Saturday :: Mar 15, 2008

The Fine Art of Clinton Derangement

by eriposte

Ezra Klein at The American Prospect (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

The sense around town seems to be that the odd emergence of this old video of Wright was part of a Clinton oppo dump, and that's likely correct. But it doesn't matter. Wright is a public figure, and these sorts of things will come out. It won't even help Clinton, as the last thing the superdelegates can do is give her the nomination because she was able to paint Obama as a Scary Black Man. But it can hurt Obama nevertheless.

Evidence-free and ugly smearing of Hillary Clinton - a top Democrat - is nothing new for allegedly "progressive" bloggers or for sites like "The American Prospect" which claim to represent "Liberal Intelligence" (see under the masthead). But the insult to liberalism and "liberal intelligence" was not lost on this commenter who wrote the following in response to Ezra's post:

"The sense around town seems to be that the odd emergence of this old video of Wright was part of a Clinton oppo dump, and that's likely correct."

Put up or shut up.

Must we ceaselessly slander HRC? Why is it that every bad thing that happens to Obama is her fault?

Do you really not know that the wingnuts over at Faux News have been doing regular stories about Wright for months? Are you really so out of touch with the rest of the blogosphere that you haven't realized that this crap has been widely discussed ad nauseum by the crazies?

A good portion of the progressive blogosphere REALLY has gone bonkers. Up until a few months back, I would never have believed that Drudge et al would become a reputable source for you guys to start quoting as ammo against another progressive...

Posted by: The World's Turned Upside Down | March 14, 2008 11:44 AM

Indeed. Sad to say, Ezra's Clinton Derangement Syndrome got the better of him here - not that it should be surprising given he is a self-described "frequent guest on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews". Right-wing blogs and Fox News have been going after Jeremiah Wright and Sen. Obama's strong connections to him for a long time and a simple Google search would have turned up lots and lots of links - such as this Sean Hannity interview of Wright over one year ago, or this Mickey Kaus post about 10 months ago in response to, um, this front page article in the NYT that appeared in April 2007! The NYT article was an examination of Obama's faith, among other things, and included paragraphs such as this one:

Congregants respond by saying critics are misreading the church’s tenets, that it is a warm and accepting community and is not hostile to whites. But Mr. Wright’s political statements may be more controversial than his theological ones. He has said that Zionism has an element of “white racism.” (For its part, the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.)

On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that “people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

Provocative Assertions

Such statements involve “a certain deeply embedded anti-Americanism,” said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative group that studies religious issues and public policy. “A lot of people are going to say to Mr. Obama, are these your views?”

Mr. Obama says they are not.

“The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification,” he said in a recent interview. He was not at Trinity the day Mr. Wright delivered his remarks shortly after the attacks, Mr. Obama said, but “it sounds like he was trying to be provocative.”

“Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through,” Mr. Obama said. “He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.”

Despite the canceled invocation, Mr. Wright prayed with the Obama family just before his presidential announcement. Asked later about the incident, the Obama campaign said in a statement, “Senator Obama is proud of his pastor and his church.”

In March, Mr. Wright said in an interview that his family and some close associates were angry about the canceled address, for which they blamed Obama campaign advisers but that the situation was “not irreparable,” adding, “Several things need to happen to fix it.”

Asked if he and Mr. Wright had patched up their differences, Mr. Obama said: “Those are conversations between me and my pastor.”

Mr. Wright, who has long prided himself on criticizing the establishment, said he knew that he may not play well in Mr. Obama’s audition for the ultimate establishment job.

“If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Mr. Wright said with a shrug. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.”

