Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chuckles and Checkers With Hillary

To combat an inexorable slide in the polls, Hillary Clinton and her team of marketers are using a two-pronged approach to resuscitating her campaign. To be even more metaphorically specific, they are using a plastic cannula to shove canned air through both nostrils of an oxygen-deprived patient.

The first prong of the Clinton cannula: just days after refusing to apologize for her private email server, she has apologized. By email, of course. Because delivering a Nixonian Checkers speech on live TV is just so yesterday.

 From Hillary Clinton's email blast:
 It's important for you to know a few key facts. My use of a personal email account was aboveboard and allowed under the State Department's rules. Everyone I communicated with in government was aware of it. And nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time.

As this process proceeds, I want to be as transparent as possible. That's why I've provided all of my work emails to the government to be released to the public, and why I'll be testifying in public in front of the Benghazi Committee later next month.

I know this is a complex story. I could have -- and should have -- done a better job answering questions earlier. I'm grateful for your support, and I'm not taking anything for granted.
Compare the tone to candidate Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech of Sept. 23, 1952: 
I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth. And that is why I am here tonight. I want to tell you my side of the case.
 I am sure that you have read the charges, and you have heard it, that I, Senator Nixon, took $18,000 from a group of my supporters.
Now, was that wrong? And let me say that it was wrong. I am saying it, incidentally, that it was wrong, just not illegal, because it isn't a question of whether it was legal or illegal, that isn't enough. The question is, was it morally wrong? I say that it was morally wrong if any of that $18,000 went to Senator Nixon, for my personal use. I say that it was morally wrong if it was secretly given and secretly handled.
And I say that it was morally wrong if any of the contributors got special favors for the contributions they made.
The second prong of the Clinton campaign's cannula is to combat accusations that she is too stiff and contrived. Therefore, her spokespeople have formally announced that all future scripts will not only be spontaneous, they will also be compassionate and funny.  Hilarious Hearty Hillary will be coming soon to a political theater near you.

To help sell the image of the kinder, more humorous Hillary, her campaign operatives have enlisted the aid of the corporate media establishment, which trumpeted the announcement in one great, big, spontaneous blast.  

I couldn't figure out whether  New York Times Hillary beat reporter Amy Chozick was being stealthily satiric with her article, or whether she might be suffering from a bad case of Post-traumatic Constant Hillary Coverage Stress Disorder. First, there was this accompanying photo:

 Notice the jaw-clenched dude to her right, obviously a Secret Service agent, who could not look more miserable if he tried. He actually seems to be suffering a bad attack of gas. And then there's the guy right next to him who appears to be asleep on his feet. Are these really the optiminal optics for the re-marketing of Hillary as a combination of Mother Teresa and Joan Rivers?

And then there are the clueless words of the campaign operatives themselves. Chozick writes,
Asked about a moment they regret, Ms. Palmieri paused and then quickly settled on the ope the campaign used to corral reporters at a Fourth of July parade in New Hampshire that became a symbol of Mrs. Clinton’s distance from the small-town celebration. A less intrusive rope had also been used to control crowds at other events.
 The Brooklyn headquarters, on the 11th floor of a high-rise, bustled with activity heading into the Labor Day weekend. Young people, sitting on bean bag chairs, worked on their laptops and cellphones. Bags of Hillary-branded snacks, like beet chips, were arrayed in front of a volunteer hall of fame collage.
Less intrusive ropes (invisible tripwires, maybe?) to keep out the masses and snooty Hillary-branded snacks for insiders are excellent selling points for any plutocratic candidate forced to pose as a populist.

Quick on the heels of the rebranding story came yet another piece from Ms. Chozick about an upcoming Hillary TV appearance. The original blurb to the story read: "Mrs. Clinton is expected to appear on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' on Thursday in hopes of reaching female voters who do not consume traditional media."

And therein lies the problem. The Times and the rest of the media-political nexus view us not as readers, thinkers, and engaged citizens, but as mere "consumers" who devour, or sniff, whatever content is placed in front of us. All they think they need is the right ad campaign for all to be right in the Feudal States of America.

It's time that Hillary and the Times got with the times and realized that the days of fooling most of the people even some of the time are long gone. The slow demise of democracy as illustrated by the selling of Hearty Hilarious Hillary is not funny. It is just plain tragic in a pathetic, maudlin kind of way. Kind of like this:


Pearl said...

Enjoyed your sense of humor Karen. That is the only way to survive the current surrealistic circus.

Our only hope is that Joe Biden enters the presidential sweepstakes because the contrast of his warmer personality will be painful evidence of Hillary's shortcomings. Of course Joe would continue the road to perdition but he has some heart left on some issues. Maybe he will emulate Bernie and be a bit of a turncoat against his former bosses. Current presidential politics are getting curiouser and curiouser and people will be watching events more closely which may benefit Bernie.

We don't hear a peep from Bill which is highly unusual. So here we go and fasten your seatbelts once more.

Here in Canada it is delightful to watch the exposures of continual scandals of the current Prime Minister's political friends. It will be great when the NDP gets in to become a historic occasion. I feel they are running a very good campaign and have some intelligent plans in mind. It looks pretty hopeful.

Bob said...

Sentences do not start with And.

DW2000 said...

To Bob,

And even Mary could assure her family that she had no disinclination for it. [Jane Austen]

And to seek to make the blacksmith a scholar is almost as silly as the more modern scheme of making the scholar a blacksmith. [W.E.B. Du Bois]

And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house. [John F. Kennedy]

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

annenigma said...

And it's always fun to get a visit from the Grammar Police!

Will said...

And the winner is... DW2000! :)

Pearl said...

