Losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is opening a promotional tour for her new campaign memoir by smearing President Trump and his tens of millions of supporters as deplorable racists.
Not content to fade into the background as defeated nominees have tended to do in the modern era, the former secretary of state is race-baiting and grandstanding in front of anyone who will listen, a move that is causing consternation among plenty of professional Democrats.
On CBS over the weekend, her description of attending President Trump’s inauguration – it was “like an out-of-body experience” – seems understandable given Clinton’s belief her election was so certain that, in the words she used in the book, she “had not drafted a concession speech.”
But her incendiary claim that Trump’s inauguration speech almost eight months ago was a “cry from the white nationalist gut” went well beyond sour grapes. When Democrats are in trouble, they cry “racist!” When that doesn’t work, they cry “racist!” more loudly and hire publicists to spread the smear.
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First things first: the uproar over Hillary Clinton’s emails has always been — and continues to be — one of the most absurd faux scandals in American politics. Of all of the reasons people conjured to vote against the former Secretary of State, her use of a dot-com over a dot-gov email address seemed to have its biggest sting in symbolism instead of substance.
That said, there is no shortage of Schadenfreude and snark emanating from the disclosure by The Indianapolis Star that, as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence used an AOL account to conduct some state business. Here, critics of the Vice President contend, is proof that Pence is a hypocrite and did the same thing Clinton did.
It’s not that simple, no matter how delightful a sound-bite it may make. “He did everything to the letter of the law in Indiana, turned all of his emails over, unlike Hillary Clinton who lost at least 30,000 — who knows how many more?” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday. “That’s apples-to-oranges comparison.” And, in this, Sanders is correct.
Here is a guide to the problems of comparing Pence and Clinton.
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It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. That’s what I kept telling myself late into election night. Nov. 8, 2016 was my 35th birthday and I firmly expected a Hillary Clinton victory. I didn’t put much stock into the national polling that said Hillary had a 13 percent national lead. I wasn’t expecting a landslide or a squeaker, but a solid, convincing win.
So there I was in my Hillary shirt (you know the one: with the H and the arrow in it), as the minutes and then hours ticked by, my mouth agape in disbelief as more and more counties in swing states came in red on the CNN map. It was still early, some of my friends were telling me. The heavily populated districts take longer to count votes and they lean more heavily Democratic; same with the Western states. The mood from my fellow Democrats was one of shock and horror, which grew into a panic as more states got called for Trump. I fell asleep in a confused and desperate fog, and that’s how I officially entered middle age.
I’ve heard some say that the depth of their despair matched what they felt on Sept. 11. I won’t go that far, but for me it was in the same hemisphere. How did this happen? Furiously searching for answers like most of us on the left on 11/9/16, there was no shortage of blame to go around. One thing I heard from several friends and acquaintances was, “Bernie would’ve won.” Naturally, this speculation was offered with no real evidence and easily could have been dismissed. I never liked Sanders as a presidential candidate, though as an independent senator from a tiny, overwhelmingly white, Northeastern state I liked him just fine. When I heard that he was running for president, my first thought was, as an Independent or a Green? Considering his ambivalence toward the Democratic Party, his announcement immediately struck me as pure opportunism.
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A panic is sweeping the land — or at least something like it has unnerved CNN, Vox and other precincts of progressive sensibility. They are alarmed that millions of Americans are being misled by “fake news.”
As someone whose inbox has lately bulged with items about Hillary Clinton’s impending demise due to a concealed, terminal illness; who has shaken her head at “breaking news” that Turkish coup plotters had gotten their hands on NATO nuclear weapons at Incirlik air base; and who has sighed at the endless iterations of stories like “47 Clinton friends who mysteriously turned up dead,” I don’t deny that misinformation, disinformation, rumors and malicious gossip appear to have achieved new salience in the national conversation. I shun right-leaning publications and sites that traffic in this sort of drivel.
You know there’s a “but” coming, and here it is: The death of Fidel Castro reminds us that the respectable press, the “two-sources” press, the press that enforces standards and performs reality checks and practices “shoe leather” journalism and all that, has been peddling “fake news” about Cuba and Castro for 60 years.
The mainstream press has been soft on Fidel Castro since he first grabbed a pistol and started granting interviews to credulous reporters in the Sierra Maestra. The joke that made the rounds in 1980s was that Castro could have been featured in one of those ads boasting “I got my job through The New York Times!” Starting in 1957, Times reporter Herbert Matthews visited with the rebel leader and published accounts of his selfless commitment to “his” people. “Power does not interest me,” Castro told Matthews. “After victory I want to go back to my village and just be a lawyer again.”
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