Friends Allie Landers, Jenna Smith and Marina Galkina echoed Ramirez. The three stopped by to get a glimpse of Clinton. But they headed for the doors just a few minutes after they got there. They're Obama supporters.
"I think it's really hard that you're campaigning for change -- Clinton's been using that word a lot too -- when, if you were elected, then the past presidents would be Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton," said Landers, 21.
Added Smith, also 21: "I'm from New York. I think Hillary has done a good job as a senator, but it was just her stepping stone. And, for some reason, for whatever reason, I just don't like her."
One cannot accuse Ms. Smith of over-thinking her feelings about Clinton. Truth is, a lot of people feel the way she does. They "just don't like her." Ask why, and they'll say "I just don't." Then they'll cite to some mumbo jumbo about something she supposedly did during Bill's presidency, or as a Senator, or how they think she's a phony or a fraud, or how they just don't think she's very likeable. But what they won't do is get right to the heart of what they think is wrong with Hillary Clinton, either because they don't want to admit it or (more likely) they're not even aware of it and aren't eager to explore it. Fortunately, thanks to the tireless writing of Bob Somerby, we have a example numero uno of Hillary "hate" in the form of Chris Matthews at MSNBC. Here's Somerby:
Until the day he’s made to stop, Matthews will continue his sneering remarks about Clinton. He’ll call her “Dukakis in a dress.” He’ll say she reminds him of “a stripteaser.” He’ll pretend, as he did last Thursday and Friday, that Bill Clinton has called her an “uppity woman” (text below). These sneering, gender-based comments and insults will be available each evening on Hardball. And this worthless man will sing the praises of the twin virile saints, John and Rudy. He insulted Gore for twenty straight months until he got George Bush to the White House. (“Al Gore would lick the floor to be president.” “Al Gore is Clinton’s bathtub ring.” ) And make no mistake—he’ll degrade and sneer at Hillary Clinton for as long as it takes.
That's not an uninformed opinion. If you don't believe me, go to Somerby's blog and search for "Matthews Hillary Hate" and see how many of his posts you get back. Hint: it's a lot, each one documenting in detail some tasteless, crass, inappropriate and sexist smear that Matthews has made about Hillary Clinton. So do you think Matthews just has a problem with Hillary? Or do you think there's maybe a little more to it? Somerby again:
Matthews has had obvious on-air problems with women dating back to the late 1990s, when he would savage liberal women who challenged his rants against Clinton and Gore. (Remember him? The last nominee we refused to defend?) During this same epoch, of course, Matthews would fall all over himself with praise for his darling, the Faire Lady Willey, who would periodically arouse his admiration with her bizarre accusations on Hardball against the pet-killer, Bill Clinton.
(In August 1999, Matthews gave Gennifer Flowers a full half-hour to accuse both Clintons of serial murders. “You're a very beautiful woman,” the long-term nut-case said at one point. “And I have to tell you—he knows that, you know that, and everybody watching knows that. Hillary Clinton knows that!” “Gosh, you’re making me blush here,” the chanteuse replied, briefly putting murder charges on hold. Matthews came right back at his guest: “It's an objective statement, Gennifer. I'm not flirting. So let's go on.”)
Mattews most certainly has issues with women which, as noted above, manifests itself thusly:
But by far, Matthews’ most consequential expression of this problem in the past year was the stream of gender-based insults he directed at a major presidential candidate—at a certain "strip-teaser," "giggling girl" "uppity woman"—earlier in 2007. (In recent months, he has dialed this back a bit. He may have done this because some of us complained, while most of us notably didn’t.) And now we get to our accusation: The liberal web was amazingly tolerant of that disgraceful conduct by Matthews—when it was being directed at Hillary Clinton. Maybe we'll wait seven more years to complain, the way we did with Candidate Gore. Maybe we’ll wait until we get peeved about Giuliani’s mad war.
Do you think Matthews is the only one who feels that way? That everybody else who hates Clinton or "just doesn't like her" has taken a long, hard look at her policy positions and public statements and determined that there's something in her, some character flaw, which entitles them to dislike her? I don't. By the way, Matthews isn't the only one. Glenn Greenwald takes aim at the campaign press, who are collectively as strangely motivated as Matthews:
Yesterday, The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut -- in an item oddly headlined "Clinton Joins the Girls on the Bus" -- described how Hillary Clinton boarded the press bus that follows her around, brought bagels and coffee for the reporters, and delivered some pleasant remarks about what a great experience Iowa has been. But Kornblut pointedly noted that this was Hillary's "first and only [time] on board the bus since she started campaigning almost exactly a year earlier," and Kornblut noted that the press corps sat "in silence" until Hillary left.
That report led to this exchange today with The Post's Lois Romano:
Washington: I just read on The Post's Trail page that Clinton dropped by the press bus to drop off coffee etc. and was met with cold silence. Wow. Even after 15 years, why is there so much press hostility towards the Clintons? If it turns out to be McCain vs. Clinton (my current guess) in the general, the difference in press coverage between these two is going to be as staggering as it is depressing.
Lois Romano: I was struck by that as well. I have covered Hillary Clinton off on and for 15 years and I've never seen anything that stark happen. While there is a tense relationship between HRC and the media, I'm not sure why the reporters on the bus wouldn't have tried to take advantage of her appearance and ask some good questions. All she could do is refuse to answer them. It's not for the press to be hostile to Clinton -- it's the media's responsibility to cover her.
For all the talk about the complex ideological, economic and other factors that shape our horrendous political press coverage, it is always important to remember that so much of it -- as Romano's accurate comments highlight -- is attributable to the adolescent, self-absorbed, herd-like behavior of the reporters who travel around with these candidates. Those whom they like personally -- the ones who flatter them or otherwise trigger their desire to be liked -- receive reverent coverage, while those to whom they're personally hostile receive the opposite.
