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Daily Howler: A professor newly arrived from Mars can't explain all that strange Clinton hatred
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PLUTOCRATIC PATTERN! A professor newly arrived from Mars can’t explain all that strange Clinton hatred: // link // print // previous // next //

PLUTOCRATIC PATTERN: It would be hard to waste more ink than Alec MacGillis did in this front-page report. It appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post; spanning 1695 words, it helped us grasp the following points about the Clinton candidacy:
  1. Some voters in upstate New York do not want Clinton to be president.
  2. Other such voters are “ambivalent” about the prospect. (More specifically, you can still hear some voters say, “I don’t know if I want her to be president.”)
  3. Some parts of Florida are more conservative than upstate New York.
MacGillis goes on, at remarkable length, helping us fathom such fatuous insights. His bottom line might be summed up like this: If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she won’t win every vote.

But it’s near the end of this near-endless piece that the most significant nonsense occurs. Seeming to break all his previous rules, MacGillis begins his closing passage with a claim which could be significant:
MACGILLIS (10/21/07): As for those who voted against Clinton [in her senate campaign] last year despite the weak opposition, Clinton supporters argue that such voters are unlikely to vote for any Democratic nominee. But interviews with voters in the region serve as a reminder of just how strong the antipathy toward Clinton is in some, who vow they will fight much harder to stop her than they would other Democrats.
It’s possible that this could actually matter. According to MacGillis, “some” of these (largely Republican) voters hate Clinton more than Edwards or Obama. That in mind, it’s possible that they would work harder to defeat her in a general election. Of course, other Republican voters may respect Clinton more than the other Big Dems. But MacGillis wasn’t being paid to consider such matters this morning.

It’s possible! It’s possible that Ye Olde Clinton Hatred could damage Clinton in a general election—could make her “less electable” than Obama or Edwards. (At present, national polls don’t reflect such a pattern.) But as he continued, MacGillis played the fool, as so many have done before him. After quoting a few select voters, MacGillis closed things out with an “expert,” professor Jeff Stonecash—an “expert” who must have been living on Neptune over the past fifteen years. Stonecash speaks at the end:
MACGILLIS: To explain their dislike, some cited Clinton's staying with her husband after the Monica Lewinsky affair, a decision they said revealed her calculating ambition. "She's nothing but a fraud," said Graham Smith, a retired custodian doing yard work at his home in Pavilion, east of Batavia. "She says she's going to do all sorts of things but doesn't do any of them. All she's trying to do is get people's votes."

Others complained that Clinton had not done nearly as much for Upstate as she says, especially now that she is busy campaigning. But often they had trouble articulating their ill will. "She's just put herself in a spot where you either like her or you don't," said Morelli at the chamber luncheon.

That, say political scientists and pollsters, is the bottom line of Clinton's Upstate legacy. She has solidified her initial support, won over voters who were willing to give her a chance—and made little headway with those who disliked her from the outset.

"She's working hard and is probably in a little better shape than she was six or seven years ago," said Syracuse University political scientist Jeff Stonecash. "But there's still something out there that she's got. It's hard to figure out what it is that they dislike so much."
They say there’s an “expert” for every “journalistic” occasion, and Professor Stonecash was useful this day. If the professor was quoted accurately, he’s baffled by Ye Olde Clinton Hatred. It's hard to figure out what it is that they dislike so much,” the professor says.

But so it goes, as the nation’s elites keep disappearing the last fifteen years.

Question: On what planet has Stonecash spent his sabbatical over the past fifteen years? On this planet, you’d need an IQ of roughly 15 to be puzzled by the (minority) attitudes cited in MacGillis’ piece. For better or worse, those right-wing lunatics who seemed to surprise Paul Krugman last week swung into action in 1992, trashing the person in question and her troubling husband; the pair were branded “Clinton and Clinton” by Pat Buchanan—in a speech which was broadcast to tens of millions from the Republican National Convention. The demonization was now under way—and it would never stop. By the mid-1990s, public crackpots like Gary Aldrich were writing best-selling books which told gullible people—the types of people MacGillis is quoting—that Hillary Clinton festooned the White House Christmas tree with obscene Christmas ornaments. As late as August 1999, loathsome losers like Matthews and Hannity were dragging Gennifer Flowers onto the air, where she offered long, crackpot rambles accusing Hillary Clinton of serial murders. (And of being a lesbo, of course. In her book, Flowers noted the lady’s fat ass, going on at remarkable length about the troubling topic.) And guess what, readers? Many voters are deeply stupid, and they believed the things they were told. And of course, believing these things was fairly simple because of the work of your liberal elites; for the most part, they spent the decade hiding behind chairs, refusing to challenge the endless stories hapless voters were now being offered.

When Gene Lyons wrote Fools for Scandal, your liberal journals ducked and covered. They did the same thing when Lyons and Conason followed with The Hunting of the President; they also hid behind their desks during the two-year War Against Gore, and during its long, gruesome aftermath. From that time right on up to this, they have continued avoiding such topics, seeming to know the role they’ve been given in the emergence of our over-paid, plutocratic modern press corps. Today, there are even journalists like MacGillis who are able to find academics like Stonecash. Stonecash has no idea why Clinton is hated. MacGillis is willing to type this up, with a perfect straight face.

Guess what, people? The presspolitical history of the 1990s is abundantly clear. In 1992, a gang of right-wing crackpots began spreading lurid stories about the Clintons, and then about Gore; the mainstream press corps cooperated, sometimes actively, sometimes through silence. To this day, most American voters have never been told about this powerful history—the history which put Bush in the White House and sent the U.S. to Iraq. Most voters don’t have a clue about what was done to Gore—and last week, we saw the liberal and mainstream press elites working hard to keep things that way. Yesterday morning, MacGillis was still playing the fool about Clinton, helped along by the high genius Stonecash.

I’ve sent the analysts out the room so we can speak a bit more freely about the liberal/progressive sector. I have never seen a group of people so willing to accept defeat by plutocratic press tyranny. There is nothing they can say about our leaders that we aren’t perfectly willing to take, and there seems to be nothing that will open our eyes to the way this process so plainly works. But here goes: In the 1990s, that gang of crackpots whom Krugman described began to trash our Big Dem leaders. The “mainstream” press corps, increasingly plutocratic too, has generally gone along with the process. They have refused to tell the world about what happened to Candidate Gore. And they still pretend they don’t understand why a bunch of old crackpots out raking their leaves hate the vile Hillary Clinton.

Somehow, professors like Stonecash are always there, having recently flown in from Neptune.

Those upstate voters—the ones who hate Clinton— “often have trouble articulating their ill will,” the journalist told Post readers. “It's hard to figure out what it is that they dislike so much,” the professor said.

POSTSCRIPT: When people aren’t told about these processes, they fall for them all over again. Have you heard about Edwards’ haircut? That he lives in a very big house?

STARTING TOMORROW: The process of plutocrat book review! Puffing Howie! Trashing Krugman! Ignoring Naomi Klein!

VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: Many people were—and are—too stupid to understand the game being played. To see Gennifer tell the leaf-rakers that the first lady committed those murders, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/19/07. For a real-time post with a bit more detail, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/25/99. For our fullest discussion of these inexcusable sessions, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/26/03.

The people who interviewed Flowers in these sessions weren’t fired, or criticized by the press corps; instead, they’ve all become millionaires. But Professor Stonecash can’t decipher this process. To this day, the professor is puzzled—just deeply confused—by all the Big Hatred out there.