February 25, 2007

"In the end, voters will decide what's off-limits, but I can't imagine that the public will reward the politics of personal destruction."

Laying the groundwork for the argument that anyone who brings up the Clinton impeachment now is not playing fair.

Paradoxically, it was the whole Lewinsky affair that originally made Americans warm up to Hillary Clinton. And since she has started invoking President Clinton's successes as support for her candidacy, how can she presume to righteously exclude the other aspects of his story.

I detect a fantasy of control. Is it fair play to talk about that?

And considering that we liked her most when she lost control of things swirling around her, I wonder what she can do.

55 comments:

sierra said...

And considering that we liked her most when she lost control of things swirling around her... Funny, I didn't particularly like her when her health care plan was given the heave-ho.

EnigmatiCore said...

People liked Hillary, the victim. Or maybe it is better stated that they felt sympathy and compassion for Hillary, the victim, which translated to people pulling for her, liking her.

Will people vote to elect as President, the victim?

Democrats will. Left-independents will. All she needs is another 10-15% more from everyone else.

Did you see that Kevin Drum called Hillary and Rudy the two most polarizing candidates? Rudy, who agrees with Democrats on nearly all of their social positions? It is almost like some liberals are bound and determined to make true every stereotype there is about liberals, including the 'soft on crime' one.

Jazz Bass said...

People like her? ?

Richard Fagin said...

Exactly which Americans warmed up to Hillary during the Lewinsky affair? I seem to reall that prior to The Dress turning up, Hillary was lambasting the press pretty hard for picking on poor ol' Bill, even to the point of acusing them of manufacturing a scandal. I think more people would have warmed up to her if she expressed sentiments along the line of, "Yes, he's a lout and a philanderer, but he's shown real regret and I stand by him." What many of us saw instead was Hillary protecting Bill's political hide with a fury that was shocking, even flat out lying publicly (which, as David Geffen quite rightly notes, the Clinton's do with such ease). Her perfomance then only served to reinforce the perception among many of us that she is a consumate political manipulator and will do anything to cling to power.

One would think the mask came off after the "We're going to take things away from you for your own good!" screech, but people apparently don't want to recognize pure evil when it stares them in the face.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"I detect a fantasy of control."

Hillary in a nutshell!

hdhouse said...

personal destruction worked form bush twice. now it is bemoaned?

listen to the right wing media. they are already at fever pitch and it will only rachet up from now to then.

i hate it. but face it. it is the way things are and will be. certainly it doesn't appear that anything isn't fair game for those who are looking.

eelpout said...

What is it about the Clintons that turns every person in the media, and every Republican into a giant Leaning Tower of Stupid?

somefeller said...

The main targets for this tactic right now are other Democratic candidates, and rightfully so. Hillary Clinton knows darn well that there will be no shortage of right-wing politicians, talk show hosts, bloggers, etc. who will incessantly yammer about the Lewinsky / impeachment issue, and they are not the target of this. Her point is to make it clear that Democrats better not feed that meme, because that does nothing good for the Democratic Party in general. Obama's comment about "the Lincoln Bedroom" was exactly the sort of thing one would expect to hear from Rush Limbaugh, so she hit back at Obama accordingly. And good for her for doing so.

David L said...

The AP has put mitt Romney's grandfather in blay. If Mttt's grandfather is fair game, I'd think Mrs. Clinton's husband would be as well.

hdhouse said...

David L said...

"The AP has put mitt Romney's grandfather in blay. If Mttt's grandfather is fair game, I'd think Mrs. Clinton's husband would be as well."

Precisely the problem David. the "AP" put Romeny's 5 wife GF in play NOT HILLARY, NOT THE DEMOCRATS...the Associated Press.

Are you suggesting that it is ok now for the Republican attack dogs to go after Bill because the AP worte a story about Mitt's GF?

Randy said...

