Supplemental: Does the press corps play by the Clinton Rules?


Consider what Kasie Hunt said:
Does the mainstream press corps actually work from a set of “Clinton rules”—rules which are unfair to Clinton and Clinton?

This past Monday at Vox, Jonathan Allen became the latest reporter to say that the press does play by such rules. We’ll probably discuss his piece next week—but in this post about Allen’s claim, Kevin Drum even named an apparent malefactor in this long-standing war!

When professional journalists start naming names, you know they’re getting serious.

Does the press corps really play by the so-called “Clinton Rules?” There’s no simple way to answer that question. But as an example of the way the press corps often portrays the Clintons, consider what Kasie Hunt said on The One True Channel this past Thursday night.

Who the heck is Kasie Hunt? She’s the youngish, perfectly competent “political correspondent” for MSNBC.

She went to high school on the Philly Main Line, graduating in 2003. Subsequently, she graduated from George Washington University and attained a master’s degree from The University of Cambridge—the one over there in England!

We’re going to guess that Hunt is not a secret hidden “right-winger.” We also assume that she’s completely well-intentioned in her work on the air.

For those reasons, we were struck by something she said on Thursday evening’s Hardball. To watch the whole segment, click here.

Blessedly, Steve Kornacki was serving as substitute host. Kornacki played tape of President Clinton and President Bush the Younger interacting nicely at several recent events.

During the discussion which followed, Kornacki asked Hunt if the harmony and good humor could possibly last.

Kornacki asked a reasonable if pointless question. Could this era of good feeling survive another Bush-Clinton race, should such a thing happen next year?

Kornacki asked a sensible question. The analysts screamed and writhed in pain when they heard Hunt’s reply:
KORNACKI (7/9/15): Kasie Hunt, let me just quickly ask to you play this out a little bit. If a year from now we’re talking about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Jeb Bush, the Republican nominee, how much of this good will survives something like that?

HUNT: I mean, Steve, you know as well as do I, and anyone else who’s watched the Clintons in public life, to know that they don’t exactly take hits lightly necessarily. They tend to have long memories.

So I think that if this campaign gets really nasty and goes to questions of character, then you know all bets might be off...
Hunt continued on from there. But good God! What a reply!

Kornacki wanted to know if the Bushes and the Clintons could still be friendly in the event of a Bush-Clinton race. Hunt’s answer came straight from the files which define The Clinton Rules.

You know how those Clintons are, the youngish scribe basically said.

“They don’t exactly take hits lightly,” she said. “They tend to have long memories.” Because of the way the Clintons are, if this campaign gets really nasty, then all bets may be off!

Good God! Where do we get these people?

Hunt worked straight from the press corps script in which the Clintons “will do and say anything to win.” This script was seamlessly transferred to Candidate Gore in 1999 and 2000 as the entire liberal world politely sat and watched.

It didn’t seem to have entered Hunt’s head that the Bushes have a bit of a history in the general realm of playing to win, nasty character attack-wise.

Willie Horton disappeared from view in Hunt’s reply. So did Candidate McCain’s alleged black child in the South Carolina primary during Campaign 2000.

Candidate Kerry was never Swift-boated. In 1992, President Bush didn’t raise suspicions about Candidate Clinton’s visit to the Soviet Union as a Rhodes Scholar in 1969, when he was over in England.

The unlawful rifling of Candidate Clinton’s passport files also didn’t occur. The once-famous voter purge in Florida? It no longer existed.

We’re not suggesting that Hunt was deliberately voicing the kind of script which animates The Clinton Rules. But these scripts are so ubiquitous that youngish reporters, no matter how fresh-faced and telegenic, will often blurt them out without so much as a thought.

We’ll probably look at Allen’s piece on The Clinton Rules next week. But the relevant scripts are everywhere, and they’re deeply destructive.

Also, this prime talking-point: By Friday morning, the analysts had begun to recover from Hunt’s unfortunate construct.

But then, dear God, it happened again! The fresh-faced and youngish Michael Barbaro churned a famous old talking-point in the New York Times.

What if Il Duce Trumpolini decides to run a third-party campaign? Just like that, we were hearing the famous old piddle concerning Ross Perot:
BARBARO (7/10/15): [A]ny top-down campaign by Republicans to marginalize Mr. Trump might encourage him to follow through with a threat to run on a third-party ballot, a scenario reminiscent of Ross Perot's 1992 campaign, which diverted crucial votes from President George Bush. Many in the party still blame Mr. Perot, who won 19 percent of the vote, for Mr. Bush's defeat to Bill Clinton.

''Perot's intensely nationalist and protectionist politics resonated with a lot of center-right voters that otherwise would have voted Republican,'' said Dan Senor, a former Bush administration official who advised Mr. Romney's campaign. ''And the environment today is even more intensely populist. If Trump were to run as an independent, who knows what impact he could have in what will otherwise be a close election?”
Did Candidate Perot divert precious votes from President Bush in the 1992 election?

More to the point, did Perot cost Bush that election? Is that how Clinton reached the White House?

Everything is always possible, of course. But the most basic information we have says that claim is bunk.

