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Tilting at Windmills

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January 12, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

ROUND 2....Susie Madrak watches TV so you don't have to:

See, I didn't believe any of those people who accused Clinton of crying on purpose — but I just saw her do it again, while talking to some 65-year-old lady in Reno who was losing her home. Wiped her eyes, got the little catch in her throat....

Stop it, Hillary. Just stop it. Are you trying to convince every talking head in America that you're really the windup robot of their fever dreams?

Kevin Drum 11:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (81)

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Posted by: bob on January 12, 2008 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

First the fake laugh, now the fake tears. Whatever works...

Posted by: Me2d on January 12, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Your right Kevin - Screw that lady for loosing her home -
oh and screw you too, for this type of lazy commentary

Posted by: mlawyer on January 12, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I don't really like watching cable news, but I do prefer to see things for myself.

Posted by: B on January 13, 2008 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Feel my pain, Hillary.

Posted by: lampwick on January 13, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

As I said in the previous thread: What we need is a President not named Bush or Clinton (and I should add, Huckabee, McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Paul, Thompson, Gingrich, Bloomberg). It's already been 32 years since a Bush or Clinton was not on the ballot. Sheesh! Enough already.

Posted by: redterror on January 13, 2008 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Don't get me wrong, I don't care if they have to do a little emoting to get the votes. And I thought the incident in Iowa where she first cried seemed quite genuine and human.

I'm guessing her advisors told her to cut loose and let herself cry if she has an opportunity. But she's been very controlled all these years and if she's going to do start welling up all the time, it'll have the opposite effect.

Posted by: Susie from Philly on January 13, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

There may be many reasons not to vote for Clinton, but the "dynasty" issue is disingenuous. If you think Sen. Clinton would make the best president among those running, would you really pull the lever for someone else just because we've had too many Bushes and Clintons? Make an argument to convince me that having a new name in office is more important than the econmony, the war, terroism, the environmanet, etc.

Posted by: Ronnie Pudding on January 13, 2008 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

That's right, the "she's too emotional, she's crying in PUBLIC!!!" thing didn't work out too well, so now you're going back to the "she's a ROBOT, crying on command!" eh?

And then there's the new commenter, posting near the top of every thread that mentions Hillary. Interesting, isn't it?

Personally, I don't really mind, take your best shots. Any Democrat who becomes president is going to have to deal with shit, so it's best we pick someone good at it.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 13, 2008 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

Is she going to do that as president?

Posted by: Jimm on January 13, 2008 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it is something she has to work through to make her image more human, less rational, etc. It definitely is a TV thing, whatever it is, so it will need a TV expert to explain it. I'd have a better chance if she were a character in a play.

Posted by: Bob M on January 13, 2008 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

And to think her shameless support of the credit and health insurance industry might even be constructed as part of the larger narrative!

Are the tears ironic, mocking, or guilt-ridden? That is the question.

Posted by: Sparko on January 13, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

I think the dynasty issue is very real. If you think there are three candidates that would probably all do a good job, then why not pull the lever for the one that stops the dynasty.

The error bars I have in my estimate of which each candidate can do are huge and clearly overlap.

If there were two and I thought one would do way better than the other, still the errors bars are great enough that it seems very reasonable to pull the lever for the "lesser" but non dynasty candidate.

Regarding the crying Kevin, she "found her voice", now you're trying to shut that voice down? Thank you, because it's stuff like this, and the laugh, that confirms our fears that she is a serial panderer.

Posted by: jerry on January 13, 2008 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Would it be wrong to wait until we see the segment itself before we judge whether it seemed faked or over the top?

You know, it's always best to assess things based on the facts. They can make a difference, if you let them.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 13, 2008 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

franklt0. Um, yeah. Hillary might have been genuinely reacting. Let's throw the red flag and see what the booth says.

Gingrich and Rove have been pushing her pretty hard lately. I think they would tell you she would never purposely deceive anyone. Just like Rove.

Posted by: Sparko on January 13, 2008 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

'The error bars I have in my estimate of which each candidate can do are huge and clearly overlap.' - Jerry

Ain't that the truth. I'm always surprised when I hear someone say the Dems have a 'deep field' of excellent candidates (they usually mean Clinton, Obama, Edwards). Better than the R comedians, for sure, but still not close to the progressive standard-bearers I'd like to see.
Too bad that our president has to be a politician. I sometimes daydream about being able to choose from a field of some of the excellent, extremely intelligent commenters on this forum. Alas, only a daydream...

Posted by: nepeta on January 13, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Bill used to bite his lower lip on cue, so Hillary will now get a catch in her voice. They are first rate "show people" - Hillary is a front for Bill's third term. He wants it bad so that he wash out the taint of having been almost impeached.

Family dynasties are the mark of a weak democracy - that's why you see them so much in countries that are just getting the hang of it and if the country doesn't get over it they never have a strong democracy. That's why there's the Constitutional ban on the third term no matter how great the president is - it's bad for the country to go down that road - it weakens the entire system and consolidates power around even fewer people. You know absolute power corrupts absolutely- ever heard of it?

