Top 10 Inane Profane & otherwise Flame arguments used versus Hillary Clinton
by Tom Rinaldo, Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 08:40:16 AM EDT
I understand and accept that fair criticism of Hillary Clinton is certainly possible, including some on matters related to what I include on my list below. But I think most folks reading this in good faith can acknowledge the difference between what I am discussing here and fair criticism.
Number One. Claims that Hillary Clinton is probably guilty of doing whatever terrible thing that happened, even when there is no concrete evidence that she, or even her campaign, is or was involved in that terrible thing. This includes what I call "Minority Report" crimes, ones that have not actually happened yet, but because "everyone knows" that Hillary Clinton "is capable" of doing something so horrible, we don't need to wait for it to actually happen before condemning her for it. I've seen Hillary Clinton raked over the coals for "being capable of" rigging voting machines in primaries that weren't even held yet. More typically though she immediately gets blamed for things like Obama's passport files getting spied on before the full story is known.
Number Two. Ongoing "speculation" over whether or not Hillary will run against the 2008 Democratic ticket if she loses the Democratic nomination. Questions like: Will Hillary try to become McCain's VP if she can't win the Democratic nomination for President, or will she run for President as an Independent, or might she become a Democrat in quasi name only, like a Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller? It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton has been a bedrock Democrat for 40 years, nor does it matter how often Hillary Clinton says in public how very important it will be for all Democrats to unite behind our eventual nominee, whoever that ends up being. Why take her word for it? She must be lying (see Numbers One and Three).
Number Three. Claims that Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar. This form of smear was perfected by the Right wing media to help defeat Al Gore in 2000 but it has since been picked up and refined by the Left against Hillary Clinton. A very useful attack line because when all else fails it then lets Hillary Clinton's enemies dismiss everything she says as "probably just another lie". Never mind the fact that virtually every major newspaper in the nation has a regular feature that fact checks all political candidates because every one of them "lies" and "distorts" things about their and their opponents records and positions from time to time. Nor does it matter that human beings weren't prepared by evolution to have our every utterances recorded, and all our written words retrievable at the click of a mouse, in order to be matched up against all our other words and prior utterances for indications of dishonesty.
Somehow though, a resulting "honesty" issue is only Hillary's problem. Barack Obama can misremember the circumstances of his birth. He can misstate the role Kennedy played in his family's journey to America. He can keep revising upward how much money his campaign accepted from Tony Rezko. He can blame his old Illinois Senate campaign staff for incorrectly stating his positions regarding issues on a questionnaire he turned in during one of his Chicago political races, until evidence emerged in Obama's own handwriting showing Obama worked on those answers himself. Obama can take credit in speeches for passing nuclear related legislation that didn't actually pass the Senate. Obama campaigned saying his campaign had nothing to do with lobbyists until it came out that a lobbyist was a key part of his own campaign in a state he was hotly contesting (NH), at which point Obama simply said that he meant Federal, not State, lobbyists only. Bottom line; all candidates "lie" and virtually all message board posters do too. To update the old cliché: "Lies happen".
Number Four. Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl, so there goes being a good Democrat out the window (See Number Two). When I was about a year older than Hillary Clinton was when she was a Goldwater Girl, I tried sleeping next to my Bee Bee gun one night hoping to have a dream about being a war hero. I planned to go to South East Asia to fight communists when I was old enough to. When the time came I burned my draft card instead. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton evolved to become a campus radical, after first exploring the left wing of what was then still a true Big Tent Republican Party, with honest to God Liberals still active inside it.
The same internet that so many of Hillary Clinton's enemies love to surf looking for evidence of her lying has plenty of biographical information available explaining how why and when Hillary Clinton became a Democrat. Many of he same people who gush over how Barack Obama can reach across the aisle to bring Americans together while appealing to Republicans to come vote for him in the primaries, still can't let go of bashing Hillary Clinton for supporting Barry Goldwater when she was 14.
Number Five. Hillary Clinton has no more experience than does Barack Obama, and possibly less because he has held elective office for more years than she (but only 3 in Congress). First the disclaimer; experience does not always equate with good judgment and wisdom. Dick Cheney for example has more experience than Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama combined, but Hillary Clinton definitely has more relevant experience than Barack Obama. My advice to Obama supporters who hate to concede any advantage to Clinton; It's a fact, deal with it. Barack Obama has and he stills makes a pretty good case for why he, not Hillary, should become our next President. Some kind of weird mirror dance goes on whereby many Obama supporters mock Hillary Clinton (with some basis) for inflating aspects of the experience she actually has while they are doing contortions to deny Hillary Clinton credit for relevant experience that she honestly possesses.
