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Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

"VOICES FROM BEYOND"....In an apparent effort to keep me permanently gobsmacked, ABC News put the following headline on a blog post about Hillary Clinton's latest campaign stop:

Clinton Hears Voices from Beyond: 'Keep Going'

Speaking about her work in South Texas as an organizer for George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, Clinton said two strong Texas women inspired her — Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and Texas Governor Ann Richards.

Clinton said they taught her about courage and determination. Then she suggested that she is hearing from them even as her campaign struggles to compete after a string of losses.

"I can hear their voices saying, 'You keep going! You give the people a real choice about the future!'" she said at a campaign event.

Look. I know that campaign coverage can get mighty dull and the search for something resembling actual news can get pretty desperate. But seriously, folks, this is what we professional writers call a "figure of speech." Hillary is not suggesting that she hears "voices from beyond." OK?

Kevin Drum 1:24 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

She might have been hearing my voice. Of course, I was telling her to "stop" and "please put down the gun".

Posted by: Vince on February 13, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin! Note the comment from Cat Scratch as to how Clinton hears dead people. This is getting really, really silly.

Posted by: pgl on February 13, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

And yet when Pat Robertson hears voices in his head, we're all supposed to drop everything and do what he says.

Double standard much, MSM?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 13, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hilary Clinton ran into this when she "channeled" Eleanor Roosevelt. Yes, it's a figure of speech, but she shouldn't have given the slavering attack dogs an opening. She's been here before.

Posted by: strait woman on February 13, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I predict the following headline soon:

Clinton plans 'fire wall' to curb illegal immigration

Posted by: Everett Craven on February 13, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Who ya gonna call?

Posted by: Grumpy on February 13, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Again on the 1 to 10 scale of dishonesty, it ranks about a 2 or a 3. It's easy to speak for dead people: they're not there to say anything differently. Ask John Edwards. ;-)

Posted by: Quinn on February 13, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Are you planning to jump over every news item that _might_ be seen as a negative for Hillary? It's just a headline to draw people in to read the silly piece. No, I'm not crazy about it. Yes, the entire industry could do with less sensational headline writing. But it's hardly different from dozens of others not about Hillary. At this rate you're going to have its hands full if this post is any indication of the type of content to expect.

Posted by: wcy on February 13, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know, wcy. I didn't read Kevin's post as defending Hillary so much as calling the press "stupid". And clearly they were, so might as well point it out.

Posted by: zadig on February 13, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

wcy,

"Might_be seen as negative?"

This is just stupidly negative.

I agree that the "industry" (apparently everything is a tabloid now?) is rank with BS headlines, but the time was when editors would at least pretend to be dignified when covering politics.

And I'm not a Hillary partisan. I will gladly vote for whomever gets the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: Tripp on February 13, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is not suggesting that she hears "voices from beyond." OK?

Too bad. Those are a couple of voices we could really use again.

Posted by: junebug on February 13, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK
....she shouldn't have given the slavering attack dogs an opening.... strait woman at 1:37 PM
They don't need an opening: like in 2000 against Gore and 2004 against Kerry, they feel entitled to make it up. It's Clinton rules journamalism 101 in action. Dowd is full of it today, Frank Rich Sunday. You can watch it start to develop against Obama.

I generally contact offenders via email but I wonder what the Obama people will do. Since they gleefully embrace this tactic against Clinton, I'm disinclined to complain when it's used against their candidate.

Posted by: Mike on February 13, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Isaac Newton: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

ABC News headline: Wacky Scientist Believes in Monsters!!

Posted by: Tripp on February 13, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Feeling sorry for the Clintons again?

voices from beyond
for this:
I can hear their voices saying, 'You keep going!
is perfectly acceptable language.

If this is what we're going to start calling negative, the bar has been lowered several stories. This is a powderpuff.

Posted by: franklyprissy on February 13, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I like Obama but there's just too much relentlessly and often gratuitously anti-Hillary spin. It's part of the SCLM's "narrative" about her, like with Gore being dishonest and a braggart, etc.

