Pittsburgh Tribune Evaluates Hillary

In the Sunday edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune, Richard Scaife describes his recent interview with Hillary Clinton.  By his own admission:

More than most modern political figures, Sen. Clinton has been criticized regularly, often harshly, by the Trib.

This seems to me consistent with many in the media, whose disposition toward the Senator from New York ranges from skepticism to contempt.  Indeed, I confess that I was once guilty of this bias myself.  While all who know her describe her as warm, I was taught she is "cold".  Despite the fact that she has a strong, proven record for working across party lines, I was taught that she is "polarizing".  Despite her campaign's consistent focus on the articulation of real policy, I was taught that she is "negative".

Therefore, I was anxious to see how the folks at the Pittsburgh Tribune would react to Hillary Clinton, upon finally meeting her in person:

Hillary Clinton walked into a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conference room last Tuesday to meet with some of the newspaper's editors and reporters and declared, "It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do." The room erupted in laughter.

Her remark defused what could have been a confrontational meeting.  More than that, it said something about the New York senator and former first lady who hopes to be America's next president.

They observe:

The very morning that she came to the Trib, our editorial page raised questions about her campaign and criticized her on several other scores.  Reading that, a lesser politician -- one less self-assured, less informed on domestic and foreign issues, less confident of her positions -- might well have canceled the interview right then and there.

Sen. Clinton came to the Trib anyway and, for 90 minutes, answered questions.

Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her.

Walking into our conference room, not knowing what to expect (or even, perhaps, expecting the worst), took courage and confidence. Not many politicians have political or personal courage today, so it was refreshing to see her exhibit both. Sen. Clinton also exhibited an impressive command of many of today's most pressing domestic and international issues. Her answers were thoughtful, well-stated, and often dead-on.

The column concludes emphatically:

I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today than before last Tuesday's meeting -- and it's a very favorable one indeed.

One of the most disconcerting aspects of this primary contest has been the herd mentality that many, including prominent pundits, exhibit.  There is a tendency to latch onto whichever opinion piece best resembles your own.  And there is a stark determination not to learn the truth, when the truth is not convenient.

I remember my mindset, when I cast my vote for Barack Obama in the Virginia primary.  I believed that I was voting for change.  I had hoped that, despite his lack of qualifications, Barack Obama might be the "real thing".  And I was willing to take a chance on that.  In short, I accepted unquestionably the caricatures that the media had invented, crutches that alleviated the challenge of thinking critically about these two historic candidates.

Somehow, that equation changed over the weekend before March 4th.  The Obama camp's duplicity on NAFTA served as a wake-up call.  It was past time to liberate myself from the hype and get real about these two candidates.  As I watched the primary go on, with eyes wide open now, the contrast between the two campaigns couldn't be more obvious.  Joseph Wilson, wife to Valerie Plame, and himself a former Diplomat, draws this contrast powerfully in his recent piece, Smears and Tears.

Nevertheless, the success of Barack Obama marketing has been breathtaking.  He has convinced well-meaning, Progressive folk across the country that a mandate for universal healthcare, one of our cornerstone issues, would be a bad thing.  He has persuaded the most strident advocates of a democratic process that counting people's votes would not be right.  This advertising machine has managed to do things that Karl Rove could only dream of.  It exemplifies what Barack Obama himself admired about Ronald Reagan: the ability to convince people to vote against their own self-interest.

Says Steve Grossman, former chairman of Howard Dean's 2004 campaign:

The liberal wing of the Democratic Party falls in love with quasi-messianic figures who come along regularly with an exciting, aspirational vision for where the country must go, often coupled with an unpopular war, at least an unpopular war among progressives, and for a significant time they are ascendant within that liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

[Yet] when the broader cross section of the Democratic Party takes a somewhat more dispassionate look at the field and says who is ready to be president of the United States and bring the kind of vision and leadership to the job, those quasi-messianic figures tend to fall short.

Whether Barack Obama will "fall short", as a probable nominee or a possible President, no one can know.  Clouded by so much rhetoric is a mediocre record that offers no indication of the sort of bold, change-oriented leadership that his campaign promises.  Perhaps this best explains his tendancy to prefer the character destruction of his opponent over a substantive dialogue on issues, or arguments about delegate math over the articulation of policy.

Some suggest the best indication of an Obama presidency comes not from Barack, but another client of David Axelrod's: Deval Patrick.  The similarities between the two clients have not been seriously explored, except by some media in Massachusetts, where Deval Patrick is now Governor.  The state's first-hand experience with the aftermath of a David Axelrod marketing campaign is not encouraging: Patrick doesn't seem to be able to get anything done.  A friend of mine living outside of Boston told me that she believes this is the reason Massachusetts voted for Clinton, despite the best efforts of Senators Kerry and Kennedy to the contrary.

All of this serves to underscore the contrast between the characters of Clinton and Obama, and the real people behind those characters.  In that sense, the results of Hillary's recent interview with the Pittsburgh Trib are not so surprising.  Finally able to meet the real person, and question her for over an hour, they walked away with the same impression that many have after spending time with Hillary Clinton: a competent, thoughtful person who is imminently qualified to be our next President.

Tags: clinton, editor, Hillary, Pittsburgh, reassessed, Trib (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

Scaife and Murcoch

Loves them some Hillary.

by parahammer 2008-03-30 11:32AM | 0 recs
I think that Hillary is a REAL uniter..

And she does it without compromising her and our principles, by finding common ground.

The only people who really can't tolerate or deal with this are the phonies..