Republicans have always pushed the claim that Perot cost Bush the election. Fresh-faced young scribes may be inclined to throw it in print.

That said, the exit polls in 1992 paint a different picture. In those exit polls, Perot voters split right down the middle as to who they would have supported, Clinton or Bush, had Perot not been in the race.

Those exits pols are the only hard evidence we have on this tired old question. They strongly suggest that Candidate Perot did not cost President Bush the race, certainly not in the way Senor describes.

According to the exit polls, Clinton lost as many precious votes to Ross Perot as Bush did. Still and all, the GOP never misses the chance to tell that other story.

Perhaps in thrall to the Clinton rules, fresh-faced scribes at the New York Times tend to just type her right up!


  1. While campaigning in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders held an outdoor rally that was attended by thousands of people. Hillary Clinton held a coffee in someone's home that was attended by 100 people. The article about it compared the two numbers as if they were the same time of event held in the same venue, to suggest that there is little enthusiasm for Clinton and a great deal of enthusiasm for Sanders. Imagine if 1000 people showed up to someone's home for a coffee. This is an example of the Clinton rules. No mention of how many people showed up in Brooklyn when Clinton held an outdoor rally in her neighborhood. Then they talked about the 3 parades Sanders attended compared to the 1 Clinton marched in (with that famous rope line), as if Clinton were only invited to one parade and is the less popular candidate. This coverage is ridiculously slanted.

    1. And Peter Pan still scatters gorilla dust all over it.

    2. It would be nice if Maddow, wonderful political analyst that she supposedly is, were to mention the differential treatment some candidates are receiving in the press, instead of being part of the problem herself. Digby has been saying that because the NY Times is owned by the corporations, they are favoring Clinton because she is supposedly the corporatist candidate. That view is entirely inconsistent with the way the NY Times has been sliming Clinton. It is part of the meme that Hillary is greedy and grasping whereas only Bernie Sanders is pure of heart. It really does bother me to see this garbage coming from Democrats. We truly are the party who snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. If our party for some idiotic reason decides to nominate an unelectable candidate, I am going to figure out how to emigrate to Canada (where I've heard that people can still think as well as treat each other decently).

    3. If only Hillary were gay, no doubt Maddow would have much more clarity on who would make the best president among this year's offerings. Women are their own worst enemies. Although few would actually say it, there's absolutely no doubt that African-Americans who failed to vote for Obama are regarded as self-serving Uncle Toms of the purest stripe. Not so much when it comes to a woman who has a chance of becoming president - we womenfolk can think of a thousand reasons why kindly old Uncle Bernie would be the better choice.

    4. It's those young ones, you know, the "creative class", same ones who stuck it in her back in 2008.

      They're stupid, have no sense of history, and most of all have no core values. Like this "political correspondent" Kasie Hunt. The only core value she has is herself and her career. Period.

    5. Stupids need not apply, you don't deserve her. My fellow brainiacs, embrace the politics of your identity, unless you're non-female, and never trust anyone under fifty. That's what we're down to rallying round at "Vote Hillary!" these days.

    6. CMike, you won't attract any votes to Sanders by denigrating Hillary supporters and pretending her campaign is promoting the stuff you attribute to it.

      mm didn't say any of that and neither did I. He criticized the press.

      The demographics if current Sanders supporters is skewing young white male, suggesting there is some sexist rejection of the aspirations of a female president involved. DKos is 2/3 for Sanders -- no surprise given their banishment of Hillary supporters in 2008. If you want to talk about identity politics, why are men so eager to support the leasr qualified candidate?

      Stop calling Clinton a neo-liberal. She is not and your persistent smear is annoying. If you keep it up I will start refering to Sanders as a gun-toting rape apologist with dual citizenship.

    7. Feel free to refer to Sanders "as a gun-toting rape apologist with dual citizenship." It may sink him with the people who read these threads but I'm going with it'll be more likely to make another Hillary supporter look ridiculous.

      As for whether Clinton is a "smaller government," "market-based solutions," "sign away Glass-Steagall" "cap and trade" [LINK] "Heritage/Romney/Obamacare type of private insurance industry rescuing" neo-liberal type (or, at least, a water carrier* for neo-liberals), I think that's a pretty easy case to make effectively.

      *Hillary fans, don't click here [LINK], you won't like listening to any of these twelve minutes.

    8. You might want to be careful what you say about Hillary, CMike.

      I hear tell from reliable political correspondents on liberal cable tv that

      ... they don’t exactly take hits lightly necessarily. They tend to have long memories.

      And if things get rough those "Clintons" can get really nasty. You better warn Bernie too. If it gets close you know, "all bets are off".

    9. You are grossly unfair when you blame the repeal of Glass Steagall on either Clinton. It was written and passed by the Republicans when they held majorities in Congress and it was signed reluctantly only because the majority was veto-proof. This is what Bill Clinton himself has said when asked about it. Lieberman is a neo-liberal. Clinton is far from it. Their defining issue is Iran and Clinton has both supported Obama's position on it and also been consistently in favor of negotiated settlements, not invasion, when it comes to conflict anywhere.

