The way out of this "box" is to stop acting like a whiny daughter who's hade her Barbie taken away! It's never attractive for a frontrunner, male or female, to complain about "rough treatment," especially if it comes in the form of mere questioning--and Russert's illegal-license question was standard fare. Adding an implicit gender charge to the Hillary response didn't make it any better. (By attempting to get away with something--complaining--that male pols can't get away with, she arguably made it worse: a claim of special privilege.) ... In other words, Hillary's damned if she does complain. But she's not damned if she doesn't complain. Indeed, not complaining seems like an easy way to project toughness without being seen as "harsh and shrill." ... Hillary could resort to the standard damage-control techniques available to all public figures: Restating her position, changing the subject, waiting for what was a minor bad episode to blow over, etc. Instead her well-paid team of pros turned it into a semi-major bad episode (in much the same way they turned an Elizabeth McCaughey article in a small magazine into a disastrous turning point in the 1994 health care debate). That wasn't the press' doing or the consequence of any special female dilemma. ... 1:43 P.M. link
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Depth Charge: Jonah Goldberg reports that his email box is filling up with theories about stories that would fit the bill of a "potentially devastating sexual scandal involving a leading Presidential candidate" that Ron Rosenbaum hears the LAT is sitting on. Rosenbaum's post seems to be functioning as a sort of depth charge that threatens to bring all the various rumored scandals about all the candidates to the surface. It would be funny if they all turned out to be true! And then the initial rumor Rosenbaum wrote about--that the LAT is sitting on something--turned out to be not true! ... I'm not saying that's the case. I'm just saying that would be funny. ... In any case, the campaign certainly needed a depth charge. ... Let all the scandals that lurk in the mud hatch out. ... [What's to stop some blogger from doing this in every campaign?--ed Nothin'. I assume depth-charging will become a permanent feature of electoral politics. They tell me the Internet has changed things! Is there a problem? The true rumors will be confirmed and the phony rumors won't be confirmed. But it will be harder to suppress the former. Isn't the purpose of primary campaigns to find out everything about the candidates before they are nominated?] 1:42 P.M. link
Glad She Cleared That Up!
"A Day Later, Clinton Embraces Spitzer's License Effort" **
THat's the headline on Adam Nagourney's NYT account of Hillary's post-debate press release. But it turns out it all depends on what the meaning of "effort" is! Here's what Nagourney actually says about Clinton's second-day clarification of her "muddled and hesitant" (his words) illegal-immigrantdriver's-license position in Tuesday's debate:
"Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration's failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform,'" her campaign said.
Mrs. Clinton's aides said her statement was intended to signal that she broadly supported Mr. Spitzer's goal of awarding driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Mr. Spitzer initially proposed a blanket program of awarding full-fledged driver's licenses to illegal immigrants; in the face of sharp opposition from the Legislature, he backed off and presented a two-tier program system of awarding licenses to illegal immigrants.
Mrs. Clinton's advisers said that she had not studied either plan, and was not specifically endorsing either of them. [E.A.]
She supports the "governors" and the "goal" but isn't endorsing the actual "plan." Nothing "muddled and hesitant" there! It's not even clear if--while she supports the governors who "believe" they need the plan--she agrees with those beliefs. ...
P.S.--Poor Hillary! Isn't Hillary playing the victim card awfully early? ... Update: See Influence Peddler's roundup of pro-Hillary Tim-Russert-is-a-sexist spin, which makes her look even worse. "You want to be leader of the free world, but can't handle criticism from Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd?" ... K-Lo has sound advice against going "diva," noting that National Review's conservative livebloggers thought Hillary's overall debate performance was good. ... You get the impression that Hillary has funded a massive crisis-counterattack bureaucracy that's itching to swing into action even when a calm non-response would be more effective. There's a word for that: Lehaneism! ... See also: Wise words from The Cardinal ...