Hillary vs. Tim Russert: Round Eleventy-Billion

Hillary Clinton, obvious high on confidence from winning New Hampshire, took on one of her many arch nemeses, Timmy “The Quote Machine” Russert on this Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC.

For more see on the show and what was said see The Huffington Post and Politico’s accounts on the show.

Man, how can one person have this many people who live with only the desire to beat the crap out of her (or her husband, either will do.) I can see why the Clintons would be so attractive to a political journalist to take down. They were country bumpkin outsiders who made it into the inside and then spent eight years of partisan warfare with the Republicans never getting pinned down and living to tell about it. Who wouldn’t want to beat the alleged unbeatable?

On the other side, going the full hour with Timmy and the army of direct quotes? Dicey for any politician, even for those with the last name Clinton. It could perilous. Suicidal even. And what if she busts out with that stupid laugh again? What then?

Well, Timmy did go for the jugular and used the “you voted for the authorization of the war in Iraq” jab consistently. But per usual, Clinton refused to go down. When Russert brought up her statements on LBJ and Bill Clinton’s statement about Barack Obama’s campaign being a “fairy tale,” Clinton clarified the LBJ debacle and then laid the beat down for Russert not playing Clinton’s whole quote where the former president lays out Obama for what he saw as Obama’s wavering stance on the war in Iraq. Russert then tried to slam Clinton with the “why beat up Obama for his voting on Iraq when you voted the exact same way?” And Clinton tossed out the fact that she wasn’t hiding from her votes and was running on her record.

And the rest can be described as 45 minutes of trying to say Obama would make a bad president without actually saying Obama would make a bad president. Russert tried to wrestle Clinton to the ground with damaging quotes by Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, columnist Maureen Dowd, her husband’s former campaign strategist James Carville and even the former president himself, Bill Clinton in a game of, “Your Husband and Barack said the same things about experience in politics.”

Papa Snob thought Hillary won her latest battle with Russert, especially when Russert busted out with all the polls that poo-poo Hillary’s chances, one even mentioning that Barack would be more likely to beat Huckabee if he’s the Republican nominee. Hillary dismissed that by saying that New Hampshire should have proved to everyone that you can’t trust the polling.


Of course, I don’t know if I’d trust any poll saying any Democrat could get beat by Huckabee,

Overall, I thought she did as well as could be expected. At least it was a more entertaining interview than the Full Ginsburg she pulled last year by appearing on all the Sunday talk shows the same day. Tim Russert brought his quoting A-game, but I was disappointed that he allowed his Clinton bias to pop up by only showing the end of Bill Clinton’s quote. He didn’t need to do that. There’s a phalanx of footage of Hillary and Bill contradicting themselves. Don’t be cheap about it.

Did the interview help any? I don’t know. They spent so much time fighting that they never really got to the heart of issues voters actually care about. But did going the full hour hurt? Not at all. No big gaffes.

The Clintons are throwing around the idea that its the Obama camp pushing the “Clinton’s are personally attacking Barack Obama” storyline and my answer is, of course they are. The Obama camp isn’t stupid. The Clinton camp has been pimping the “Everyone is hating on us, piling on, blah, blah, blather” since day one of the campaign. They said Barack was inexperienced, that his foreign policy positions were “naive.” One of their campaign managers liked to bring up the word “cocaine” a whole lot. Sure, to my annoyance, Barack would often bring up his youthful indiscretions with drugs all on his own, but the Clinton’s people all but called him out as some sort of drug addict/drug dealer. Cheap, cheap fouls there.

But these are the consequences when there is little substantial difference between the political views of HillaryCo and BarackCo. Both are running on an anti-war, pro-middle class, pro-universal health care, pro-environment, pro-human rights, anti-Guantanamo, pro-diplomacy, pro-gays in the military, anti-Bush platform. With that, all you can really do is quibble about is the specifics of the programs Barack and Hillary are proposing OR try to pull some political jujitsu and use the opponent’s attacks as leverage to launch a counter-attack at them.

But with all this Barack vs. Hillary action, what about John Edwards? The last white man standing? Call me superstitious, but until it’s just Barack and Hillary winning all the contests leading up to Super Tuesday, I can’t call Edwards as dead. Hillary and Barack are still waging war in uncharted waters. The last president we had that wasn’t a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) was Kennedy, and he was just Catholic. And he barely beat thoroughly unlikeable then Vice President Richard Nixon.

And there has never been a woman contender at all. So as optimistic as I’m trying to be, I’ll believe it when I see Edwards step down. When he’s out of the game, it’s all over. We’re making history one way or another and the Democratic Party, once the bane of blacks existence in the south will have pulled the ultimate redemption act, proving that the could survive despite all the evidence that said their staunch, pro-civil rights stance would consistently sink their chances in the White House.

Yes. America will have to stare into the faces of both the past and the future in this election, one way or another.

