Wednesday, February 17, 2016

When Maureen Dowd Lost Hillary Clinton

In the latest chapter in Maureen Dowd's never-ending story of the Clintons, "When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism",  the long-time New York Times columnist builds her case in the only way Maureen seems to know how: by putting thoughts into Hillary's head and words into Hillary's mouth.. 

Even after all these years, Maureen is still trying to invent Hillary the Terrible, Hillary the Prevaricator, Hillary the Shallow.  And every time she's sure she's got it, every time Dowd writes the perfect scenario, in which her character lives up to her previous, masterful buildup, Hillary the Unpredictable takes off in another direction.

And Dowd fumes! Even on the printed page you can see Dowd fuming. Hillary is HER invention!  HER antagonist!  Who the hell does she think she is?

Because Maureen Dowd's version of Hillary Clinton doesn't exist in real life, the author resorts to  the phrasing of a fiction writer:
"Hillary believed. . ."
"The Clintons seemed to have. . ."
"It turned out that female voters seem to be looking at. . ."
"This attitude intensified the unappetizing solipsistic subtext of her campaign. . . "  (Thrown in because, come on!  That took some work!)
"Hillary started from a place of entitlement. . ."
"Hillary’s coronation was predicated on. . ."
"The Clintons assumed. . ."
"And now she's even angrier. . ."
"Hillary has an 'I' message: I have been abused and misunderstood and it’s my turn."
"It’s a victim mind-set that is exhausting. . ."
"Hillary knew that she could count on the complicity of feminist leaders. . ." 
"And that’s always the ugly Faustian bargain with the Clintons. . ."

What a story!  The stuff of great fiction, and Maureen Dowd is without a doubt a great story-teller.  But if there was a part in there about Hillary killing feminism--as the title suggests--I must have missed it.

But let's say it's in there and I did miss it:  Hillary Clinton has been accused of a lot of things, but killing feminism is a new one.  The last I looked, feminism is alive and well and doing just fine.  The plot twist comes when Dowd tries to portray Hillary as a perennial victim, only to give her the power to kill an entire movement.  It stretches credulity, even for fiction.

The theme of Hillary as either victim or villain is growing old.  She is neither.  But Dowd has lived with this character for so long, building her into a larger-than-life creature of her own making (as every good writer of fiction must do), she can't let her go.  Not her Hillary.  Not this version.  It's driving the poor woman mad!  (No, not really. I made that up. See how easy it is?)

 At risk of seeming presumptuous, let me just say,  writer to writer, woman to woman: Maureen, honey, it's time.  It's time to let it go, to move on to something new.  You've done all you can with this one, and it's just not working.  Now you're repeating yourself.

Even in fiction, the same old story is still the same old story.

(Cross-posted at Dagblog, The Broad-Side and Crooks and Liars)

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Flint Water Crisis: It's All Obama's Fault

Jake May—The Flint
Nearly every day I'm hearing from people who are just now paying attention to what's been going on in Michigan  Their reactions to the latest and the worst insult--the water poisoning in Flint--are many and varied, but tend to follow the same theme:  WTF??

I'm not here to judge, but it's not as if our bleating protestations haven't been wafting through the air for years. (They have been--even before 2011, when the GOP gerrymandered their way into absolute power and Rick Snyder took the oath he pretended he didn't hear.)

It's not as if we haven't been begging Michigan voters not to give ALEC, The Mackinac Center, and the Koch brothers the toehold they so actively coveted.  (We saw them coming long before their hand-picked choice, former CEO Rick Snyder, suddenly appeared on the scene.)

It's not as if we didn't vote in a referendum against emergency managers by a solid margin.  (We did that. All legal and everything. Gov. Snyder appointed them, anyway.)

It's not as if we didn't warn everyone not to vote in Gov. Snyder when he ran for his second term.  (We did that, too.  We had an excellent candidate in Mark Schauer. But every major newspaper in Michigan except one gave their support to Snyder.  (The Traverse City Record Eagle decided not to endorse anyone.)  Kind of pissy that now many of them are screaming for his head--as if they knew nothing--nothing at all--and had nothing to do with his rise.)

We've done everything we could to stop the Snyder administration from destroying our state, only to run up against a political machine so powerful we knew going in it was likely we would fail.  And we did.  Miserably.  It's embarrassing how little impact the Dems in our state have made, considering the evidence we've piled up against the guys who so relentlessly tore our state apart.

Now we have a crisis in the already impoverished and beleaguered city of Flint, brought on solely, completely, and deliberately by the Snyder administration and the emergency manager he appointed, not to assist but to replace a sitting, duly elected city government.

The lead poisoning of the city water system is a crisis of such huge proportions, the shock waves are felt all over the country.  The mainstream media--that same media we've begged for so long to pay attention--is just now stirring.  The sleeping giant has awakened and they're shocked--shocked, I tell you!--at the magnitude of the corruption and neglect.

