I have no beef with Peter Daou. I remember the first time this blog appeared in what was then The Daou Report on Salon, and traffic spiked through the roof. It was the first time any "big" organization paid us any attention, and I was thrilled. So it pains me to pass on portions of an e-mail that Daou, who left the Blog Report to work for the Clinton campaign, sent to some bloggers (though not this one, I found this at Make Them Accountable
) -- an e-mail that makes me ask the question, "Hey, what kind of cheese would you like with that whine?"
I want to address a pervasive misconception, namely, that Senator Obama hasn’t run a negative campaign against Hillary. I think it’s time to put that misconception to rest.
The truth is that for months, the Obama campaign has been attacking Hillary, impugning her character and calling into question her lifetime of public service. And now the Chicago Tribune reports that Senator Obama is preparing a “full assault” on her “over ethics and transparency.” To those who contend that Senator Obama is the clear frontrunner, I ask, to what end this “full assault” on Hillary?
On CNN last Tuesday, Senator Obama said, “Well, look, Wolf, I think if you watch how we have conducted our campaign, we’ve been very measured in terms of how we talk about Senator Clinton. … I have been careful to say, that I think that Senator Clinton is a capable person and that should she win the nomination, obviously, I would support her. You know, I’m not sure that we have been getting that same approach from the Clinton campaign.”
The facts of this election stand in stark contrast to that statement. Senator Obama and his senior campaign officials have engaged in a systematic effort to question Hillary’s integrity, credibility, and character. They have portrayed her as someone who would put her personal gain ahead of the lives of our troops, someone who would say or do anything to win an election, someone who is dishonest, divisive and disingenuous. They have adopted shop-worn anti-Clinton talking points, dusted them off and unleashed a torrent of unfounded character attacks against her. Among other things, they have described Hillary - and her campaign - as:
“Too polarizing to win”
“Saying and doing whatever it takes to win”
“Attempting to deceive the American people”
“One of the most secretive politicians in America”
“Literally willing to do anything to win”
“Playing politics with war”
To top it off, they have blanketed big states with false radio ads and negative mailers — ads and mailers that experts have debunked time and time again. They have distributed health care brochures using Republican framing. They have tried to draw a nexus between Hillary’s votes and the death of her friend Benazir Bhutto. And one of Senator Obama’s top advisers (who has since left the campaign) recently called Hillary “a monster.”
This “full assault” on Hillary comes from the very top of the Obama campaign, not surrogates and supporters.
...and it goes on and on and on like this, until you want to put your fingers in your ears and scream "MAKE IT STOP!!!!"
When I posted by long rant on Saturday after Barack Obama made a statement distancing himself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (a statement of still questionable use in putting the matter to rest, given that Morning Joe
is hammering it even as we speak), I had originally intended it to evolve into a piece on the culture of victimology in general, which was going to include the kind of "Oh, poor me" that has characterized old-line feminism from its beginning.
When I hear that sexism is more of a problem in our society than racism, I thought my head would explode. I've been writing for years about how the old alliance between black and Jewish Americans, one that saw the two groups walking side-by-side in the civil rights movement, fell apart over the notion that one group or the other had an exclusive patent on suffering. When the divide came to a head during the Crown Heights riots of 1991
and the aftermath, the schism was complete. And now that the Democratic Party has allowed what should have been an easy victory to deteriorate into an exhibition of the worst kind of identity politics from the 1960's, we are now in a situation in which callers to talk radio are making ridiculous statements that because the slaves were freed and given the right to vote before women were allowed to vote, they've had more time as free people and so a woman should be elected so we can "catch up."
I'm not denying that sexism exists in this society, nor am I claiming that it's solely the province of men, especially given the recent articles like this one talking about how stupid women are
But while Hillary Clinton has voted for an unnecessary war to prove that she has cojones
as big as those of the guys, her campaign has been characterized by kvetching about how that big bad black man is picking on a poor slip of a girl every time things don't go her way.
At its core, this e-mail from Peter Daou amounts to "MOM!!! He's calling me names!" It's distasteful because Hillary seems to want to have it both ways; to be thought of as a strong leader but also a fragile flower who needs to be protected from Mean Men™. It's also distasteful because it obscures some of the truly egregious and sexist treatment to which she's been treated by the media, from obsession with her cleavage
to almost anything out of Chris Matthews
' mouth, to the infamous David Shuster fracas
When Hillary Clinton seems to want to have it both ways; to be protected from the rough stuff but still be thought of as a strong leader, she exemplifies the single biggest problem that feminism has encountered since the beginning of time; this duality that wants to play with the big boys -- including using their tactics in a political race -- but also have special protection from the rougher aspects of big boy play.
I would suggest to Peter Daou that he re-read this e-mail and recognize what it conveys to those of us who want someone who can stand up to the Republican smear machine. Yes, Hillary has been through this crucible before. But e-mails like this don't exactly still confidence that she'll be able to fight back through anything else but crying "victim!"
Labels: Hillary Clinton