SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
Simply put, not up to the task: Last year, in 2019, we began to ask an award-winning question:
What makes you think that we'll even have a White House election this year?
In truth, we didn't quite understand our own question. We were in receipt of imprecise tips from major experts who report to us from the future—from the years which follow the global conflagration they refer to as Mister Trump's War.
These despondent scholars were glumly suggesting that no real election would happen this year. With Barton Gellman's new report in The Atlantic, we may be starting to see what these despondent major experts may have meant by their vague remarks.
Might this yea's election results be nullified by lawsuits and state-level machinations involving the electoral college? Might that turn out to be the story behind the award-winning question we started asking last year?
Will this year's election results be nullified? We can't answer that question! But the fact that the question is being asked shows how far down a dangerous road we've traveled since Trump descended that escalator after four year serving as king of the birthers.
The nation's headlong descent began with Trump's razor-thin election win. So how did he ever get to the White House? How in the world did he get there?
We can answer that question! In large part, the answer involves the feckless behavior of our own self-impressed liberal tribe.
We were having a ton of fun in 2016 at this time! Our tribunes kept filing reports about how Candidate Clinton couldn't possibly lose, even though it was always clear that she actually could.
Astonishingly, the Maddow Show explicitly took James Comey's side when he trashed Candidate Clinton in July 2016. Maddow rolled over and died about Comey that year, just as she'd done all through the autumn of 2012 as Susan Rice was burned at the stake and the Benghazi narratives took form.
Comey's behavior, and the Benghazi narratives, each played a major part in sending Trump to the White House. Maddow (and others) took major dives as each of these storms took shape.
Those events were bad enough, but the problem was much more extensive. In April 2015, the New York Times published its crazy Uranium One report. The 4400-word front-page report was based on Peter Schweizer's crazy Clinton Cash book, and it was full of logical howlers.
It was a totally crazy report. When the New York Times published it, major tribunes of the tribe failed to say boo about it.
On the brighter side, Michelle Goldberg ended up with a spot as a regular New York Times columnist. She and Chris Hayes rolled over and died on the night in 2015 when the crazy report—4400 words long!—appeared in the glorious Times.
Goldberg's ascension testifies to the personal gain which can result from a dangerous silence—from a refusal to tell the truth, from a refusal to fight. We recall that silence every time we read one of her columns.
Our lunatic president reached the White House by beating Candidate Clinton. This followed 24 years of war against Candidate Clinton—a war our compliant tribal tribunes endlessly failed to identify or oppose.
How clueless is our tribe, even today, about this long-running war? Consider a piece which appeared in last Sunday's New York Times Book Review. It ran under this extremely salient headline:
Why Is Hillary Clinton So Hated?
Why is Clinton so hated? To the extent that you can answer that question, you can explain how the grossly disordered Donald J. Trump ever reached the Oval Office, from which venue he now attempts to terminate Roe v. Wade, The Affordable Care Act and the American experiment.
As such, that question is very important. Needless to say, the answer was missing in action in the book review which ran beneath that headline in Sunday's New York Times.
The review was written by Noreen Malone, who is almost surely a thoroughly good, decent person. Unfortunately, something else is true about Malone, if we assume that her piece for the Times was written in good faith:
If we assume that she wrote her piece in good faith, Malone knows virtually nothing about the reasons why Candidate Clinton was "so hated." In that sense, she knows nothing about the way our disordered and dangerous commander in chief managed to get where he is.
Who the heck is Noreen Malone? According to the Times' identity line, she's "a writer and editor [and] the host of an upcoming season of Slate’s Slow Burn podcast."
She graduated from Columbia in the class of 2007. According to her LinkedIn page, she still serves as "editorial director" at New York magazine.
Malone works for New York magazine and for Slate. This suggests that she, like so many others, would never explain why Clinton was so hated, even if she actually knows.
Liberal careerists have avoided such questions for the past 28 years. This largely explains the massive know-nothing political cluelessness which infests our failing tribe.
Why was Hillary Clinton so hated during Campaign 2016? As Malone addresses that question, she points the finger at "right-wing attacks" and at misogyny, and of course at Clinton herself.
She fails to mention the decades of enmity against Hillary Clinton which emerged from the upper-end mainstream press, very much including the famous newspaper for which she penned this review.
She fails to mention the fact that the Whitewater pseudo-scandals began on the front page of the New York Times. She fails to mention the subsequent, related War Against Gore, which raged in the Times and the Washington Post and all over NBC cable.
She fails to mention the continuing enmity which drove so much New York Times coverage during Campaign 2016. That includes, but is hardly limited to, the crazy Uranium One report the Times cut-and-pasted live and direct from the crackpot anti-Clinton right.
For the record, Malone was reviewing a new book by Michael D'Antonio, The Hunting of Hillary: The Forty-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton.
Malone makes the book sound like major hackwork. That could be a fair assessment.