Posted by: C.B. on January 13, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

As soon as the media made a big deal about Hillary crying before NH, I knew that she wouldn't be hurt by it. I didn't think it would help her as much as it did. Most politicians are terminally afraid of looking weak, even if they aren't really strong themselves (I would place President Bush in this category). Hillary's problem was the inverse of this. So her emotional moment helped. But I also thought that this benefit for her would be a one-shot thing, and that she would run it into the ground to try to reap even more of an advantage. One cry shows you're human. A whole crapload of them just shows that you're emo. And isn't there some kind of sexist meme out there about women being too emotional to handle pressure?

Posted by: Lev on January 13, 2008 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

I saw that lady speak on CNN. What was funny about it, was she sat there in national TV and named corporations who instructed her to commit fraud.

The lady said that Quicken Loans instructed her to sign a loan application stating her monthly income was $8K. The lady said she doesn't even know anyone who makes $8K per month.

Then, she said Countrywide had her sign an ARM using a bogus appraisal that was $80K overvalued, assuring her she could refinance in six months.

In six months, the prices had dropped and Countrywide would no longer refinance her loan.

The lady had been putting her recent payments on her credit card. She is on the verge of losing her home.

The funniest part (if you consider it funny), is that Hillary said the lady should be allowed to refinance at a rate she could afford. To do that, the lady would be looking at an 80 year mortgage (she is 65 years old).

So...while Hillary wants to help those with bad loans, her main solution would be to give these people 50-60-70+ year mortgages where they would be paying mostly interest for the first 40-50 years.

Posted by: Vote_Hillary on January 13, 2008 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Susie from Philly: "... if she's going to do start welling up all the time, it'll have the opposite effect."

And after CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News each replay the clip two or three times and hour for the entire day, are you going to call that a crying jag?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 13, 2008 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

C.B.: "Family dynasties are the mark of a weak democracy - that's why you see them so much in countries that are just getting the hang of it and if the country doesn't get over it they never have a strong democracy."

Absolutely. Those damn Adamses, Roosevelts, Kennedys and Rockefellers undermined our U.S. Constitution, and really drove this country nose-first into the ground.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 13, 2008 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you have no cause to PRESUME Hillary's reported show of emotion (tears) at hearing a woman's sad tale of losing her home, is phony. Is it not equally possible that Hillary HONESTLY FEELS THE EMOTION SHE EXHIBITED, but has over the years LEARNED to stiffle (control) her true feelings and womanly expressions of emotion, because in our culture tears mean weakness, and she wanted to be strong and make it in a man's world. And, that now, given the NH experience, she has discovered that she need not always stiffle her womanly emotional reaction? THAT IS TO SAY, HOW DO YOU KNOW, FOR SURE, THAT THE EMOTION HILLARY NOW PUBLICALLY EXHIBITS IS NOT GENUINE????
The fact is, woman tend cry and otherwise express (and perhaps feel) emotion more readidly then men. Tearing up at hearing a sad story is not unatural for a woman!

Posted by: Erika S on January 13, 2008 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Let's be blunt: much of this is really just sexist bullshit. For far too many, Hillary can do nothing right. She's called an 'ice queen' and a 'robot' when she behaves like your average, emotionless male candidate. When she shows a hint of emotion and her eyes mist (Reagan, Clinton, Dubya, and others have all cried while in office or on the campaign trail) then people question whether Hillary (read: a woman) is emotionally stable enough to be president. Or they question her sincerity.

Continuing the bluntness: men dislike assertive women, women dislike assertive women even more. A workplace survey found men who ask for raises are seen positively (as "assertive") by both male and female co-workers; women who ask for raises are more likely to be seen negatively by male co-workers, and even more negatively by female co-workers. (That might account why one of the more common criticisms of Hillary is that she seems to want the job too much) Funny, I don't recall anyone saying that about Edwards or McCain, despite the fact that they are both on their second attempt to become president (and never mind that McCain more or less sold his soul to the Religious Right, pun intended, to give himself a better chance).

Nor should anyone forget that the hatred of Hillary Clinton started when she dared to stray from the stereotypical roles of First Ladies (hold tea parties or champion a noncontroversial, low-profile slogan-based campaign, e.g. tell kids not to use drugs or to read more, etc.). Hillary had the audacity to break with a sexist gender role and try to do something a little more substantive and shepherd the process of creating a universal healthcare program for our nation. As a Yale educated lawyer she was far more qualified for that small task than scores and scores of Bush administration appointees.

If you don't like Hillary, ask yourself why. Then try to determine how much of your impression of Hillary is genuinely based on her stand on the issues versus her "personality".

Posted by: Augustus on January 13, 2008 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus: "Reagan, Clinton, Dubya, and others have all cried while in office or on the campaign trail."

Buncha fuckin' pussies, one 'n' all, you ask me!