NL: My family, friends and I have often talked about this very thing. Considering that, in the end, Clinton governed like a moderate Republican, we came to the conclusion that the hatred largely stems from the fact that hyper-partisans believe that the election in 1992 was stolen from them by Perot & the press, and that they were entitled to win then and continue the much-anticipated 50-year GOP reign (as FDR marked the Democrats 50-year dominance of American politics).

As my friends and family definitely aren't typical, others' mileage may vary, of course, and it will. Just watch the reaction to this comment (from right & left).

Randy said...

Attacking Mitt Romney's grandfather is ridiculous and anyone with half a brain will recognize he is not responsible for his grandfather, grandmother, father, or his siblings. What a joke. Romney IS responsible for his recent politically convenient changes of heart on issues of interest to the GOP base. There are already a couple of YouTube videos out there with relatively recent Romney statements demonstrating a supposedly strong commitment to the exact opposite of what he supposedly believes today.

As for Hillarycare. My God, folks, that was THIRTEEN years ago. Some people just love to hold grudges, I guess. The rest of us learn and move on. Looks like Clinton did, too.

Unknown said...

"Are you suggesting that it is ok now for the Republican attack dogs to go after Bill because the AP worte a story about Mitt's GF?"

I'm not going to answer for David L, but the standard for what is o.k. to attack is simply that which is in the public domain; limited by the very unclear line in the mind of voters and candidates as to what is fair and unfair. Whatever the AP (or other such "news" organizations) puts into the public domain is fair.

So Giuliani cross dressing for giggles, McCain divorcing one wife and marrying "up", Obama's middle name, Romney's grand-father, Hillary!'s investment acumen, etc., etc., etc., are all fair game, just like Gary Hart's affair, Bill Clinton's perjury, or Kerry's extra-valorous service in Cambodia on Christmas Eve.

Voters will think some facts more fair and on point; they will also think some facts unfair and off point.

It's all part of the process, and pretending one side is holier-than- thou in this regard is specious, tenditious bullsh*t.

Anonymous said...
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I'm Full of Soup said...

The best Clinton scandal and most overlooked is the one where her brother tried to take or actually took about $200K to facilitate a pardon on Bill's last days in office.

Would discussing that be considered part of the "politics of personal destruction"? And if so, why?

Her brother intentionally used Bill to get the pardon. I am not suggesting Bill knew about the brother's subterfuge but Bill had some complicity by not questioning gounds for the pardon and then agreeing to the pardon.

Also, the phrase "politics of personal destruction" was a great Bill Clinton turn of phrase at one time but it's outlived its uniqueness and lost power. It's like "where's the beef" - it's old and tired.

Suggest Hillary develop her own phrase. Ann - come up with something nice and sharp for Hillary will you?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

It seems to me that the people who know the Clintons better than I do--Dick Morris, David Geffen, Tom Daschle--are anti-Hillary! as possible. James Carville, still on the payroll, remains a rabid supporter.

Obama's ears? Off-limits.
Romney's religion? Off-limits.
Hillary!'s spouse, upon whom many of her political triumphs depend? Off-limits. Unless Hillary! wishes to raise them, whereupon she may raise it, use it, play it for laughs or self-deprecation, but no one else shall.

Do Democrats have an 11th Commandment?

AllenS said...

"come up with something nice and sharp for Hillary will you?"

Can I help? How's this:

I'm all woman, with no cigar.

Swifty Quick said...

Precisely the problem David. the "AP" put Romeny's 5 wife GF in play NOT HILLARY, NOT THE DEMOCRATS...the Associated Press.

Sounds good if you conveniently ignore the fact that the AP is one of the house organs of the Democrat party.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Allens said:
"I am all woman but no cigar".

Now you got me started... how about "I am Hillary Clinton and I taught Bill that thing with the cigar".

Randy said...

It is a free country, Ruth Anne, and you and anyone else should feel free to make an issue of anything you hope will turn out to be an issue. (Somehow, I doubt Obama's ears will be a winner, though ;-)

BTW, the GOP does have an eleventh commandmant. It was first articulated by Ronald Reagan, in fact.

Randy said...