(I would say we told you so. . .  Okay, I'm saying it:  We told you so.  But thank you, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and the pathetically few others who lent their voices to our call in an effort to stop this insanity before it lead to something like this.)

 The effects of the water poisoning in Flint are not going away.  Thousands of people, including and especially young children, have been harmed by it.  Action is needed NOW, but the Snyder administration and his GOP cronies are bobbing, weaving, fudging--anything to keep from having to take full responsibility for it.

Snyder made his "The buck stops here" speech, intended to be just the ticket to absolve him of wrong-doing.  "I take the blame.  You satisfied?  No, I won't quit!  I'm staying to fix this!" (Not an exact quote, but close enough.)  But even Snyder knows a few words at a press conference won't fix anything.  So he's moved on.  Now it's the blame game.

It's all Obama's fault.

No joke. The Michigan Republican Party put this out last week  (Thank you, Eclectablog):

 The Feds did delay their intervention.  It seems they were waiting to see what the state was going to do, while the state--namely Snyder--was waiting for an offer so it wouldn't look to his handlers like he was asking Obama for (OMIGAWD!) help.

A stupid stand-off on both sides.  It's an emergency!  Who waits for an invitation in an emergency?  But Snyder and his Boys aren't going to be let off the hook.  Nor are they going to be allowed to take the credit for any aid unless they get off their asses and start pulling those lead-lined pipes out of that system.

The rats are leaving the ship. The two Flint emergency managers involved in this scandal, Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose, are nowhere to be seen.  (Oh, wait. . .is that Darnell Earley over there in Detroit, emergency-managing their school system?  It is!  It was. He's gone from there, too.  His next phase is as reluctant witness in front of a House committee investigating the Flint crisis. Those cockroaches can run but they can't hide.)

In an amazing turn-around, Snyder has decided Flint no longer needs an emergency manager.  The patient is cured!  It's a miracle!

There is a new mayor in town and he has complete faith in her ability to let him off the hook.  The new mayor, Karen Weaver, will be testifying this week in front of a House Democratic Committee on the Flint Crisis. She has appeared on cable and network political shows, is becoming a regular on Rachel Maddow's show, has met with Hillary Clinton, who has promised to do her best to help, and is reaching out to anyone who will listen about where the blame lies and what needs to be done now.   If Snyder thought he had an ally in Mayor Weaver, he's as deluded as he was when he came up with that cockamamie emergency manager plan.

 News flash:  Bernie Sanders is setting up campaign headquarters in Flint.  And you've heard there's going to be a Democratic debate broadcast from Flint in March?

Now if those new-found friends could only drink the water.

NOTE: The water crisis time-line is here.  (One clarification. The MJ article says Snyder handed over his emails the next day after being pressured.  That's true.  But they were heavily redacted--some pages entirely redacted--and many pertinent emails are missing.  We're still waiting for those.) 


(Cross-posted at Dagblog and Crooks and Liars)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

She Shouts

Bob Woodward was on Morning Joe today talking about Hillary Clinton, and in the course of the conversation he said, "I think a lot of it with Hillary Clinton has to do with style and delivery, oddly enough,. She shouts. There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating."

 Joe Scarborough had to agree: "Last night I was watching her and I said to myself, has nobody told her that the microphone works?  Because she always keeps it up here." (Hand held high)

So then the convo moved to Hillary's trust issue and how she really didn't win much in Iowa because the young kids don't go for her. But Woodward, ever the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, brought it all back by saying, "I'm sorry to dwell on the tone issue, but there's something here where Hillary Clinton suggests she's almost not comfortable with herself. And, you know, self acceptance is something you communicate on television."

To which Joe brought up Margaret Thatcher and how she could skew anyone by "keeping it to a whisper".  And Ronald Reagan.  No shouting.  Not like Hillary, anyway.  (There was more. It's all here.  If you care.)

Well!  I put on my blogging frock and tilted my dainty little fingers over my lovely, shiny keyboard (No more cookie crumbs! I cleaned it yesterday.) and began looking for the words that would singe the damn paint off of my stylishly hued walls.  I was mad!

So there I was, fingers poised, at the ready, when a radical thought entered my almost-perfect-if-not-for-the-bed-head:  I've never cared about anything Bob Woodward has said before.  Why the hell should I care now?  And Scarborough?  Same thing, only stronger.

We're going to have months of this--her tone, her voice, her pantsuits, her hair, her age, her attempts at seeming human--so we need to decide early on whether it's worth it to waste time on silly distractions.  Who really cares?

She's a woman; I'm a woman.  Hillary has done things and now she's running for President of the United States. There the similarity ends, so if I'm going to support her for the presidency I have to stop wasting time defending her womanhood and start defending her ability to do the job.

So I will not care who insults her personally any more.  She has bigger fish to fry.  Hillary has known this for a long time.  I'm just now getting it.

I'm in awe of how much I'm learning from her.

(Cross-posted at Dagblog , The Broad Side and Crooks and Liars)