Monday, May 26, 2008

It takes one to know one

Whatever I might have said about Hillary Clinton, there is no doubt that she is a singular political phenomenon. I mean that as no complement, but it would be wholly unfair to minimize her impact on the conduct of presidential politics. As Bill did before her, she has repeatedly displayed a Clintonesque gift for embodying every vice that she sees in others (although without his gift for inducing credulity.)

Not surprisingly, Peggy Noonan nailed it in describing Ms. Clinton thusly:

Mrs. Clinton is like the little girl who steals the boy next door's candy and hits him on the head with a hammer. He runs, "Mommy, she stole my Snickers and hit me on the head!" She turns to the mother, hammer in hand, and gestures at the boy. "This . . . is the politics of personal destruction."
Even as Bill and Hillary lamented the "politics of personal destruction" upon his impeachment (and since), they were busy destroying the reputation of "that woman" as it suited their purposes. Ms. Clinton's latest adventure in tornadic spin revolves around her playing both the gender and race cards simultaneously. By railing against the sexism she has allegedly experienced throughout her campaign, she deflects criticism from her own racially charged comments (and those of her surrogates.) Indeed, the charge would be merely laughable were it not so transparent an attempt at political slight of hand.

One wonders aloud what it must be like to be Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young or ex-BET head Bob Johnson. We might reasonably presume that these men and women have forfeited their status as leaders in the black community, as they have countenanced Hillary's comments on Sen. Barack Obama not having done the necessary "spadework" to be president.

The have also overlooked her seeming disparagement of MLK's impact on the passage of civil rights legislation, her thoughts on Obama's inability to win the votes of "hardworking Americans," and her RFK gaffe (made all the more egregious by the fact that her contention that Mr. Clinton didn't clinch the nomination until June of 1992 is demonstrably false.) Throw in Bill Clinton's comments on Jesse Jackson's South Carolina primary wins in 1984 and 1988, and you have a toxic stew of race-baiting straight out of Dixiecrat cookbook.

As discussed here and there, the interesting thing about this primary season is that it has revealed the clefts between various factions of the Democratic Party. Poetic justice is served in that it is those who mew incessantly about diversity and inclusion who are divided by race, gender and class. Two thoughts spring to mind as we observe all of this. First, if Obama's supporters are sexist for backing him over her, why aren't Hillary's voters implicitly guilty of racism in their support of her over him?

But just as significant, such as there is sexism to be observed anywhere in the campaign, it was brought about almost entirely by media pundits, fellow Democrat travelers all. Be it MSNBC's Chris Matthews referring to Clinton as a "she-devil," CNN's Alex Castellanos suggesting that Democrats "take the family dog to the vet," or Keith Olbermann hoping that
"somebody will take [Clinton] into a room - and only he comes out," all of the vitriol that Clinton loosely refers to as sexism emanates from reliably liberal house organs - and only because she is seen as the major obstacle standing in the way of Democrats retaking the White House.

Contrast this with her own sins of commission as it regards race, and it becomes hard to believe that this is the same Hillary who suggested to Sen. Obama that he get out of the kitchen if he couldn't stand the heat. For her part, Clinton would argue that
"[t]he manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted," than the racism that Obama and his supporters have endured (to include a T-shirt that speaks for itself.) But the idea that a presidential contender would diminish herself and the office to which she aspires by way of thinly-veiled appeals to one of humanity's worst tendencies bespeaks her unsuitability.

Democrats can only hope that Ms. Clinton will put herself out of our misery, and go see the vet.

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