That said, why was Hillary Clinton so hated—so hated that a nutcase like Trump actually reached the Oval? Staying within major zones of safety, Malone offers this at one point:
MALONE (9/20/20): D’Antonio does a certain amount of feminist-inflected analysis in his text, particularly in the early biographical chapters...It’s impossible to argue with the substance of this—misogyny is hypermagnetized toward Clinton, not to mention virtually every woman in politics or the public eye—but it’s a comment that’s certainly been made before. And in places, D’Antonio seems a little blinkered from noticing sexism that doesn’t target Clinton herself. He isn’t particularly generous or thoughtful in his assessment of the way the media treated women like Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky, or Juanita Broaddrick, who made a credible accusation of rape against Bill Clinton that has, in recent years, become the subject of much feminist reconsideration.
Malone inhabits safe harbors.
It pleases the tribe to be told that misogyny "is hypermagnetized toward Clinton, not to mention virtually every woman in politics." On the down side, it's hard to show that this is true, or even to say what it means.
(Was misogyny "hypermaginitized toward" Senator Klobuchar during the primary campaign? This is the kind of vast overstatement which vastly pleases the tribe.)
That said, Hillary Clinton certainly was assailed by sexist and misogynistic slimings all through her national tenure. This was routinely done at the New York Times, as public editor Clark Hoyt pointed out in a remarkable essay in June 2016.
Hoyt's essay produced exactly zero discussion from major liberal pundits. This has long been exactly the way our tribe's career players have played.
For decades, Clinton was slimed all over NBC cable, which isn't a part of the right. On NBC cable, she was Evita Peron and Nurse Ratched, but also Cruella da Ville.
Career liberals knew they mustn't notice or complain. They knew how to play the game.
Today, it pleases the tribe to hear that Clinton was slimed in misogynistic ways, but no career liberal will ever say that the sliming was done by the upper-end mainstream press. Dearest darlings, it just isn't done! Future jobs hang in the balance!
From her sanitized claims about misogyny, Malone moves on to criticize Bill Clinton, who isn't Hillary Clinton. We then reach Malone's most ridiculous passage.
Why was Hillary Clinton so hated? As she continues, Malone offers this:
MALONE (continuing directly): Hillary Clinton’s notorious remark that she “could have stayed at home and baked cookies” offended plenty of women who weren’t on the right, but it is similarly glossed over. The fact of Bill Clinton’s unfaithfulness is mostly used as a launching point for discussing the right’s exploitation of it. D’Antonio can rarely bring himself to admit the couple have legitimate baggage. [Malone's italics]
Hillary Clinton's "notorious remark" was made in March 1992, during her husband's primary campaign. It was a snarky comment. Along with her earlier remark about Tammy Wynette, it showed the world that Hillary Clinton has a certain tendency toward making politically unwise remarks, as most people do.
That said, does that remark constitute "legitimate baggage" of the type which explains why she was so hated in 2016, and is so hated today? Only in the childish world in which liberal careerists have always remained, in which they agree to disappear the long, puzzling war of the mainstream press against both Clintons and Gore.
Reading Malone, you're told that Clinton was attacked by the right. You're told that she had "legitimate baggage."
There's a great deal you aren't told. You're also asked to read this:
MALONE: [T]he book is most successful as a work within the terms of its chosen genre: Clinton defense. Just as the Clinton prosecution—in the manner of Edward Klein and Peter Schweizer—is a recognizable literary category (one to which D’Antonio rightly draws critical attention), so is Clinton defense. (The defense is less given to magical realism; D’Antonio writes factually and journalistically.) For instance, the book’s dramatic title seems to be a riff on Joe Conason and Gene Lyons’s 2000 book, “The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton,” which sought to catalog the “vast right-wing conspiracy” Hillary Clinton so famously blamed for trying to bring her and her husband down.
Did Conason and Lyons seek "to catalog the 'vast right-wing conspiracy' Hillary Clinton so famously blamed?" Yes, they did, but—Shhhh!—they also discussed the assaults on the Clintons by the upper-end mainstream press.
That book followed Lyons' 1995 book, Fools For Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater. In the main, the "media" to which Lyons referred were the New York Times and the Washington Post.
For that reason, Lyons' book—it started as an essay in Harper's—was never discussed by the career liberal press. Malone seems to lump it in with the hackwork of someone like Schweizer, whose Clinton Cash book was cut and pasted for the Times' Uranium One gong-show.
Donald J. Trump squeezed into the White House on the strength of twenty-four years of this journalistic chaos. His opponent wasn't a great politician. But why was she "so hated?"
Liberal careerists have always agreed to disappear a large part of the answer. As they pursued their sacred careers, they greased the path to Gore's amazingly narrow defeat, and then to Hillary Clinton's.
On the whole, we liberals have never complained about this, largely because our tribal sachems haven kept us from hearing about it. On our own, we simply haven't been up to the task of seeing how this worked.
We're pleased when our favorites show up in the Times. It's their silence which put them there, and it also put Trump where he is.