Sunday, September 11, 2016

Clinton on Trump's "deplorables"

I assume that the Sunday morning shows featured weeping and gnashing of teeth and much anguished discussion of Hillary Clinton's sharp criticism of the "basket of deplorables" among Trump's core Republican voters. I watched Meet the Press and that was the case there. Time for the handwringing was limited by the scheduled maudlin reminiscence segments on 9/11. Including a ludicrous segment in which notorious warmongering Paul Wolfowitz was invited by Chuck Todd to justify the false claims about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction" that the Cheney-Bush Administration used to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Plus there were news flashes about how Hillary Clinton felt queasy for a few minutes Sunday morning and does this justify the Trump campaign's lurid allegations about her health.

Josh Marshall warns that she needs to stand behind her words on the "deplorables," This Is Critical: Hillary Can't Back Down TPM 09/10/2016:

It may have been easier not to say this and left herself vulnerable to a faux-populist counterattack. But she did say it. She cannot unsay it. And since it is not only basically true but in fact a matter of central importance to the entire election, it is truly critical that she not back down.

If there's nothing else we've learned from this cycle we should have learned the centrality of 'dominance' politics. Campaigns are performative displays of strength, resolve. To back down, apologize or cower would not only play into Trump's dominance politics routine, it would make Clinton look weak. It would deepen suspicions that she has no beliefs or will change them out of convenience. Far more importantly though, backing down would demoralize her supporters since it would amount to apologizing for or backing down from and delegitimizing what is in fact a central truth of the election.
Actually, that stance presented us with the Hillary Clinton I've been hoping to see, going after the core ideological convictions of the Republican Party and stepping outside of the "bipartisan" frame to which establishment Democrats are almost inexplicably committed.

Josh's post includes news about her initial response to the howls of outrage from the Republicans. And while he wasn't entirely satisfied with it, he believes that she avoided the kind of backing down he feared.

Let's hope she stands her ground on this one.

Sam Levine reports on her initial response to Republican criticism in Clinton Stands By ‘Deplorables,’ But Walks Back The Basket Size A Bit Huffington Post 09/10/2016.

Annie Karni reports for Politico on Why Clinton isn’t sweating ‘deplorables’ 09/10/2016:

Perhaps the greatest effect of “deplorables” will be on the psychology of Clinton’s campaign. Coming days after NBC’s Matt Lauer seemed to give Trump a fact-check-free pass during a live presidential forum -- after grilling Clinton aggressively on her email use -- it uncorked a huge amount of pent-up frustration at the Democratic nominee’s Brooklyn headquarters. There, many Clinton operatives saw the Republican outrage and media attention devoted to Clinton's words as the latest example of an absurd double standard at work.

“Trump has insulted and degraded everybody he has talked about during this campaign -- from our generals in the military to a gold star family to a judge who has devoted years to serving the public, for his heritage,” senior campaign strategist Joel Benenson said in an interview. “Nothing compares to that. We will not stop talking about the bigoted remarks he’s made, or the white supremacists he retweets. He doesn’t deserve a pass on any of those comments.”

"[T]his is a fight we're eager to have,” Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said in a statement that reinforced her own. "We will never stop calling out Trump’s bigotry and racist rhetoric, because we know our country is better than this."
But the Beltway conventional wisdom, embedded as it normally is in horserace talk, is likely to be what Karni writes here, "Clinton’s inartful honesty briefly handed the moral high ground of the campaign to an opponent whose character and judgment the former secretary of state has been methodically trying to impeach. And it allowed Republicans, for a day at least, to rally behind a nominee that many of them find deeply distasteful."

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