Posted by: Macho, macho man! I've got to be a macho man! on January 13, 2008 at 3:30 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus: Thank you for your post. You have stated, clearly and succinctly, in exactly the right tone,what needs to be said on all this silly, but very unfair, Hillary bashing that goes on -- even by those who profess to support her.

Posted by: Erika Senter on January 13, 2008 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, John Kerry. Today, Ben Nelson and Claire McCasgill. Yep - agents of change, one and all.

Barack Obama better cross his fingers that John McCain doesn't exit the GOP race any time soon, lest Joe Lieberman's endorsement also migrate in his general direction.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 13, 2008 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

much of this is really just sexist bullshit. For far too many, Hillary can do nothing right.

George W. Bush can't do anything right as far as I'm concerned, either, but I assume you wouldn't call that sexism-- it's simply because I completely distrust his motives. The same applies to HRC... and as Cybill Shepherd once said, I've been a feminist since before I even knew the word.

Posted by: latts on January 13, 2008 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

It's being reported by the New York Times this morning that Clinton campaign advisor Sidney Blumenthal has been charged with "aggravated driving while intoxicated", having been pulled over and detained by police last Monday outside Nashua, New Hampshire for doing 70-mph in a 30-mph zone. Formal arraignment is scheduled in Nashua on January 31.

No comment -- I'm just passing along the story.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 13, 2008 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK

I have never read so many comments from people who think that the main reason people do not like Hillary, is that she is a woman. All women appear to like her for the sole fact that she too is a women. Lets talk more about the fact that she does change her beliefs depending on who she is trying to sell herself to. Don't get me wrong, I also despise that when male candidates do the same thing. Lets just not forget her new relationships with the health care and insurance industries, her backing of the flag burning amendment, her signing onto the Iraq mess (and then doing it again in regards to Iran) and her carpet bagging in New York since neither is from there (The life long Cubs fan is now a Yankee fan). YES SHE PANDERS

Posted by: Mike in Chicago on January 13, 2008 at 4:12 AM | PERMALINK

Erika, thank you. Of course it is nearly impossible to avoid liking or disliking someone for subjective reasons. However I think it's important to be aware of how much these attitudes are based on objective observations (e.g. a candidate's stand on the issues) versus subjective impressions (e.g. which candidates seem trustworthy or inspiring).

While there's no magic formula, one should weigh objective reasons for liking/disliking a candidate more heavily than subjective reasons, and some subjective reasons are more relevant to being a good president than others.

George W. Bush can't do anything right as far as I'm concerned, either, but I assume you wouldn't call that sexism-- it's simply because I completely distrust his motives.

Except there are seven years of objectively identifiable corruption, incompetence, and criminal behavior on the part of the Bush administration to base that subjective distrust of Bush's motives. Fool me once...

What objective reasons do you have for distrusting Hillary's motives? I'm not saying there aren't reasons to distrust/dislike her, I'm just suggesting that people should try to distinguish between objective and subjective reasons, and be open to the possibility that their prejudices should change.

I don't know anybody - not friends, family, or co-workers - who like Hillary. I don't particularly like her either, to be honest. But the one curious thing I've noticed is that almost no one cites objective reasons for disliking Hillary. In fact, a lot of them don't even have reasons for not liking her - they just don't and never have. [I suspect that most of these attitudes were formed during Hillary's involvement with her husband's efforts on universal health care, opposition to which included ugly personal attacks on her.]

If a reason for disliking Hillary is based on a gender double standard (aggressiveness, sincerity, emotions, etc.) that does not apply to male candidates, it should probably be discounted.

To repeat, I'm just suggesting that people should try to distinguish between objective and subjective reasons, and be open to the possibility that their prejudices should change.

Posted by: Augustus on January 13, 2008 at 5:06 AM | PERMALINK

Before Iowa I was very enthusiastic about our entire field of Dem candidates. Now I doubt there is any one of them that can get elected, or get anything done once elected.

Great primary system we have here.

Posted by: Dawn on January 13, 2008 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Stop it, Hillary. Just stop it. Are you trying to convince every talking head in America that you're really the windup robot of their fever dreams?"-K Drum

I think it is too late to end that perception. Also, where do you get off commenting on something you haven't even seen yet and then judging it?

Posted by: Harry S/mdana on January 13, 2008 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

... her carpet bagging in New York since neither is from there (The life long Cubs fan is now a Yankee fan)

I'll let you in on a little secret ... there's a lot of people living in New York who weren't born here. Oddly enough, the "carpetbagger" charge doesn't seem to work with them. Funny, that.

As for the Yankees, she went on the record about that long before the idea of running for the Senate came up.

Posted by: Thlayli on January 13, 2008 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

Donald in Hawaii - Sure lots of families are (and have been involved in politics. But how many have provided more than one president??? Only the father/son duo of the Adamses when America was young. That was my point.

How many others have tried to put up successive brothers, sons or wives since???? NONE Teddy and Theodore where cousins who served 30 years apart. Hardly the concentration of at that top power that we are witnessing with Bush and Clinton now.

