Bloggers cry foul over Hillary Clinton playing the gender card. Also, Karen Hughes announces her departure from the State Department, and Dog the Bounty Hunter fans wonder if their hero is racist.
Man, I feel like a woman: After being widely criticized for her performance in Tuesday's debate, Hillary Clinton's camp struck back, decrying what it called "The Politics of Pile On" in a 30-second spot on YouTube showing her Democratic rivals going after her and a memo posted on her campaign site that concluded by referring to Clinton as "One strong woman." In a conference call with Clinton supporters Wednesday, top aides said the campaign will need more money to fight off future attacks from the competition and said the attacks by Barack Obama and John Edwards were causing backlash among their female supporters.
Andrew Sullivan condemns Clinton's tactics: "You can't say that Clinton's gender is irrelevant in the political campaign and then give her points for not fainting under the pressure of male criticism. …What's next? Congratulating her that she didn't burst into tears?" Legal blogger Ann Althouse turns up her nose: "So, instead of talking about the substance of what the candidates said, we're supposed to talk about whether Hillary Clinton's opponents are too mean to her — they'd better stop! — and view it all through the gender lens."
Town Hall's conservative Matt Lewis sees a pattern in Clinton's response: "A tried-and-true technique of the Clinton machine is to attack the attacker. … [F]rom the people who brought you the 'politics of personal destruction' and the 'vast right wing conspiracy,' comes 'the politics of pile on.' " RedState's Pejman Yousefzadeh just finds the whole thing bizarre: "Hillary Clinton is the front runner. …. It stands to reason, therefore, that her opponents were going to go after her. If any of her opponents were the front runner, she would go after them at least as vigorously. And yet, this behavior is to be denounced as 'The Politics of Pile-On'? Who comes up with this stuff?"
Bryan at conservative HotAir doesn't understand Clinton's request for more bank: "They don't need more money. They need a coherent position, and a candidate who believes in it and can convince the voters that she believes in it." Ed Morrisey over at Captain's Quarters agrees that Clinton can't buy her way out of this one: "The debate broke Hillary's double-talking dishonesty out into the open…an army of Norman Hsus couldn't get enough money to put the genie back in the bottle."
Read more blog responses to Clinton.
Hughes disappointment: Flanked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, longtime political adviser to President Bush, announced Wednesday she will step down from her post as head of public diplomacy at the State Department by the end of the year. Bloggers discuss her legacy, or lack thereof.
Outside the Beltway's James Joyner writes: "Frankly, I haven't any idea what she's done. … [H]er activities since being appointed have been a mystery. Certainly, though, I have seen no evidence that world opinion of the United States has improved during her tenure." Liberal Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report complains: "She talked down to her audience, offered the kind of schlock that no one in the Arab world wants, and lectured them about the inadequacies of their culture. Lo and behold, this didn't improve matters."
Scott MacLeod of TimeMiddle East blog says Hughes failed and points to cronyism: "[I]f you are going to make a big deal out of appointing high fliers like Karen Hughes in order to underscore the importance you assign to the task, then find somebody who knows what they are doing, and who's willing to see the mission out."
Announcing her departure, Hughes referred to the work of improving the world's view of America as an unfinished, "long-term challenge." Archcrone at The Crone Speaks concurs: "The devastation wrought by this administration will take more than just a few years to repair — more like decades. for all that Hughes supposedly did, not a damn thing has changed." Looking ahead, PR blogger Kevin McCauley hopes Bush wises up when he picks her successor: "This blogger trusts the President will look beyond his circle of very, very close friends to find a qualified replacement for Hughes, who treated public diplomacy as if it could be waged in a bubble unaffected by the events of the world. Politics and loyalty to the President played a too big part of Karen's world."
Read more reactions.
In the dog house: The National Enquirer posted audio of TV bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman in a racist rant Wednesday, prompting A&E to suspend production of his show. Dog used the N-word repeatedly while encouraging his son to break up with a black girlfriend. The Dog has since apologized publicly and reached out to black leaders.
Some bloggers are stunned, like The Evil Beet: "Honestly, I think he probably is a good guy, and probably not racist, but Jesus Christ why on earth would anyone ever use that word to describe another human being these days? It just doesn't make sense." Other are having a hard time pointing a finger at the reality TV star.
But by far the most common reaction is feigned surprise. The Superficial leads the way: "I never thought a guy who dresses like a blonde Native American mixed with a lesbian biker could be a closet racist. But they got him on tape. It's a shame really. Dog could've taught us so much." And Stuart Heritage at Heckler Spray adopts a similar tone: "Who'd have thought that a man named after an animal, who makes his living by chasing wanted criminals and then attacking them with bear mace, who dresses like he's going to a monster truck convention on the moon 20 years ago, and who constantly refers to people as 'bra' could even be slightly racist?"
Read more fallout from Dog's rant.