Friday, June 06, 2008

What Bob Somerby Says

I read this and want it to get the widest possible attention. Everything after this point is Bob Somerby:

IN RE UNITAS—AND CLINTON: In response to popular demand, here’s the anecdote about Johnny Unitas which we mentioned yesterday. Why have candidates sometimes fought to the death? We suggested a basic fact: They’re often very competitive people. Bill Bradley, for example, was a world-class athlete. Often, these people don’t like to lose.

Which brings us back to Johnny U, in the last years of his career.

By now, Unitas was no longer a great NFL quarterback. He wasn’t even especially good—and he’d become a pain in the keister because he refused to accept or admit it. Fans were starting to get annoyed. Finally, a Balitmore sportscaster said:

Stop complaining about this! He gave you all those thrills through the years because he had supreme self-confidence. Have a little appreciation for the traits that got us all here. He won all those games because he's like this. The trait you’re complaining about today is the trait you adored in the past.

While recommending this post by Digby, we’ll offer a similar thought about Hillary Clinton. And about Bill Clinton. And about Robert Kennedy, Gene McCarthy—Hubert Humphrey.

Some people wanted a concession on Tuesday. That’s fine, but historically, people don’t do that. By the way: It would be weird to spend all day Tuesday asking people to vote for you—then to show up at 8:30 PM and say, “I’m out of here—please vote for the other guy.” Whatever you think of Clinton’s speech, it would be somewhat odd to endorse on the night you ran in two primaries, trying to win. Historically, people don’t do that.

(There’s one other point to consider here: For ourselves, we weren’t heart-broken by this campaign’s outcome—but a great many Dem voters were. Historically, pols don’t kick voters to the curb on the night their dream has died. They give them some time to adjust to what happened. But then, this is basic human relations, a subject the life-forms comprising our pundit corps tend to know little about.)

But let’s get back to Johnny Unitas. And to Bill Bradley; and Jerry Brown; and Ted Kennedy and John McCain. And let’s understand the kinds of competitors both the Clintons are.

Hillary Clinton has gotten this far because she doesn’t quit real quickly. By the way: When’s the last time you saw a Big Dem who didn’t quit at the very first chance? The roll-over for the October 02 war resolution vote was the most gruesome example. (“Let get the resolution out of the way so we can talk about health care for a few weeks.”) For our money, Clinton’s refusal to quit in the past few months makes her a remarkable role model. We hope other Dems will recall her approach and learn to roll over less quickly.

But as pundits bellow and wail, saying she hung on too long this week, we’ll suggest you remember the tons of pure horse-sh*t this person has fought through over the years. Typically, she did this while receiving no help at all from the famous front-runners who whined and complained this week.

Hillary Clinton tends not to quit. That’s how she persisted through so much sh*t with so little help from “career liberals.” Just consider three events from 1999 alone:

In June, the cowards and clowns of your “mainstream press corps” invented that ludicrous Cubs-Yankees scandal. They called her every name in the book. But go ahead! Search the work of your favorite “career liberal.” You’ll find him hiding under his desk, too frightened to complain about this—or about the pseudo-lies being invented about Candidate Gore.

In August, they dragged out Gennifer Flowers to inform us about Hillary Clinton’s murders. (And about the fact that she’s the world’s biggest lesbo.) Yes, that’s right—about her murders! Flowers clowned about this for a half-hour on Hardball—then was rewarded with the full hour on Hannity. (Fox re-broadcast the program that weekend.) Go ahead! Search the work of your favorite “career liberal.” Give us the name of even one person who complained about this assault on everything decent people should hold dear.

But anyway, Hillary Clinton, like Gore, was the world’s biggest liar—and she’d committed a long string of murders! And not only that! She had been funny-looking in the 70s! In August, Bill Clinton made a major mistake; he described how he fell in love with his wife when they were students in law school. In response, Brit Hume posted a photo of a young Mrs. Clinton—a photo he plainly found unattractive. For the next several minutes, Hume’s pundit panel on Special Report staged the kind of discussion that was increasingly a stain on the cartel described as a “press corps:”
HUME (8/23/99): The picture he paints of Mrs. Clinton is of a sort of a femme fatale. Now [posting the picture] that’s about what she looked like then.

