Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hillary Still "has to prove she's a woman"

In the Washington Post, James Carville and Mark J. Penn author a column, The Power of Hillary, in which they argue for Hillary Clinton's strengths as a candidate. They write:

The woman who gave the War Room its name knows how tough politics at the presidential level can be. Adversaries spent $60 million against her in 2000, and she endured press scrutiny that would have wilted most candidates. She gave as good as she got, and she triumphed.

I call bullshit. She never weathered anything. Let's recall the anatomy of every Clinton scandal of the last 10 years. First, regardless of the amount of supporting evidence, the press reports that desperate conservatives/Republicans have made a nasty, unfounded allegation. Then, the press reports that the conservatives/Republicans may not benefit from the accustion because the conservatives/Republicans have equally ugly secrets, which are then reviewed in detail, regardless of the amount of supporting evidence. Finally, the press reports that Hillary has once again weathered a poltical attack.

Of course she looks tough. She gets the press to fight all her battles for her and then report her to be a tough person who fights all her own battles: an instance of troops praising the courage of a general situated well behind the lines.

The press might as well be on the Democrat's payroll. That Democrats get so sensitive about rare instances of negative reporting indicates only that they're spoiled by all the positive coverage. The left might have reason to complain of bias against them, but not mainstream Democrats like Hillary Clinton. I can see how the press benefits, though. Hillary's opposition research must be a constant source newsworthy gossip for reporters, and a constant reason to fear Hillary's retribution against reporters she doesn't like.

We should recall what Peggy Noonan wrote last week, which serves as sound rejoinder to Carville and Penn's praise for Hillary's toughness:
Hillary doesn't have to prove her guy chops. She doesn't have to prove she's a man, she has to prove she's a woman. No one in America thinks she's a woman. They think she's a tough little termagant in a pantsuit. They think she's something between an android and a female impersonator. She is not perceived as a big warm mommy trying to resist her constant impulse to sneak you candy. They think she has to resist her constant impulse to hit you with a bat. She lacks a deep (as opposed to quick) warmth, a genuine and almost phenomenological sense of rightness in her own skin. She seems like someone who might calculatedly go to war, or not, based on how she wanted to be perceived and look and do. She does not seem like someone who would anguish and weep over sending men into harm's way.

You can either believe Noonan's perceptions or Carville and Penn's perceptions. Past experience suggests it is wise to trust the former over the latter.

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1 comment:

K. Grant said...

Indeed. While I may sit on the other side of the fence, party wise, then the author of this post, I agree with the notion that Senator Clinton has a great deal yet to prove. I find that she is the most mercenary politician in the Democratic party, willing to say anything to garner votes. She reveals a lack of a core vision for the country.

As a Democrat, she is the last one I want carrying the banner for the party in 2008.

K. Grant