Supplement: Krystal Ball’s full text!


Every word, just as she said them: On June 17, MSNBC’s Krystal Ball discussed the NEW jihad which had started to form around Hillary Clinton.

In the year 2525, this will be regarded as an iconic text. To watch the videotape, you can just click this:
BALL (6/17/14): What are we to make of the Hillary Clinton book tour that is so much more than a book tour? The down-to-the-second, precision interactions, perfectly calculated to make sure visitors don’t feel jilted while maximizing the number of signatures. The planned pop-ups of old friends who just happen to be in the area. The carefully crafted backdrops, not too warehouse-y but not too stiff.

And of course, the interviews.

Now, 99 percent of the interviews substance has been safe, unremarkable, just like Hillary was hoping. But that other one percent is of course what’s gotten all the attention.

First there was the lament that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House and had trouble affording mortgages [stresses the plural] for their houses [stresses the plural]. As a presumptive nominee of a party that is deeply animated by issues of inequality and middle-class fairness, could this comment have been any more dissonant?

Then there was an uncomfortable exchange with NPR’s Terry Gross in which Hillary struggled at length to sort through her various talking-points on gay marriage to describe how and why her position on the issue changed. She eventually settled on something along the lines of, “The country changed and so did I and as soon as I was done with my non-political job at State I came out with my new position,” an answer that I really take no issue with. I wish more people would have the courage to evolve, and more rapidly.

But in her talking-point flail we were reminded of something else—the fact that, for the Clintons, everything is carefully poll-tested, focus-grouped and weather-vaned. If marriage equality was still a drag for Democratic candidates, do you think Hillary would still have come out in support?

As I watched all of this unfold, I began asking myself an uncomfortable question: Is Hillary Clinton our Mitt Romney? Smart? Sure. Confident? Absolutely. Incredible resume? Without a doubt. But also kind of tone deaf and unrelatable. I mean, be honest. Didn’t Hillary’s “dead broke” comment make you think just for a second about Mitt saying “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs” or that he likes firing people?

And like Mitt, after decades in public service, we still can only really speculate on what Hillary Clinton is all about.

Is she a triangulating moderate? A secret liberal? A DLC Wall Street Dem? What will she run on? What sort of president would she actually be? There’s no clues in the bland safety of her State Department record and certainly not in Hard Choices. So we can only guess through the bobbles, the accidental deviations from the script, the things that are said that didn’t come from the briefing book.

Now there’s clearly more enthusiasm among Democrats for Clinton than there was among Republicans for Romney, both became of her trailblazer status and because she so effectively boxed out all other potential primary contenders. But already those sky-high approval ratings are beginning to ebb, and I think it’s because people are remembering the real Hillary, not just the abstract imagined one.

The real Hillary didn’t just lose in 2008 just because of her vote on Iraq. In fact the Iraq vote and her Inability to say she was wrong were symptoms of the core problem in her campaign, a problem that was also at the center of Romney’s campaign.

She exuded confidence but with no core belief. It seemed like the real answer to why she was running for president was simply because she wanted to be president. Will 2016 be different? It’s possible. But so far I haven’t seen change I can believe in just yet.
That text is loaded with talking-points. In the future, anthropologists will call it iconic, or so we’ve been told.


  1. "That text is loaded with talking points."

    It is also almost a month old and being linked for the third time.

    Will the next post on this broadcast include another anthropology lesson comparing Bush ranch v. Gore hotel suite? Or Obama shady house deal v. McCain shady housing memory?

    1. Back in his glory days, Bob used to actually do some work and trace these "talking points" to their origin.

      For instance, way back some 15 years ago, he noted that the whole "invented the Internet" thing didn't grow legs until the RNC sent out a press release a couple days later ridiculing Gore.

      Now, of course, he was perfectly right to point out how quickly the "media" picked up that theme.

      But this time, he merely says that Ball was reciting "talking points." OK, whose "talking points"?

    2. Actually, he says she is reciting RNC talking points.

    3. Oh really? When did he say that? He certainly doesn't say it here.

      And if he is now calling this RNC talking points, does that now mean Diane Sawyer didn't start the jihad?

    4. @11:06 Look at the post headed "In the year 2525" on Wed. July 9. It says:

      "On June 17 of this very year, MSNBC's Krystal Ball offered an unusually clear rationale for this familiar part of modern pundit culture. Ball, a bit of a .... Tomorrow: Ball recites the RNC's most famous and time-honored scripts."

      The jihad started back in Arkansas. Sawyer is conservative, so it isn't as surprising when she attacks Clinton. What is Dowd's problem, or Russert's, or Matthews, or any of the supposedly liberal pundits? When these people set the tone, climbers like Ball and Rucker know which side their bread is buttered on and fall in line. When will Maddow chime in?

