifers in getting Bush elected, so let the victim ploy work for the dem's victim candidate this go-around. Winning is more important that tactics, just ask the torturers.

Posted by: Donna on October 6, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Almost too much to deal with in this post. Despite how difficult it is to agree with Sullivan anytime...he may have a kernel of truth here (that is, the media does seem to be working VERY HARD to control the way the primaries are decided) although I'm not savy enough to be sure it's because of any particular characteristics of Rudy or Hillary...although as it begins to look like things MAY be decided you'll notice them shift to the "oh, maybe we need to spice this back up" meme...for them it's all about the ratings/the show/the sound byte (the MONEY)...SECONDLY, you are so correct about the "unhinged" detractors of Hillary...they are obsessed by the Clintons and, for the most part as I see it, it appears to have little to do with policies and more with perceptions of "morality or lack of it" in their opinions. Look closely at many of these nutcases and you'll see the likes of Larry Craig, David Vitter, Rick Santorum, Bill Frist, all the TV evangelicals (power and money grabbing opportunists)and others of that ilk. Despite my wish that Hillary do well given that she is a woman who is intelligent and articulate and experienced, I tremble to think of what the months prior to the election will be like IF she is the candidate...if you think we're POLARIZED now...just you wait!

Posted by: Dancer on October 6, 2007 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

AND, Jonas, I think I love you...

Posted by: Dancer on October 6, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: She just has more unhinged enemies.

Does that mean more enemies who are unhinged or enemies who are more unhinged.

Oh. Both.

Posted by: anandine on October 6, 2007 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jim snarks: "You mean Hillary's friends and the people that work for her actually like her?"

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. And it's more revealing than you seem to think.

President Clinton's closest associates (I'm not really talking about personal friends, the folks who may or may not have known him since childhood or college), the folks who've worked with him for years and who are not necessarily dependent on him for their success, generally express real frustration and annoyance with the guy for his lost promise. It's not like I've made an exhaustive study of this, but I'm not just going on media, either.

That's why I think of Mickey Mantle. The guy had a spectacular career, by any measure: 538 home runs IIRC, I think he was second or third on the all-time list when he retired, the World Series home run record, more championship rings than he had fingers -- and yet. He let his lifetime average drop below .300 cuz he was a drunk, and Stengel famously (and pointedly) left him off his all-time team, even though EVERYBODY knew that Mantle had more talent than anybody. Bill Clinton is like that -- the first Democratic President re-elected since FDR is sorta like hitting 500 career home runs, but he didn't do the truly big things in office that his talent led his closest associates to hope for, and becoming the first President impeached since Andrew Johnson isn't something to be proud of, no matter what your definition of "is", is.

Curiously, there may be another Mantle parallel for Senator Clinton: by the end of Mantle's career, his fellow players thought the world of the guy. They'd see him in the locker room with scars all over his body from surgeries, taped up like a mummy, and then he'd go play his ass off. They didn't care about the other stuff; he was a gamer.

So is Senator Clinton.

That's why I think it's significant that, to use the jargon, she doesn't have the same PERSONAL negatives that her husband has. It is fair to attack Bill Clinton for a lack of discipline both politically and personally; in a sense, he earned his enemies over policy mis-steps like gays in the military and personal ones, like the women in his life. But attacks on Senator Clinton for her husband's flaws aren't quite as fair -- and people know it. That's much more in her favor than I think many political observers can see yet.

There is a real difference in tone between the folks who surrounded Bill Clinton, and the ones who surround Senator Clinton that will be interesting to watch. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that on the same personal level where they love her, they want to smack him.

I don't think it's remotely the same around Bush. For one thing, nobody ever describes our current President with the kind of up close, intense respect you hear about Senator Clinton: I don't ever recall somebody close to Bush talking about how "smart", much less "very smart", he is in private. They tend to talk, if they talk at all, with the kinds of political talking points you expect, how his faith is strong and his values are secure, etc. They don't say he's learned anything, either, which is generally how folks close to Clinton describe her experience in the Senate, as an office holder in her own right.

LOL -- then again, I've never heard of Bush saying "okey dokey, artichokey" in private, either, which is surely a blessing.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 6, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Frau ttP, a lovely lady with a Master's from Mills, says "okey, etc " often. Hmmmm

But, never considered Bill may have inadvertently stepped on a drain cover in the outfield of Yankee Stadium as a youth.

Of course, getting a autograph from MM in Dallas at the Miss Teen Age America pageant, may be why she says "okey.." so often.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 6, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Forget what the right, left or center says about Hillary.

Forget what she says about herself.

Look at her VOTES.

Pro-war. Pro-torture. Pro-censorship. Pro-secrecy. Pro-warrantless-wiretapping. Pro-corporations. Pro-rich people. Pro-predatory banking practices. Anti-constitution. Anti-First Amendement. Anti-Fourth Amendment. Anti-Fifth Amendment. Anti-working people. Anti-family. Anti-child care. Anti-health-care. Anti-environment. Anti-choice.

Not much "left of center" that I can see. Pretty much right-wing freakazoid right down the line.

Face it, Kevin.

Hillary is a Republican.

Not the nice kind, either.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on October 6, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Ya know, I'm and avg voter, and I dont have the time to comb the ninty million articles on the web for the ones that speak the truth about what Hillary does and does not stand for.

What exactly does she stand for that would actually hurt your avg conservative family if she was elected into office? Is it the universal healthcare?

Republicans seem to run the country to benefit republican constituents only. Thats polarizing. Cutting taxes for the super-rich. Attempting to Privatize schooling. Attempting to remove the barrier between church and state. Actively pursuing minorities like gays and Illegal immigrants. Et al.

Hell, if the true rightwing nutjobs ever got absolute power in the country, I have no doubts I'd be stuck working 12hour shifts, 6 days a week. With company paid healthcare im sure, but since the company would have to approve time off to see the doctor...
Family healthcare would be extra expensive though, and it wouldn't cover any children who weren't christian, ya know.
We'd all have to only have sex for procreation, and abstinence all other times. Missionary style only too.
All free-time activities would be mandatory: Church, attending sports events, polluting the environment and stoning minorities.
Of course, this is all speculation, maybe a republican controlled country would not end up like that. Maybe everyone suddenly having conservative family values, owning guns, being pro-life, going to church and paying lots of taxes so the rich don't have to, would make a perfect state. For the 40 years that would last before global warming begins to be completely and totally unignorable. But since we'd be loyal subjects, it would be no problem at all to donate our homes to a richie so he'd have a place to live that was above sealevel, after his beachfront Mcmansion got flooded.

ok, I've vented enough. These comment threads are supposed to be reserved for intelligent discussion. not pissed off ex-middleclass voters such as myself.


Posted by: Aaron on October 6, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yellow dog, here is the page with hillary's voting record, could you point out the votes which support your statement please?

http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=WNY99268

Posted by: Aaron on October 6, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Actually I don't see Bill Clinton as a polarizing figure. It's a matter of personality. Bill is a likeable crook. Hillary is not likeable.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on October 6, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Then why do the folks who know her, like her?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 6, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

TroothPolish,

Let's borrow a question from the 2000 campaign: "Of all the current candidates, which one would you like to have a beer with?"

I've edited that slightly for 2008: "Of all the current candidates, which one would you like to pound tequilla shots and watch porn with?" Only actual candidates, please.

(obviously, this question is as unsubstantial today as it was in 2000. But unfortunately, it appeared to be very relevant to many voters in 2000)

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on October 6, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Drum makes a very good point. What is so troubling and important about it, is that a few individuals can use their huge accumulated wealth to influence so many. This problem was identified a long time ago. Rich people use their wealth to influence politics beyond their capability as individuals. As America's distribution of wealth becomes becomes less equal, its political discourse becomes more filled with a cacophony of lies that prevent real issues from debated or even heard above the din of the special interests and slanders of the rich.

Posted by: Brojo on October 6, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

"In truth, Hillary is about as main stream as they come, the product of a suburban mid-west middle class upbringing. ... she is not the 12 foot tall green liberal radical slime monster they claim she is."
Posted by: fafner1 on October 5, 2007

-------

Hillary was a Goldwater-Girl. Goldwater was the foundation of today's NeoCon Conservative Bush movement. She's hardly a Liberal.

She and Bill place very well between Dems and Repubs in general. Since I'm looking to elect a Dem that disqualifies Hillary.

Sure, she might be middle America in terms of her upbringing and values, but there are middle American Republicans too. I'm not looking to elect either.

John Edwards -- Leadership for America, not wishy washy meandering cackling Goldwater-lite

Posted by: MarkH on October 6, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Then why do the folks who know her, like her?"

Getting elected is about the impression you make. I will never actually know any of the candidates. But will have to vote for the one that makes the best impression on me. Heck I just like the way Rudy wears a dress.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on October 6, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Then why do the folks who know her, like her?

Maybe because in person she is charming and engaging and exudes competence and intellectual curiosity, and comes across as downright presidential?

I am basing this on meeting her yesterday at a press conference that I was somehow invited to, that I might represent the entire KC blogosphere. (No pressure there! I opted to stand in the corner, take pictures and notes, and keep my mouth shut so as not to make an ass of myself, because I would like to get asked to events like this in the future.)

I personally favor another primary candidate, and yesterday didn't change that, but it did affect my overall view of Hillary.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 6, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

And when this country is attacked again and Clinton needs the trust and support of those who didn't vote for her? What will America do then?

I don't know really, but we could asked the question about Bush. But wait - Bush enjoyed 80 precent ratings because of an attack, and everybody hated Bush back then too.

But Hillary pretty much summed up when she said that she was sure that her husband Bill would not have ignored the August 6th intelligence briefing, pre 9/11 in the way our current drunken commander and cheif, Bushie did it. So polarizing isn't quite accurate if indeed, Ms. Hillary has the independent vote - and with Rudy splitting the Christians GOP and radical neo-con parts of the big divided tent/house of the GOP - is it really going to be a problem for Hillary?

Andy is having a hard time adding or is dividing?

At one time, it didn't matter what Dems thought, now it looks like it doesn't matter what Repugs think anymore. The Repug party sowed division - now it is reaping division.