The fact of the matter is that Fox News and other outlets simply exploited an opportunity because the Obama campaign and his supporters - especially in the "liberal" blogosphere - have been repeatedly and falsely accusing Sen. Clinton of race-baiting or racism by constantly tying the words of her surrogates or supporters to her - as if she is responsible for everything her surrogates might say, even if she distanced herself from them. The Wright fracas merely exposed this pathetic smear game in its full glory - making it clear that the ugly smear merchants on the alleged "left", who kept tarring Sen. Clinton with the thoughtless or stupid comments of people who were speaking for themselves and not for Sen. Clinton, were just that. After all, you can see that these smear merchants aren't going all out to tar Sen. Obama with the words of someone who was more than just a surrogate or supporter. Wright was chosen for a leadership post in Sen. Obama's campaign (he's no longer in this post as of yesterday), he was a close spiritual advisor and guide for 20 or so years and someone who was highly influential in Sen. Obama's life, he was the inspiration for the title of one of Sen. Obama's books and praised in one chapter of another book, he was essentially like a family member of the Sen. Obama's (in his own words) - and to top it off, Sen. Obama has contributed very generously to Wright's church. Of course, none of this means Sen. Obama shares the hateful words or beliefs of Wright (he doesn't). But now that the Campaign 2008 smear merchants on the "left" have been exposed, what do they have to offer? More smears and attacks on Sen. Clinton, rather than acknowledge the nasty and pathetic game they have played on a good, fellow Democrat all these months. (Also see: "Do Sen. Obama's Advisors of Campaign Staff Speak for Him?")

As Turkana said earlier:

And among the corporate media sources that also deliberately misinformed their readers and viewers, by similarly selectively editing, Boehlert names NBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Time, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. Of course, we expect dishonesty from the corporate media, and particularly when it involves the Clintons. We don't expect it from supposedly liberal bloggers. We don't expect it from a new media that was supposed to challenge the corporate media, and offer a more honest alternative. But this campaign season has seen the end of the blogosphere as a credible alternative. It has seen some of the most popular supposedly liberal blogs and some of the most prominent supposedly liberal bloggers descend into the worst type of mendacious smear campaigns- against a fellow Democrat.


Have people associated with the Clinton campaign made racist remarks? Yes. Have people at the top of the Obama campaign? Yes. Does Clinton get called out for everything said by everyone even loosely associated with her campaign? Of course. Does Obama get called out for anything said by anyone even at the top of his campaign? No.

Let's use this opportunity to "fondly" recall the words of another, generally subtle, practitioner of Clinton Derangement Syndrome - Josh Marshall:

All I can say is, when are we going to give this guy a Pulitzer?! Paging Jeff Gerth! I should add that found it quite hilarious that despite Josh's comments, TPM actually managed to publish these reader comments without noting even a hint of irony:

TPM Reader JS responds to JB ...

I go to church every Sunday, and frankly, I never received the memo that says you're obligated to agree with everything that a pastor says in a sermon. I thought the idea that you're allowed to actually disagree with him or her is inherently "American". So what's JB's problem, again? Let me get this straight. This guy JB is switching his vote from Obama to Clinton because Obama's pastor, from whom he's publicly disagreed on repeated occasions, made inflammatory remarks during a sermon in a service that Obama never attended. Can we please try to wrap our minds around the stupidity of that notion? If JB loved America as much as he apparently claims, he'd take his vote a hell of a lot more seriously than that.

Late Update: TPM Reader JM:

Agree wholeheartedly with JS, and completely fail to understand the hyperventilation over this issue. I mean, I saw Chris Matthews (Chris Matthews!) on the Today Show this morning saying that everyone knows that this guy doesn't represent Obama's views and that voters understand that you shouldn't necessarily be held accountable for everything and anything any of your associates utters in public. You know you're deep in the weeds when Tweety is your voice of reason.

I think that this drawn-out primary season is starting to drive people nuts.

The Clinton Double Standard and Clinton Derangement Syndrome in key segments of the allegedly "liberal" blogosphere exposed for everyone to see.

Let me say that at the end of the day I would be very surpised if the Jeremiah Wright implosion hurts Sen. Obama in the Democratic primary. He's got one really good thing going for him - institutionalized Clinton Derangement Syndrome both in the traditional media and amongst some of the top "liberal" bloggers and activists. There's a strong incentive for them to pin this on Sen. Clinton and move on quickly before this does any damage to Sen. Obama - and my sense is that that outcome is more likely than not. That said, Wright, among others, will eventually prove very damaging, not just to Sen. Obama but to the Democratic party, if he becomes the eventual nominee.

eriposte :: 9:55 AM :: Comments (55) :: Digg It!