January 18, 2016

I experienced Bernie Sanders as rude to Hillary Clinton, but was it Rick Lazio rude?

Remember this?



It wrecked Rick Lazio in the New York senatorial race in 2000. Oddly, looking at it now, he doesn't seem that bad. Maybe it was always only making people feel that it was bad. I looked at it again to try to answer the question I put in this post's title, and I didn't think what he did was the kind of inappropriate male encroachment on a woman that it was (successfully!) made out to be:
This key exchange came at the end of the debate, when Lazio interrupted Clinton mid-sentence, walked across the stage with a campaign finance pledge in hand, and urged her to sign it. Clinton awkwardly tried to shake Lazio's hand as he towered over her, his finger wagging in her face. In the hours and days after the debate, Clinton's team worked mightily to turn this interaction to her advantage. Clinton aide Ann Lewis told the press that Lazio had "spent much of the time being personally insulting." Howard Wolfson, another veteran Clinton hand, said Lazio was "menacing" to Clinton.

"They saw this opportunity and they drove it and that's the clip that was on TV over and over again," Lazio says now. The next day, media outlets began to embrace Wolfson's portrayal of Lazio as a sexist bully. "In Your Face," proclaimed a headline in the Daily News. Jon Stewart titled his segment on the debate "Rodham 'N Creep." Eventually, the Clinton campaign's depiction became the dominant assessment. Lazio was "Darth Vader with dimples," Gail Collins wrote in the New York Times later that week. Clinton went on to win by 12 points.
I assume Sanders and his people know full well that anything domineering or encroaching or disrespecting will be used against him and that Hillary and her people are hungry for something to deploy to get that old feminist umbrage stirred up again. But time has passed, and he's getting loose, getting confident, getting... aggressive.... The power lust has welled up. We saw it last night. The lovable old Larry-David-befuddled-grandpa image can only protect him so long. Once we can visualize Bernie Sanders as winning, it's not cute anymore, and Hillary has an opportunity she can use.

If she dares.

It's a big risk when you are running for President. It's one thing to have a Senator who's a bit of a feminine flower, to be protected from the mean men of America. It's another to have a President — the one person standing in for us all face-to-face with the world's Putins — who needs our comfort and protection. 

39 comments:

Humperdink said...

The sharpest double edge sword in today's political world - women are weak/navy seals, hear us roar. What a joke. Always playing both ends against the middle. Unfortunately, it sells.

LYNNDH said...

Remember the debate between Bush and Gore when Gore walked behind Bush. Bush kept talking but kind of turned and looked at Gore with some little comtempt.I told my wife that Gore just lost the election, and he did.

Andrew said...

"Clinton awkwardly tried to shake Lazio's hand as he towered over her, his finger wagging in her face."
Lazio didn't shake his finger in her face, but he did shake her hand. This is what the media does.
Did she ever sign the letter she said she would sign?
One has to wonder, which democrat's ass is the media going to bury their faces in if Hillary doesn't win?

pm317 said...

I was reminded of Lazio also looking at your previous post. The big difference between now and then is that the media is in love with Bernie now and Clinton is dispensable. All you are highlighting is how the media manipulates a situation. In fact, we waited for such manipulation to bring Obama down when he made so many goofs and lied to reporters face in broad daylight in 2008 primary but they never came. That is when it dawned on most of us that the fix was in. Media, it is not free nor is it unbiased!!

tim maguire said...

Lazio was a bad candidate in many ways. He thought all he needed to win was not be Clinton, and he was almost right. But Hillary ran a great campaign, she went to every community, talked to every person she could, she out worked him, and she overcame the "carpetbagger" distrust and won.

She's not doing that this time.

Jake said...

Mrs. Clinton looked young(ish) in 2000. She was also skinny(ish). You can insult ugly fat women with reckless abandon. Bernie will be fine.

Lonetown said...

Its only rude when a republican does it. Lasio could have been the second coming of Charlemagne and he would have lost for being too frankish. NY is a rigged state, it's the democrats against 30% Republican, 20% Conservative (parties). Thats why Robert Kennedy flew in to become a senator there as well.

khesanh0802 said...

Ann falls right into the feminist trap. One can not express skepticism about what a woman says he is, rather, RUDE .... and of course we can't be RUDE in political campaign, or even skeptical.

