Weekend Chat Shows Echo: Hillary Books Are 'Sexist'

The new books by liberal-media stars investigating Hillary Clinton are already drawing the annoying accusation from the Clintonistas that they’re sexist, and then their media supporters are backing them up on the charge. The liberal media attacks their own. On last weekend’s chat shows, the trend was apparent. On The Chris Matthews Show, Chris adopted a confessional I-may-be-a-pig tone with Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this year’s (liberal) winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary:

MATTHEWS: Cynthia, the question, I think, somewhere in the middle of this--and this may be sexist, I don't deny it--but is the charge that she's calculating, that they're calculating together, a little too much planning, this two presidency following two presidencies, this 20-year plan, so-called, does this hurt?

TUCKER: I don't think it hurts with those people who would support Senator Hillary Clinton for president. They're--she's a very divisive figure. There are already a lot of Americans who would never vote for Senator Clinton, with or without a book being written, or books being written which rehash all the old assumptions about her.

Having said that, let me also point out that it is sexist to charge a woman with being ambitious. Of course she's ambitious. Nobody runs for president if they're not ambitious. Everybody knows that John Kerry had wanted to be president since he was a young man. Bill Clinton was ambitious from the time he was a young man. But somehow those calculations don't seem to hurt men in the way that they hurt women. But of course, Senator Clinton is going to have to confront that, that sexism, that latent sexism, throughout her campaign.

It should be self-evident that anyone who runs for president is ambitious, even super-ambitious. It takes ambition, and maybe even an exalted sense of your own talents, to throw your hat in the ring. But New York Times reporters Jeff Gerth and Don van Natta’s writing about a "20-year plan" where both Clintons get eight years as president is – put simply – newsworthy. When in our history have we had someone plotting and planning to serve as successive husband and wife presidents? That is clearly a grand level of super-ambitious. What the Clintons are doing here isn’t just making a phony charge of sexism. They’re trying to divert the media from suggesting to voters that they might have the image of being too ambitious.

Then there’s the talk show Inside Washington, airing locally on PBS, that aired out the most common liberal complaint about Hillary, her pro-war vote:

GORDON PETERSON, host: There's a fairly damaging piece in The New York Times Magazine this weekend by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta that takes a hard look at her voting record and indicates that she -- there was more to it than she would lead you to believe.

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Well, this is part of their -- they've got a book coming out, and I guess I should say that the Clintonistas think it's a sexist book, but the piece that you're talking about has some information about on what she based her vote back at the beginning of the war, and if they're accurate and she basically didn't do her homework, that's a pretty serious indictment in a war vote.

Finally, Geoff Dickens showed me an exchange from CNBC’s weekend Tim Russert show, where NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell goes overboard in alleging that whatever happens after these Hillary books, Bill Clinton is a "Teflon leader," and "the most popular man in the world." Is that a poll, or Andrea’s international flight of fancy?

CHUCK TODD: Let me give you another fun number. Bill Clinton's favorable rating. After these books over the next two months, find out what Bill Clinton's favorable rating is on August 1. If it's a good 10 or 15 points lower than it is now, Hillary's candidacy's in big trouble.

ANDREA MITCHELL: I would predict that the books may damage the candidate, but they won't damage her spouse, that he will still be, as he is, the most popular man in the world. He is the true Teflon leader.

TIM RUSSERT: And working so hard. He, he brokered the endorsement of the mayor of Los Angeles. He's been working hard, hard, hard to get Hillary Clinton into the White House.

MITCHELL: Despite all these books about the troubles, quote/unquote, in the marriage, he is still her best asset, aside from her own native intelligence.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential
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