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“People Like Hillary”

June 10th, 2007 · 2 Comments · Blogs, Journalism, Media, Politics

Hillary PortraitA big part of the reason I dread the idea of Hillary becoming the Democratic nominee is that during her time in the White House, she never won a single battle with the right wing in the eyes of the media.

Whether the subject was healthcare, how to raise children, baking cookies, Tammy Wynette, or the vast right-wing conspiracy, every time she opened her mouth the media make her look ridiculous and chalked one up for her critics.

As a Senator from New York they’ve treated her somewhat more sympathetically, because they see that role as appropriate for her, and they know she’s representing a constituency that likes her.

But once she’s out of that Senator-from-New-York box and within striking distance of the White House, we’ll be right back in the 90s.

Atrios had a post about Hillary last week in which he wrote:

People like Clinton. She’s the clear frontrunner in national polls. Her strong showing as peoples’ second choice suggests that the “anti-Clinton” constitutency isn’t all that strong.

I’m not writing any of this to make the case for Clinton, I’m just trying to make the case that her detractors underestimate the strength of her support at their peril. Whatever the reasons, her support is real and significant.

Atrios has a tendency to be right about these things, and it may very well be true that people like Hillary — right now. But it’s also important to note that the pundits are treating HRC very differently from the way they will treat her if and when she gets nominated. There are serious kid gloves on at the moment — in a sense, the media are allowing people to like her.

I suspect that many of the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC and even Fox News who are speaking of HRC very warmly and respectfully these days want her to succeed in getting the nomination so they can bring back the kind of fun they had back in the day. And so they’re deliberately holding their fire, dreaming of the time when they can unloose the high-powered sludge cannons that they aimed at her all through Bill Clinton’s presidency. Those cannons are temporarily powered down right now, but they haven’t been decommissioned, believe me.

And what they do to HRC if she gets nominated will make the final weeks of Al Gore’s 2000 campaign look like a garden party.

In the meantime, it’s like watching a couple of mean girls at a high school be really, really nice to the geeky girl they hate as a way of being extra-mean to her.

MEAN GIRL #1: Here comes that spazz-ola Hillary.
MEAN GIRL #2: I have an idea — let’s act like we like her!
MEAN GIRL #1: Ohmigod that’s brilliant! You think of the best stuff. Hey, Hillary!
MEAN GIRL #2: Hey, Hillary!
HILLARY: Hi mean girls, what’s up?
MEAN GIRL #1: Hillary, we totally want you to come to our slumber party this weekend! Also we think that outfit is super cute and we also TOTALLY think you can get elected president!
MEAN GIRL #2: And we think you’ve done a great job of softening your image while looking super-tough on foreign policy!
HILLARY: Really?
MEAN GIRL #1: You’re the only serious candidate. You’re like, totally the most electable one!
HILLARY: Oh, that’s so sweet. You know, I used to think you didn’t even like me!
MEAN GIRL #1: [sotto voce] Ohmigod she’s totally buying it.
MEAN GIRL#2: [also sotto voce] I almost feel guilty.
MEAN GIRL #1: [ibid.] Don’t worry, it’s just till the convention …. Then we can go back to putting our gum in her hair.

… I’ll stop there before I start plagiarizing Carrie.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Jane Hyde

    I want Al Gore to run. He’s the best. Obama someday, maybe, but please oh please Mr. Gore. Second, John Edwards.

  • Ocelopotamus

    Hi Jane, nice to see you here!

    I’m still in the Edwards camp at the moment. As for Gore, I’m not sure — it almost seems like he does more good when he’s not running for office. I kinda like him on the outside, as a free agent. Certainly the last few years he’s seemed smarter, more forthright, and better at speaking up for himself than he did during the Clinton era or the 2000 campaign. Then again, maybe all of that has just been a strategy to rehabilitate his image for another run.