Limited blogger said...

I remember that exchange like it was yesterday. I had hopes Clinton could be defeated. I recognized that maneuver as 'tame', but I also recognized it as the end of Lazio's hopes.

MayBee said...

he one person standing in for us all face-to-face with the world's Putins — who needs our comfort and protection.

That worked to get Obama elected. Everyone had to denounce questions about his religion. Everyone had to denounce questions about his birth. John McCain was deemed as racist for saying "that one" (a phrase he often uses referring to people). John McCain was deemed as racist for having an ad featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears with Obama (white girl rape fears!) Criticism of Obama by anyone was deemed racist. Bill Clinton was deemed racist for comparing Obama's campaign to Jesse Jackson's. Bill Clinton was deemed racist for calling Obama's war opposition a "fairy tale".
We weren't allowed to look into Obama's relationship with his anti-Israel friends, with Bill Ayers, or his failure in the Chicago Annenberg challenge. We weren't allowed to discuss Obama's relationship with the slum lord who helped him with his mortgage. We weren't allowed to talk about Michelle Obama and her patient dumping scheme.
All because Obama was black and we didn't want to be racist and not get our history-making first black candidate.

Even now, we have to call Obama a "constitutional scholar", we have to call him cool, we have to swoon over his wife in order to feed his ego.

MayBee said...

Tony Rezko.

MayBee said...

"They talk about me like a dog!'--- Barack Obama, American president, whining in 2010.

tds said...

She demanded his health records, and he's just showing vigor in response

Original Mike said...

"It wrecked Rick Lazio in the New York senatorial race in 2000. Oddly, looking at it now, he doesn't seem that bad."

It didn't seem that bad at the time. It was clearly nonsense. Did you really fall for it back then?

Nonapod said...

It's unfortunate that we humans put so much emphasis on things like body language when determining who should wield power, and (apparently) not as much on things like what they've done in the past and what beliefs they espouse. We focus on "Oooh, look how candidate A looked at candidate B!", hoping that there's a window into their minds or something. I can't help find these sorts of things interesting even though I know it's probably irrelevant in the grand scheme.

Brando said...

It's possible to pull that off if you can come across as likable and bemused while the other guy comes across rude. But Hillary doesn't have it in her to seem likable, and she doesn't have the skill to do this without looking weak, whiny and overplaying the feminist card. Sanders is actually leading her big time among young women, so her schtick really isn't very strong. I agree it's also easier to play the weak flower in a Senate race than a presidential campaign, and the fact that she did this already vs Lazio is going to make it look even more calculated.

I also question whether that was so decisive in the 2000 Senate race. 12 points sounds like a lot, but a well funded Democrat in a solid blue state in a presidential year election probably would have won by a big margin anyway.

BDNYC said...

Democrats eat this up, at least when it's a Democrat doing it against a Republican. Remember Joe Biden's bizarre, smirking, disrespectful behavior during his debate with Paul Ryan?

Bernie is just giving us a taste of what he will do against the GOP nominee.

coupe said...

Bottom line, he was too aggressive. I don't like pushy people. He lost it right there. I felt sorry for his team watching that. All their work pissed away by a desperate looking man.

AReasonableMan said...

After she killed Vince Foster I knew she had what it takes to be President. In these troubled times we need someone willing to blow out a man's brains just to keep a secret.

Bob Ellison said...

MayBee said "They talk about me like a dog!'--- Barack Obama, American president, whining in 2010.

That still bugs me. A Harvard man should know that it's "They talk about me as they would talk about a dog." A skilled speaker and writer would know that's clumsy, and shorten it. But crap, man, that sounded like a guy who didn't know basic grammar.

Tank said...

Sanders should attack Clinton by asking Trump-like questions.

Why was your SOS EMail server in the bathroom?
Why did you transmit 1,000 EMails with classified info?
How do we know that Russia and China have not read all of your EMails?
Why did you lie about Benghazi?
Why didn't you protect our Ambassador?
What was our Ambassador really doing in Libya?
How can I make $100,000 selling bacon futures?
Did your husband rape more than one woman?
Why did you help your husband attack the women he harassed?
Do still think that all of the women your husband attacked were nuts or sluts?

And say it nicely?

PS: Why aren't you in jail?

Humperdink said...