5 thoughts on “Hillary vs. Tim Russert: Round Eleventy-Billion

  1. Nice. Linking to same. Thanks for the analysis. Edwards is out IMO. But you are right about the essential similarities of H and B. But I will feel 1000 percent better with B because I feel the Clintons do not understand how much essential harm LBJ did to the country — a harm that has helped define four decades.Cheers, S

  2. Oh, LBJ definitely deserves criticism for his escalation of the war in Vietnam, misreading Kennedy (who was considering ending the bombing before he was assassinated) and being obsessed with the Domino Theory, that if Vietnam when communist so would Asia. God, that still sounds so crazy.LBJ, like any president who starts a pointless war, didn’t want to pull out because he didn’t want to be the first US president to lose a war.Yeah, that made him popular.It was that decision that sent the Democratic party off the rails and dogged them as weak on national defense. One of the reasons why the Democratically controlled Senate sometimes looks like a bunch of proverbial chickens with dismembered heads.But I give LBJ credit for supporting the Civil Rights Act, then botching things afterwards.As for Barack v. Hillary (and sometimes Edwards), I’m a pragmatist. I just want the Democrats to win and hold their ground. To make some gains where they can. They’re imperfect, flawed, cowardly vessels, but I don’t know how much the poor and the brown can take under yet another hardline Republican administration.Gee. See, I got all on a history rant! Ah, history!

  3. Dear BS,Don’t you think we’re living through a version of Domino Theory thinking even now? Instead of fearing communist regimes we now fear theocratic ones (or weak regimes that are ripe for toppling). The point is interesting (I think) because the next president is likely to find herself or himself in a position very similar to LBJ’s. A misguided Democrat who is too history conscious might well repeat the mistakes of Vietnam by escalating the conflict — not by more fighting in Iraq, but by escalation in Afghanistan and spreading the war to Pakistan and Iran. A Democrat would have political cover from Repubs who are in love with this romantic notion of a global war on Islamo-fascists and it would at the same time allow that Democrat to flex his or her commander in chief muscles. The irony here is that such a disaster might also give that same Democrat political cover on some other issues important to him or her — domestic policy. Would you trade a wider war in the middle east to really get something done on the homefront in the areas of education, drug policy, jobs, and healthcare?Hmmmm…..

  4. The Blue:I think the Jihadist version Domino Theory, which is what we’re currently in right now, is still as bogus as it’s ever been. But the fear of terrorism is a real one and the pressure to be the president who does not allow another major terrorist attack on American soil is pretty strong. Even a lot of George W. ham-fisted, inelegant tatics were rooted in the shock of 9-11, his fears for his legacy and his belief that the Jihadist threat is real.And it’s just as real for most people as the fear of communists used to be. So I feel anyone running for president in this environment, Democrat or Republican, is liable to fall into this logic out of ass covering and fear alone. No one basically wants to suffer that sort of criticism that could virtually end a presidency (Just like Vietnam ended LBJs.)After all, with the exceptions of political long shots Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich and recent drop-out Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, no Democratic candidate is discussing a serious pull out of Iraq beginning immediately, let alone by the end of their first term in office. And Ron Paul is the only Republican calling for a complete pull-out of everything.I accepted a long, dusty time ago that we’re not pulling out of the Middle East anytime in the near future. I’ve just accepted that. We’re going to be there save a major crisis, a la a Doomsday scenario featuring ghosts of a Soviet past or the second Civil War of the United States. So I’m mostly just looking for someone who, pardon the French, won’t fuck things up more.I think there’s too much posturing and testosterone on the Republican side, but save maybe Guiliani, I don’t think anyone running is going to handle the mess in Mesopotamia worse that George. As much as I can’t stand perfect hair Mitt, even he’d be preferable to the status quo, as opposed to Huckabee, who didn’t know what was up when the NIE came out and railed about illegal immigration after Pakistan ex-PM Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.Also, unless our next president is suicidally insane (see Guiliani) anyone grounded in realism would see that our military simply is not in good enough shape to take on a third incursion. For the first time in US history we actually have the intelligence agencies and the military NOT itching to blow up something. Which basically says, our business may be war, but we totally don’t want any. And even though we could launch aerial strikes on a place like Iran, we’d basically be fucking up our present troops in Iraq next door, who would wage covert and overt war on them with the aide of sympathetic Shiites within their government.So, I’ll still take any of the Democrats to manage this over the Republicans AND if for some, horrible reason I get stuck with one of the Republicans I’m willing to tolerate … oh God they just all sound so awful … Romney? He threated to build TWO Guantanamos, but I think that was just posturing because he’s a muy macho race where the one who threatens to blow the most things up wins.So, it took me forever to get here, but my point is, who ever is president will be pressured to not allow another attack happen on US soil and to not allow Iraq to collapse into a genocidal failed state, a la Afghanistan, despite whatever efforts they want to focus on the home front.LBJ was experienced but gave us Vietnam. George W. was a political novice who gave us Iraq. Waging war from the seat of the presidency in the Nuclear age has had little to do with logic and everything to do with fear and ass covering.So I want a president with a spine and rational thinking.Damn. That eliminates Romney as he’s spineless.I guess I can’t live with any of the Republicans, yet again.

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