A few days ago, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell donned her cross-country skis, took up her rifle, and joined the liberal women’s team shooting at Hillary Clinton when she suggested that Hillary used her post at the State Department to set up donors for a presidential campaign that remains a product of many imaginations. Well, the women’s biathalon is over, but another MSNBC anchor has jumped on a bobsled and slid onto a breakneck track of slippery ice in the continued effort to chase Hillary out of a race she has not entered.
That MSNBC would turn on Hillary was never unpredictable. In fact in April of last year this turn of events was foreshadowed right here. I told you the worm would turn!
Memory can be short. Those who stood shoulder to shoulder with Hillary through the brutal 2008 primary campaign tend to be more circumspect about what a campaign would entail, how it might roll out, and the degree to which Hillary’s current sky high poll numbers might hold in a campaign setting. Ironically, among some of the louder and more self-assured voices are those who assaulted her most viciously in 2008. On his Sunday show yesterday, Chris Matthews stated with all the certainty in the world that “Hillary Clinton has given every indication that she is running…” which, of course she has not and has taken pains to avoid. At counterpoint to this is Jim Rutenberg in yesterday’s New York Times who actually took the trouble to speak with Hillary’s spokesman Philippe Reines and exuded no such certainty. It is not a stretch to imagine Matthews and his ilk to be dangling her out there as a pretty, candy-filled piñata waiting to be bashed once again when the new flavor of the month arises. Who that might be I leave to speculation, but judging from responses to my tweets and Facebook posts a particular name proliferates. True Hillary loyalists must regard current endorsements and their sources with a glance in the rear view mirror and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Days later the bait-and-switch scenario reappeared in the comment thread here.
You are reading my mind! (Or maybe we have known each other for so long that you know how my mind works!) I posted something on 4/1 – the post where I talked about Jim Rutenberg’s NYT article and the way Chris Matthews is going berserk about Hillary. I said there that all of this insanity on his part is part of a bait and switch. I did not mention E. Warren’s name but hers was the one people kept sending me. (Saying Hillary is done. Warren is the one.) Then two days ago, Hillary is 44 said the same thing and named Warren. I do not trust the DNC, DWS, or any of them farther than I can throw them. You and I are on exactly the same wavelength.
While, especially in the comment thread at that second link, I was merely reporting responses I had received – and there were many – I was met with a flurry of arguments as to why my theory was impossible: Warren not experienced enough, has not said she would run, the Dems would never nominate her, etc. etc. etc. It is true that Warren has said she would not run (no guarantee that she will not change her mind), but neither has Hillary said she would. If it is valid to think that joining a Facebook group and donating small amounts of money to a SuperPAC will encourage Hillary to declare her candidacy, is it not as valid to think that attacking Hillary and encouraging Warren could be as effective?
The MSNBC attacks on Hillary this time around began in December when Mika Brzezinski’s influential dad came on her morning show to fire a shot at our girl. Outrageously suggesting that Hillary’s decisions as Secretary of State were influenced by an eye toward a run for the presidency in 2016, Brzezinski launched what is shaping up to be a fierce campaign against Hillary at the cable news outlet.
Andrea Mitchell’s equally loathsome comment was made on the highly visible Meet the Press on Sunday, and apparently that remark served as the starter pistol for MSNBC’s Krystal Ball to jump on the bobsled and join the chase after the still-undeclared Hillary Clinton.
Legendary Hillary-hater, Melissa Harris-Perry has yet to suit up for the event, but can it be long before she, too, is tapped by MSNBC to play her role advancing the team’s anti-Hillary agenda? Slate‘s Dave Weigel will not be surprised if she does.
The three streams of these attacks are: Hillary’s activities long in the past, Bill Clinton (just about anything about him is fair game and the simple fact that she is married to him looms large), and finally – and most disturbingly – her legacy at the State Department. That last is the most insidious.
Certainly she has weathered a great deal in the 20+ years since her husband became president and constructed her own reputation based on issues she cares about and promotes both in the Senate and at State. Hillary has always been her own person. One thing she has not done is construct a platform since, well, she isn’t running. She simply has not decided. Should Hillary run. Krystal Ball will probably not be on the platform committee, so she and MSNBC should stop second guessing what the planks will be.
Groundhog Day isn’t just a movie.
Here it is early 2014 — still almost three years away from a new presidency — but it’s high time to mention that Hillary Clinton was a “ruthless” first lady.