In the interests of fair play, the partisan Democrats among us might do well to remember that Bill Clinton ran against the equivalent of "None of the Above" in 1996. And lost. "None of the Above" got a majority, Clinton 49%. True, Clinton won the election, because "None of the Above" split the vote, but his re-election was a pretty dismal result for an incumbent. (IIRC, you have to go back to Woodrow Wilson to find a less impressive 2nd term win.)

Bob Dole was, by all accounts, an "all around nice guy," but he never gave anyone a real reason to vote him - probably because there wasn't one. And everyone already knew that Ross Perot was just shy of being certifiable. Given that, I believe that most unbiased observers would agree that Clinton's 49% win was pretty unimpressive.

Randy said...

enigmaticore: Good point. Truth be known, I think if Giuliani was a registered Democrat many people like Drum would be supporting him right now.

vbspurs said...

Internet Ronin:

enigmaticore: Good point. Truth be known, I think if Giuliani was a registered Democrat many people like Drum would be supporting him right now.

And that is precisely why Rudy can win, and not Hillary!.

Rudy has electoral "give" with Democrats, and which to followup on Enigmaticore's point, his polarisation actually counts in his FAVOUR.

Does Hillary get the same support from Republicans?

Not on your or anyone else's nellie.

P.S.: We didn't see her as a victim. Most people just didn't think it was anyone's business what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky (I would count myself in that category, though I find him sleazy beyond words). But I don't know ANYONE who believed that she didn't know something was going on, and that therefore, she was in some way in collusion with her husband about the matter.

In fact, a lot of people today hold it against her that she didn't stand by her feminist principles, and walk away from the marriage. It's not about Monica. It's about his constant philandering, known or unknown to us.

She doesn't have the luxury, or the lack of political ambition, of being a Jackie Kennedy type.

Let us not forget that her heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt, had the same effect on the American public, and that's without knowing too much about FDR's liaisons.

Cheers,
Victoria

PeterP said...

Paradoxically, it was the whole Lewinsky affair that originally made Americans warm up to Hillary Clinton.

Well it may have done, but it cut no ice with this Brit. If she'd emerged - eyes-blazing with righteous fury - onto the White House lawn bearing his ripped todger in her bloodied hand, I woulda winced for Bill (as one man to another) but I woulda also warmed to Hillary as the vengeful, wronged wife.

But no, standing by her man for political expediency was not heart-warming, it was rather chilling. Never mind tales of private beratings, I wanted some public display of ire:

"Keep your filthy hands off my cigars you cheating cheapskate."

Too late to be saying that now.

John Kindley said...

"But I don't know ANYONE who believed that she didn't know something was going on, and that therefore, she was in some way in collusion with her husband about the matter. In fact, a lot of people today hold it against her that she didn't stand by her feminist principles, and walk away from the marriage."

"If she'd emerged - eyes-blazing with righteous fury - onto the White House lawn bearing his ripped todger in her bloodied hand, I woulda winced for Bill (as one man to another) but I woulda also warmed to Hillary as the vengeful, wronged wife. But no, standing by her man for political expediency was not heart-warming, it was rather chilling. Never mind tales of private beratings, I wanted some public display of ire ..."

Amen to the above.

Mrs. Bill Clinton, Cuckold-in-Chief

Bud Pennington said...

The Clinton-Obama tete-a-tete is an interesting, early case study of the candidates and candicacies. Hillary's folks are too earnest in quickly deflecting attention from David Geffen's words and their import--words that are, at the very least, unflattering--and prematurely focusing on Mr.Obama. For Obama, this is an opportunity to make a point that people in public seem so loathe to affirm, and that is that the qualified office-seeker can no more influence the thinking and utterances of a private citizen--albeit, in this case, a wealthy, contributing one--than the office-seeker should be telling the private citizen what to say. My concern with the Hillary movement is that it has unmistakably morphed into a machine.

chuckR said...

No need for a politics of personal destruction - sooner or later, Hilary will have to actually say things in less than tightly controlled circumstances. Hilary is Richard Nixon redux - calculating, overly scripted, author of a failed national health care plan, relentlessly vicious towards enemies personal and political. And the next president may be stuck with winding down an unpopular war.