Posted by: Neil B. on February 13, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Did you hear that the Obamazooids library had to close down this year?

Somebody stole the book. That's not all... when it was returned it was all colored in.

Posted by: elmo on February 13, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

elmo,

is it time to start recycling the Bush jokes already? The man is still in office, after all...

Posted by: zeke on February 13, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

At least they didn't use an adjectoxic word like lynch or pimp.

Posted by: cognitorex on February 13, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

But seriously, folks, this is what we professional writers call a "figure of speech." Hillary is not suggesting that she hears "voices from beyond." OK?

Doesn't matter, because by now it's in the popular narrative because ABC said so, and for the rest of time right-wingers and late night show hosts will be making jokes about Clinton hearing voices from the grave. And this is of course exactly what ABC intended to happen, because of course they know exactly how this game is played.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's not like the current President hasn't talked to God or anything. Or that God told him to invade Iraq.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/10_october/06/bush.shtml

Or maybe he's mistaken Cheney for God.

Posted by: MR.Bill on February 13, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Look. I know that campaign coverage can get mighty dull and the search for something resembling actual news can get pretty desperate. But seriously, folks, this is what we professional writers call a "figure of speech." Hillary is not suggesting that she hears "voices from beyond." OK?

Anything to be a really corrupt mainstream media...

At least when they keep writing stories this unfair, you know a lot of Republicans who actually read the article say to themselves, "Well, gee, how many times have I said, figuratively or jokingly, that I could hear the voice of a departed colleague, friend or relative advising me. . ."

Posted by: Swan on February 13, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Says you, Kevin.

I'm convinced Hillary went "Three Faces of Eve" back in the wake of the Monica fiasco, and only by the miracle of modern meds has she been able to appeared righted ever since.

Poor dear.

Posted by: filmex on February 13, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Did you hear that the Obamazooids library had to close down this year?

Somebody stole the book. That's not all... when it was returned it was all colored in."

Posted by: elmo on February 13, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Before this gets taken down, I just want to know: is elmo a regular poster here? Is this an inoculation against the inevitable racism we'll see if Obama wins the nomination? Because one thing is for sure: if a black man runs against the white male's party for president, especially an intelligent (i.e., "uppity"), well-spoken (i.e., "arrogant"), accomplished (i.e., threatening) black man with a real (or any) chance to break the oligarch/new confederacy's grip on the presidency, then rest assured the viciousness of the Gingrich/Rove/Bush years will seem idyllic in comparison. I, for one, think it's time for the vermin to show themselves fully and complete the collapse of e. coli conservatism. It's unfortunate that (if selected) Obama and his family will have to weather the storm, but given the seemingly intractable behavior of the rabid right it's time to bring this emotionally retarded and sociopathological behavior out into the open, where it can (hopefully) wither, finally, to inconsequence in the light of day. Elmo, you're either really smart or an ignorant piece of shit and yes, they are mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 13, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, someone already brought up the time in 1996 when Hillary mentioned to Bob Woodward that she imagined talking to Eleanor Roosevelt to get inspiration for her book It Takes A Village the tag line became Hillary “channels” Eleanor Roosevelt, a complete mischaracterization. It made it seem like Hillary was practicing voodoo or something, which many conservatives believe anyway. Nancy Reagan, on the other hand, routinely consulted an astrologer about important government decisions, while Ronnie sat in his Depends staring blankly out the window and drooling on himself.

This just illustrates once again, the double standards that the media has for liberals vs. conservatives.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 13, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm as liberal and non-racist as you get, Conrad's Ghost. Just training the Obamzooids up for the general. Have not found many ready for the fight yet...

Posted by: elmo on February 13, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Uh...doesn't she commune with the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt, for, like, decades now? I heard it on the news years ago!! They reported, I decided!!

Posted by: Anon on February 13, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the voice she found in NH escaped and instead of saying "Bill, shut your mouth" like it used to - it's saying "Keep going Hillary, keep heading South - they need you down there".

