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Monday, September 24, 2007

Hillary on the Sunday talking heads shows

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Okay, I have to admit: I need treatment myself. Only someone with a serious, serious problem could force himself to watch (via TiVo), back to back, Hillary Clinton appear on Sunday morning talking-head shows from Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC on one day, but I've just finished doing exactly that. (I don't regularly watch or TiVo CNN's show, but I gather that she was on it, too.)

Stupidest soft-ball masquerading as a question, from a gushing, stumbling, dare we say fawning George Stephanopoulos:

You know, Senator, we're just about out of time. I just want to ask you one, final question. You've seen the presidency from a perspective unlike any first-time candidate ever in American history, up close, unlike any first-time candidacy ever in presidential history. So you know a lot about being president. But what is something that you don't know, that only a president can know?

Answer (completely unscripted and off the cuff, I'm certain) in exactly ninety* tightly packed seconds (with no pause for breath mid-answer):

Well, George, as you have just said, I've seen the presidency in a very, you know, front-row seat on history way, and I know how hard this job is. And you know, you can read books about it, you can think hard about it, and of course, people running for president do. But it is hard to be prepared for the pressure-cooker that the American presidency is today. We have only one person in our country who represents both our state and our government. Most countries divide those responsibilities. So you're the symbolic head of state and you are running the government. And every single day that goes by, the pressures increase, with the 24/7 media environment, with all of the, you know, advances in communication. You have to be grounded. You have to know what you believe. You have to be guided by what you think are the right principles for your country. But there is still no predicting what is going to happen on your watch. And, you know, I know how hard it is, and I think, following President Bush, with some of the problems we have, will make it especially hard. But I'm also confident and optimistic that our country can rise to this challenge. I wouldn't be running if I didn't think that I was the person at this point in our history who could summon that extraordinary resilience and commitment from America again. And I think that we will be able to start both repairing the damage, but more importantly, starting to act like Americans, solving our problems, restoring our leadership in the world. And that's what I look forward to.

The really great jazz musicians can perform a technique called circular breathing, in which they breathe in through their nostrils while continuing, temporarily, to force a simultaneous steady stream of air through their instruments using their cheek and mouth and throat muscles, so as to never stop for a breath during a long solo. Today is the first time I've seen a politician do that.

"Hitting All the Sunday Talk Shows, Clinton Says a Lot but Reveals Little," says the WaPo. Well, yes, but ... you can't help but be impressed with her stamina. Unless ...

Unless she's been cloned. Or ... re-manufactured into multiple android duplicates. Because that would explain a lot, wouldn't it? How did Bill manage to keep Hill standing by her man through all that? Unplug the last one, adjust the memory circuits of the next one, and plug 'er in.

I'm thinking in terms of some sort of DARPA/Disney black ops project run amok. Either that, or something undead.

By far the most scary things were the two mechanical "belly laughs" she delivered in response to questions from Fox News' Chris Wallace. They made my skin crawl. Seriously, if you could digitize those laughs and put them into a small plug-in appliance that would rhythmically pulse them through your house's electrical system, you could drive out all the insects and small vermin, and the FTC wouldn't challenge your advertisements — they'd give you a testimonial endorsement. (I suspect the FDA would find your product to be carcinogenic, though.) As I listened to those laughs — the exact same length, pitch, and timbre both times, and I suspect you could overlay their wave forms in a sound editor and prove that they were both from the same pre-recorded source — I could just imagine the focus group technicians looking at the dials and gauges, one saying to the other, "Have her deliver just one more 'hah!' as part of that, and let's see if the residual marginal antipathy-plasticity factor goes down another half percent, okay?"

The GOP doesn't just need a candidate, friends and neighbors. It needs ... a Slayer.


