Ain't done sayin'

Gary Pearce Posted : 2/15/2008 6:16:31 PM
The Media Primary
Hillary Clinton’s biggest constituency problem isn’t black voters or young voters or any other demographic group. It’s the media.

She’s overwhelmingly losing the media primary.

In fact, if you listen to the talking cableheads, you’d think her campaign is in total meltdown.

Every primary, every caucus, every finance report, every change in her campaign, every move she makes, every breath she takes – the media seizes upon as evidence that she has the lead role in Night of the Living Campaign Dead.

The visceral hatred for her – and the swoon for Obama – is striking.

But that’s politics. Carter Wrenn, unlike me, has been in a presidential campaign. He observed once that the biggest difference from a statewide race is the news media. In a state race, you can buy enough TV to overwhelm the news. But you can’t in a presidential race. They overwhelm you. Especially in today’s 24-hour cable frenzy and blogosphere.
The Media Primary may be the story of this election.

The media turned on Mitt Romney and John Edwards. They were portrayed – night after night – as phonies. The media loves John McCain. He’s funny and forthright and – look! – he talks with us and jokes with us!
Same with Mike Huckabee. What a great interview! What a funny guy! He plays air hockey with Colbert! Book him! (Just don’t get him going on that Jesus stuff.)

Things do look tough for Hillary. But she’s only about 100 delegates behind. There are some big primaries to go. She has real strengths as a candidate.

The challenge is whether she can survive the nightly drumbeat for the next three weeks.
February 15, 2008 6:15 PM by Gary Pearce

Brunette Posted : 2/15/2008 7:27:09 PM Edit Quote Reply

Maybe the "visceral hatred for her" is politics, but I think "it" is even nastier, more fundamental, less subject to change than politics. I think it's misogyny, and has been since she showed up as something more than the "wifey" she was expected to be when Bill Clinton first caught national attention back in the day.

In Arkansas, folks were already aware that Hillary was a force in her own right, but who cared about what Arkansans knew? Bill made a splash. He had appeal. That's what mattered then. Of course, what matters now is that -- in striking contrast to Bill's delightful splashing -- Hillary tends to come across more in the tradition of a lead balloon.

This is not to say that she wouldn't make an excellent leader. It isn't to say that she would, either. But she is a walking example of an unforgiveable crime in our so-called modern world, here in the so-called greatest nation; she isn't "feminine" enough. Never has been.

Some have said that Beverly Perdue would suffer for Hillary's success because the GOP would surely morph "Bev's" face into Hillary's for effect on political ads. I doubt the GOP is that stupid. It would offend folks. Everyone knows that Bev is great at being feminine. (She even fibbed about her age so her husband's masculinity wouldn't be questioned -- 'member?)

Never mind that Bev is as much a part of the Good Ole Boys network as Marc Basnight, Tony Rand and David Hoyle etc . . . in the NC senate. Or rather, that's the point. She doesn't scare the boys. She drips some honey, she twinkles her eyes, she plays the game --- lord knows (and the capitol press corp know) -- she plays the game.

Hillary wants to play but she isn't dripping honey and her eyes won't twinkle. She had a lot of mascara on for the SC primary (I cringed, and I know a lot of other women must have), but she couldn't get that batting of the eyes thing down.

I'm one of the few, I guess, who think Hillary's emotion was genuine when that gal in SC asked her how she took the rigors of the campaign. But geez, without a tear actually falling down her face, that wee moment of a tremor in her voice was enough for the media to describe this nonevent as a "meltdown."

I'm not a Hillary Hater and I'm not a Hillary fan. I don't trust her on policy, but nor do I despise or have an otherwise visceral reaction to her.

I do think Gary Pearce is on target for pointing out that this reaction exists; I think most of you readers on this blog could affirm it, and I think your feelings are shared by many, many Democrats here in NC.

And finally, I can't help reflecting on the fact that despite the visceral feelings many whites in the United States (and not just the South) felt toward former slaves in the latter half of the 19th century, African American men were granted the vote way ahead of women in this country.

It's visceral, all right, and it's much more deep-seated than skin, and here in this supposedly progressive country, we've got a long, long way to go before it's ever acceptable that a woman be as smart as Hillary Clinton is without knowing how to bat her eyes.

Comments

Unfortunately, our society has

developed some very narrow and specific views of what equates to "normal" behavior in women (much more than men), and years of hard work, dedication and (even worse) potential can be quickly dismissed if a woman dares to step off the path that society expects her to walk.

I think Bill's indiscretions or, more specifically, Hillary's reaction to them, have tainted the way many Americans (even women) view her character. From conversations I've had over the years, I've heard people criticize her for not divorcing the former President, proving (to them) that her marriage was merely a stepping-stone in her quest for power. Some even assume that she must be frigid or "without passion", which drove her husband to pursue sex elsewhere.

