May 25, 2014

TRIICKY DICK IN A PANTSUIT:

What Is Hillary Clinton Afraid Of? (GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMAN, MAY/JUNE 2014, Politico)

As much as anything else, her ambivalence about the race, they told us, reflects her distaste for and apprehension of a rapacious, shallow and sometimes outright sexist national political press corps acting as enablers for her enemies on the right.

Clinton isn't insane, and she's not stupid. "When you get beat up so often, you just get very cautious," says Mike McCurry, her husband's former press secretary, who joined the White House team to find a first lady traumatized by the coverage of her failed Hillarycare initiative. "She [has] had a very practical view of the media. ... 'I have to be careful, I'm playing with fire.'"

And while the white-hot anger she once felt toward the media has since hardened into a pessimistic resignation (with a dash of self-pity), she's convinced another campaign would inevitably invite more bruising scrutiny, as her recent comments suggest. Public life "gives you a sense of being kind of dehumanized as part of the experience," she lamented a few weeks ago to a Portland, Ore., audience. "You really can't ever feel like you're just having a normal day."

When asked why Clinton hasn't done more to reach out to reporters over the years, one Clinton campaign veteran began to spin several theories. She was too busy, she was too prone to speaking her mind and the like--then abruptly cut to the chase:

"Look, she hates you. Period. That's never going to change."

How much is Hillary Clinton's fear and loathing of the media going to influence her decision about whether to run in 2016? Of course, there are other considerations: her health, the impact of a campaign on mother-to-be Chelsea, whether the 66-year-old Clinton wants to spend "the rest of her useful life" being president, in the words of one confidant.

But consider this recent speech by one of the more improbable rising stars in Clintonworld: her tormentor-turned-defender David Brock, who exposed many of the ugliest Arkansas scandals of the Clinton years when he was a conservative investigative reporter in the 1990s. "Fox has accused Hillary Clinton of murder, compared her to a murderer and suggested she commit suicide," Brock told a crowd at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in March, arguing that she's the ultimate victim of "misogyny."

Through intermediaries, Clinton let Brock know she appreciated that sentiment--then echoed it publicly a short time later, a welcome signal to those in her camp who felt she was too afraid to speak her mind during the 2008 presidential primary campaign she so famously lost to Barack Obama. Both Clintons still attribute that defeat to fawning coverage of her rival. "The double standard is alive and well," Clinton told an audience in New York last month. "And I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of its persistence."

Thankfully, she's not going to run, because we haven't seen such self-pity since Richard Nixon.  It's probably the worst quality a leader can have.
Posted by at May 25, 2014 7:09 AM
  
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