Benefit of the Doubt

So much to unpack here: 

One of the biggest recent flubs from the Not Great Communicator was in Kentucky, when Clinton harkened back, as she often does with certain crowds, to the good old days of her husband’s administration. But this time she suggested, carelessly, that she was going to put Bill “in charge of revitalizing the economy, because you know he knows how to do it.” Social media — and traditional media — went nuts; the Times ran a full story on it, suggesting that Clinton’s “passing promise” indicated that “Mr. Clinton would be put in charge of a significant part of a president’s portfolio.”

It was a (bad!) rhetorical error in which she gracelessly crossed the (bright!) line between invoking Bill’s name and naming him to a post. That she hadn’t intended it was made clear by the manner in which she practically rolled her eyes when saying “No” to a follow-up question about whether she’d appoint her husband to her Cabinet. But this is the price Clinton pays for not having a warmer, closer relationship with reporters: She does not get the benefit of any doubt; there is no elasticity of comprehension. She does not enjoy the goodwill that someone like Joe Biden — a king of misstatements, prone to offending entire nationalities — has earned, which permits him to get out of media-jail time and again.

First: If a man intimated on the campaign trail that he was going to put his wife in charge of anything — if Ted Cruz said he was gonna let Heidi negotiate with Iran — it would be laughed out of the room, even if Heidi spoke fluent Farsi and had spent her grad school years studying nuclear deterrence. Ha ha, have THE WIFE do it! These are the same douchemooks who think it’s funny to ask male colleagues if they have to “check with the boss” before they commit to an after-work Hooters run.

But when a woman does it, she’s deadly serious because how can A CHICK possibly do math-y things like run the economy, and completely outrageously wrong because you can’t just have your husband do things for you. Dumb bitch. If you had real experience like being in charge of Miss Universe, you would know things like that!

Second: You will not get a campaign-trail reporter, editor or producer to admit that there is any kind of decision-making as far as who gets a pass and who does not. They’re all helpless in the face of what’s “out there” and nobody makes coverage decisions at all. It’s like some magical, completely neutral machine programmed by angelic virgins in heaven decided what gets spun up into the Outrage of the Week and what gets given a pass.

Yet they do make decisions. Big ones, and little ones, every single day. And those decisions add up to Hillary being wooden and uninteresting and yet completely gaffe-prone, and Joe Biden being America’s stoner roommate who is hilarious and doesn’t mean any of it. I love Dirty Uncle Joe like my own left breast but if Hillary or even Elizabeth Warren said half the shit he does they would be calling bingo in Schenectady.


3 thoughts on “Benefit of the Doubt

  1. We already know what would happen if a man did the same thing. Happened in 1992 when Bill said he and HRC were a twofer package. People flipped out. They haven’t stopped flipping since then.

  2. I suppose if Roslynn Carter, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush or Michelle Obama was running for president (and winning), this would be a cautionary tale. But there just aren’t that many spouses of former presidents to draw a definitive conclusion. The Clinton Rules, though, seem to apply to Hillary as much as they ever did to Bill.

  3. Reporters keep getting their knickers twisted over Hillary not being “warm” to them. So, so sorry she’s not taking the time to speak to every one of them; she’s a bit busy speaking to the people who are voting. Maybe if they’d actually follow her around and listen to how she speaks to people and watch how she listens as well, rather than fighting over the next sound bite, they’d get a better glimpse of just what a great candidate she really is.

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