      The Clintons seem to be blamed when they compromise in office. The same people who think any compromise is a sell-out turned around and voted for Obama. They now think the way to atone for that is to select someone like Sanders whose approach to governing is to stand above the game by refusing to participate in the process effectively. That may work for a Senator from an isolated constituency but it cannot work for a president. Sanders is not accountable to anyone in Vermont but he would be unable to stand above the fray or take his "principled" stands on issues as President. So comparing him with any other candidate -- anyone who has been forced to live in the real world -- is going to produce a distorted record. Even with that, he has taken unacceptable positions on issues I care about, including gun control (something his Vermont voters do care about) and he has introduced no important legislation and done nothing much with his decades in office except stay on the good side of his own conscience. Look at Elizabeth Warren in contrast -- to see what someone acting on her conscience is like, instead of someone hiding out in the boonies.

    10. CMike, you point to an age old dilemma. Do you vote in a primary for the candidate with the purest views, or for a more establishment candidate who has a better shot of winning the general election but makes more compromises and is less hostile in Wall St and business interests? On one side, the argument is that by supporting the purer, nobler candidate (who, it is argued isn't really that pure and noble anyway), you hurt the chances of the more mainstream candidate in the general election (which becomes more the case when the voters who supported the purer candidate sit out the general election in protest or disgust); or do you vote for the mainstream candidate because she has a much better chance of winning the general election, while the purer candidate seems to have zilch of a chance (remember McGovern). That the pure candidate is said to have no chance you could argue becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and insures that the best candidate is never nominated. Don't the republicans have something similar going on - there are lots of supporters of Trump, Carson, Cruz, Santorum - but these guys are deemed sure losers in the general election, and a more 'moderate' candidate, Bush, is likely to win the nomination - possibly after being weakened by attacks from his GOP rivals.

    11. According to the dictionary definition, all Democrats are neo-liberals. What exactly do you mean when you apply that term to Clinton and not other Democrats, CMike? Even Sanders isn't advocating pure socialism.

    12. You know, you ALWAYS have more choices during the primary season among well-known candidates than you have in the general election, and this is particularly true early in the primary season.

      Now excuse me if I vote for the candidate who best fits my own ideology, rather than the candidate the "experts" -- including those self-proclaimed ones in this combox -- tell me are the only truly "viable" candidate.

      I was a Hillary voter in 2008, but I don't think Obama beat her (barely) because he was simply the "progressive" darling, which seems to be the narrative around here.

      He beat her primarily because

      1. His campaign, making full use of new-fangled social media, pulled together a stunning ground game in caucus states, while holding their own in voting booth states, as Hillalry's campaign concentrated on the voting booth primaries.

      2. Obama was damned inspiring. Good grief, he could mesmerize a crowd.

      Without either of those two things, Hillary would have one that nomination in a cake walk, despite her vote on the Iraq invasion, and especially despite anything Chris Matthews said about her to his relative handful of viewers.

    13. "won" instead of "one" the nomination of course. That's what happens when you write phonetically.

    14. @11:36

      1. There were accusations of irregularities in how the Obama team conducted itself during the caucuses, especially in Texas and Nevada. Obama was overwhelming defeated in traditional blue voting booth primaries (Ohio, PA, NY, NJ, CA).
      2. Obama was inspiring during his prepared speeches but not so much when speaking extemporaneously. He was inspiring as a symbol of social justice and he said vague things that people could project their own hopes onto. This was especially appealing to younger voters who have not yet learned how to recognize substance.

      Even so, Hillary might have won the nomination if the DNC Rules Committee had not manipulated the process of counting delegates to favor Obama. The delegates were not counted because Hillary conceded the nomination under pressure and called for nomination by acclamation halfway through the process, thus depriving the delegates won during voting booth primaries from being counted at all.

      Speculation about why Obama was considered so damned inspiring must include a backlash against the first viable female presidential candidate, dislike of the Clintons by the Democratic establishment (including the DNC who manipulated the primary process in Obama's favor), dislike of the Clintons by the mainstream press corps, and Obama's ability to rally African American voters and celebrities in support of his candidacy (especially Oprah). He created the appearance of a landslide in the absence of clear voter support, called for Clinton to step aside repeatedly and continuously after NH, and conducted a campaign via his surrogates to portray Bill Clinton and Hillary supporters as racists. It was very ugly. Hillary's vote on Iraq was irrelevant.

    15. Your Howler gets results:

      "Obama was inspiring ... especially appealing to younger voters who have not yet learned how to recognize substance.

      "Hillary might have won the nomination if.....

      "Obama was considered so damned" partly as "a backlash against the first viable female presidential candidate...dislike of the Clintons...." and "especially Oprah."

      "Hillary's vote on Iraq was irrelevant."

      With liberals like these now wide awake in the woods, we can expect the whole forest to be ablaze in 2016! Now if we can just keep those stupid kids with the "Bernie" signs off our lawn!!!

    16. In addition to being young, they are largely white and male. You cannot win with just that demographic. Howler provides an alternative to the liberal sites dominated by white males who still try to shout down Hillary supporters (dKos). We are lucky to have only one CMike here.