Posted by: TerenceC on February 13, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Conrad's Ghost,

Elmo has been needling Obama's supporters, not the man himself. Elmo's been throwing softballs. We ain't seen nothing yet.

You better toughen up that skin cause you are gonna need it.

Posted by: Tripp on February 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Why did she ignore the voices that told her ten years ago to dump Bill?

Posted by: Ackroyd on February 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Every republican talks about Reagan, but they don't get accused of hearing "voices from beyond."

Clinton rules...

Posted by: mroberts on February 13, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

What a shock, the Clinton rules on display yet again in the media. This is something I have been saying all along, and why I have some of the reservations I do about how Obama has been winning to date along with the potential weaknesses it may leave him with for the GE. I can’t say I find some of the comments in this thread from a few Obama supporters going along with this mocking terribly impressive either though. At least it is only some and not all with many of the Obama supporters recognizing this for the nonsense/crap that it truly is.

Posted by: Scotian on February 13, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

What happened to the Obamazooids hockey team?

They drowned in spring training.

Posted by: elmo on February 13, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think ABC took a cue from Penn who is using it in a desperate attempt to attract Huckabee supporters disillusioned with the Republican establishment...

/joke]

Posted by: Tentakles on February 13, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

While ABC hasn't exactly been a shining beacon of journalistic integrity in quite some time, they really have been putting some absurdly idiotic crap on their blogs the past few weeks.

Not sure if their bloggers have free reign, and thus are to blame, or if this is some sort of institutionalized idiocy.

Peter Jennings would be ashamed.

Posted by: Mark D on February 13, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

In an apparent effort to keep me permanently gobsmacked,"

Wow, "gobsmacked." Now there's a word I don't hear every day!

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 13, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

ABC "News," feh.

I remember when the ABC "News" main website had prominent headlines about Britney's nekkid hoo-hah for an entire week running. So help me.

Posted by: kc on February 13, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

This reminded me of this: Jan 31 debate:

Clinton: "...I hear voices on TV and radio. And they are living in some other universe..."

heh.

Posted by: tom.a on February 13, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO: her comments are trying to rally the feminist vote. That's the demographic she hopes she can really play to.

Rovian prediction: Expect more media shots of angry-looking men holding 'Iron My Shirt' signs.

Posted by: Buford on February 13, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Hilary Clinton ran into this when she "channeled" Eleanor Roosevelt.

You know, I thought I vaguely remembered this happening before, but I chalked it up to deja vu, figuring that the media couldn't be quite so cravenly irresponsible as to pull this sort of thing twice . . . silly me.

Of, course, Nancy Reagan actually regularly consulted an astrologer to help plan the president's schedule. (Which, actually, I can kinda understand - her husband had nearly been assassinated; it's the kind of thing that would make many folks grasp for control and security, however illusionary . . .)

I predict the following headline soon:
Clinton plans 'fire wall' to curb illegal immigration

No, no, Everett , it's going to be "Clinton plans 'wall of fire' to curb . . ."

"Somebody stole the book. That's not all... when it was returned it was all colored in."
Why does it always have to be about race?

"Too bad. Those are a couple of voices we could really use again.

In the excellent book Guns and Rain: Guerrillas & Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe, about how guerrillas fighting the colonial Rhodesian government received help - and vital legitimization - from spirit mediums speaking for royal ancestors, David Lan writes:
"But the mhondoro mediums who are 'in residence' . . . present what amounts to a non-stop historical spectacle, the dead ancestors of the present chiefs returned to earth, the history of the land displayed and acted out, the heroes of the past available once more not to rule but to give the benefit of their wisdom, to tell the truth which only they, being dead, understand. It is as if the Duke of Wellington, Henry V, Winston Churchill and a dozen more heroes of the British state had all possessed mediums, moved into their old homes, and invited the public to bring their problems and complaints to be resolved by them."

That would be interesting. Although living in Philadelphia, sometimes it seems not all that far from this . . .