UPDATE (Mon Oct 1 @ 5:10pm): I'm only mildly surprised that the "Hillary's laugh" meme has turned out to have some legs. Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft cites several pundits who've commented negatively about it, and she thinks their comments are sexist. Although some of the language they've used may have sexist overtones, I don't think that Hillary's XX-chromosomes are really the basis of the most of the commentary. The laughs struck lots of people as odd — not for anything having to do with her sex, but partly because of their seeming inappropriateness to the context, and largely because of timing, the latter of which (as I've discussed already in comments below) is almost certainly due to the satellite link lag between her Chappaqua studio and the host sites for the talking heads shows in Manhattan or D.C. Jon Stewart's riff on The Daily Show gets it right: It's not about her being female, it's more about her being "some sort of synthetic being that cries mercury." And — as I've also tried to make clear in my comments below — it's a fairly trivial issue even to the limited extent that it's a legitimate comment on her personality (or the ruthless suppression thereof), in the nature of a backhanded compliment for being such a disciplined candidate. I no more think Hillary's laugh is a good reason to vote against her than that I thought John Kerry's hairstyle or Boston accent was a good reason to vote against him. I have ample good reasons to vote against either of them based purely on issues of policy and on genuinely important aspects of personal character.

Posted by Beldar at 12:31 AM in 2008 Election, Humor, Politics (2007) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Hillary on the Sunday talking heads shows and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) DRJ made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 1:46:38 AM | Permalink

She's a Stepford all right but either she'll lose in November or we'll get used to her.

(2) Jan made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 7:32:03 AM | Permalink

From your comments, I deduce that you base your vote on whether you want to go have a beer with the candidate. Not one word on the substance of her healthcare plan, for example.
What would be a Republican candidates' plans for the healthcare crisis in America?
GOP answer: "Who cares? We like Rudy's laugh so much!"
The GOP have any ideas, or is it just making fun of people as usual?

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 7:52:28 AM | Permalink

Jan, lighten up. I'm reasonably sure you're jumping to conclusions and making accusations on the basis of not many visits here. Check the categories in which this post is cross-referenced; one's "humor." There's plenty of time between now and November 2008, and I promise I'll talk about the merits of Hillary's positions in excruciating detail before then. For that matter, Google-search my blog for "Hillary" and you'll find over 200 separate posts going back over four years, most of which were not intended to be humorous at all.

But this post was about the particularly odd fact of her appearing on five talking heads programs in a single day, and my personal reactions to it.

Now, having said all that: I would bet you a steak dinner, if we had any way to verify the winner, that Hillary's specific plan for appearing on the Fox program — where her hubby had, a few months earlier, unleashed an obviously planned tirade against Chris Wallace — definitely included one or more belly laughs. I'm not kidding at all about that being something that I think had its origins in some focus group and/or poll results. That's the level of preparation and detail that the Clintons have perfected as part of their "government as perpetual campaign" approach. I point that out as a warning to the GOP, because it is part of what makes her formidable; and to anyone who values authenticity or principle, because those are qualities that if she ever had, she's long since jettisoned. That serious enough for ya?

(4) craig mclaughlin made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 8:17:24 AM | Permalink

Chris Matthews or Chris Wallace?

[Wallace, of course. Apologies to him for the odious mistake; fixed in the post and in the comment above. — Beldar]

(5) Old Coot made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 9:01:30 AM | Permalink

We've seen the cankles and heard the laugh; time to forgive Slick-Willy for his transgressions.

(6) Patterico made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 9:31:47 AM | Permalink

I read Hillary's answer out loud in my normal speaking voice, and timed myself. 94 seconds. She said it in 30? Amazing.

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 24, 2007 10:24:17 AM | Permalink

Hrmpf. I missed a turning-over digit. On remeasuring, it was one minute, thirty seconds, not merely thirty seconds. Post text revised above accordingly.

I also went back to listen to the laughs on her Fox News appearance again, and — in fairness (see, Jan?) — I should note that one of the things which creeped me out when I was watching the show on TV was that there was a half-beat pause before the laugh, and then the laugh seemed to sort of explode out of nowhere. I still think it was a staged laugh, but the half-beat pause was more than likely due to the video link delay between Fox News' studio and Hillary's "converted barn studio" behind her home in Chappaqua, NY — not lag time in her undead cloned android brain's processing power (which, without doubt, is formidable).