You've done it now ARM. You are now on their radar. And you thought it was amusing. Keep us posted. You may want to consider going all Salman Rushdie.

Michael said...

She can win the white house if she calls him a stupid dirty hippie with lame stoned ideas.

Mrs Whatsit said...

How about Joe Biden rude? Sanders didn't come close to the smirking, chortling, eye-rolling and constant interrupting that Biden directed at Paul Ryan during the 2012 debates. Democrats cheered Biden for his seventh-grade-level antics and celebrated him as the big winner of the night -- not that anything in his error-riddled substantive performance would have counted as a win.

Sanders could be forgiven for imagining that this is what Democrats like, and for failing to understand that the rules are entirely different when the recipient of the rudeness is not just a fellow Democrat but a woman and -gasp!- Madam Hillary.

Michael K said...

"Hillary doesn't have it in her to seem likable"

It's too bad the Secret Service didn't use body cams so a video of her snarling could leak. Ever since 1992, stories about how unpleasant she is have been circulating.

It is still a mystery to me why Giuliani dropped out of that 2000 Senate race. Maybe it was prostate cancer and maybe it was his divorce but Lazio was a weak substitute.

Michael K said...

ARM should avoid Fort Marcy Park.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But remember kids, feminism is about equality, feminists just want women to be treated the same as men, and Hillary Clinton is a shining feminist icon.

D-d-d-double standards.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Just out of curiosity: if people at the time complained about the double standard and unfair treatment of Lazio (by the Media, etc) would people committed to cruel neutrality have called that "whining?" I have a funny feeling they would have...

Anyway, Republican (boo, hiss!) man gets treated unfairly by the Media and "othered" as dangerous, stupid, sexist, or racist and it's only WELL after it matters that centrist-type people concede that this might have been a bad thing: Part 2167.

cubanbob said...

One can never be too rude to Hillary so no Lazio wasn't sufficiently rude or Sanders for that matter.

Clyde said...

Bernie and Putin are kindred spirits from way back. I understand that they both honeymooned in the Soviet Union, for example. Both were on the side of the Sandinistas back in the '80s. Read the article about Sanders in the NY Post.

Michael said...

It was awful when Lazio tried ti pledge-rape her and it's awful that Sanders tried to debate-rape her now.

Anil Petra said...

'dogs is good eat'n' -Barack Obama, Dreams of My Father.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Strange New Respect for Rick Lazio?

elkh1 said...

It wrecked Rick Lazio in the New York senatorial race in 2000.

Let's be honest, Lazio was wrecked by being a Republican. The rest was excuse.

By being a socialist, Grandpa will not be hurt hitting Grandma.

averagejoe said...

If a male candidate treats another male candidate similarly, is it ever cause for alarm? Is it ever the case that, aside from progressive agitators, any man would face sanction for not being sufficiently polite to a political opponent?

Can some big strong woman out there, maybe one of our new Marine cadets, explain why it is so sexist to treat women differently than men, and it is so sexist to treat women the same as men.

Hillary's campaign just highlights the bigoted hatred, ignorance and hypocrisy of the feminist movement. It has also demonstrated that Hillary is too fucking weak to be a leader of anyone but fellow men-hating feminazis.

rightguy2 said...

i actually think it would be more respectful to Hillary to go ahead and take a shot at her, just like you would any other political opponent. It would actually help her- the kid-gloves treatment only reinforces her massively self-entitled behavior.

Bay Area Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bay Area Guy said...

It was a bridge too far for Lazio. Rudy or Pataki were the only ones who could have beaten Hillary that election. Lazio wasn't yet ready for prime time.

Craig Howard said...

It wasnt "that bad".

Lazio was running a very sensible campaign - he was considered a serious contender.

For example, when asked what they proposed to do to improve upstate New York's moribund economy, Lazio said he'd support Bush's proposed tax cuts. Hillary said she'd use tax dollars to expand high-speed Internet. That would somehow, she claimed, create a quarter million new jobs (see "Underpants Gnomes").

The morning after the debate, New York's media pounced on Lazio's [probably stupid] stunt and shrieked about it for days as if he'd surrounded her with a gang of Muslims and groped her on-stage.

Had he won, Lazio, an intelligent young Congressman, might have been a decent Senator for our poor state. Hillary went on to be a nothing burger.