Number Six. The myth that Hillary Clinton is way to the Right of Barack Obama on the issues, making him a true Progressive and her a DINO. These are two Democratic Senators who have very similar voting records and positions on the major issues. It has often been commented that so much of this primary campaign has been focused on personalities and factors like judgment and experience PRECISELY because so little actually separates the two candidates when it comes to voting records, policies and positions. Of course they have some differences, but very few dramatic ones. Which is why anyone who watched any of the recent Democratic candidate debates can remember how common an occurrence it was for both Obama and Clinton to begin their answer to a question by first acknowledging their agreement with whatever the other candidate just said. Which is why it would be laughable to read all the posts trying to equate Hillary Clinton with George Bush, Joe Lieberman, and/or John McCain if they weren't so maddening instead,
Number Seven. Call this one; "Get out of the way Hillary". It's the claim that Hillary Clinton is simply dividing the Democratic Party by continuing to campaign for President against Barack Obama when she has no plausible chance of winning herself. Well, if the Democratic Party is divided, it is because it is dividing itself, not because Hillary Clinton is forcing it to be divided. And were the Democratic Party not very closely divided, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would long since have been eliminated from this race. The Democratic voters, both those who have gone to the polls, and those who have answered the polls, have divided the Democratic Party by refusing to overwhelmingly throw their support behind one candidate at this stage in the race.
If Barack Obama had for the most part already united the Democratic Party behind him he would already have the delegates in hand now to win the nomination on the first ballot. He hasn't and he doesn't, and it isn't his primary opponent's job to do that for him - until the outcome is certain. There is a difference between someone being the favorite to win and the actual winner him or her self. Holding a three length lead going around the final turn in a horse race, holding a three run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in a baseball game, these are desirable places to find oneself, but neither guarantees victory.
Number Eight. The endless bitter and/or sarcastic name calling against Hillary Clinton: Queen, bitch, monster, whore, murderer, Liar (with a very capital "L"), racist, neocon, power hungry sociopath (having no care beyond her own personal fortunes), etc. Words like these are continually hurled against Hillary Clinton. The level of intensely personal character assassination that takes place against Hillary Clinton daily on political message boards like this has surpassed whatever ugliness gets thrown against any Republican - and I'm including Joe Lieberman, over the last several months.
Number Nine. "Iraq is Hillary's war". No, it's not. Not any more so than it is Joe Biden, John Kerry or John Edward's war, and it's not those men's war either. Iraq is George W. Bush's war. If the blood of a million innocents is on anyone it's on George Bush; not Hillary nor Joe nor either John. Voting against the Iraq War Resolution - which authorized war with Iraq under certain circumstances but did NOT specifically call for or initiate it, is a mark of honor that many Democratic Senators earned in 2002. But relatively few Democratic activists or voters now claim that voting for the IWR at the time was such as grievous lack of solid judgment on the part of John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd that none of those men could have gone on to make good or even great Presidents. That accusation most often has been saved for Hillary Clinton. Which leads to my final numbered point.
Number Ten. "Hillary Clinton will do or say anything to become President". First, few actually give even a second thought to how utterly vicious an attack that sentence contains. In a world where a significant percentage of the planet's rulers gained power by literally murdering some of their opposition, this is not trivial accusation to make. Murder in fact was already among the charges that some on the Right claim Hillary Clinton was guilty of while trying to hold onto political power at the highest levels. This attack line is a retread from the Limbaugh School of Journalism. And for those who complain about this, that, or another thing that Hillary Clinton may have said that poisons the chances for Barack Obama to win the General Election should he become our nominee; none of it rises to the level of making this type of accusation against Hillary Clinton. Nothing gives greater ammunition for John McCain to use against Hillary Clinton should she become our nominee than the claim that she will do or say anything to pursue personal power, but that's a charge that Barack Obama has already made against her.
No attack on a fellow Democrat unleashes more potentially lethal fire than that one, and it is utterly false. Hillary Clinton's campaign may have or may yet cross one or more lines that some of her critics would prefer not be crossed, in her competition with Barack Obama for the nomination. Hopefully most of her critics also understand that sometimes that feeling is reversed. But this particular attack bluntly states that there simply is NO line, period, that Hillary Clinton won't cross at the expense either of her opponents or our nation.
I would not say that about John McCain, and maybe not even about George W. Bush. We have no business saying that about another Democrat. And one need just review point Number Nine to disprove the charge. After the Iowa vote certainly, but most likely well before then Hillary Clinton knew that her chance to win the Democratic Nomination to run for President was seriously being hurt by her failure to say the words "I'm sorry" about her IWR vote. Even at her first one on one debate with Barack Obama, after the momentum in the race had already shifted to Obama, after a first half of that debate where Hillary was considered by most to be winning based on a discussion of domestic issues, Hillary wouldn't say what Democratic voters wanted to hear when the discussion finally turned to Iraq, and Barack Obama scored major points as a result.
More recently though Hillary Clinton was almost out of the race for President as votes in Ohio and Texas loomed. A loss of the popular vote in either State would have led to increased calls for her to exit the contest and her fund raising would have virtually dried up. Obama had the momentum with 14 straight victories, and he had the money available to significantly outspend Clinton on the air and on the ground. There was no way Hilary Clinton could have been confident about winning both those contests. But Reverend Wright never became an issue in those primaries. That was a story the media had been holding back, but Hillary Clinton didn't force it out. Had Obama won solidly in Texas and held Clinton to a narrow victory in Ohio, the nomination contest would have ended right there and then. Hillary Clinton will not do or say anything to become President, but some of her critics feel free to do or say anything to prevent that from happening.