    17. @ mm

      "The only core value she has is herself and her career. Period." mm

      And you wish to see her back in The White House as POTUS.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. They must have knocked on HB's door looking for the child support checks,

  3. Digby talks about a Salon article listing all the overlap between Sanders views and mainstream poll opinions on issues. She thinks that makes him electable. The problem isn't the views Sanders shares with most voters (and Hillary). It is the points of disagreement, the positions he holds that are not mainstream. If you look only at what people have in common, you wind up thinking Nixon was a good president because he loved his kids or liked bowling. What defines Sanders is that he is not a member of the Democrat party as a Senator, has advocated raisings taxes, and unlike Clinton, did not vote for gun control. He did oppose the Iraq authorization of force (which Obama never voted on), which only a minority democrats opposed. It shows again that he was not mainstream in the Democratic party at the time the vote was held -- even some Republicans admit Iraq was a mistake in retrospect. He is a fringe candidate who is attracting an antiHillary backlash, egged on by conservatives. Just as tea party conservative candidates are not viable in the general election, a fringe liberal candidate will not be able to attract mainstream liberal voters, much less cross over or independent voters. And then there are the aspirations of millions of women. On what basis can progressives justify setting them aside yet again? Can someone be progressive without caring about that social justice issue?

    1. What defines Sanders is that he is not a member of the Democrat[ic] party as a Senator, has advocated raising taxes, and unlike Clinton, did not vote for gun control. He did oppose the Iraq authorization of force (which Obama never voted on), which only a minority Democrats opposed. It shows again that he was not mainstream in the Democratic party at the time the vote was held -- even some Republicans admit Iraq was a mistake in retrospect.

      Nice try except for one thing [LINK]:

      Independent Bernie Sanders voted with the majority of Democrats AGAINST the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. Sen. Clinton bucked the mainstream Democratic position on the issue and voted IN FAVOR of the resolution.


      In the House 126 Democrats and 1 Independent [Sanders] voted against the Authorization, 82 Democrats in favor. In the Senate 21 Democrats and 1 Independent voted against the Authorization, 28 Democrats in favor.

      All told 147 elected Democrats voted nay (that's 57% of them) on the Authorization, 110 Democrats voted yea (that's 43% of them). Both Independents were caucusing with the Democrats at that point in time and both voted against the Resolution.

    2. By the way, Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee [LINK] also voted AGAINST the Iraq War authorization. He was a Republican senator at the time.

    3. @ 12:30 am

      "He did oppose the Iraq authorization of force (which Obama never voted on), which only a minority Democrats opposed."

      Nice try to get a dig in at the last person who defeated Hillary Clinton.

    4. On that basis, should we all be voting for Lincoln Chafee?

    5. On that basis alone, yes. However, there are other considerations which have me supporting Sanders not Chafee.

      I take it you're supporting Clinton because she so cleverly sided with the Bush position regarding the 2002 Force Authorization vote. In your mind I assume you think that was some sort of eleven dimensional chess political master-stroke that would put her in position later to help bring peace to Libya, no scratch that... a political master-stroke that put her in position to help bring peace to somewhere and some when to be named sometime after November, 2016.

    6. I don't think her voting differently would have prevented Bush from invading Iraq. I hold Bush, not Clinton responsible for Iraq. After that vote, she voted identically to Obama. She has said it was a mistake. I like her other positions some much better than Obama or Sanders. I think it is foolish to fixate in Iraq and ignore things like education policies, women's health, gun control and many other issues. I like Sanders views on the economy but not much else. I think his is a vanity campaign and I resent it that he cannot get behind a historic candidacy for women. Clinton has earned her shot -- Sanders has not.

    7. Clinton never took a position on men's sexual fantasies. Hillary Clinton, we mean.

    8. @ 7:42

      HRC was never limber enough to assume the position. Enter Jennifer Flowers.

    9. Clinton has earned her shot -- Sanders has not.

      Sanders has served eight years as a mayor, sixteen years as a House member where he was one of the six co-founders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and coming up on ten years in the Senate.

      Sanders was never a First Lady nor a Secretary of State so that's why you're saying he hasn't earned a shot at being president?

    10. What did he accomplish in those years. He has no national leadership position, no name recognition, no outstanding bills or legislative accomplishments. He is known for being the only self-declared socialist elected to congress. He hasn't earned recognition as a viable candidate. He isn't Nancy Pelosi or a Ted Kennedy or even a Joe Biden. He is an eccentric from a small state who has no doubt done a good job but has not shown any leadership. Speaking of Sec of State, what are his foreign relations credentials? Was he on one of the committees involving international issues? What makes you think conservatives will be likely to work with him? What has he done that suggests competence in a job Obama found challenging?

    11. Sanders committee assignments:

      Budget, veterans affairs, environment and public works, energy and natural resources, health education labor and pensions.

      Absolutely nothing that isn't domestic.

      You keep mentioning his Iraq vote but didn't tell us he voted in favor of the authorization to use force against terrorists in 2001. Not wonderful. At least he is against the Patriot Act. No mention of his position on net neutrality (unlike Clinton).

      He doesn't have the chops.

    12. No mention of his position on net neutrality, what? [LINK]

      Your point seems to be if Sanders had been a little more "me too" about neo-liberalism, like the Clintons, he might have been a bit more in the mainstream of the wrong direction this country has been headed in the last forty years.