[LAUGHTER]

And one—one can’t help but wonder about this.

[LAUGHTER].

Apparently, the photo didn’t evoke Pamela Anderson, so Hume’s all-male panel treated itself to a good solid laugh. After speculating about the Clintons’ marriage, they returned to that decades-old photo:

JUAN WILLIAMS: The problem...is that nobody can believe, one, that she was this beautiful woman in college—anyone who’s seen the pictures. And two, who can believe that she didn’t know that this guy was a skirt-chaser all along?

JEFF BIRNBAUM: Well, I should point out, about the love-in-college part, that love is blind.

[LAUGHTER]

But that also—

HUME: Well, he never said she was beautiful. He said she was “compelling looking.” And that she may well have been!

[LAUGHTER]


Go ahead! List this week’s nit-picking “career liberal” pundits. And then, spend your weekend searching for anyone who said one word about this.

What happened as the press corps’ war against both Clintons, then Gore, rolled on? Gene Lyons spoke up. Joe Conason spoke. Eric Boehlert arrived on the scene; Robert Parry got mad. But you’ll have to search under many desks to find other major-name pundits. Some played an active role in the warfare (Robinson); some simply kept their lovely traps shut (Dionne). Of course, they’re all full of front-running brilliance this week. This week, they’re founts of Group Wisdom.

Simple story: Both Clintons have fought through astounding misconduct, with almost no help from the “career liberal” firmament. For ourselves, we don’t know why Bill Clinton lost the ability to keep his thoughts about the press to himself. But does anyone really not understand why he loathes the press corps so much? Do we really not understand the press corps’ role in this campaign? Bill Clinton made a giant personal blunder during his time in the White House. But this lunacy had been directed at both Clintons for years by the time that incident broke—by the time the press corps amazed itself by getting a scandal-claim right.

Why didn’t Clinton endorse Tuesday night? We’re not sure, but we’ll take a guess: In part, because—unlike the bulk of “career liberal” players—she doesn’t roll over and die real good. The career kids are whining, nit-picking, eye-rolling. And of course, they all ran off and hid in tall grass during the history-changing wars against both Clintons and Gore.

Final note: Robert Kennedy is being remembered this week. We recommend this piece by his daughter Kerry; she recalls a warm, loving father—and two tree houses, in the same tree. But back in 1968, many High Liberals were criticizing Kennedy as the opportunist in that race. (Then, they proceeded to wring their hands about vile Hubert Humphrey.) In this piece, Harold Meyerson recalls the enmities inside the McCarthy camp against the man we now remember so warmly: “[M]ost of us, despite our unspoken misgivings about McCarthy's staying in the race, were so entrenched in our loyalties and enmities that going over to Kennedy seemed beyond the pale.”

But guess what? McCarthy, Kennedy and Humphrey were all decent people—and none was the sun god returned to earth. That has also been true of the Major Dem hopefuls in this campaign. This week, Meyerson offered his recollection as a way of urging Clinton’s supporters to join with Obama. So typical! It’s just like this cohort to withhold their wisdom until it will service their preference.

But then, these folk have always been like this. Go ahead! Look back and see how hard Meyerson fought during the wars against the Clintons and Gore. Hillary Clinton persisted through that—but Meyerson? The one good thing about making that search is it won’t take you real long.

8 comments:

donnadarko said...

We're making a difference! Check out The Week magazine:

While the media and political establishments reacted vehemently to any hint of racism against Obama, they were complicitly silent when pundits likened her to Glenn Close's spurned homicidal maniac in Fatal Attraction. Democratic leaders also kept worrying aloud that blacks would "protest and stay home" if Clinton got the nomination, ignoring the likelihood that white women - three times more numerous than black voters - would do the same if she lost. Now Democrats expect women to swallow their disappointment and line up behind the chosen male. But this time it might not happen. "Women are angry," and the ones who were shouting "McCain '08!" last week may very well have been "speaking for a multitude."

Cathy said...

Obviously Somerby is right. But he only raises the question that lingers in my mind now. Why is she giving up so soon?