(8) Jaye Ramsey Sutter, J.D. made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 8:35:18 PM | Permalink

Hillary's laugh at some deeply silly talking head "questions"?

She was pointing and laughing at these clueless men.

And that must be terrifying for many.

The attacks on her are different than attacks on her male counterparts. It is about her laugh, her clothes, her brain, her hair, her sexuality...

And the attacks are revealing--they come from fear. Not reason, not intellect but fear. The attacks remind me of attacks on smart girls in school from cheerleaders and frustrated boys.

Striking that cord, that nerve is going to get her elected because while some make "fun" of her, others are going to relate. The harder the attacks on her as a woman, the bigger the vote. Didn't anyone learn anything from that idiot Rick Fazio?

She is going to beat her Republican counterpart like a rented mule.

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 8:44:26 PM | Permalink

Ms. Sutter, your accusation that I am a sexist is very funny. I have never ridiculed or belittled Sen. Clinton for her gender.

I will, however, eagerly poke fun at any law school graduate who signs a blog comment with "J.D." after her name.

Here's a clue: Your mom may be impressed with that. But neither this blog's proprietor (who also has one) nor its regular readers (who generally are pretty well educated, but in any event aren't snowed by the likes of you) are going to find that anything but hilarious. Thanks for stopping by.

(10) antimedia made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 9:53:45 PM | Permalink

Funny how the only ones capable of seeing how "differently" Hillary is viewed are the very people who claim to be color-blind, gender-blind, etc., etc., ad nauseum ad infinitum.

What Jaye wants is a hands-off approach to Hillary. Any criticism is out of bounds because, well, it's sexist.

I'd laugh if it weren't so disgusting.

(11) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 10:34:59 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: I did think your comments on the laugh were over the top, and was going to chastise you for them. Then I remembered my firm conviction that the time you spend laughing does not count against your allotted life span. The only way my conviction can be right, is, as you say, if she's one of the undead. I withdraw my impulse to chastise you, with the uneasy notion that after November 2008, that is the way we will all sound---when crying.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Sincerely yours,

(12) Rosetta made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 12:04:10 AM | Permalink


Set the Wayback Machine for 1991, on a warm afternoon at San Jose State University, Bill Clinton, running against George H.W. Bush and H. Ross Perot, tells California educators the "Peace Dividend," should be used to beat swords into plowshares.

In order to plunder the "dividend," Bill Clinton sets up a college. In 1993 Clinton appoints Congressman Leon Panetta, OMB Director and Panetta puts Fort Ord on the block. At Panetta's behest, Congress passes the Pryor Amendment. That is, Fort Ord without use restrictions; the amendment even appropriates money for legal defenses. Les Aspen, slated to head the campus, passes away unexpectedly. Clinton appoints Panetta chief of staff in 1994. And, The Presidential Search Committee picks Vermont's Peter P. Smith. Currently, former Arkansas Governor David H. Pryor (D) serves as Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Ushered through the California Legislature, as a San Jose State, Salinas, extension campus – with help from newly appointed CSU Chancellor Barry Munoz – the politicos co-opt the proposed extension on Fort Ord, and christen it their own personal residential campus, CSU Monterey Bay. Bill Clinton dedicates CSU-MB, Labor Day 1995. Leon Panetta knows the Clinton "20-year plan." The Clinton curriculum would also lead columnist George F. Will to write, “Plain English does not seem to be a spoken dialect at CSU-MB.” As it turns out, Arabic was. First order of business: train Middle Eastern flight-students.

November 2001, Bill Clinton speaking at Georgetown University says, “Here in the United States, we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery, and slaves quite frequently were killed even though they were innocent.” “This country once looked the other way when a significant number of Native Americans were dispossessed and killed.” Clinton went back centuries to regale Georgetown students with Crusader atrocities against Moslems, "we are still paying for it."