    13. Clinton's position on net neutrality has been to protect it so that corporations do not get special treatment. How is that neo-liberal? My point is that Sanders has large gaps in his experience, as evidenced by his lack of leadership on issues like net neutrality, which Clinton has taken a strong stand on (opposite to Obama's).

      You keep calling Clinton neo-liberal without mentioning any issue. All Democrats are neo-liberal by the usual definition, so what exactly are you talking about -- besides just trying to smear Clinton with a vague label.

    14. Sanders self identifies as a socialist and is proud of forming a progressive caucus in the House but he isn't in the top 15 of the most liberal Senators. His rank varies but he is consistently in the low 30's. What's up with that?

    15. He sold his soul to the syrup cartel.

  4. The VOX piece was interesting, especially #3. Hillary has constant press attention, as a candidate she'll need to figure out how to turn that into a good thing. If she can't handle the washington press corps, i think it's fair to question how she'll handle her "3 am phone calls."

    Anyway, this whole hand wringing over how unfair the press is to the Clintons is amusing, when you consider candidates suggest as Jim Webb, who is barely mentioned as when he is it's often a lot of bullshit. Webb is easily as qualified as Clinton, and has a more progressive foreign policy approach.

    Andrew Bacevich had a good piece on Webb and the press in the Boston Globe

    "This [Webb's record] might sound like a perspective certain to be warmly welcomed. Yet the subdued response to Webb’s announcement illustrates the impediments to being heard. The New York Times consigned the story to page A12 and labeled Webb a 'long-shot.' The Globe misleadingly described him as an 'outsider.' The Washington Post marginalized Webb by placing him 'squarely to the right' of others in the Democratic field."

    1. Bacevich's piece. Worth a read:

    2. She is handling the press. That's why they're complaining.

    3. The VOX piece was indeed interesting, as Boboleans who read other publications earlier discussed when it first came out here in this very combox.

      Bob himself may eventually discuss it since it fits his meme if MSNBC does not do anything to further piss him off first. Otherwise those youngish VOXers have to realize they are not up to making the mainstream musings yet. Or maybe he will discuss the drunk guy who insulted Baltimore in the NYTimes as promised.

    4. @ 11:00

      HRC can't even handle the nerf ball question throwing press. HRC hand picked CNN's Briana Keilar for her first sit down interview because Briana was at the wedding of Adam Parkhomenko, the director for grassroots engagement for Clinton's presidential campaign and a co-founder of Ready for Hillary.

      Why is HRC deathly afraid of reporters who will ask follow up questions regarding HRC's tenure at State Department and her handling of the Clinton Foundation?

    5. Nick's Anonymous CousinJuly 12, 2015 at 2:43 PM

      Bacevich...just another professor with an opinion. If Professor Bacevich had written his piece in a mainstream media outlet like Salon, Somerby might muse on it. If Clown Princess Maddow had played Pee Wee with Professor Bacevith's views, Blogger Somerby might have written a whole new series on her self absorption with meaningless candidates.

    6. I can't believe TDH let Kornacki & Co. get away with using the Clinton Rules against Alan Grayson.

      From a real media blog:

    7. @ 3:01

      "Real" as in far left blog where any contrary liberal ideology is strictly verboten.

    8. Sounds like Susie Madrak pulled the plug on cicero's comment privileges.

    9. @ 3:22

      Madrak, Moulitsas & Brock. Sounds like HRC's favorite puppet show.

  5. Clinton is making a major economic speech on Monday outlining her economic policies and Huffington Post is calling it a "gambit." Those tricky Clintons!

    1. And those amazing Howlerians with ex-ray vision!

      "Clinton's Big Economic Speech Will Go Heavy On Middle Class Wages"

      Huffington Post Headline

      The article by Sam Stein does not contain the word "gambit"
      but only the tone deaf can't see it in there. It's contents were leaked to Stein by an "anonymous" source. Clinton herself would not allow nosy old CNN to pry any of it out of her last week.

      (Full disclosure...we do not know if Anonymous Source is related)

    2. On the Huffington Post webpage for mobile devices it says "Hillary's Economic Gambit Goes For Middle Class Appeal" Anonymous sourcing is crap journalism. The headline implies no real commitment to economic issues, just a desire to manipulate voters. There is something like this every day at Huffpo, often coupled with the least flattering pictures available. It stinks.

    3. L. Evan D'MenschaJuly 12, 2015 at 3:35 PM


      In our view "gambit" means an opening move. Perhaps your problem is it comes from chess and that brings unpleasant
      past memories of you know who.

      Why in the Sam Hill is everything a threat to Hillary supporters such as yourself? Is this why Somerby labelled Hillary supporters her biggest problem?

    4. No, gambit implies that this is a game in which her policies are insincere and do not reflect her views but only what the middle class wants to hear. The larger context is that those Clintons will say or do anything to win -- that they hold no principles but only act out of personal ambition. The language furthers that meme. That's why it is objectionable.

      Language matters.

    5. Well I found another site for Huff Po where they teased the Stein article this way:

      "Clinton's Big Economic Speech Will Be Based on One Simple Idea."

