Clinton Withstands All-Out Attack
by Jeff Dinelli
For the last week, the media put aside their drumbeat for war on Iran to concentrate on the up-coming Attack On Hillary. Like an upcoming title fight, from the televised gabfests to newspapers nationwide, Tuesday's debate was highly anticipated as the Moment when Obama would finally Take Off The Gloves, Edwards would continue his Assault, and Dodd and Biden would stridetly Make Clear Their Differences from the former First Lady, the dreaded Hillary Rodham Clinton. Media advice was doled out, predictions were given, and great bloodshed was anticipated. How would Clinton respond, asked a breathless nation?
The countdown on MSNBC began two hours ahead of the opening bell, with a frothy Chris Matthews spasmodically quizzing the clearly wide-eyed and nervous Andrea Mitchell and Howard Fineman as to what trumped-up issue Obama should corner Clinton with, how Edwards should lash out in order to stop his slide, what tact Dodd and Biden should take to rise from the ashes, as Mitchell and Fineman visably leaned away from the Hardball host, who resembled a rabid dog locked in a closet.
After an hour of needed sanity from Keith Olbermann ("It's Tuesday, so there must be a debate"), the bell tolled, and cameras focused on the ring; in this corner 6 desperate men with muscles flexed and testosterone raging, and in the opposite corner one woman, battle-scarred and ready for Anything, but dangerously outnumbered. Philly bookies placed odds of her surviving the deathmatch at about even.
Refereeing the battle was Tim "Gotcha" Russert, easily the most crooked moderator in all the land, who introduced the hysterical proceedings looking every bit a sexist thug with a head full of Ibogaine and a serious case of four-month Political Blueballs. He had arrived at Drexel University with a notebook full of Clinton Zingers, Official Documents even, and by God, he intended to empty his chamber.
As Taylor Marsh points out, "the predictable reviews are out and the hack pack press is picking up where Russert left off last night." Bill Richardson at one point tried to defend Hillary from his knife-wielding cohorts, which Taylor thinks was a clear push to be VP (I personally think he's positioning himself for a Senate seat), but Edwards appeared unhinged, "Who is honest? Who is sincere? Who has integrity?" questioned the multi-millionare former trial lawyer who won record jury verdicts and settlements in cases alleging that the botched treatment of women in labor and their deliveries caused infants to develop cerebral palsy. "She has not been truthful and clear," sniped Obama, who still hasn't explained why that homophobic gospel singer is still on his campaign payroll.
Clinton's opponents did everything to break Clinton down, including calling her "unelectable." They insinuated she couldn't be trusted and was not fit for the presidency. Her opponents got personal, but the worst offender was someone who forget his job. Tim Russert's play last night was not only nakedly sexist, but showed his immaturity and lack of respect for any woman standing up to be commander in chief.
There were 52 questions asked last night; 25 had to do with either Hillary or Bill Clinton, including very personal insinuations, with 22 of the 25 being abjectly hostile.
Tim Russert asked 26 questions; 14 were to Clinton, with 5 directly targeting her personally.
Is Roger Simon, Andrew Sullivan or anyone else talking about these facts?
In contrast, Barack Obama got asked what he would do about air travel; whether there was life beyond earth; and the question on which all Americans' safety depends, What are you going to dress as on Halloween? When the air travel question drooled out of Russert's mouth I thought I'd accidentally hit the remote to the Travel Channel. But Russert's softballs to Obama when compared to Clinton were nakedly obvious to anyone paying attention. When you couple Russert's penchant for his all boys pannels on "Meet the Press," there's only one conclusion to draw.
When you throw in the continual hammering by Edwards, who had his best night but not on issues, but because he played attack dog towards Clinton, not to mention Obama jumping in when he could get up the courage, last night's boy brawl showed more about Clinton than anyone is willing to say. She can take anything dished out at her. The innuendos didn't stop her. The attacks didn't phase her publicly, though at one point I thought she was going to really come out and call it what it was, nothing short of a two-sided attack, with Clinton the target, including from "moderator" Tim Russert who had no business taking sides. But he did anyway.
The numbers regarding the questioning is clear, this was a boy's club trying to throw the only woman out the door, using GOP talking points from the last 15 years of Clinton-bashing.
[The] argument that Clinton is unelectable because her "negatives" are too high — that she’s so disliked Americans won’t vote for her — has always seemed one of those unproven Republican talking points that I suspect they only wish were true, even while they ignore the margin of her last Senate election victory. To be sure, early polls have shown high negatives for Clinton, but it’s also true that part of that has been driven by 15 years of incessant vilification by a right wing unable to cope with a strong woman candidate, a liberal or anyone who had the temerity to tackle health care reform before its time. There has always been something deceptive and despicable about the rightwing attacks on the Clintons, the dishonorable Starr prosecutions and the unrelenting, but unsuccessful efforts to link the Clintons to Whitewater "corruption." Are the Democrats now to feed that hate-filled frenzy by hinting those are valid arguments, or by making undifferentiated attacks claiming, with nothing more specific, that because she swims in America’s money-drenched politics, she is so inherently corrupt as to disqualify her, but not them?
The Republican right wing has been mindlessly fixated on its dislike of the Clintons for over 15 years. But the high approval ratings Bill Clinton held even during impeachment tells us that the right wing hatreds do not automatically transfer to the general electorate. And yet the right apparently believes that if they repeat the "Hillary can’t win because everyone hates her" mantra often enough, and have it amplified by the Establishment talking heads, the inevitable debate question, and an all too unquestioning media, it can move from mantra to self-fulfulling prophecy. If that’s the strategy, why are prominent Democrats feeding that theme?
Name one Democratic candidate, hell, name one Republican candidate, who could have stood up under this intense fire, and calmly attempt to answer each question without completely freaking out? There isn't one. Hillary Clinton can expect much more of this, but these bullets, fired by manic Republicans and delusional, desperate members of her own party, are hollow, the insinuations yesterday's news, the vitriol and sexism certain to be overcome in the general election as Americans see through the fraudulent, hyperbolic disingenuousness of the stale Hillary Haters 101 school of thought and realize that the only woman in the race is the only one truly Presidential.