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November 03, 2007

Hillary Plays The Gender Card Against The Wrong Targets (Democrats)

It's only to be played against Republicans, apparently. Her people and the compliant media played the "battered woman" card when 2000 Senate opponent Rick Lazio merely walked up to her podium in an effort to get her to sign a contributions-limiting pledge. He menaced her! He invaded her girlspace!

But he was a Republican, brutish and almost certainly a wife-beater. But when she accuses nice Democratic men of "piling on," the media is a bit more skeptical.

[T]he spin coming out of the Clinton campaign is that the men were ganging up on Hillary. Sorry, but when girls insist on playing hardball with the boys, they don't get to cry foul - or change the game to dodge ball - when they get bruised.

Not that Hillary Clinton did any whining herself following Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia. She's too smart for that. But somehow the idea magically surfaced that the men were piling on.

The New York Times reported that Clinton's campaign officials tried to create sympathy for Hillary the same way they did when Republican Rick Lazio confronted her during their 2000 Senate race. A Clinton adviser told the Washington Post that, "Ultimately, it was six guys against her, and she came off as one strong woman." A headline on the Drudge Report said: "Scorn: As the Men Gang Up."


Hillary's campaign people took swift advantage of her status as assault victim. A clever video, "The Politics of Pile-On," shows in rapid-fire succession the other candidates mentioning Clinton's name and ends with her saying: "I seem to be the topic of great conversation and consternation, and that's for a reason."

Sa-wish! Score one for Clinton. There's a reason, all right. Hillary's having her cake and eating everybody else's, too. It must be frustrating to challengers who need to attack her positions, but fear the inevitable piling-on accusations and the appearance of bullying a woman.

In debate post-mortems, moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert were also accused of joining the pile-on, especially Russert, who kept pounding Hillary for straight answers when she tended to "bridge" to other topics.

Kaus notes that Howard Kurtz compliantly attempts to spin for Hillary:

What box? A ridiculous Howie Kurtz attempt to describe Hillary as some kind of gender victim because she's being criticized for playing the gender victim:

[KURTZ:] But it can be harder for a woman -- especially a potential commander in chief -- to project toughness without being seen as harsh and shrill. And at the moment the press seems to have put the New York senator in something of a box: If she complains about rough treatment, she's acting like a whiny daughter who's had her Barbie taken away.

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.

"You want to be leader of the free world, but can't handle criticism from Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd?," asks the Infuence Peddler, rounding up reaction to Hillary's attempt to channel Tina Turner.

I saw a Hillary spinner on a cable channel making the point that everyone had taken shots at Hillary, but she had easily weathered their combined fire. That kind of spin is good; it notes she took all the attacks but doesn't complain about them and in fact adds that she was able to handle the ankle-biting.

But the campaign seems to have gone into overdrive pushing the idea that It's just not fair to ask tough questions of Hillary! because, darnit, she's gonna be the first woman President ever, and that's not working.

Oh, it will work when she faces Giuliani, Thompson, Romney or even McCain. But against Democrats: The MSM isn't buying it. Only Republicans can be credibly accused of battering a woman candidate by asking her pointed questions.

Leave Hllary Clinton Alone! The Chris Crocker type parodies begin.

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posted by Ace at 04:42 PM

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