      I wish they'd keep their meme's straight.

      Language matters. Like "create" means "invent."
      Except to the excessively literal.

    6. Create doesn't mean invent. I can create a sandwich any time I go in the kitchen but I can only invent the sandwich once. Being excessively literal means ignoring aspects of meaning inherent in language -- not paying too much attention to nuances of definition. If you say "You can argue til the cows come home but I won't change my mind" an excessively literal person would say "I didn't know you raised cows."

      But here, excessive literalism is a troll device for attacking Somerby. No one can be as brain damaged as our resident troll pretends.

    7. Then you really have no idea what gambit means in the context of a teaser to an article that does not use the word, and is teased elsewhere as a "big speech" instead of as a "gambit."

      And Clinton herself described it on CNN as the opening speech revealing her economic plans, hence a gambit in a campaign.

      Being excessively and defensively anal about words was, in fact, what Somerby was aiming at if you view the context of his guess that some of Clinton's supporters were her biggest problem.

      Feel free to call me a troll. Somerby called you Clinton's biggest problem.

      Oh, and if you were a top Mexican cuisine chef and you went on TV and the food critic (Panchito Bruni, perhaps) asked what made you better than Guy Fieri, and you said "During my service at El Cacaloco I took the initiative in creating the Enchilada" food writers, chef's and anyone who ever had a Number 1 dinner would make jokes about you. If they said you were full of bullshit they would literally mean it.

    8. Anyone with a native speaker's grasp of English would understand your statement to be limited to that restaurant's enchilada and not assume you had invented the original enchilada. If I said I created the Taco Bell enchilada the statement is explicitly limited. In your example, it is implied and no one would call bullshit.

      Somerby never intended his statement to be applied out of context to every Hillary supporter who annoys you.

      A political campaign is not a game. It is an audition for a public service job. Calling it a game implies a lack of seriousness and a disingenuous quality that voters dislike. Clinton's economic speech is not a gambit. It is a statement to the public about what principles will guide her if elected. She shbe treated as the serious candidate she is, whether you plan to vote for her or not. She is not playing at running for office. The metaphor is insulting.

    9. There are indeed many enchiladas one can create. There was and is only one Internet.

    10. Actually there is more than one, and there was darpa net before the current internet.

    11. Which one did Al create?

    12. Over at The Internet Society webpage the have "A Brief History of the Internet"

      "What Is the Internet?

      Learn about the varying perspectives on the history of the Internet and read A Brief History of the Internet, written by those who created it."

      Sadly Al Gore is not listed as an author. The 8,300 word history does mention him, though.

      "• In 1988, a National Research Council committee, chaired by Kleinrock and with Kahn and Clark as members, produced a report commissioned by NSF titled "Towards a National Research Network". This report was influential on then Senator Al Gore, and ushered in high speed networks that laid the networking foundation for the future information superhighway."

      So, according to the people who claim to have created the Internet in their brief history of the Internet, they say Al Gore was influenced by a report.

    13. No, I thought Al Gore meant he was working nights in the Senate basement designing the hardware.


      Stupid fucking trolls

    14. Al was reading copies of Love Story to calm his arthritic dog.

  6. So, let's see what "youngish" Kasie Hunt said that set the "oldish" Bib Somerby off that led us through a ramble which managed to include Al Gore.

    Bob writes: "You know how those Clintons are, the youngish scribe basically said."

    No. She didn't basically say that. That is what somebody said who makes up his own rules on when a direct quote can be paraphrased and altered to make it say what he feels like it implies.

    Isn't it terrible the Clinton's have a reputation for responding when attacked. It is a shame someone of would give voice to the notion they would take the gloves off "if" attacked again, especially on character issues.

    1. You are tone deaf. The references are about getting even not just "responding" when attacked. They go back to rumors about Vince Foster being murdered etc. They aren't about the Clintons merely sticking up for themselves.

    2. Howler fans who like made up paraphrases may enjoy adding even more imaginary stuff themselves.

      "(T)hey don’t exactly take hits lightly" becomes "Hunt worked straight from the press corps script in which the Clintons “will do and say anything to win,” thanks to Bob Somerby, who adds superhuman tonal hearing to his culture melting vision.

      After Somerby, in his service in the blogosphere, took the initiative in creating quotation marks out of the blue, a reader even found a way to hear "Vince Foster" in between names like Clinton, Bush, Ford, Carter, and even Jefferson and Adams.

      Is it genetic? Or do superheros like Bob and his fans get trained with tonal whistles in the crib by caring moms the rest of us just didn't have?

    3. "Bob writes: "You know how those Clintons are, the youngish scribe basically said."

      No. She didn't basically say that."AnonymousJuly 12, 2015 at 11:43 AM

      Yes, she did basically say that.

      Hunt: I mean, Steve, you know as well as do I, and anyone else who’s watched the Clintons in public life, to know that they don’t exactly take hits lightly necessarily.

      Not quite sure what the point is here. Are you putting forth the proposition that what Hunt said was completely neutral? Or that TDH misrepresented the substance of her remarks? Isn't it interesting that Hunt had no disparaging comments for Jeb(!) or the Bush family, or any historical insight into the dirty pool they have played in the past.