Bud Pennington said...

Excuse my interlineation of this correction of my post: "...than the private citizen should be telling the office-seeker what to say."

hdhouse said...

ruth ann ..

do you mean the dick morris who when hiring a hooker sought to impress her with a call to the president during his 1 hour???

that dick morris? the toe sucker?

him?

that faux noise has him on payroll is right up there with stupid. that anyone takes that jerkass as serious is ridiculous.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Internet Ronin: If you recall, Barack Obama was quite disturbed that Mo Dowd mentioned his large ears and he pulled her aside and told her that he was sensitive to that and it was "off limits." So for me, thin-skinnedness is the issue there.

I know the Republicans have the 11th Commandment. I was wondering if Dems follow that orthodoxy. It seems to me that Bill Richardson was the only one outside of Hillary!'s inner circle who rallied to her position after the Geffen/Obama remarks. He seems a very nice, capable guy. I think he's really running for V.P.

I personally think that Hillary! had the great opportunity [now long past ripe] to rally to her husband and genuinely say something like "I know he's a skirt-chasing miscreant, but, God help me, I love the man and I'm staying married to him. As a woman who really believes in the sanctity of marriage, I'm honoring my vows and I pray you'll let us work this out in our own way."

The problem, of course, would've been convincing people she was genuine.

Unknown said...

hdhouse,

You may not want to argue that odd sexual practice (toe sucking, cigar tricks, etc.) impugns credibiity.

Sissy Willis said...

Liked her most?

I never liked her one iota.

What's to like?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

hd house: Yes. That Dick Morris. The one who taught the Clintons triangulation, the one who navigated him through the Lewinsky mess and who helped keep his approvals high enough to keep him in office, the one who Hillary! used anti-semitic remarks to, the one who had been a mistress-chasing-toe-sucker who has returned to his wife, Eileen McGann, and the one who has had a religious conversion. That Dick Morris.

theMickey's said...

Somehow I wonder if it`s real hard to hold her head up. All the affairs Bill has had.

ra-Ah, sources....


Nice way of looking at it, ann.

reader_iam said...

Apart from the issues or even personality, something just flat-out doesn't sit right with me about having representatives of the same family cycling through the presidency.

I don't even like second-term presidencies, period, anymore. Not one in my lifetime has failed to slip into scandal and/or corruption of one sort or another. The idea that on TOP of having to endure these people--ANY of these people--for so long, we then have to cycle through their families and thus relieve all that baggage/garbaged just bugs the heck of me. Plus, I'm just not into dynasties.

I say, eight years for Hillary! Then eight years for Jeb! Surely by then Chelsea and one of the Bush next generation will be read to take their terms!

What a nightmare.

As to the post topic: I think Hillary is being ridiculous here. These people are running for the presidency. Very little gets to be personal. That's the way it works in these times. Positions, issues, history, character, personality: It's ALL on the table. And knock it off with the seeking of apologies. That goes for all of these candidates, in almost all cases. But it goes double for Hillary, because--for crying out loud!--her husband was an ex-president. There's nothing private about that. She can choose not to run, or she can choose to put up with reality (which doesn't mean she can't respond, but maybe that she should pick her battles and timing with care, at least). What she's really not entitled to do is control the terms of the debate and discussion not just for herself, but for everyone else.

That last statement applies to candidates generally.

reader_iam said...

Sorry for all the typos. You can tell I just poured that out.

I have to deal with reality in terms of what the likely choices are going to be come the next national election day. But I don't have to like it.

Don't have to like the dynasty thing, either, no matter what family we're talking about.

eelpout said...

Ronin

It's amazing. There are literally no rules with the Clintons. But one thing you can count is; people that invent tales can't stop repeating them. The New York Times cooked up Whitewater, and sold this phony "scandal" to millions of readers, and slithered away when facts and evidence like the Pillsbury Report commissioned by a federal agency showed the Clintons did absolutely nothing wrong. Nothing. So no surprise the "paper of record" wouldn't offer the report showing all those Whitewater stories as nothing more than gossip.