It is a very bad sign that a 200 plus year old democracy is now struggling with this again. And just as in the case of Bush - the fact that Hillary would never be in the position to have been Senator of New York and now running for president but for her husband having been president when she ran for Senator and his campaigning for her now - is transparent - and will haunt every task she faces as president and has to ask the country to make hard decisions and face difficult times.

All this commotion about her emotions is because as base - she is totally unknown and unknowable to us - and that is a horrible predicament to face when deciding who should be president.

Posted by: C.B. on January 13, 2008 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

The economic downturn will be tailormade for Clinton, because she does the feel your pain routine just as well as Bill. Will the old lady who lost her house feel consoled by airy rhetoric about change and hope.

Posted by: bob h on January 13, 2008 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary is Bill without the Willie

Posted by: dane on January 13, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii: Those damn Adamses, Roosevelts, Kennedys and Rockefellers undermined our U.S. Constitution, and really drove this country nose-first into the ground.

(Did Donald's snark tags copy over successfully?)

John and John Quincy Adams were politically significant a generation apart, and represented different political parties. Likewise Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt. Likewise Nelson and Jay Rockefeller.

The Kennedys are all Democrats (unless you count Ah-nold:)), but they've only produced one president; no other Kennedy has even made it onto the national ballot. On the other hand, Teddy and Bobby were both major candidates for the nomination.

Now, the Clintons are both Democrats, and the Bushes are all Republicans. We've had two Bush presidencies, separated by only eight years. If HRC is elected, the two Clinton presidencies will have been separated by only eight years. And even if HRC were to serve only one term, we'd have had either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House for twenty-four years, an entire generation.

I like HRC, and I'm disgusted by the sexist crap Kevin has posted here without even watching the clip--but the dynasty concern is a real one.

Posted by: Lis on January 13, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

And one more point on family dynasties. The fact that Teddy Kennedy was elected to the Senate when he was 30 years old and his brother was president has dogged his entire career. And while Bobby did run for president too - the circumstances were unique in that the JFK was dead and had not served out a single term. Here we have Bill who already had two terms, is still alive, is actively campaigning for his wife, and plans to be very much a part of the "her" presidency. Completely different set up and very bad for the country.

As for Obama being all rhetoric - and no plans - that is a fallacy. Go to his website and you can look up all the details of his concrete plans to address to the many problems this country faces.

Once again the media is only focusing on his inspirational rhetoric so that it appears that's only what he is about. It's a distortion of what he is about and the Clintons are spinning it to their advantage.

Posted by: C.B. on January 13, 2008 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

bob h wrote: "The economic downturn will be tailormade for Clinton, because she does the feel your pain routine just as well as Bill. Will the old lady who lost her house feel consoled by airy rhetoric about change and hope."

Nope, and what she should get and what I've seen in the past from Obama and none of he other candidates is a truthful answer of what he believes the problem is. The big, evil corporations and the untrustworthy, evil Republicans didn't do this...she made bad judgements and terrible decisions and now she is losing her home. That sucks, but that's the truth. I don't think Obama would promise to get it back for her, I think he'd tell her and others to be more educated consumers. What I like is being told the downsides to policies he espouses as well as the positives, I see Obama doing that and I don't see others trying to do that. Anyway, my $.02.

As for the crying bit, really, who cares!? I notice there's nothing about how Clinton would respond with policy, which is much more important IMO. So what if she fakes tears or it's genuine. She cares? She's a panderer? How the hell should we know? her record might speak to what she thinks on this issue than a conversation on the campaign trail.

Posted by: drosz on January 13, 2008 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK
Stop it, Hillary. Just stop it.

Oh my. She's heard those words before. Plenty.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 13, 2008 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be an ass. What makes tearing up on cue morally different than smiling on cue? Nothing. You've decided to isolate and comment on one phony moment among a blue brazilian phony moments and one phony among 50. No doubt you'll also bemoan another campaign in which the press focused on trivialities rather than substance.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 13, 2008 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Where do you get off commenting on something you haven't even seen yet and then judging it?

It's fun and easier. Ask Rush and his dittoheads.

Posted by: B on January 13, 2008 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

I hardly have a problem with Kevin Drum posting what appears to be an initial reaction (not just gut, but brain). Has already said he thinks it would be bad politics. A pulse-taking post is just a pulse-taking post.

Me, I don't care, my tear-up/well-up tolerence is a little higher today; tomorrow who knows?

In the end, not likely to determine my vote.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 13, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

>" the "dynasty" issue is disingenuous."

Eh? Concentration of power in the hands of dynasties is one of the trademarks of a republic in decline. But I guess if the shoe fits, maybe the US should wear it.

>"that almost no one cites objective reasons for disliking Hillary. "

I objectively don't like her because I have never observed her taking a stand on an issue that does not appear to be calculated to further her political career. There ya go.