      As I said, stupid, no sense of history and no core values. Bob was right once again.

    4. mm says once again she/he missed the point. To amplify this clueless position, mm then asks if another comment proposes something it did not.

      Then mm asks if the comment suggests "TDH misrepresented the substance of..(Hunbt's) remarks."

      It is obvious mm misrepresents not getting the point.

      mm may have missed the vaunted Clinton "War Room" of 1992.

    5. mm writes good. mm expresses many of my views right. but mm is no deadrat.

    6. I really wish deadrat was still writing here.

    7. The Clinton war room was set up to react quickly to attacks during a presidential campaign. Just like every other modern day candidate who has to deal quickly and smartly with the 24 hour accelerated news cycle will have. It has fuck all to do with the implications of what Hunt said.

      "long memories"
      "all bets are off"

    8. "Don't take hits lightly.....long memories"
      "if this campaign gets...nasty....questions of character...all bets might be off.

      It has the fuck to do with what the fuck callers fucking leave out all the fucking time. Bob does have his followers.

    9. Once again The Clinton Problem Supporters demonstrates how severe that problem can be in the wrong heads.

      @ 7:13 "A political campaign is not a game.." begins the paragraph long rant."

      Nobody said it was. I suspect you might be the very letter writer who Somerby was writing about, who turned a quasi-endorsement column into a sexist attack on Clinton by taking umbrage at words only the addled might find insulting.

    10. I hope the Clintons roll over and play dead. That will show those smarty pants young whippersnappers.

    11. @8:08. Look up the word gambit.

    12. 10:03 Look at HuffPo now at 11:32 EDT and tell me where "gambit" is in the giant banner headline:


      I am sure one of Clinton's Biggest Problems will also argue the picture is unflattering.

    13. What's wrong with saying she supports the middle class? What does "goes big" mean? Does it say she cares about the middle class, wants to help them? Odd choice of words.

    14. What's wrong with you saying "I"m Stupid!" ?

      You really want a purported news site that says things like that? Here's a link:

    15. Take the next step. When they choose different, less positive words, they do so for a reason.

      You forgot to explain what "goes big" means. What are they trying to get people to think about Clinton's speech?

    16. It's a substitute for "Gambit" for the less intellectually challenged.

  7. Meanwhile,over at the New York Times, scribes not covering Republicans fretting about Trump by mistaking the past history of Perot are instead covering the future Republicans have in store for Mrs. Clinton.

    1. "Crossroads, which was founded by the Republican strategist Karl Rove, gathered about 50 voters representing groups that it believes can be persuaded to vote against Mrs. Clinton — an all-white mix of young men, low-income adults, married mothers and politically moderate women.
      They showed the voters, who received $100, sandwiches and soft drinks for their time, more than a dozen 30-second ads.
      In Orlando, the “dead broke” ad emerged as the most effective spot, partly because it captured the gulf between Mrs. Clinton’s life and those of the less affluent people gathered."

      I would suspect it was effective against Hillary partly because the words came straight from the horse's mouth, to use a metaphor.

    2. How did the ad do against people in her demographic groups? On what planet are young men and soccer moms likely Clinton voters? Teachers, older and professional women, Hispanic and African Americans, urban working class? In other words, people without a negative predisposition to start with.

    3. It takes a lot of work planning and focus group testing to get people to vote against their own interests. Karl Rove, the man who inflicted the dumbest mother fucking president this country has ever had to endure. Why shouldn't you trust him?

    4. I would suggest Karl Rove is using the Clinton Rules to get the NY Times to raise money for American Crossroads.

      Can you think of any other reason he is inviting the NY Times to a "focus group showing" of his attack ads? He is trying to show he is still relevant to a bunch of rich people who have other PACS they might wish to donate to instead of Karl's after he wasted all their cash in 2012.

    5. Karl Rove and his tax exempt PAC teaming up with the NY Times (JEB!). That Rove really knows how to catapult the propaganda.

    6. Except Crossroads isn't JEB! Pac and if JEB! isn't the nominee Karl will have no problem spending any cash he raises...minus the cut he keeps for himself.

    7. @mm

      No doubt you also castigate Media Matters David Brock's 501(c) 3 tax exempt bile pile that just happens to be HRC's personal Pomeranian attack dog.

    8. Neither Rove or Brock amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed up world when you compare them to the clown car driver over at MSNBC's flagship who stuffs a big salary in her britches.

    9. Cicero,

      No, I have no problem with Media Matters, which documents the continuous surge of right wing propaganda masquerading as "news", nor do I have a have a problem with Brent Bozell's MRC, which approaches the media from, shall we say a different angle.

      Crossroads of course is a complete farce.

      To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

      It may not participate in any campaign activity for or AGAINST any political candidates.

      Generating political attack adds against one specific Democratic candidate, the focus group testing the adds is prima fascia not permitted by the IRS regulations.

      You repeatedly imply that there is some relationship between Media Matters and Hillary Clinton. What is your evidence? The fact that Media Matters finds itself constantly having to correct lies and false reporting attacking Hillary Clinton is simply the result that there seems to be so much of it going on lately.