Tully said...

I've said it over and over. I desparately want to b able to vote a ballot that doesn't have a Dole, Bush, Cinton, or Kennedy on it anywhere. Please. Just once!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Reader i_am: As a NASCAR fan, I am not opposed to dynasties, per se. I think the "family business" aspect of politics can serve to enlighten and toughen up an otherwise youthful candidate.

reader_iam said...

I don't mind dynasties in NASCAR (or Indy racing, for that matter), nor do I like appreciation of family businesses.

Just don't like 'em a bit in politics--at least within the same generations, and particularly with regard to the presidency. On this one, we'll just have to disagree--different strokes, and all that.

reader_iam said...

"lack," darn it--"lack," not like.

Randy said...

Ruth Anne: I didn't know Dowd wrote about Obama's ears or that Obama asked Dowd not to talk about his ears. That he did and that everyone else apparently knows he did says as much about him as it does about Dowd. And confirms what I think of him (that he's a lightweight contender) and Kristol thinks of her (she's still a gossip columnist at heart).

Having said that, if Obama is elected, he can be sure that everyone in America is going know his ears very well indeed. A cartoonist's dream come true. [See Johnson, Lyndon Baines].

As for the GOP 11th commandment, it wasn;t clear that you did know, but you do know, and no, the Democrats have never had a similar agreement that everyone in a real contest ignored anyway. [See McCain, John M: South Carolina 2000 GOP Primary Attacks on; Buchanan, Patrick J: 1992 Campaign for President of; or Ford, Gerald R: North Carolina 1976 Primary Campaign, for sterling examples (to name a few).

It should perhaps be noted that no one in the GOP camp is discussing Romney's religion at the moment. That is entirely a press-led campaign to this point.

Finally, I find it hard to credit Dick Morris anything says about anyone as being marginally truthful much less reliable. As a practicing attorney, I'm pretty sure you know an eminently impeachable witness if ever you saw one. And Morris is one.

Randy said...

Reader_iam: I agree that the odds are huge that Sen. Clinton will be unable to overcome the problem that you mentioned: the appearance of dynastic turn-taking. Most people are tired of the bombastic rhetoric from both extremes and probably equate a Clinton election as a continuance of the mutual hate campaigns. They are probably right, too.

Cat said...

If I hear her utter the words, "politics of personal destruction," one more time...why...why....well I'll get pretty fed up I tell ya! Seriously, I have heard her say that a few times in the last month since her declaration to run.

I think she is running the same way she ran for Senator in NY in 2000. She tauted her husband's success as her own, and said, "not me, that's my husband," with the failures. What works in NY does not work nationally. And she has a record of her own now.

Randy said...

Vics:

And that is precisely why Rudy can win, and not Hillary!.

Rudy has electoral "give" with Democrats, and which to followup on Enigmaticore's point, his polarisation actually counts in his FAVOUR.

I agree, to a point. Not sure it does count in Giuliani's favor, because people like Drum are several degrees removed from the fringe of the Democratic Party. Drum is far more engaged in day-to-day politics than 90% of Democrats, so he may not be representative of the actual voting behavior of those who generally share his views. There are probably a lot of moderate Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents out there who might consider voting for Giuliani.

Could Clinton draw moderate Republicans in a race with Giuiani? Not on your life. There would be no need. Could she draw them if the GOP nominee is Brownback? Believe me, they'd flock to her. (Not very large numbers of them these days, to be sure, but enough to tilt a few states in a close election.) Can Romney keep them? Good question. Given what he's been saying lately, and the devastating videos of him ardently supporting a woman's right to choose recorded just two years ago, probably not. Can McCain count on them? Yes, for now, unless the fact that he will turn 73 during first year of office deters them.

