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"Why Won't That Stupid Bitch Quit?" watch

Another meme--propagated. And this one to the redoubtable Eric Boehlert:

So now the press tells candidates when to quit?

Er, yes.

Looking back through modern U.S. campaigns, there's simply no media model for so many members of the press to try to drive a competitive candidate from the field while the primary season is still unfolding.

fact is, the media's get-out-now push is unparalleled. Strong second-place candidates such as Ronald Reagan (1976), Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Jerry Brown, all of whom campaigned through the entire primary season, and most of whom took their fights all the way to their party's nominating conventions, were never tagged by the press and told to go home.

"Clinton is being held to a different standard than virtually any other candidate in history," wrote Steven Stark in the Boston Phoenix. "When Clinton is simply doing what everyone else has always done, she's constantly attacked as an obsessed and crazed egomaniac, bent on self-aggrandizement at the expense of her party."

Odd, isn't it?

No longer content to be observers of the campaign, journalists now see themselves as active players in the unfolding drama, and they show no hesitation trying to dictate the basics of the contest, like who should run and who should quit. It's as if journalists are auditioning for the role of the old party bosses.

Indeed, a very strange leap has been made this year by lots of media commentators who argue against Clinton's candidacy. Rather than simply detailing her deficiencies and accentuating the strengths of her opponent, which political observers have done for generations, time and again we saw pundits take the unprecedented step of announcing not only that voters should not support Clinton, but that she should also quit. She should stop competing.

More often than not, the analysis ends up resembling poorly argued temper tantrums.

Many of which tantrums we've collected in this series for your reading pleasure, both from [cough] journalists and bloggers.

With Clinton, though, the press seems to have almost complete disregard for the 14 million voters who have backed her candidacy, as well as the idea that she is their representative in this race. Instead, they treat her entire campaign as some sort of vanity exercise in which voters do not exist.

And if pundits do acknowledge the Clinton voters, it's often with baffling ignorance, the way Time's Mark Halperin claimed many of Clinton's supporters would be "relieved" and "even delighted" if she dropped out. Really? Delighted? Halperin offered no proof to back up the peculiar notion.

But again, the point here worth stressing from a journalism perspective is that this is all brand new.

Bohlert then adduces Reagan (1976), Kennedy (1980), Hart (1984), Jackson (1988), Brown (1992), none of whom, when they continued their campaigns, were called upon by the press to quit.

If you look at Reagan and Kennedy and Hart and Jackson and Brown, those men all ran competitive races. But toward the end of the primary season it was clear most of them had no mathematical chance of winning the nomination. (Reagan was the exception.) Yet none of them was told collectively by the press to go home. Nor were they routinely depicted in the media as being self-absorbed.

Today, Clinton does have a chance to win. Yet she has been told by the press to go home and to get over herself.

It's unprecedented.

Why would it be, I wonder? Is there something about Hillary that's different from Ronald, Teddy, Gary, Jesse, and Jerry? What could it be?

'Tis a puzzlement!

And you know what? If we let them get away with it, they'll keep doing it.

No votes yet


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I wonder what it is....

Thanks for writing about this. I actually enjoyed it more than the Wolcott story.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Never has any candidate faced such calls to quit a presidential race before. Now, what else is there about Hillary's candidacy that's untrue of any other contender? Hmmmm. Yep, it's a puzzler.

Submitted by cg.eye on

I mean, she wears a suit and pants just like everybody else. Keeps her hair short, speaks low, is reasonably serious....

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Hillary's presidency will be a devastating blow to the MSM and the blogger boiz. I, for one, look forward to that.

Submitted by lambert on

Maybe her first name? Starts with "H"?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Boycotting those programs and those papers that treat us/Hillary like shit might help. Let Tweety have his boyz audience. I stopped reading the right wing WaPo years ago. Imagine 1/2 of its readership disappears. What a beauty!

Can someone start organizing boycotts?

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I know a bit about our political history, but I wasn't there, ya know. So I'll ask the residents of the Mighty Corrente Building.

Reagan actually did run again in 80, after primary loss in 76, something many of the Boiz are accusing Clinton of attempting. Was there any of these accusations thrown at the time, or was it just accepted that Reagan was going to run until the end?

I just can't imagine Republicans throwing these accusations around, in-party, though I remember many Right wing pundits & bloggers, accusing Clark of being a stalking horse for Clinton in 08. Republicans always seem to put the party before ahead of personal glory, which is why the Republicans still haven't turned on him.

But if Reagan was deliberately trying to screw Ford over in the GE, who is the candidate in this election who has espoused the ideals of Reagan. HINT: It's the same one who said they wouldn't run again, but I remain convinced that they would respond if a "movement" called them forth again.

But this leads me to think about the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

I can trace this closing ranks of the Republicans, this total dedication to party, with the impeachment of Nixon. They were ready to refight the battles of the 60's thru the 90's and have now worked their way back to the 40's on their assault in Democratic achievements.

But, in opposition, I look at how the Democrats have reacted to the impeachment of Clinton, a politically avaricious move, specifically designed to improve Republican electoral prospects, which pales in comparison to the correct and just impeachment of Nixon. In response to that egregious event, we have splintered and fragmented.

Think of the sense of moral justice that would come from spitting in the eye of the Republican Electoral Machine, by electing another Clinton. And the fact that so many of the party's establishment don't feel that pull to lay a smackdown on them for their horrendous actions, and remain incognizant of the most severe rebuke we as Dems could inflict on them and their agenda, is mind boggling to me. The fact that this election was supposed to see a complete electoral rejection of the Republicans, was the only satisfaction we would get, since impeachment off the table, and now we are blowing it(if we choose Obama, angers me, especially that I feel that the party are the ones about to blow it.

Electing Hillary Clinton would be sweet justice indeed, and the Republicans probably get that. They would use it to their electoral advantage, were the shoe on the other foot. But the Dems don't. I haven't decided if that makes us more principled, or just stupid.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

1. had a nut cracker named in their honor

2. was married to a former President

3. Graduated from Wellesley

Other than that, I'm not sure.

Real ponies don't oink - Patrick McManus