    10. @mm

      Imply their relationship? Brock and HRC relationship is more substantial than HRC & Willie's.

      "David Brock, founder of Media Matters and Correct the Record, which is transforming itself into a super PAC that plans to work with Hillary Clinton's campaign"

      "Brock says he first conceived of Correct the Record last summer. "Having left the State Department," Brock told me, "Clinton didn't have the kind of robust operation that one would have if one was holding public office. That's where I saw the need." He wrote a memo predicting "an uptick in political attacks" against Clinton and proposed a rapid-response group to defend her."

      "Correct the Record's staff (18 and counting) is crammed into a newsroom-style bullpen in the back corner of the offices of American Bridge 21st Century, Brock's super-PAC. "They're always there; they're working around the clock," former Clinton White House adviser Paul Begala says of the crew. "I always tease David that he finds all of these nerd virgins and locks them away in a vault where they never see sunlight or have a drink or get laid. But God bless them!"

    11. I thought you were talking about Media Matters. Actually, now that I look back at what you said, you were talking about Media Matters.

    12. I am glad David Brock thought about Hillary needing a supply of nerd virgins after leaving her robust operators at Foggy Bottom behind.

    13. @mm

      Media Matters protects HRC from FNC while "Correct The Record" protects HRC from any entity that refuses to genuflect in her direction. What's the difference again?

  8. I find it interesting that no one chased the Perot bait back to the good old days.

    Just as TDH faults young Ms. Hunt for not mentioning things the Bush and Republican did in the past, TDH leaves out virtually everything that provides any context for the quote he selects from Michael Barbaro's article. No link either we notice. What a hypocrite.

    That said, the point Somerby makes here is quite humorous:

    Barbaro says "Many in the party still blame Mr. Perot, who won 19 percent of the vote, for Mr. Bush's defeat to Bill Clinton."

    Somerby seems to acknowledge the truth of that by saying "Republicans have always pushed the claim that Perot cost Bush the election."

    I have always found those on the losing side generally always look elsewhere for the blame for an election loss. Bob Somerby for example, has been blaming the press for Al Gore's 2000 defeat on a weekly basis for fifteen years straight. Some Republicans from 1992 still moan about Perot.

    Everything is always possible, of course. But the most basic information I have says both claims are bunk.

    1. Saying that Republicans believe something in know way acknowledges the truth of their belief. Somerby referred to the exit polls, which found that the votes pulled from both candidates equally.

    2. typo -- in no way

    3. Yes. He did. And Al Gore got more votes.

      Barbaro was writing about what is motivating Republicans now. He was not writing the history of the 1992 election.
      Somerby seems to think he should have been.

      But that is OK, if you are Bob. He makes up his own history for the election of 2000 by regularly ignoring the real polls.

  9. After reading this blog post I think I know what TDH thinks the MSNBC exchange should have been:

    KORNACKI (7/9/15): Kasie Hunt, let me just quickly ask to you play this out a little bit. If a year from now we’re talking about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Jeb Bush, the Republican nominee, how much of this good will can we expect to see destroyed by the press playing by the Clinton Rules?

    HUNT: I mean, Steve, you know as well as do I, and anyone else who’s watched the press, especially the regular host of this show, Chris Matthews, they tend to have hatred for the Clintons which is outstripped only by their lust for money.

    That said, to answer your specific question, Republicans have always pushed spurious scandals involving the Clintons. Fresh-faced young scribes are inclined to throw them in print. And while the Clintons have responded as best they could, liberals have done nothing right to defend them, often ignoring the obvious.

    Will that happen in 2016? Anything is possible. We don't know."

  10. All these comments over the weekend and nobody bothered to defend Somerby from the sarcastic cuffing he got from Uncle Drum?

    1. There may be a very good reason why TDH has yet to fully cover the Jonathan Allen piece in VOX about Clinton coverage in the media. It is after all called a "confession" and the man has a lot to confess to after his role in the ginned up e-mail "scandal" created by the media to hurt Hillary Clinton. Compare this quote to the now comparatively benign things said about Chris Christie during efforts to link him to the flap over an bridge entrance ramp.

      "At best, Clinton created a political maelstrom for herself — and for a Democratic Party that seems inclined to nominate her for president. At worst, she robbed the public of information that could be used to evaluate her merits and deficiencies as a candidate. It's entirely possible that she did both. And none of that bodes well for transparency in the presidency if she's elected."

      Perhaps Somerby needs to vet the past work of Mr. Allen before giving him any credit for writing a piece about Clinton and the press that seems to be a copycat version of everything
      TDH has done.

      But for Kevin Drum to write what seems to be a sarcastic dismissal of all the Howler's work as an introduction to Allen's piece demands more than a confession. It requires an apology.

  11. Hillary Clinton Will Call for Economic Policy Changes to Lift Middle-Class Wages

    Teachers’ Union Endorses Clinton as She Prepares to Outline Economic Vision

    These are the online and print headlines from the New York Times articles on the upcoming speech. The Times, which is conducting a War on Clinton does not use the word Gambit or BIG, even in any teasers I could find.

    HuffPo is the worst!