Frankly, these kinds of opinions reveal a lot more about the person speculating than Hillary Clinton (or any other strong woman). That goes for the media as well—when they make silly, subjective and (yes) mysogynistic observations, they're contributing to the inaccurate and stereotypical view of women that should have died a long time ago.

It takes an extraordinary person (of either sex) to not constantly adhere to societal norms. Aside from a severe personality disorder or other psychological flaw, this atypical behavior is actually a sign of intellectual strength, and should be recognized as such. Instead, we fear these nonconformists, and label them as "fakes".

My daughter is in her third year of college now, and it breaks my heart that she is coming of age in such a narrow-minded time. I know she's smart enough to know what is and is not important, and strong enough to not lose her spirit in the face of ignorance. But the fact that it's 2008 and she still has more to overcome than I did when I was her age pisses me off to no end. :(

Wow - great post(s).

First - I agree with you, Brunette. Hillary is not feminine enough - by the media standard femininity scale. It pisses me off nearly every time I hear Chris Matthews open his mouth about her. I love it that she can handle herself, and doesn't have to play "Lady Clinton" to do it. If she weren't busy running for President right now, I might invite her to join the BlueNC Beyotch Club. I'd love to meet her, I'd love to really hear her stories, without the politics and the spin. I'm not sure, at this point, that she is capable of it. The woman has been lost in the campaign machine that she built with her husband all those years ago. I have no doubt that she was an equal partner in the building of it. In fact, even though I agree with the assessment I read somewhere that Bill Clinton is always "the smartest guy in the room", I think Hillary is smarter. She's strong, she gets down to business, and nobody better f*ck with her. I admire that.

I probably will not be voting for her in the primary. I don't trust the machine - and I believe it's time to move on into the 10's, not back to the 90's. But, if she wins the primary, I won't have a problem giving her my full-throated support.

Who to vote for: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? It's a good problem to have.

Steve, you're right about this, and it has always pissed me off.

I think Bill's indiscretions or, more specifically, Hillary's reaction to them, have tainted the way many Americans (even women) view her character. From conversations I've had over the years, I've heard people criticize her for not divorcing the former President, proving (to them) that her marriage was merely a stepping-stone in her quest for power. Some even assume that she must be frigid or "without passion", which drove her husband to pursue sex elsewhere.

The same idiots who make these claims would be the ones talking about family values every time you turn around. Hillary Clinton went through one of the most disturbing things a marriage can go through - in public, and had to hear her husband lie about it. Should she have divorced him? Not for me to say, not for me to judge. We all go to the altar promising "till death us do part", or some words to that nature. She has honored that promise, and she's being vilified for it. What a load of crap - she's damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't.

But when you talk about your daughter living in such narrow-minded times, remember this: there are still people living who knew times when women were not allowed to vote. Now there is one making a strong run at the White House. These times are not perfect, but things are getting better.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Hillary's biggest problem is Mark Penn

Of course the COM - corporate owned media - is very misogynistic but Hillary Clinton's biggest problems are the way she has run her campaign and her Kyl-Liberman & AUMF votes. The Kyl-Lieberman vote showed that she learned nothing from her AUMF misjudgment.

Mark Penn has developed a terrible campaign message for her - experience - in a year when Democrats are looking for major change and strong persuasive leadership.

And what happened to all of her money?

Why do people keep repeating this?

Lots of people have been repeating this meme since Gloria Steinem's op-ed in the NY Times just prior to the NH primary:

I can't help reflecting on the fact that despite the visceral feelings many whites in the United States (and not just the South) felt toward former slaves in the latter half of the 19th century, African American men were granted the vote way ahead of women in this country.

Unfortunately, it's misleading, at best, and, at worst, a complete misrepresentation of American history. Black men weren't granted the full rights and privileges of their citizenship until the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

You're missing the point

There's nothing misleading about it, and I'm actually pretty familiar with American history, including African American history, history of the South, Reconstruction, Jim Crow etc.

This isn't about whether one group was treated better than the other, for god's sake. It is a simple, basic fact that speaks for itself.

Black men did get the vote before women did. No, they were not put on an equal footing with whites. No, they were not permitted to exercise the franchise without peril or ridiculous tests and poll taxes (which, of course wound up affecting a lot of the white voters, too), and NO, they were not granted full rights and privileges of citizenship until much, much later, but YES, they were granted the vote before women were. The fact that they were still treated so horrifically is part of what makes my point. Notwithstanding the racial hatred that attended a black man's status in the 19th century, he was still granted the vote before the white woman, regardless of her status otherwise. She was still a SHE, after all, so couldn't be trusted with something so clearly masculine in significance.

My point is not that black men have ever had it better than white women; my point was and remains that misogyny is visceral and that our history attests to that.

That's why "people keep repeating this." Your accusation that my post was mileading or that I've misrepresented history demonstrates a lack of comprehension of my point and of what you characterize as Steinem's "meme."

Your knee jerked so fast and hard that it knocked your jaw -- possibly causing you to bite your tongue.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke