October 6, 2007

"A guy like Giuliani is polarizing because he actively chooses to be. It's part of his persona. He wants people to hate him."

"Hillary, by contrast, is polarizing not because she wants to be, but because the right-wing attack machine made her that way. She's 'polarizing' only because a certain deranged slice of conservative nutjobs detest her."

Writes Kevin Drum — responding to Andrew Sullivan, who's putting down both Rudy and Hillary for being "polarizing." Drum thinks that Sullivan is running them down because he doesn't like either Rudy or Hillary, and Drum un-runs-down Hillary. So either Hillary is not polarizing or Kevin Drum — I'm following Drum-style analysis — like Hillary.

33 comments:

rhhardin said...

People emphatize with Rudy. He's just looking for a woman that doesn't turn into a bitch, like the rest of America is.

Hillary on the other hand sounds like everybody's first wife.

The envelope, please...

peter hoh said...

Some people are born polarizing figures, some work hard to achieve that status, while others have it thrust upon them.

EnigmatiCore said...

This is utter claptrap.

Democrats and social conservatives made Rudy polarizing because they disagreed with him.

Republicans made Hillary polarizing because they disagreed with her.

joe said...

Pure partisan crap. So Rudy is polarizing because Drum disagrees with him, and Hillary is, because of the VRWC. Drum is a nitwit.

sean said...

I'm with enigmaticore. Which means I am totally against Sullivan and half with Kevin Drum (I think). It's silly to characterize particular politicians as polarizing: every political figure is polarizing to people who disagree with him or her.

The one exception is that sometimes, a politician can get away without expressing himself on controversial issues. Then he won't be polarizing. For example, after a scandal, a politician can run on his clean character, which isn't polarizing, and sometimes a successful military leader can run on his victorious record. But those instances are rare.

Kelly said...

One good way to polarize is to call everyone who disagrees with you a "nutjob".

mtrobertsattorney said...

What nonsense.

Hillary is polarizing because she can't help it. She is an unpleasant person and nothing can be done about it.

ron st.amant said...

They are both polarizing figures, but no matter who the nominees are eventually, they too will be polarizing because the base of either party is a polarizing entity.

HJA said...

I think Drum likes Hillary best of all the Democratic candidates, but he's too shy to come right out and say so because that'll make him seem fogeyish to his readers, most of whom, I assume, support Obama, and he doesn't want to arouse their contempt. So, human nature and supporting-your-team being what it is, he might well make the occasional strained argument in Hillary's defense, because she's already his fave.

In this case, though, I think he's right: Giuliani's "polarizing" in large part because he revels in giving his "enemies" — his domestic enemies, I mean, pointy-headed intellectuals and the like — fits, and Hillary just doesn't, or I haven't seen it anyway, not since she became a Senator. You don't see her cackling about how, if she's elected, it'll drive right-wingers up the wall, right? And she's even got real political enemies, or at least she used to; Giuliani seems to me to have this chip on his shoulder that makes him act generally and willfully obnoxious to people he doesn't like.

ron st.amant said...

hja writes: Giuliani seems to me to have this chip on his shoulder that makes him act generally and willfully obnoxious to people he doesn't like.


Well, in a sense, he sort of has to be that way doesn't he? He's terribly unpopular with the evangelical base of his party, yet widely popular with more moderate Republicans. So perhaps more than anyone he's got to give a lot of red meat to play to that faction.

Sullivan argues that Clinton and Guiliani need each other to be polarizing, and I think he's right, it's just that they likely need it more in the primary process that do others (and here being general election favorites pushes this notion)

MikeinSC said...

There isn't a politician who isn't "divisive". Hillary simply blames her critics for being part of a vast conspiracy out to "get" her and not people with a legitimate complaint about her policies and plans.

To pretend that somebody you support is not divisive proves that your complaints about divisiveness are simply "They don't agree with me!"
-=Mike

SMGalbraith said...

Well, in a sense, he sort of has to be that way doesn't he? He's terribly unpopular with the evangelical base of his party, yet widely popular with more moderate Republicans

But Giuliani was like "this" when he was mayor of New York. And the evangelical voters in NY probably meet in the bathroom at McDonald's (enter Larry Craig joke here:_____).

It's not an affectation. It's his style.

Hillary has the Bill-like ability to alter her message and appeal to a wider range of voters than Giuliani. Every time I hear Giuliani speak - either in prepared remarks or in interviews - he has the same style. Aggressive, combative, sometimes sarcastic.

Hillary can change, she's much more chameleon-like than just about every other politician except perhaps for Obama.

Which is why, in part, the left (Drum not withstanding) dislikes her. They're not sure what they're getting.

SMG

jane said...

Andrew Sullivan has been bi-polarizing these last few years. In blaming others for Hill's unpopularity, Drum just beats all. Isn't the very definition of popularity about what others think, with rational justification or no?

What's more engaging about Rudy over Hillary is that he can open his mouth and say and do things without political calculation every. single. time. Hillary's so careful and crafted down to the syllable, carrot stick, cleavage, accent and laugh that, with the media's "help," she never appears to have a spontaneous instinct in her body that her advisors hadn't orchestrated to appear as such.

ron st.amant said...

Every time I hear Giuliani speak - either in prepared remarks or in interviews - he has the same style. Aggressive, combative, sometimes sarcastic.


Doesn't that just make him a New Yorker??

(just kidding NY'ers)

Invisible Man said...

Take a second to read the piece on Giuliani in yesterday's times which jibes with everything we know about the guy. One of the reasons Republicans give for supporting the guy is because he will "aggressively" go after the terrorist, because its obvious that he really doesn't know any other way. Every part of his career has been about "aggressively" going after people he deems the enemy whether that's brokers on Wall Street, the Democrats or even his wife. People who itch for a fight tend to find one.

On the other hand, its hard to find where and when Hillary first became so polarizing. Republicans hated her far before her "Right-Wing Conspiracy" speech, so they can't use that as an excuse. Before that its hard to find anywhere where she advertised some upcoming brawl with conservatives. And even her career in the Senate sponsoring bills with Republican Senators (some who admitted hating her) demonstrates that her instinct isn't to fight with Republicans at every opportunity.

To me, Kevin's got it just about right.

dick said...

Actually I think Rudy has had to be that way because of the New York media. In order to get the coverage he has to be a little outrageous and out there or they would just ignore him because he is a republican. Also I think New Yorkers like politicians who are a little outrageous. Think of Ed Koch or Fiorello LaGuardia or Robert Moses. The politicians had to really stand up in order to be heard and that is Rudy's style.

Hillary just seems to want to be liked as much as Bubba and so she is trying to copy his playbook by saying and doing whatever she thinks the current group wants to hear. She doesn't really believe in any of those things but that is what gets the voters so that is what she will do. The problem is that she is such a total beeyotch that at some point even the acolytes will get the picture about her. Because she is a democrat there is a certain inbuilt crew that will hear whatever they want to hear and support her but I think the rest of the country will see right through the veil of nothing and vote for someone else. I can only hope so. Let's face it, she does not have an honest bone in her body.

hdhouse said...

thank you dick but you are full of shit.

rudy has face time constantly from the ny media. he had non-stop face time as mayor. now that the national media sees him for what he is, face time is a little harder to come by because they realize that indeed he is the soul of expediency...i'll say whatever to whoever is in front of me...

you project rudy's lack of values onto hillary...why? do you not want a female to hold high office? are you afraid of a woman who works toward what she wants?

thought so. but don't run such weak shit on this board.

Pogo said...

"why? do you not want a female to hold high office? are you afraid of a woman who works toward what she wants?"

Me, I'm afraid of anyone who says:

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

"The same with energy -- you know, we can't keep talking about our dependence on foreign oil, and the need to deal with global warming, and the challenge that it poses to our climate and to God's creation, and just let business as usual go on. And that means something has to be taken away from some people."

Revenant said...

On the other hand, its hard to find where and when Hillary first became so polarizing. Republicans hated her far before her "Right-Wing Conspiracy" speech, so they can't use that as an excuse.

First of all, polls have repeatedly shown that hostility to Hillary is prevalent outside of the right wing, too. One in four Democrats and two out of three independents are unwilling to consider voting for her. For the last year polls have found that approximately 50% of Americans (give or take a few percentage points) absolutely refuse to vote for her. You can't blame that on "right-wing nutjobs" -- there aren't that many of 'em.

Hillary's problem is that she has always been lousy at hiding the fact that she considers herself superior to normal people. That's really the main reason people -- and not just conservatives -- initially disliked her. The "cookies and tea" remark was a great example of this, in that it openly communicated the fact that she viewed women who stayed at home to care for their kids as a bunch of unambitious losers. Her sense of superiority is all the more grating because she owes almost all of her success in life to her husband. People don't like being lectured by a person who basically slept their way to power.

As for Rudy, he seems pretty much like every other Brooklyn native I've ever met. Isn't the unofficial borough motto "Go F Yourself"?

SMGalbraith said...

The Right distrusts, well okay, loathes Clinton because they believe she pretends to be a centrist when she's really a 60's leftist (don't forget to add that sixties j'accuse).

The Left distrusts (loathes) Clinton because they believe she pretends to be a progressive when she's a DLC mushy Washington insider.

Where you sit determines where you're throwing things.

SMG

titus22 said...

I think most can agree if Rudy and Hilary are elected by their parties it will be an ugly election.

For us New Yorkers we have seen it all and I for one will enjoy it. For the rest of the country my sense is not so much.

SMGalbraith said...

I think most can agree if Rudy and Hilary are elected by their parties it will be an ugly election.

Well, if the parties nominated Peter Pan and Santa Claus, it would be ugly.

One party would question the sexuality of one candidate and the other would question the sobriety and lifestyle (are those elves here legally?) of the other.

Or worse.

O tempore O mores

SMG

titus22 said...

Also, in order to succeed in NYC you have to be aggressive like Rudy. He is the quintessential New Yorker. He was a lightning rod as mayor but everyone knew where he stood. No BS. And the bad news for democrats is that many loyal democrats voted for him in New York City. If he can parlay that throughout the country any democrat whether it be Hilary or anyone else may be in trouble.

If they are elected in the primaries you can't say that it won't be an exciting election.

Also, I love the fact that the Dobson's of this world seem to have lost their clout. The good news is that many of them like Dobson are well into their 70's and I believe their power will diminish, especially since they will start dieing off.

He will be a good day when I don't have to hear about every politicians family values. I don't give a crap about their family values and let's face it everyone has some creepy family member.

titus22 said...

Oh and go Red Sox, that game was incredible last night.

Manny just being Manny.

dick said...

hdhouse,

you just made my point. If Rudy had been a self-effacing pol, he would never have had any face time from the NY media. Even when he was working wonders at cleaning up NYC so it became livable again, the media was giving him BS and calling him Hitler and Nazi. They loved what he did, they did not love him.

As for Hillary, I would love for you to tell us exactly what she stands for. So far she has been on every side of almost every issue and still hasn't been steadfast about any of them.

Nick said...

(Jane) "Drum just beats all."

Lol, don't he, though? It's all pre-election ritual 'round the fire punditry and we're all doing the tribal watusi.

Invisible Man said...

dick,

If being on every side of an issue was enough to cause intense hatred in the normally rational, Democrats would have attempted to send Mitt Romney and his family to Guantanamo by now. That just seems like a low bar.

And the notion that Rudy is so combative because of the media, ignores a guy who regularly "perp-walked" small time brokers to make a point as every station in the city was glued to it. Rudy acts combative because he is. The guy held a press conference about his divorce from his wife for gods sake. The media has and will follow him wherever he goes.

mtrobertsattorney said...

dick, while HD is busy trying to figure out what Hillary stands for, I'll tell you.

She stands for ending the war in Iraq. She also stands for keeping American combat troops in Iraq for combat operations. If we find this hard to follow, Bill will explain to us that a careful distinction must be drawn between American soldiers fighting a war in Iraq and American soldiers engaged in combat missions in Iraq.

She also stands for taking things away from Pogo and his fellow citizens for the common good. If this sounds alarming, Bill will assure us that the word "things" is so abstract that it means nothing and so neither Pogo nor anybody else need be concerned.

former law student said...

Giuliani is a Feinstein Democrat (anti-gun, pro-choice) who is somewhat bizarrely running for the Republican nomination. Real Republicans refer to his type as a RINO -- Republican In Name Only. His pretending to be a real Republican, and not a Manhattan Republican sets their teeth on edge. His natural constituency is limited to anti-gun NRA members married to their third wives, and people who think he was a He-ro after 9/11.

Simon said...

Usually -- I mean, I think it's safe to say that this is the ordinary meaning of the term -- when one thinks of a politician as "polarizing" one thinks of someone who sends people running to the poles - Democrats to the Democratic Party, Republicans to the Republican Party. If that's the case, how can Rudy be polarizing when we have several prominent and not-so-prominent social conservatives now threatening to split the Republican Party and run a third party in 2008 if rudy is the GOP nominee?

Just because you hate someone doesn't mean that your ideological opponents support him, the criterion, it seems to me, for a figure being polarizing.

hdhouse said...
"[Dick] project[s] rudy's lack of values onto hillary...why? do you not want a female to hold high office? are you afraid of a woman who works toward what she wants?"

Why is it that anyone would assume that someone who has a problem with a female politician has a problem with her because of her gender? Doesn't feminism die a little every time someone makes an unfounded accusation that? It seems to me that what Hillary haters hate about Hillary doesn't have much to do with her gender.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Rudy is what passes for a Republican in Moscow on the Hudson. Liberals here hate him for partially pulling NYC out of it's post-Great Society tailspin.

AlphaLiberal said...

"Drum thinks that Sullivan is running them down because he doesn't like either Rudy or Hillary."

Off the mark there. You assign more value to what thoughts you think he held rather than the plainly printed words.

Drum makes the obvious point that the perceived polarized state is not of Hillary's doing but of the Right Wing Noise Machine's doing.

Just like the Right Wing Noise Machine attacks any Democrat who arises to leadership.

That's some stubborn abtuseness to miss such a plainly stated point.

AlphaLiberal said...

obtuseness