Yes, I have heard the rational explanations. The Supers are too scared to support her (but everyone knows the spineless worms will change their minds countless times before August). She's protecting her friends who are career politicians and campaign folks (but they are doomed anyway). She's simply fed up (but why didn't that happen earlier).

It sickens me to think she's trying not to rend the party. Watching them treat her in this matter just hardens my heart and those of my friends and neighbors. There are lot of people who don't scour web pages so they have no explanation for why she folded.

I suppose we will have to wait until December to find out the truth.

All I pray for now is that she takes a long vacation and does nothing for this s.o.b.

echo said...

I will say this first, I do not agree with Hillary and her policies, I like John Edwards. But, I wholeheartedly agree with you on your commentary on our misogynistic media. It sickens me when we have this pointless debate whether women can do this or that, There was even a poll on a social networking site about this, and some of my friends bluntly answered no for Hillary with the reasoning "a women can't be president". I have heard everything from emotional instability to aimless slogans like "life is a bitch, why need one" thrown at her. I disagree with Hillary's policies, not her gender. I wonder why it is so hard for people to understand such a simple truth. We pride ourselves of being the most advanced democracy on the planet, yet in reality, we are just masking our wicked desires with a pretty face that says equality. I read an LA Times article that described a 77 year old volunteer saying that this will probably the last chance in her life time to see a female come this close to presidency. It breaks my heart, when I read something like that. I am seeing the dream of a generation that had to be silent about casual harassment and lopsided office politics shatter before my eyes. Part of our society just wants women to play second fiddle, because it senses that our manhood is somehow inherently greater. I guess they are now partying, but I sincerely hope their grueling tactics will inspire and motivate a generation of women to shatter the class ceiling and put a period to male-chauvinism. And to that 77 year old volunteer, please hold on, there will be answers very soon...

P.S: Just saw this Daily Show segment on our media's approach, thought you might like it.

http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=171493

pm317 said...

By the way: It would be weird to spend all day Tuesday asking people to vote for you—then to show up at 8:30 PM and say, “I’m out of here—please vote for the other guy.”
Yes! Why didn't reps like Cummings think of this when they criticized her? In fact, could they not have given her and her supporters some breathing room instead of trickling to him on Tuesday afternoon to push him over the edge? Completely classless.

My gut feeling is that Obama is not the type to stick it out and fight. In my estimation when the first Wright tapes came out, he would have left the scene in a huff left to himself and if he was not already propped and protected by the media and a cadre of party elders. Not a show of strength, really when you think about it. In fact there is a brilliant video from Flineo (I think it is called Modern Times) which starts with Axelrod goading him to speak as in "you must speak now.." What a shame? The more I think about all this, the more I get depressed.

gendergappers said...

I was called yesterday by a reporter for a local newspaper. He had checked contributions for Hillary Clinton and found that I had contributed early and often.

His question was, now that she lost, are you sorry to lose all that money?

So typical of the media bias in Bob Somerby's piece. He got an earful from me about being proud to have supported the candidacy of a great woman.

Shainzona said...

An interesting comment from over at MyDD that kind of hit home this morning:

"Obama supporters aren't content that their guy "won." They also want us to affirm that he was the best candidate all along. That's an unrealistic expectation, to say the least. And it's not helpful--to say the least."

There has been a lot of discussion as to whether female HRC supporters will be wooed now by Obama (one adviser said "no way", now McCaskell is saying "yes") but I think they not only don't understand the depth of our feelings, but the way they are approaching it is only going to make it worse.

Obama has, IMHO, been one of the lightest-weight candidates I've seen in quite some time. And the next 6 months is not going to change that opinion in any way, shape or form.

Just saying.

susan said...

Damn, I thought I got my money's worth out of every dime I donated to Hillary's campaign. she fought tough to the end, unlike Edwards, who talked about fighting and then folded up his tents before they got dirty or wrinkled or torn. also unlike Obama, who manages to get everyone else to do the dirty work while he smiles enigmatically and brushes the dirt off his shoe.

GrandMe said...

Why did they expect her to concede/quit/suspend on Tuesday night.She had gone ahead of expectations in both primaries. Obama hadn't won. He still hasn't. Not until the "super" (debatable) delegates cast their secret ballots at the convention will there be a nominee. That he crowned himself was quite enough for one night.