Interesting side note on the gender issue. Hillary's campaign manager cited the big media splash showing the guy holding up an 'Iron my Shirt' sign as a significant turning point in NH.

Somebody should track him down and find out if that was a 'spontaneous' display or there's more there than meets the eye. It certainly be a very Rovian act, and with Rove and now Gingrich singing Hillary's praises... it makes me wonder.

I'm not surprised to see more tears from Hillary, and I would be equally surprised if I didn't see more 'Iron my Shirt' signs popping up a day or two before the polls open in other states.

Posted by: Buford on January 13, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

talking to some 65-year-old lady in Reno who was losing her home. Wiped her eyes, got the little catch in her throat....

Damn it, people ought to cry about something like that. Should she be like GWB's Enron buddies, and laugh?

Posted by: rea on January 13, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Not exactly OT but on the issue of women disliking other women for wanting anything...

I recall in 2004 riding up in an elevator with a female consultant from Boston who loathed Kerry, but more especially loathed his wife Teresa Heinz...the first remark out of her mouth was how Teresa 'couldn't wait' to get into that WHite House, how conniving/ambitious/hypocritical/loved the high life and so on.

Well this was in Pittsburgh where we happen to know Ms. H-K fairly well, and of course none of those things apply. She's got more money than God, gives sh-tloads of it away, is probably the area's best known philanthropist. The last thing she could care about is how expensive the china is in the effin' WH. And of course spent most of her life as a Republican.

Now this particular woman obviously hated Kerry too but what was telling to me was how unconsciously she just transferred it all to the woman in the equation, inventing the persona necessary to justify her dislike.


Posted by: Sarah on January 13, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. This post really needs a [sarcasm] tag, stat. It looks like you're saying Hillary is a robot for expressing too much emotion. That's one step away from a full-on Rovian bitchslap. Why hold back, Kev?

Posted by: scarshapedstar on January 13, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Why do Clinton supporters attribute their candidate's every setback to sexism?

Why do they ignore specific objections to her candidacy, while claiming that no one provides specific objections?

Posted by: Adam on January 13, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

This is a foolish complaint. Where is the blog commentary about Romney tearing up or would that be sexist?
A candidate could remain on a podium reading glorious phrases from a teleprompter, or the candidate could mingle with the people. When you opt to hear peoples' stories, you are going to hear some powerful ones; and, while some might be exaggerated, they will have an emotional impact.

Posted by: Mike on January 13, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

It's amazing that two lines and one post exists on this site about the recent racial issues, yet we can find endless room to talk about allegations of sexism.

I can't wait to see Hillary lose in the general election. She deserves to after doing what she has done and saying what she has said. Disenfranchising workers and saying deniably-racist things to make whites fearful of OBama's blackness is disgusting. That you all give her a pass on it is more so. You're the same, racist white people who always get red in the face and want to stone the messenger whenever a black person mentions race.

Then again, as I've said before, you'll just blame the black community for acting uppity and ignore that there's no way in hell two 60 year old white southerners don't know what they are doing here.

I always knew Triangulation would rear it's ugly head in this election, but I never thought the Clinton's would do it on the basis of race. Then again, triangulation originated as a way to pick off racist, but left-leaning whites in the south it shouldn't come as a total shock.

Posted by: Soullite on January 13, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Why do Clinton supporters attribute their candidate's every setback to sexism?

Why do they ignore specific objections to her candidacy, while claiming that no one provides specific objections?"

Adam nails it!!

Posted by: Surly on January 13, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it is something she has to work through to make her image more human, less rational, etc. - Bob M
I agree. I think the conventional wisdom of her campaign people, Bill Clinton, and herself was to project strength, competence, and experience. They all relied on this strategy so heavily she became robotic and managerial in her message delivery. When she turned NH around through a projection of emotional authenticity instead (feigned or not), they realized the campaign had been on the wrong track. This is new territory here, a new dynamic that has to be carefully gaged. If they overplay this it will backfire and make her look desperate IMO.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it is something she has to work through to make her image more human, less rational, etc.
- Bob M

I agree. I think the conventional wisdom of her campaign people, Bill Clinton, and herself was to project strength, competence, and experience. They all relied on this strategy so heavily she became robotic and managerial in her message delivery. When she turned NH around through a projection of emotional authenticity instead (feigned or not), they realized the campaign had been on the wrong track. This is new territory here, a new dynamic that has to be carefully gaged. If they overplay this it will backfire and make her look desperate IMO.
(Preview IS your friend)

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 13, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary and Bill would rather we talk about gender and race than talk about there attempt to give Bill a third term.

Folks - there is no way Hillary would be a Senator in New York except that she ran when Bill was president. And there's no way she would be a viable candidate for the presidency but for the people's support for getting Bill back into the White House - directly or indirectly.

If Bill were dead - so would she be politically. And if she weren't possibly the first woman to be president (if that were a non-event) everyone would be focused on how Bill is vying for a third term. The fact that they can throw up smoke screens about gender and race - keeps the media from talking about the elephant in the room. Bill's grab for power through his surrogate - his wife.

