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.