For the press corps, the people who are lauded for their supposed objectivity, politics is indeed personal. More:
Greg Sargent yesterday noted that The Politico's Ben Smith was apparently present for this event as well. This is what Smith wrote about it:
Hillary stepped onto the parked press bus in Indianola for about 90 seconds to deliver bagels and coffee, and I'm not sure what this says about Clinton and the press â€” the chill, I think, comes from both sides â€” but it was a strange moment. . . .
. Nobody even shouted a question, whether because of the surprise, the assumption that she wouldn't actually answer, or the sheer desire to end the encounter.
One reporter compared the awkwardness to running unexpectedly into an ex-girlfriend.
"Maybe we should go outside and warm up," said another, as Clinton exited into the freezing air.
Hillary is the cold, frigid ex-girlfriend they all want to avoid. Do they ever think about anything without reference to some high school cliche?
Another reporter, Michael Shcherer at Time, goes way out of his way to answer that question with a resounding "no", when he compares the GOP debate to high school, where McCain has "always been the coolest kid in school", Romney "is the overachiever, the do-gooder, the kid in class who always does everything right" and Huckabee "is the class clown with the weight problem everyone likes, who always seemed to have his heart in the right place." And no, it's not satire.
So for Matthews Hillary is a "stripteaser", and for the campaign press, Hillary is the "cold, frigid, ex-girlfriend they all want to avoid." So yes, their issues with Hillary most assuredly have something to do with the fact that she's a woman. In fact, it has everything to do with the fact that she's a woman, as the men on the campaign trail are simply not held to the same standard.
And I guarantee you that the Hillary "hate" out here among us commoners is also motivated by the fact that she's a woman. If she desires the Presidency too much, she's "power-hungry" or "ambitious" or afflicted with "megalomania" or she's "inauthentic." Even her laugh (Frank Rich proving that not all of this nonsense comes from the right) and her clothes are fair game for criticism, and reflective of her power hungry personality and unfitness for the office of President. She's (gasp) "calculating" (an emotional moment "remind[s] people that this woman is all about calculation" says un-biased political analyst Michelle Malkin.)
The strangest thing about all this Hillary hate, is that there are a lot of people who don't feel the same way about her. Even after over a decade of these sorts of attacks, Hillary's success in running for President indicates that there are a lot of people who don't have these weird hang-ups about her. It just seems like the people who don't like her, really don't like her...as evidence above.
To be frank, this is all crap. Hillary hate is largely about her sex (and smarter people than me feel the same way.) Who among the men running for President now is not ambitious, or hungry for power? Our current President is afflicted with one of the most moronic-sounding laughs of all time, but Hillary "cackles" (like a witch...how clever!) Obama could show up to a debate wearing jogging shorts and t-shirts and the press would laugh, but if Hillary shows a little too much cleavage fierce debate ensues (the reminder that she might actually be a woman under her tough exterior seems to appall people the most; how dare she rub her womanhood in their face?)
So, you who are not of the right who profess to "hate" or who "just don't like" Hillary Clinton, I'm calling you out. (Those of you who are on the right; well, let's just say I wouldn't expect anything other than blatant sexism.) Please try to explain to me how your dislike, distrust or aversion to Clinton has anything to do with other than her being a woman. Cite to examples of things you've seen or read about her doing or saying, that would also make you dislike her as a male candidate. I'll be waiting.
UPDATE: Via Lawyers, Guns and Money, Kerry Howley with more on the sexist double-standard Hillary battles:
Add to this useful list of the worst jobs in the world: consultant to any candidate with breasts. Show emotion and you’re weak; show strength and you’re a collection of servos. Respond to attacks with emotion and you’re “angry.” Respond with equanimity and you’re cold and distant. Shy from war and you’re too feminine to lead; embrace it and you’re the establishment’s whore. And the worst thing you can do? Acknowledge, in any way, shape, or form, the existence of sexism in these United States.
Indeed. In fact, Andrew Sullivan regards such acknowledgment as "victimology", which Obama "transcends." If Hillary fails to transcend sexism, it is only because she is not permitted to by frat-boy jokesters who think yelling "iron my shirt!" at a campaign rally is funny, and by commentators such as Sullivan who think that reacting to sexism is playing the victim.
UPDATE II: Jeff Taylor (one of Howley's co-bloggers at Hit & Run), as if sensing an opportune moment to engage in the tried-and-true Clinton stereotyping, also demonstrates that no emotion that Hillary displays can possibly be authentic. Though is article is hardly as interesting as the one in which Andrew Sullivan diagnosis Hillary with something called "Salieri-Mozart syndrome."
UPDATE III: Via James Wolcott, here's Tom Watson for more. I won't go so far as to hold Obama responsible for not saying something about any of this nonsense (this is politics, and he is trying to win an election and all) but for the rest of it, I think he's on target. Wolcott, for his part, is annoyed by the over-the-top rhetoric of some of Obama's more fervent supporters, of which this piece by Ezra Klein (who I like) is an unfortunate example (something else I also don't hold Obama responsible for.) For a more rational and reasoned assessment and endorsement of Obama see...why, our own little endorsement here!
UPDATE IV: In his post today, Glenn Greenwald informs readers that the love-fest between the media, conservative pundits and Obama won't last five minutes longer than it takes Hillary to drop out of the race. Only time will tell, but I'd put money behind Greenwald's claim.
UPDATE V: Huckabee, of all people, rises to Hillary's defense.