Posted by: C.B. on January 13, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Oh for pity's sake. The crying, the hair, the baritone ... Why is it that this only goes on for Democrats, and why in the name of sweet suffering Jeebus do we keep giving it oxygen?

It's a persona, people. The reason you're having trouble distinguishing the "genuine" from the "artificial" is that, at the level of a persona, the distinction is meaningless.* Think how much trouble we have managing our own little bloggy personas! And then imagine what it's like at the national political level -- when she's been the target of a decade-long and very well-funded hate campaign.

The whole thing makes my flesh crawl, it's so creepy, and Hillary's not even my choice.

There's a wonderful passage in The Way of the World:


I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her...

So natural, or so artful... I bet if we all look to our own lives, or even our own behavior, we'll find plenty of examples that would "concern" us just much as this stupid controversy. Of course, voyeurism from a distance is licensed as commentary and analysis, especially when practiced by shouting heads on the teebee, or wannabes in the threads.

Remember the old SNL script? "Genius! No, acting!"

One, both, or neither? Honestly, who cares? Give her a break and back off. Try for some basic humanity.

* Of course, a question that can never be resolved gives our lazy and venomous press (Exhibit A: MoDo) an endless stream of stories to write about. They like that.

Posted by: Lambert Strether, Philadelphia, PA on January 13, 2008 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think that crying a second time shortly after a first time is just a physical reaction - sort of like yawning.

I cry about once a decade but I teared up at my son's high school graduation (when they said the pledge! - it so symbolized school for me). In the weeks that followed I welled up at all sorts of silly things. It seemed that once I had the physical response down pat the stimuli came easily.

Posted by: Bostonian in Brooklyn on January 13, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Are you trying to convince every talking head in America that you're really the windup robot of their fever dreams?"

A wind-up robot spouting wonkish policy proposals, whose displays of emotion are phony and scripted, whose clothes, demeanor and every move are directed by consultants, focus-groups and polls, and who will say anything or do anything to get elected.

That's exactly how the corporate-owned media relentlessly slandered Al Gore in 2000. That was the script they followed in the corporate-owned media's campaign to get George W. Bush into the White House.

It doesn't matter what Hillary Clinton "convinces" anyone of, or doesn't. The bought-and-paid for (very well paid for, thank you) talking heads of the corporate-owned media have their script and they will stick to it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 13, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I don’t have cable, so I am dependent on broadcast TV news for images of the campaigns. Last night, our local Fox station included coverage of the national campaign in its 10:00 pm newscast and the segment about Hillary showed her speaking in L.A., where she was interrupted by a young man who proposed marriage. She got a big laugh when she said she would probably be arrested, if she accepted his offer.

There was no story about an old lady losing her house. Could it be that Fox doesn’t want viewers to think about the problems of the poor and elderly, especially if the woman gave the names of the companies that tricked her?

Posted by: emmarose on January 13, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

i have some concern over the bush/clinton dynasty thing. all things equal, i'd prefer fresh faces.

but look at it this way. the clinton dynasty is over the moment hillary passes from the scene. that could be as soon as this august if obama wins the nomination.

as for the bushes, they're finished politically.

dubya's shitty performance, combined with jeb's role in florida recount in 2000, means the bushes are radioactive.

i doubt any repubs will look back on the bush family's service to the nation and feel a warm glow that will make them want to support the next generation of bushes intersted in using politics as a tool for self-aggrandizement.

Posted by: Auto on January 13, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

She can fake cry all she wants.

She's going to fix healthcare b/c she wants to go down in history as the one that got it done.

Ego-driven healthcare reform is still healthcare reform. Good enough for me.

Posted by: AF on January 13, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus, there are no truly objective reasons for distrusting anyone, unless one has been burned by that individual before, and even that leave plenty of room for interpretation. I noticed you used GWB as an example of justified suspicion, but I have to confess that I always distrusted him, long before he proved me right-- observations of his bullying/backslapping character, the loathsome company he kept, and the sheer malevolence of the modern GOP made such a subjective judgment a pretty safe bet, and I'm comfortable with my early opinions.

HRC's nowhere near as awful, of course, but some similar observations point to a distinctly unpleasant public character: her controlling-- and yes, calculating-- tendencies, as evidenced by her healthcare-policy efforts, stonewalling investigations (that ultimately caused more trouble than it saved), her completely transparent evaluation of how opposing the IWR would affect her presidential viability, and pretty much everything connected with her association with Mark Penn are good starting points. She had a bigger megaphone than any first-term senator in memory, one that could have been used to support parliamentary efforts to block GWB at least, but instead she went along to get along... that's political cowardice, not leadership. And like it or not, her history-- her '35 years of experience,' if you will-- indicates an affinity for DLC-type policies (specifically economic & foreign policy; she's more progressive wrt children's issues) that ultimately undermine the party she expects to lead.