As for Giuliani surviving a contested GOP primary campaign, that is the big question. True, the polling appears to show his stance on social issues is being overlooked. If you look at some of the polls that provide a closer look, however, you find out that the vast majority of GOP primary voters don't know anything about Giuliani's stances on abortion and gay rights (to name just 2 hot button issues) or think Giuliani opposes both. When informed of Giuliani's actual positions, his support erodes dramatically. It isn't the type of loss of support to cause a headline in a newspaper, but it is the type that political operatives love to see happen to an opponent: his negatives go up, significant numbers of strong supporters become only marginal supporters. As this happens after a simple straightforward statement of Giuliani's view, you can well imagine what might happen after weeks of an opponent's campaign hammering on those subjects.

hdhouse said...

Old Dad said...
hdhouse,

You may not want to argue that odd sexual practice (toe sucking, cigar tricks, etc.) impugns credibiity."

Sure I can. The topic at hand was Morris not Clinton. If you want to talk about Clinton, fine. After we get done with Dick Morris we can talk about him. Fair?

But to rebutt Morris with "Well Clinton dadadada...." admits to Morris as there is no opposition to the question at hand.

Seven Machos said...

hdhouse: Are you suggesting that it is ok now for the Republican attack dogs to go after Bill because the AP worte a story about Mitt's GF?

What are you suggesting, hd? Is it not okay? Is it illegal? It is simply not done?

You are in for an angry, sad two years, pal. I for one look forward to your drooling, vaguely fascist vitriol. It adds color.

reader_iam said...

IR: Actually, I was unclear. I think that, at this early (though we've redefined "early" such that this moment in time isn't "VERY" early, as in previous times it was and properly should be) stage, it's more than possible that HRC will be one of the choices to which I refer.

It's what makes the dynasty thing imminently relevant to me.

John Stodder said...

There were a number of questionable actions by Mrs. Clinton that are far from definably "personal," but relate either to official acts or potential financial conflicts. I know that HRC assumes she can command the press to ignore these things as "just sex," (the shorthand for all the sleaze of those years), and she might be right. But the press ought not to fall for it.

On the other hand if I were Obama or Edwards or Richardson, I'd take her up on it. Only discuss the issues. Give her zero opportunity to be the wounded martyr, or the feminist Jesus. Then America would finally see what an empty suit HRC really is.

John Stodder said...

So no surprise the "paper of record" wouldn't offer the report showing all those Whitewater stories as nothing more than gossip.

You mean "nothing more than gossip" put about five people behind bars, including the governor? Were all these people unfairly treated?

It's a serious question by the way. I just wonder how credible the dismissal of Whitewater as "gossip" or something "cooked up" squares with the actual record.

John Stodder said...

So no surprise the "paper of record" wouldn't offer the report showing all those Whitewater stories as nothing more than gossip.

You mean "nothing more than gossip" put about five people behind bars, including the governor? Were all these people unfairly treated?

It's a serious question by the way. I just wonder how credible the dismissal of Whitewater as "gossip" or something "cooked up" squares with the actual record.

RogerA said...

Seems to me the Republicans are in the enviable position of letting the democrats rip each other apart for the next year. Mr. Geffen can hardly be thought to be a republican flack (unless Rove has been at work). Irrespective of whom the republicans run, they will have a full war chest of sound bites available.

eelpout said...

It's a serious question by the way. I just wonder how credible the dismissal of Whitewater as "gossip" or something "cooked up" squares with the actual record.

Just point me to something that implicates the Clintons in any way. Should be pretty easy eh?

There were a number of questionable actions by Mrs. Clinton that are far from definably "personal," but relate either to official acts or potential financial conflicts

Such as?

TMink said...

I did not and do not think that President lying under oath about having sex with "that woman" was an impeachable offense. It was a sad waste of time. Certainly I do not condone his actions (sexual or otherwise) but I fail to see how it affected national security.

So I would be happy if it were a non-issue.

Trey

I'm Full of Soup said...

Before hdhouse claims I made it up. below is the link to a CNN story about Hillary's brother taking money to "consult" on 2 pardons (which was granted by Bill Clinton).

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/pardons/overview.html