Problems with the Coverage of "Hillary's Hit List"

Problems with the Coverage of "Hillary's Hit List"

Chris Christie’s political hopes took a hit last week as the burgeoning “Bridge-Gate” scandal painted him and those in his inner circle as bullies who will exact ugly retribution from a political foe.  Prior to that, big media, in their unending polling parlor game, had already decided Christie was the Republican best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Chris Christie’s political hopes took a hit last week as the burgeoning “Bridge-Gate” scandal painted him and those in his inner circle as bullies who will exact ugly retribution from a political foe.  Prior to that, big media, in their unending polling parlor game, had already decided Christie was the Republican best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. No sooner does he apologize his way out of trouble than a spate of articles surface, like Politico's "Hillary’s Hit List,” alleging that she and close aides marked for punishment those who spurned her in favor of Mr. Obama in 2008.  See? Hillary’s a bully, too. So leave Christie alone. Blame big, bad Hillary. This got Governor Christie off the front page. A technique otherwise known as: “Look over there!  Squirrel!”

Image Credit: L- Jan. 9, 2014 - Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA - Chris Christie during a press conference, © Future-Image/ZUMAPRESS.com; R- Sept. 26, 2013 - New York, NY, USA - Hillary Clinton on stage during the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting, © Kristin Callahan - Ace Pictures/Ace Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

 

Never mind that Hillary never actually "punished" the political "enemies" mentioned in Politico's article.  The alleged "Hillary Hit List" advertised in a new book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes entitled HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton makes much of aides who kept a list of Hillary's political endorsements and slights.  But any politician needs to know whom to count on, or not, for next time.  This is hardly nefarious.  Even Brit Hume, Senior Analyst at FOX News had to note as much while in the same breath using the Politico article to distract from Governor Christie's troubles, accusing Hillary Clinton of being the bully that Christie has been reported to be on numerous occasions.

No matter.  FOX News' coverage, like that of Politico and The Daily Mail, implied Hillary and/or her aides had been scheming over a cauldron with needles and voodoo dolls that had John Kerry, Bob Casey John Edwards, Claire McCaskill, Chris Dodd, Jay Rockefeller, Bill Richardson, (now late) Teddy Kennedy and Patrick Leahy’s faces painted on them.

Politico quotes the endorsements of these Democratic heavy hitters who spoke in glowing, even outlandish, terms about Senator Obama, a man with only two years tenure and few legislative accomplishments under his belt:

Senator Claire McCaskill:

“This is a man who has incredible intellectual heft … who is not afraid to figure out a new and different way to tackle problems … Only once in a generation does a leader come along that has that particular gift. … Barack Obama is, I believe, right for the country this time.” (Jan. 13, 2008)

Senator John Kerry:

“Barack Obama can be, will be and should be the next president of the United States. … Who better than Barack Obama to bring new credibility to America’s role in the world and help restore our moral authority?” (Jan. 10, 2008)

In hindsight, their expectations and predictions were… well… insert adjective here.

During the 2008 primaries, Hillary Clinton had an irritating habit of winning all the large and swing states, as opposed to the red or smaller caucus states in which Senator Obama prevailed.  Therefore, in order to undercut the appearance of his relative limp to the finish line, the abandoning endorsements of Democratic Party elders were peeled out strategically, designed to ruin then-Senator Clinton's news cycle.  The bleed of endorsements had the effect in many cases of shifting public perception and distracting from the inconvenient fact that this race was as close to a tie as one could possibly imagine.  These endorsements, the DNC's riding shotgun for him, coupled with Obama's financial juggernaut and the press acting as his de facto PR firm finally did the trick.

Notwithstanding the "hit list" Hillary purportedly carried for such betrayals, she has behaved contrary to media depiction and if anything, killed these 'traitors' with kindness.  For example, in the bestseller Game Change, authors Heilemann and Halperin averred that New York Senator Chuck Schumer confidentially told Barack Obama to "take a 2 x 4 to Hillary."  She has gone on record to say she believes none of it.  We will never know what she believes, but clearly, taking the high road with double-dealing peers has served her well.

By the way, who would not have been deeply hurt by the backstabbing endorsements of those for whom she had campaigned, fundraised and in some cases, helped save from electoral defeat, especially in favor of someone less experienced and arguably less skilled.

In 2009 and 2010, Politico and many other news outlets were busy dancing on the graves of the Clintons, saying their day in the sun was over and that President Obama was heralding a new political generation.  Fast forward to 2012. President Obama had to entreat President Clinton to make a speech on his behalf at the Democratic Convention."Bubba" obliged, offering up a brilliant 40-minute tour-de-force explaining the man's presidency.  President Bill graciously allowed that "even I couldn't have fixed this economy in four years."  He must have been laughing into his hankie when he got off the stage.

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