A New Low in Clinton Bashing

Bill Clinton said Sunday, “I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running..” Well, just when you thought the Clinton bashing couldn’t go any lower… Joan Walsh explains (emphasis mine) on Salon:

The world is divided between people who consider Bill and Hillary Clinton monsters, and people who don’t. It used to be that the monster faction was limited to Republicans and certain mainstream media fixtures like Maureen Dowd and much of the MSNBC lineup. Now, increasingly, it involves too many Obama-supporting Democrats — and the Clinton-hate is in danger of damaging the Democratic Party.

Walsh addresses the controversy “over Clinton’s RFK remarks” and notes:

I couldn’t believe this became the weekend’s hottest political issue. I couldn’t believe Keith Olbermann did a special comment on it (which I really couldn’t believe was also widely circulated via e-mail by the Obama campaign). I couldn’t believe that only George Stephanopoulos took the time to scrutinize and question the judgment behind the Obama campaign’s political use of what was at worst bad phrasing on Clinton’s part.  

Walsh goes on to say:

Criticize Clinton’s vote to authorize the Iraq war, her pandering on the gas tax holiday, her lame remarks about “hardworking Americans, white Americans,” her response to Obama’s “bitter” remarks, her lackluster campaign strategy coming into 2008. I’ve criticized all of that, and more. But to argue that she was suggesting she’s staying in the race because Obama might be assassinated — even after both Clinton, and the journalists who interviewed her, said her reference was to RFK’s June campaign, not to his heartbreaking murder — requires either a special kind of paranoia or venal political opportunism.

I understand the fears many people have about Obama’s safety; given our country’s tragic history, they are real and understandable. Suggesting Clinton was trying to play on such fears is different. Throughout this long campaign the Clintons have been turned into a vile caricature: amoral, power-mad narcissists who are not beyond using racism and even worries about Obama’s safety to press their political cause. I’ve criticized both Clintons repeatedly in the pages of Salon for over 10 years, but it’s really time to say: Enough.

For several months I’ve found myself bothered by a double standard in both the behavior and the media coverage of the Obama campaign, as supposedly representing a new kind of clean, post-partisan politics, by contrast with the dirty old win-at-any-cost Clintons. Hardball Obama campaign tactics — David Axelrod partly blaming Clinton for Benazir Bhutto’s death; the intimidation of Clinton voters by a pro-Obama union in Nevada (to be fair, some Obama supporters claimed intimidation by Clinton forces, too); the campaign’s infamous South Carolina race memo (prepared before Bill Clinton made his dumb Jesse Jackson remark); the multiple “Harry and Louise” mailers distorting Clinton’s healthcare proposal; not to mention ties between Obama, Axelrod and the Exelon Corp., even as Obama is touting his lobbyist-free campaign. Nothing seems to stick to Obama; he’s Teflon.

This episode was worse than many but not entirely atypical: After his staff helped whip up a frenzy about Clinton’s remarks, Obama himself said he accepted Clinton’s statement that she had been misunderstood, and Axelrod tried to act gracious and insist that it’s time to move on. But the damage had been done. Obama has run a better campaign than Clinton, there’s no doubt about it, but he’s had a lot of help from a fawning media. (Here’s a great piece making a point I made months ago about how such coverage may ultimately hurt Obama.)

It all really boggles the mind in my opinion. Obama supporters like to claim it is Clinton and her supporters that are hurting the party. No. Joan Walsh is right on this one: “the Clinton-hate is in danger of damaging the Democratic Party.”

Enough.” Enough, already. Enough is enough.

Watch Joan Walsh discussing this on (pro-Obama)MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and Joe Madison (I normally wouldn’t recommend watching Hardball these days, but Walsh completely tore Madison’s argument to shreds):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3U0df0qGoA
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4 Responses to A New Low in Clinton Bashing

  1. Frenchdoc says:

    Joan Walsh is the only tolerable person to watch on Hardball and she’s always been a great columnist to boot. Why can’t she be on the NYT line-up instead of Maureen Dowd?!

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  3. Frenchdoc

    Walsh was on fire tonight. Madison was an a**.

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