Thursday, May 22, 2008

With "liberals" like these...

To begin, I want to recommend Digby's takedown of media sexism - misogyny is an appropriate term in many cases - in the Establishment media's shameful coverage of the Clinton campaign in You Can Believe Us Hulabaloo blog 05/21/08. The Daily Howler addresses the same subject in his 05/21/08 post, reminding us that the press animus toward Clintons is also very much at work.

I've been into my own version of 1968 retrospectives this year. And when I read things like the following here in real time, I can understand why so many activists for various progressive causes felt they needed to differentiate themselves organizationally and ideologically from the liberals of their time.

I've wondered for years what was up with Earl Ofari Hutchinson, an African-American columnist and commentator who is widely taken to be a liberal. One of several blogs in which he participates is The Hutchinson Report. I navigated over there on Tuesday, where I found various statement of conventional press "wisdom" such as the following:

Obama can’t out McCain McCain on the GOP’s trump cards of national security and terrorism. He’s tried to talk and sound tough but it rings hollow against McCain’s tougher and more believable talk on these issues. But if it’s a matter of who does the better job on the economy, and jobs, affordable health care, and a war wind down, voters again consistently say that the Democrats will do it better than the GOP. These issues have been the Democrats trump cards back to the Democrat, Truman, who first beat back the GOP’s L word smear. Obama can do the same but only if he can masterfully play those same cards. (The GOP Hit Plan, Smear Obama with the L Word 05/09/08; my emphasis)

If Obama were foolish enough to tremble in fear at McCain's posturing about a "tough" foreign policy, posturing which so impresses McCain's Hannah Montana fanboys in the press as they swoon at his greatness, Obama would lose the November election.

Fortunately, so far he's been willing to keep the Iraq War issue prominent. And I was especially glad to see he got back in McCain's face over the McCainBush "appeasement" talk last week. If he had listened the Hutchinson's counsel of fear and trembling before the Republicans supposedly invincible advantage on national security, the "appeasement" flap would have been a plus for the Republicans.

Then there was this from Sikivu Hutchinson, presumably a relative:

Surrounded by a sea of white faces after her big win in West Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s racial message was abundantly clear—while Obama’s “we are the world” candidacy is fine and dandy for his fantasy world tribe of elite whites, blacks and young folk, she can deliver the heartland and Bubba. Over the past few weeks, Clinton’s repeated evocation of Obama’s alleged failure to win "hard working" white Americans was yet another reminder of her penchant for playing the race card. Hard working white Americans, as distinct from the trust-fund harboring, white-wine sipping, Volvo-driving constituency that catapulted Obama to victory in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota, cherish middle-American values like faith, family and the right to bear arms, and rightfully disdain the uppity ways of a big city black politico like Obama.

... In her paeans to white working class sensibilities Clinton played on this sentiment, well aware of how her "my kind of people" rhetoric would go over in small West Virginia towns like Parkersburg. (Clinton’s Working Class Heroes 05/14/08)
I've blogged about my own particular reservations about the Clinton campaign and race.

But, good grief! This is just a parody. Can Sikivu Hutchinson not tell the difference between Hillary Clinton and a John McCain who promises the Christian Right their so-called strict constructionist judges? You know, the kind who aren't sympathetic to civil rights claims and who rule in favor of blatantly unfair Republican voter-suppression laws? Because this caricature of Clinton as a blithering bigot is just absurd.

With "liberals" like these, who needs Chris Matthews to trash the Democrats? Oh, excuse me: in the Establishment press, Matthews counts as a liberal. And in many ways, he is. It's just that the kind of mind-numbing, distorted conventional press wisdom the two Hutchinsons served up in those posts is widely shared by liberal and conservative pundits alike. Which means, since a huge portion of the press conventional wisdom is Republican-friendly, that liberal and Democratic views habitually get smothered in this kind of nonsense.

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