So yeah, I can find plenty to distrust about HRC that isn't gender-based, and it's based on the very experience that she claims. I do have feminist gripes about her path to power, for reasons that should be glaringly obvious, but even if she was a man I'd still describe her as an overly cautious machine hack who's virtually devoid of vision & leadership skills.

Posted by: latts on January 13, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I talked to Hillary in Reno, just to watch her cry...

...ltc, momentarily possessed by xkcd

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on January 13, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Low-tech cyclist wins comment of the thread.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 13, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

While I always believed the crying episodes were staged, I really don't understand why she gets more criticism for this than the surely hundreds of other fake positions and rhetoric that she, or any other presidential candidate, spews forth every day of the campaign. The major point of a political campaign is to seem to support the positions of as many voters as possible- this involves world class acting and lying. The winner is the one that does it best.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 13, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

i remember being at a dinner party soon
after the monica-mess hit the fan. most
of the table thought clinton had disqualified
himself from being president and should resign.
then my girlfriend (who had 3 glasses of wine)
piped up "i don't care-if he keeps the economy
going i'll blow him myself!"
the table got suddenly quiet until i said, as
loyalty requires- "um, yeah, me too."

Posted by: daveminnj on January 13, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK
Why do Clinton supporters attribute their candidate's every setback to sexism? ….Adamat 11:41 AM
Please make a list of all those setbacks and instances of them being attributed to sexism? Also, please make a list of those statements claiming a lack of specific objections.
….I always knew Triangulation would rear it's ugly head in this election, but I never thought the Clinton's would do it on the basis of race…Republite at 11:56 AM
There is no one playing the race card but you from your imagination. If you want to believe all the media's distortions of quotations, that's your prerogative, but expect to be called on it. If you're seeking triangulation, listen to Obama. It sounds like he's promising a Bush third term, echoing some of the old Bush rhetoric about changing the tone in Washington

…The spirit of cooperation I have seen in this hall is what is needed in Washington, D.C. It is the challenge of our moment. After a difficult election, we must put politics behind us and work together to make the promise of America available for every one of our citizens.
I am optimistic that we can change the tone in Washington, D.C.
I believe things happen for a reason, and I hope the long wait of the last five weeks will heighten a desire to move beyond the bitterness and partisanship of the recent past….

and bridging partisan gaps.

He promised to work to unite the country and said his agenda of improving education, modernizing the military, updating the Medicare system and providing tax relief would move forward in a bipartisan way, founded on a "search for common ground."…

Hillary and Bill would rather we talk about gender and race than talk about there attempt to give Bill a third term…..C.B. at 12:15 PM

It seems that all the talk of race is coming from Rove and all the sexist speech is coming from the American media: the Dowds, Kornbluts, Healys, Sullivans and Matthews.
In the meantime, Clinton just goes on talking policy, offering economic plans, healthcare plans, and troop withdrawal plans.
SecularAnimist is right, this is 2000 and the Goring of a Democratic candidate all over. Believe me, once Clinton is knocked out of the race, Obama will come in for a smear&fear campaign that will make the ones against Gant and Ford look like Sunday School picnics.
...the bushes, they're finished politically….Auto at 1:28 PM

Jeb is waiting in the wings, and his role in the 2000 recount, Schiavo and other issues only enhances his attractiveness to Republicans.

Posted by: Mike on January 13, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see some real tears: Obama-Edwards 2008.

Posted by: Manfred on January 13, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

There may be many reasons not to vote for Clinton, but the "dynasty" issue is disingenuous. If you think Sen. Clinton would make the best president among those running, would you really pull the lever for someone else just because we've had too many Bushes and Clintons?
Posted by: Ronnie Pudding

i don't understand the dynasty fears, either. we had one mediocre president, one pretty good president, and one undeniably shitty president. this means we should not vote for someone who would also be decent because she has the same name of the pretty good president? it makes no sense. and the argument that she would just be bill's cats-paw is absurd as well.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on January 13, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Please, Kevin Drum, please stop it. Stop focusing on this kind of garbage. Is she "genuine?" Ugh, the stupidity--who cares? I don't care if she cries, I don't care if she is cold and ruthless, I don't care if she's warm and fuzzy. She's not running for friend, shes' running for president. All I care about is A: does she have a policy agenda I like, and B: will she make informed, judicious, practical decisions. But I can't really get answers to this, because all I get from my media is this kind of crap

Here--here are some more really important questions you can obsess over:

1. did she really enjoy that fried chicken at the county fair, or was she just pretending?

2. Did she really think that woman's baby was "sooo cute" at the town hall meeting, or was she just pretending?

3. Was she really glad to be in Michigan, or was it all just political calculation?

The answer is, they're all running for president, it's all always already just political calculation. End of story.

This is the kind of garbage we get from our journalists--this kind of fantasy based, character driven "analysis." It degrades our political discourse. Look at the moronic level of comments here--nothing about actual policy, nothing but fact free speculation about triviality

Thanks, journalists!

