Hillary Clinton broke a cardinal rule of the angry left –saying something nice about a Republican who recently passed away. After she was savaged for saying Nancy Reagan had been out front in confronting AIDS, an angry backlash ensued, and Clinton quickly fell into line.
The controversy was worth seven paragraphs in the New York Times print edition, but reporter and chief Hillary-follower Amy Chozick really let the leftist insults fly in the longer online version (h/t veteran commenter Gary Hall), hitting both the Reagans and Hillary in a nasty tone, under the solemn circumstances: "The problem with Mrs. Clinton’s compliment: It was the Reagans who wanted nothing to do with the disease at the time." Then Choick quoted notorious Reagan-hater Larry Kramer.
In the days since her death on Sunday, Nancy Reagan has been praised for her work on a range of causes, from preventing drug abuse to supporting research into Alzheimer’s.
But on Friday, Hillary Clinton praised Mrs. Reagan as a force in confronting another disease: H.I.V./AIDS, which was killing alarming numbers of gay men and others during Ronald Reagan’s two terms.
“It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about H.I.V./AIDS back in the 1980s,” Mrs. Clinton, who was attending Mrs. Reagan’s funeral in Simi Valley, Calif., told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan -- in particular, Mrs. Reagan -- we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it. Nobody wanted anything to do with it.”
Chozick's response was unneccessarily nasty, especially so given the solemn circumstances.
The problem with Mrs. Clinton’s compliment: It was the Reagans who wanted nothing to do with the disease at the time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first identified the disease in 1981, but Mr. Reagan, despite desperate calls for action and thousands of deaths, did not mention H.I.V. or AIDS publicly until 1985 and did not give a speech about the disease until 1987, when an estimated 40,000 people had already died of the disease and roughly 36,000 more had given a diagnosis.
Chozick, getting quickly back into liberal line, took a radical AIDS activist's old, rancorous characterization as fact:
Indeed, the activist-author Larry Kramer, who chronicled the early years of the epidemic in his play “The Normal Heart,” called Mr. Reagan “Adolf Reagan” and wrote that he “murdered more gay people than anyone in the entire history of the world.”
Kramer used that charming phrase after Reagan's death in 2004. Kramer isn’t fond of any politician, including “Do-nothing” Obama, and also said that Bill Clinton “did us more harm than good,” but that context didn’t make Chozick’s story. Brent Bozell eviscerated Kramer's unhinged and fact-free hatred of Reagan, and the NYT's ongoing uncritical celebration of Kramer, in this 2014 column.
Yet Mrs. Clinton said Friday that she had appreciated Mrs. Reagan’s “low-key advocacy” on H.I.V./AIDS, saying “it penetrated the public conscience, and people began to say, ‘Hey, we have to do something about this.’”
She faced a swift and fierce backlash, and issued a contrite apology within hours.
Chozick kept piling on the self-satisfied left-wing insults:
“It’s almost tempting to interpret this as withering, devastating sarcasm,” Gawker wrote. “The Reagans ‘started a national conversation about AIDS’ in the same sense that George W. Bush ‘started a national conversation’ about Iraq.’”
“Marie Antoinette did some incredible LOW KEY ADVOCACY for the French Underclass,” Dan Fishback, a writer and performer, wrote on Twitter.