Posted by: Me_again on October 6, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Memekiller wrote:

"You're polarizing if conservatives hate you. Conservatives hate you if you're not conservative. Therefore, anyone who is not conservative is polarizing and unelectable.

Vote Ron Paul."

Ron Paul is GOP, therefore I won't be voting for him no matter how good a platform he has. He should have stayed Libertarian. The well has been poisoned, and Ron Paul will just facilitate continuing that condition being a member of the GOP.

Then again, no one knows better how to use the toybox Bush has created on his watch than the Clintons do. THAT should scare everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Posted by: Bugboy on October 6, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

...On the other hand we're going to need TWO presidents in the White House to clean up the mess Bush has left. Food for thought.

Posted by: Bugboy on October 6, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I agree completely with Kevin Drum.

I'm a charter member of MoveOn, and was a Republican (as were the founders) who wanted the Republican Congress to move on. I vowed in 1998 to do whatever I could to rid our political system of the power these people wield.

A decade later, we might be there.

I note that Andrew Sullican ends with, "If we are attacked again, will the nation pull together?"

The reponsibilty to pull together under President Hillary Clinton would be up to the Clinton Haters. If she wins the election, it would mean that the majority of America will support her the day she takes office -- not the day we are "attacked again."

When Bill Clinton left office, 70% of the nation thought American was going in the right direction. Today, 70% of the nation thinks America is going in the Wrong direction.

Those numbers make it obvious to all of us that the Loyal Bushie Clinton Haters are a very loud, very obnoxious, but very small MINORITY of America, and they have really, really BAD judgement regarding good government.

I have no problem with the entire Democratic field but, no matter who wins, we all know it's time to shut the big, fat mouths of the Un-silent Minority up.

Posted by: Jan on October 6, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jonas - Any other questions?

!!!

Posted by: capitalistimperialistpig on October 6, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

You nailed it Kevin!

I've gone back to look at some of what Sullivan has previously said, and found some serious ambivalence.

To start, this is not a new tune for Sully, last year when he was still at Time he wrote:

"She really shouldn’t run. It would divide and polarize the country; she’s dreadful on the stump; she has very high negatives; most Democrats only like her; almost no-one loves her; and do we really want 20 years of two families in the White House? Besides: what do you do with Bill?"

He proposed an answer to that one himself, one year ago today on The Chris Matthews Show, “Secretary of State Bill Clinton. That’s how you solve the First Husband problem."

As interesting, on the June 25, 2006 Chris Matthews Show Sullivan said:

"I think Hillary as the warrior queen is a fantastic iconography for the country. I mean, warrior queens always do well - Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth I - there is a very deep mythology in the back of our heads… that warms to that figure. Now if Hillary can pull it off, it’s the one way I think she could win the hearts of the people that are currently polarized against her."

To the basic polarizer charge, I agree of course with you that we send the right-wing rage machine back under the rock, but I find ammo in the November 2006 Atlantic profile of Clinton that found:

"Her partnerships were deemed so successful in moderating her image that Karl Rove, according to a source close to him, sent word last year to halt Republican cooperation with her—an edict that has been ignored. As the atmosphere in Washington has deteriorated, Clinton has emerged within the Senate as the unlikeliest of figures: she, not George W. Bush, has turned out to be a uniter, not a divider. "

Posted by: Joe on October 7, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

That's right Kevin, the whole lapel pin brouhaha is evidence enough of that. Sullivan's candidate, Obama, said something utterly sensible and supportable, but the right wing noise machine generated a controversey around it. A couple of more 'incidents' like this, and they'll have succeeded in making Obama 'polarizing' too.

Posted by: AJ on October 7, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think that the hatred of Hillary Clinton by the christianists, talk-radio wingnuts, Andrew Sullivan, and assorted angstridden tinfoil-hatted lefties mean precisely one thing: She's the right man for the job.

Posted by: Chairman Mo on October 8, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Andrew:

Just curious, do you know how all these people (including yourself), so opposed to the prospect of a president Hilliary for such a simplistic, irrelvant reason, feel about our current nepotist-in-chief? Objectively, do they, and you, honestly believe he was more qualified to be president than she is? Or did they support his candidacy despite the obvious nepotism/cronyism/familial source of his opportunity? Do they/you believe he would have been anywhere near the presidency, the Supreme Court, or the presidency of a college without his gilded last name?

You said, she "mortgaged her principles to follow her husband to Arkansas and beyond."

Why are you so obsessed with her career decisions vis-a-vis staying with her husband? Isn't that a little arrogant, condescending, and judgemental? Just a little?

Healthcare in '93-'94 was an undeniable flop. Her plan today? If nothing else, she learns. This is a good thing no? A lesser person would surely have shrunken from such a monumental defeat.

And as you said, she is "extremely smart, able, intelligent and hard-working." Hmmmm. Would you or any of your anti-Hilliary comrades describe Mr. Bush this way? And of those who wouldn't, how many voted for him?

Posted by: oladipo on October 8, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is sounding more and more unhinged. "Nixon in a pant suit"??

Posted by: wilder on October 9, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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