At CSU-MB’s dedication, when Bill Clinton called the nonprofit sector “a political gold mine,” few knew the politicos had already purchased several large tracts of military housing from the DOD, for $1-dollar. That, nonprofits use “foundations” to funnel profits wherever they desire. Nothing is greedier than a California landlord; Fort Ord’s new owners are no exception. They ruthlessly misrepresent the campus and pocket untold millions of dollars in student rents, etc. As the years progress, the politicos perpetrate every education fraud imaginable.

Bill Clinton concluded his Georgetown speech, by saying that the issue revolves around “the nature of truth.” Maybe so, but that’s a straw man: an argument set up to be defeated. As early as 1993, the Clintons began siphoning off the so called “Peace Dividend” to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States, and create the progressive paradigm best suited to return Bill Clinton to the White House, a wartime co-president. Truth is, nobody games the system like the Clintons: http://theseedsof9-11.com

(13) Jaye made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 12:21:21 AM | Permalink

I didn't say you had personally attacked her gender.

But your personal attacks on me are noted.

Yeah, my mom is impressed. I am the only college educated kid in the family and certainly the only law school grad. I went part time while teaching on the college level full time.

And you sir, smug bastard, can kiss my ass.

(14) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 1:18:02 AM | Permalink

Consider it done.

(But you really hate Barbara Bush as much as you hate Dubya? Really?)

Seriously, Ms. Sutter: I'm sure your academic achievements are well earned. I'm actually going to spend some time reading your blog, but don't intend to poke any fun at it, just because I'm always interested in what well-educated Houstonians have to say about topics on which we likely disagree. Our blogrolls share a couple of Lone Star entries (Kuff and Burnt Orange). We're both fans of Lady Bird. I like you a whole lot better for this bit in your blog's "About Me" section:

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Their inability to create and sustain a trust fund for me.

And if I've caused you any discomfort, I apologize.

(But drop the ", J.D." in your comments on other blogs, if you don't want other folks to poke fun at you too. You can't swing a dead cat in Houston without hitting a lawyer, and most of 'em will volunteer to represent the dead cat.)

(15) Xrlq made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 8:05:31 PM | Permalink

Some pretentious bee-yatch who wants us all to know she has a J.D. asks:

Didn't anyone learn anything from that idiot Rick Fazio?

Personally, I learned three things from that non-idiot Rick Lazio, all of which were apparently lost on both you and your Jay-Dee:

1. How to spell the guy's last friggin' name.
2. That failure to do so, particularly while calling him an idiot, is more likely to make you look like the idiot yourself.
3. That Republicans don't usually win statewide races in New York.

(16) anon made the following comment | Sep 27, 2007 2:57:27 AM | Permalink

Beldar wrote:

"and to anyone who values authenticity or principle, because those are qualities that if she ever had, she's long since jettisoned."

Ignoring the grammar, I think this comment is easily answered with more of our folksy host's own words:

"I'm reasonably sure you're jumping to conclusions and making accusations on the basis" that ... "the two belly laughs" ... "made my skin crawl."

In other words, Bill, just because you think (and probably, like many good line-toeing Republicans, have always thought) Hillary's stiff, or icky, or even *gasp* meticulous in her political planning, you cannot in any empirical manner express certainty about her principles, or lack thereof.

Show me a successful national politician who's not calculating; show me one who doesn't read polls; show me one who doesn't plan out their appearances on Sunday talk shows -- and I'll show you a snow-covered mountaintop in Harris County.

In other words, friend, don't hate Hillary just because she's a bad actress. And in your "serious" moments, take the time to figure out what it is you really don't like about her. Be honest with yourself. Then get back to us.

(17) Milhouse made the following comment | Oct 3, 2007 10:22:48 AM | Permalink

Did Carol change her name? Or is Rosetta merely a fan of her work?

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