      By forcing people like Chris Hayes and Maddow and Drum to choose a side, Somerby may hope to generate pressure within the pundit corps to give Clinton some breathing room so that she can run her campaign under the same conditions as other politicians, without the deck stacked against her before she even announces.

    5. Now "the deck is stacked against her before she even announces."


  2. Does Bob really think that anything Krystal Ball says will be written down in history and long remembered as "iconic"?

    Wow. Talk about building straw women only to knock them down.

    1. Krystal Ball is supposed to be liberal yet she is furthering the RNC attack on Clinton. She is on MSNBC, the supposedly liberal channel. She is far from the only person attacking Clinton over the past few weeks. It is fair to ask why this is happening.

    2. Come on. You're a better Bobette than that. There is no such thing as an "RNC attack." This is always dreamed up and prosecuted by those damned liberal kids in the media, doing a reverse guppy and eating their elderly.

    3. "She is on MSNBC, the supposedly liberal channel."

      You have to keep up with MSNBC. Now they're pillorying Hillary for something she did as a court appointed defense attorney 40 years ago. And Chris fucking Matthews, is leading the charge.

    4. Chris Matthews? Didn't he almost get somebody killed
      15 years ago?

  3. Somerby affects the tone of a disinterested academic from the perspective of the future, but I believe his purpose is activist -- to preempt this sort of garbage during the upcoming election. If so, his goal is to spark some outrage over what is happening.

    Do any of the liberal readers of this blog want to see the mainstream media dictate who will be the next nominee of our party? I don't.

    It is fun to use the Clintons as a punching bag. The Republicans did manage to make them fair game. But, just as kids invariably stand around enjoying a bully at work, without intervention, we can cede control over political process simply by enjoying the way Clinton haters engage in their hate. Vicarious pleasure in watching a real human being and public servant get trashed is the short road to letting plutocrats dictate our choices. Whether you like Clinton and plan to vote for her or not, this isn't the way our political discourse should happen.

    There is no time/date stamp on protesting the way we are being played here. I appreciate that Somerby keeps ringing this bell. I hope it will resonate right up through the campaign itself.

    1. Punching bag or . . . the "media" always pays more attention to candidates who are considered to be front-runners. Of either party.

      Gee, I wonder why? Obviously, they are up to no good.

    2. Here is a clue. If an anthropologist discovers what Bob fictionalized in the previous post, it will mean Bob had as much impact in 2014-2016 as he had in 1999-2000.

      Here is another clue. Repeating what happened in the press regarding Al Gore's hotel/apartment suite or any other detail is not going to change the fact that Al Gore actually won the 2000 election, but due to 1789 political loyalty to colonial boundaries, our Constitution allows winners to sometimes be losers in Presidential contests.

      Here is a final clue. Find anything in Bob's description of press behavior that does not apply to any group of humans in any organizational/social setting.

      Its fun to use Bob's commentariat as a punching bag.

    3. Anon @ 10:38: Those are exactly my thoughts. The half wit trolls who abound here would rather pick out a minor, insignificant point that Bob made, magnify it out of all proportion, and mock him accordingly, rather than grasp the larger point he is making.

    4. 11:27

      Bullies always blame their victims. "If he didn't want to be beaten up, why was he acting like such a wimp?"

      Clinton doesn't deserve this treatment. Neither do commenters at this blog.

      There are actual punching bags at any number of gyms where you can release your aggressions without hurting any humans or animals.

    5. Mr. Feathers. Your point seems to differ quite a bit from that of Anon. @ 10:38 who made no reference whatsover to anyone who comments here.

      Anon's point is in one easy to read sentence:

      "Do any of the liberal readers of this blog want to see the mainstream media dictate who will be the next nominee of our party? I don't."

      If that is the point with which you agree I hardly think you will find anyone in disagreement. However, you may find some of the people you call half wit trolls noting that Bob Somerby has produced zero evidence that what is contained in 10:38's question has ever happened.

      In fact, you may find a half wit troll or two so bold as to suggest Bob's larger premise, that the media caused the election of Bush, is faulty.

    6. 12:43 I can't believe you would accuse others of aggression without regard to how that might make them feel.

  4. Right, like high and mighty Bob would say something different if he were on cable.

  5. First of all, Bob, it's not "videotape." Someday you'll realize we are in the 21st Century already.

    Second, the show on which Ball uttered those horrid words comes on in the middle of the afternoon and was seen by perhaps 200,000 people out of a nation of some 317,000,000.

    Third, if you asked 20 people at random who Krystal Ball is, 20 people couldn't tell you. And if you told them that she is a major pundit on a mid-afternoon MSNBC panel show with the power to influence who will be elected president in 2016, they will move slowly away from you.


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