Posted by: hc Carey on January 13, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

You know what? I saw something happen, and I wrote about it. Don't put me in the same category as (eww!) MoDo - I defended Hillary the first time she cried.

And I wasn't attacking her this time. It was an OBSERVATION. It wasn't about sexism, it was about what I think may be a bad tactical move. No layers of meaning here. Don't assume because you attack the candidate you're not supporting that I do, too.

Jeebus, Duncan's right. I can't wait until primary season is over.

Posted by: Susie from Philly on January 13, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well I just finished talking to my 77- year old Dixiecrat Mom from Arkansas and she's got a Hillary sign in her front yard already. She generally votes Democratic, but occasionally Republican. I asked her about Mike Huckabee and she said- "He's *trying* to run like a Democrat". I asked if she would vote for *any* of the Republicans. "NO, it's time for a Democrat to get it." About Hillary, "It's TIME for a woman to be president." About Obama, "I won't vote for him, a woman should get it FIRST before a black should." She doesn't care what HRC's specific policies are, she just wants a Democrat to get it, and it should be Hillary because she would be the first woman president.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 13, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Latts, I think we're more or less on the same page. Your reasons for distrusting Hillary seem grounded in specific examples of political decisions she has made (I happen to share many misgivings about Hillary for similar reasons).

I'm not faulting anyone for having negative opinions about Hillary or other candidates. I'm just encouraging people to examine their opinions of her a little more closely. There are a lot of people who dislike her for no particular reason, or for vague reasons based on her personality.

I'm not suggesting people should discount their impressions of an individual, just encouraging people to guard against buying a preexisting image of her without question. Similarly, it's important to guard against gender double standards (e.g. discussions of her emotions, her 'wanting the job too much', her 'cold' personality, she's too calculating, etc.).

Note too that even your example of why you distrusted Bush had supporting reasons. There was no shortage of objective reasons to distrust Bush prior to the 2000 election (draft dodging, cocaine use, various shady business deals, and no meaningful accomplishments in life that weren't handed to him by his father's powerful friends).

But think of it in reverse: a lot of people voted for Bush because they liked his personality (and apparently didn't know or care about his questionable background). And look at where that got us. We can't avoid making personality judgments, but when it comes to important decisions like picking the next president we should not rely on them.

Posted by: Augustus on January 13, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

John Edwards is not a Bush or a Clinton.

Posted by: MarkH on January 13, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

No one denies that dynasty offered an incompetent boob a hand up in becoming President.

Why is it such a threat to democracy that a competent, articulate, informed, qualified woman would be in a position to take advantage of a similar break?

Could any other woman today have done it without what, in this case, amounts to the effective equivalent of an affirmative action that will benefit all American women?

Posted by: Sharon on January 13, 2008 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is Bill without the Willie

Moderator, where are you?

Posted by: Sharon on January 13, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Damn it, people ought to cry about something like that. Should she be like GWB's Enron buddies, and laugh?

Or like Bush and mock Carla Faye Tucker?

Posted by: Sharon on January 13, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

latts at 1:59 PM

Thought provoking post. We do tend to get lost in the weeds here, don't we?

Posted by: Sharon on January 13, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

What Augustus said at 4:32...and earlier too. So coherent.

Posted by: Sharon on January 13, 2008 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

You know, there is always the possibility that she is just being herself. People do have terrible things happen to them and if you have empathy when you listen you just might tear up and show some emotion. My guess is that based on common wisdon for women politicians, she has repressed her feelings for years, but in light of her near political death has decided to let her emotions show. Good for her. It amazes me how people assume she is always in control; I don't buy it, she's still human.

Posted by: Northern Observer on January 14, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK
See, I didn't believe any of those people who accused Clinton of crying on purpose — but I just saw her do it again

How is it possible to have seen her do it "again" when, "on purpose or not", she didn't actually cry the first time?

The Clinton Cry is as much media-manufactured BS as the Dean Scream. OTOH, what the heck is wrong with getting emotional over someone losing their home?

Posted by: cmdicely on January 14, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I agree that there is nothing wrong with emotional expression. I think the pre-primary instance of Clinton's emotional expression was indeed genuine, but I'm not so sure that the insight into Clinton expressed in her words while still emotional were positive for her. Personally, I was taken aback by her "Some people are right; some people are wrong" (paraphrase) and her strong belief that she was the only person who could govern wisely. This would have been a perfectly rational statement had she been talking about a Republican nominee instead of fellow Dem candidates.

I'm less inclined to think that her 'welling up' with emotion for the woman losing her home was totally genuine. We hear such stories all the time, both in the news and in person. Although such stories evoke considerable sadness in me, the very fact that we know how many people are suffering now from loss of their homes and other calamities seems to inoculate me from extreme emotionalism but instead increases the sadness incrementally with each retelling. But, I agree, it's hardly an issue worth debating and is basically irrelevant to making a judgment about candidates. It's very similar to candidates kissing every baby they can get their hands on, (gr), hardly something I imagine they do in their everyday lives.

Posted by: nepeta on January 14, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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