Some of my sentences do deliberately start with And. So sue me. Better people than me have used it for a purpose of emphasis as shown by DW2000. AND as I said, this election madness is getting curiouser and curiouser and attracting strange comments.

Tommy Bones said...

You go girl!

Pearl said...

Wonderful comments, including yours Karen, regarding Blow's latest column about poor hobbling Hillary being destroyed by the press. The level of knowledge by so many commenters recognizing the real Hillary is comforting along with continuing anger about how the Times ignores the message of Bernie Sanders.
Hope it is a hopeful sign for the future. Do print your comment on Sardonicky for those who may have missed it including those who are not our 'regulars' that read Sardonicky.

Blow is another Krugman I am afraid and unfortunately influences many black voters who are not familiar with the purposes of a democratic socialist.

Anonymous said...

I believe Bobs comment was to the author of the posting. Though correct in the grammatical sense of word usage, Politics are best left to the politicians.
Meaningless in any event. At the very end it will all mean nothing. Politics are what will destroy the planet entirely.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, thanks for Nixon quote. And I wondered, who is that guy next to her in the photo. Her staff is not serving her well if they put out an article that HC will now start turning on the humor and warmth. They must be tone deaf to how that sounds.

Some readers said they care more about her record than her h & h.
Example---she was on the board of Walmart, which pays such low wages, we tax payers have to pay for workers’ food stamps so they can eat.
She supported free trade deals that destroyed millions of middle class jobs and undermined our economy. Her donor base is Wall St.
Why doesn’t it interest Charles Blow to contrast this record with Bernie Sanders record for some idea competition?

Also the Times ran this apropos story in the Business Section strangely.
Business Day:
“Citizens United vs. Clintons: The Feud Behind the Court Case.”
By AP, Sept 8. Why not page A1? Guess CU is all about big business.

Says it’s the rw Gop conspiracy campaign to ruin the Clintons, that led to the S. Court’s 2010 CU decision, one of our history’s worst. The group Citizens United, with Clinton's estranged adviser, Dick Morris, made a hostile political documentary “Hillary: The Movie."....
"If you thought you knew everything about Hillary Clinton, wait 'til you see the movie." In it Ann Coulter calls her unfit to be president.

Clinton says “Citizens United was about me....They took aim at me, but they ended up damaging our entire democracy," ....We can't let them pull that same trick again...Now I'm in their crosshairs again."
Citizens United is at work now on "Hillary: The Sequel." Charles Blow, any comment?

Meredith NYC said...

Public Editor Margaret Sullivan and the Times has posted the response to reader complaints about Bernie Sanders coverage. Dean Baquet wants more issue coverage, he says. Also an editor responded...haven't read that yet.

Meredith NYC said...

I used the term h&h, meaning humor and humanity.....not warmth, re hillary..... should be h&w....for warmth, in article.

Meredith NYC said...

Drama re criticism of NYT from a few angles.
David Brock on Msnbc Chris Hayes, vilifying NYT coverage of---not Sanders---but Hillary!

Former rw, but now Hillary fan David Brock is publicizing his new book saying that the NYT is out to get Hillary.
From Politico article:
“David Brock: The New York Times has 'a special place in hell'”

“The pro-Clinton crusader accuses political editor Carolyn Ryan of helping to turn the paper into a 'megaphone for conservative propaganda.....David Brock’s war against the NYT just went nuclear — and the paper is responding with equal fury.
... Brock’s new book --"Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary Clinton and Hijack Your Government,”

Reporter Amy Chozick retorts that Ryan’s a “fair-minded, inspired and brilliant” editor.

Also, Ryan’s response on public editor blog to reader criticism of Sanders coverage is now getting criticism on the blog.
Ryan response was:
“ of the strategies of Sanders supporters is to relentlessly agitate for more favorable coverage. ( it’s the Outside Agitators---they just don’t understand!)
We are mindful of their critiques and listen to their concerns, and often point out stories to them that they have overlooked. (How did we missed those!)
But ultimately we have to use our journalistic judgment and serve a broad readership, by covering the entire field of candidates, and not make decisions in response to lobbying campaigns. ( good judgment, without fear or favor!)
I’m puzzled by the “tone” complaints and I cannot say that I agree with them.” (She’s puzzled).

Meredith NYC said...

Karen....thanks for linking to Gilens and Page which I plan to read.

Ms Ryan is a detriment to the Times.
Readers have a legitimate grievance that Ryan rejects responsibility for, in her bubble. The longer the Times holds out on covering Sanders’ policies, the more readers will justifiably complain.

NYT’s top political editor for 2016 is so detached she doesn’t grasp that this ‘relentless agitation’ of readers is directly caused by the Times own distorted coverage. She’s getting a normal readers response after many, many months of increasing frustration.

What would be the downside really for the Times to cover Sanders and O’ Malley’s proposals factually and fully, pray tell???

Why does the Times even have comments, if widespread reader criticism is called lobbying? Don’t pass the buck, Ms. Ryan. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen --Harry Truman.

The Times made the decision way in advance that Clinton is the one--- BECAUSE she raised big money, the others didn’t. Even tho it focuses on the email scandal. Then polls are more positive BECAUSE she’s covered the most on the media. Feedback loop of big donors, media, polls and more media. Then media denies unbalanced coverage.

What a different story if we had campaigns like other democracies—financed by allocated, finite public funds available to all candidates, instead of infinite funds from billionaires for their favorites only. The majority of voters would then get representation, and the media would reflect this.

Sanders is only ‘significantly left of center’ in a warped definition. Dean Baquet says he wants to “focus more heavily on issue stories in the coming weeks and months.” The lack of issue talk is the basic flaw in op eds and news articles—and why the coverage is biased.