Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Clinton Rules

Dylan Matthews takes a break from explaining why the War for Independence was a mistake to try and explain whether or not the Clintons get unusually negative press.  He runs through the pre-Lewinsky era Clinton scandals, almost all of which are huge, huge nothingburgers.  From Vince Foster to Whitewater to Travelgate to Haircutgate (remember that one?), the Clintons came to Washington and were immediately targeted by an unprecedented smear machine.  All of this lead to the ridiculous impeachment scandal.

When the Clintons say that they get smeared for doing things any other politician does, they are speaking the truth.  There is no better example of this than the email scandal, which turns out to be a lapse in judgment at worse and really more like a failure of best-practices that pervades the State Department and other government agencies, because they can't keep up with technology.

Matthews also notes that Obama has been remarkably free from this cycle of scandal.  Certainly, Bill Clinton's perpetual need to be loved led to a seductive side of him that gave Gennifer Flowers and other allegations legs.  Obama doesn't have that.  But it's fascinating that the same Right Wing Wurlitzer that churned out the Clinton Era smears never got traction with Tony Rezco, Bill Ayers or the fucking birth certificate - beyond the people who would believe things like the fucking birth certificate.

Efforts to smear Obama never got beyond the Fox-o-sphere, whereas Clinton smears are part of the New York Times tradition.

One thing that Matthews leaves out is that HRC has pretty much decided to ignore the press.  She treats them as hostile, because they are, and then they respond to being frozen out by being more hostile.  Clinton gets more negative coverage than any other candidate this cycle - and that included guys like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Where Clinton is erring is that she is not really creating an alternative media outlet to sell her story.  She is ceding too much ground to her detractors.  I spend a fair amount of time online defending Clinton from Bern-outs and Trumpsters.  I'll keep doing that, because I think she is the most wrongly maligned public figure in recent history.

But shouldn't that be someone's job?

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