At least thats my cut on it..

What are the many who criticize her so afraid of?

by architek 2008-03-30 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburg Tribune Re-evaluates Hillary

wow you took an article that had nothing to do with Obama, and added Obama

Kudos!!!

by TruthMatters 2008-03-30 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburg Tribune Re-evaluates Hillary

I thought it was relevant.  Thanks.

by bobbank 2008-03-30 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburg Tribune Evaluates Hillary

Didn't Obama do this with the Chicago Tribune, and supposedly it didn't matter?

So, what, is the Pittsburgh Tribune one of the Tribunes That Matter now?

by ragekage 2008-03-30 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburg Tribune Evaluates Hillary

Obama did something similar, but not exactly the same. He went to discuss a specific topic: Rezko. I believe Hillary's interview was more general.

by HillaryKnight08 2008-03-30 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburg Tribune Evaluates Hillary

I posted a video of Hillary on this diary:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/29/1532 34/095#readmore

The cruel and wicked Hillary that the media often talks about is false and doesn't exist. Hillary has always been a gentle and kindhearted woman.

I urge all to look at the diary and the video and recommend it if you like. Everyone needs to know the true Hillary.

by HillaryKnight08 2008-03-30 11:40AM | 0 recs
Where's Bob, when you need a good laugh

C'mon Bob, show your face.

Post again that Hlllary is in bed with the VRWC.

But don't forget that snark tag!

by SluggoJD 2008-03-30 11:50AM | 0 recs
It's PITTSBURGH, not Pittsburg

Come on, at least spell the damn city right when you are typing the title of the diary out here.

by Pravin 2008-03-30 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: It's PITTSBURGH, not Pittsburg

Thanks for the correction.  I should have grabbed that second cup of coffee this morning.

by bobbank 2008-03-30 12:05PM | 0 recs
Why are you troll rating my comment?

Ummm, there's more than one "Bob" around here, like "Bob Johnson" for example, who says that Hillary is in bed with the VRWC.

John

by SluggoJD 2008-03-30 01:04PM | 0 recs
Heck, I even recommended your diary lol

And I get troll rated?

Wow.

by SluggoJD 2008-03-30 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Heck, I even recommended your diary lol

Since my name is Bob and I had not responded to the trolls when you posted, it was natural for me to assume that you were talking to me when you said that Bob should show his face.  If there was a misunderstanding, as often happens over the internet, I apologize.

by bobbank 2008-03-30 01:51PM | 0 recs
Well, you can fix it

Bob, you can change your ratings here...or you can leave it the same.

Up to you, but sure seems weird lol

by SluggoJD 2008-03-30 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: It's PITTSBURGH, not Pittsburg

Not a big deal. Being a Pittsburgher, it is just a pet peeve of mine to see it mispelled. No hard feelings.

by Pravin 2008-03-30 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburgh Tribune Evaluates Hillary

ya know how much time I spent defending bill & hillary against the bullshit charges of this lunatic scaife?    oh boy...  just fucking dandy.

by soros 2008-03-30 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburgh Tribune Evaluates Hillary

That's what made this particular piece so salient to me.  Even the most vitriolic of her critics seem to walk away with a very different impression of her, upon meeting her in person.

Remember, when she entered the Senate, all expected her to have a huge chip on her shoulder.  But she reached out to many of the Republicans that had, just a few years earlier, made her life so difficult.  She not only surprised them and earned their respect, but now Democrats, including Barack Obama, refer to it as the "Hillary Clinton method" - to be kind to your opponents and focus on work rather than rancor.

As I watch her campaigning I'm struck be this over and over again: the media caricature of her just doesn't match up to reality, at all.  And, while polls suggest that "Generation Obama" is just another figment of David Axelrod's imagination, we have to ask ourselves - even if it existed, how constructive is it, when its primary motive seems to be to wage an all-out assault on tested, loyal public servants of the party, that have done all of us much good?

by bobbank 2008-03-30 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburgh Tribune Evaluates Hillary

She's the best candidate.  Most qualified to lead the country.  They are right, Obama would get nothing done.  What's he done so far?  Nothing

by dot48 2008-03-30 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburgh Tribune Evaluates Hillary

Thank you Bob for this outstanding diary.  It never seizes to amaze me how so many people buy into the massive smear efforts that often, effectively, degrade good candidates' reputations (Al Gore, Don Siegelman, John Kerry, Wes Clark, etc.).

by Gabriele Droz 2008-03-30 01:25PM | 0 recs
outstanding diary

by John Wesley Hardin was a Friend to the Poor 2008-03-30 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Pittsburgh Tribune Evaluates Hillary

Thank you for this diary and coming from an ex-Obama supporter, it is even better. What are his supporters afraid of when the two are compared? They are afraid the truth will show? This is the Hillary most of her supporters see. If people don't know who Scaife is and what he has done to bring the Clintons down, do some googling. For this article to come from him shows how Clinton can work with the worst adversaries and turn them around with her intelligence, caring, and thoughtfulness. It takes enormous maturity to step into a situation like this and come out a winner. Same thing with how she has worked with many republicans in the senate who were spearheading the impeachment nonsense.  

If I may, please write to your superdelegates and others about your own vote. I am filled with anger and anguish that we may lose the GE because of the self-inflicted moronic party wounds. According to my friend who surrounds himself with republicans, it will be a disaster of historical proportions in  the GE. I hope it is not too late and we will get her to be the nominee.

by pm317 2008-03-30 02:12PM | 0 recs

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