Posted by: Dan S. on February 13, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Elmo - I suspected. As I said, as shitty as it'd be for the Obama's, I welcome the pied piper effect he'd have on this country's smelly underbelly. We already had a taste of it with Rudys New Hampshire guy; I predict that the Repubs unraveling (in general, and especially over Obama) and increasingly loosening discipline will allow the real loons, the true neanderthals, a voice they've not had up to now. They're there, we all know it, and as the right continues to slo-mo implode we will see and hear the true 'base' of modern conservatism in all its glory. I predict, then, that the inevitable racism of of the right's response to Obama will be the nail in the coffin of the Reagan devolution. Not a moment too soon.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 13, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

You're a man of my own heart, CG. I respect your vision, and it looks damn good to me, but we will get the loons no matter what. My vision of the all-star team is a Clinton/Obama ticket. But visa/versa would not hurt my feelings. I like the idea of knocking out two birds with one stone...

Posted by: elmo on February 13, 2008 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

At this very moment, Barbara Jordan is speaking to me and she seems to be saying "Go with the black guy - it's our time."

Not for anything but wouldn't LBJ remind Clinton that he put his neck out for the Civil Rights Act, not the ERA?

Posted by: The New New Deal on February 13, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds good. If Obama does win (crossed fingers, TPM has him cleaning Repug clock across the board) I've read and agree that Clinton might be a great choice for Senate majority leader. Her progressive punch score shows her at ~91%, 17th overall in the Senate. It's her warmongering that drags her down (34th), along with human rights/civil liberties (28th) and education (33rd). On core domestic issues she's at or near the top (health care ~98%/18th, taxes ~98%/14th, corporate welfare/power 100%/1st and ~95%/12th). I do get tired of the demonization of her without any referral to her actual voting record, which is (except for national security) solidly progressive. What an Obama white house, Pelosi/Clinton Congress, and Edwards led Justice Dept. couldn't accomplish. THIS is the big picture; THIS is what we ALL have to work towards, without fail. This primary is hella fun, but in my gut I want every conscious American to keep this picture in mind.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 13, 2008 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Umm, Conrad's Ghost: you do know that the "coloring book" joke is probably older than you, me, and elmo combined?

Besides, in its last most-current incarnation, it was from the George W. Bush Presidential Library....

Posted by: Jay C on February 13, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

OR - a Clinton white house, Edwards Justice, and Obama on the Supreme Court. Christ, I can almost see the sun...

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 13, 2008 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards led Justice Dept.

Ok, you just made me cream my paints...

Not bad, CG. As long as we come together in the end. It could just, umm, save the world...

Posted by: elmo on February 13, 2008 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jay-C - Yes, I know, but the way I was brought up you just don't say that kind of stuff. I'm not naive, that's not my point, and I certainly ain't no pollyana. And I get elmo's drift, as I think I indicated; if I spent more time here, I would've reacted differently. At the same time I do think that the poisoning of this country's discourse kinda demands remedial action. On the one hand, you cannot pull a Donna Brazile and just pretend "everthing's peachy, we're SO above it all." On the other hand, I believe strongly in adults setting the bar. It's a tough line to toe when the other guy's a frothing maniac, but the only way out of the wilderness is to set a course and stick to it.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 13, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

She obviously meant "hear" in the sense that Mittens "saw" his dad marching with MLK.

Posted by: Carl Manaster on February 13, 2008 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Did you really take that headline to be literal? I cannot understand why anyone would read that that way.

Is the art of metaphor so hopelessly lost that people can't understand one when they read it?

Thank goodness the writers are back to work. We need more of them.

Posted by: KathyF on February 14, 2008 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's always interesting hearing the views of the mentally ill.

Posted by: rbe1 on February 14, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Anothe day........more sharpened knives in a great womans back. The dems are turning into Brutuses faster then you can say.......I sure HOPE things change around here. I sure HOPE we get out of Iraq.....I sure HOPE the ecconoly gets better....I sure HOPE we get the right judges.

I am so sick of hearing that Hillary can't beat McCain.....a wet noodle will beat McCain if he manages to stay awake he may even show up for a Debate or two. If Hillary can hold off the traitors and win her numbers will absolutley sky rocket.

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