Questions of Character & Fairness
Is it unfair to Clinton that I put this picture here? Does it question her character to show it?
by Gaius Publius
I had something else lined up for today, but I wanted to follow up briefly on a recent piece I did — "Hillary Won New York, But Her Image Is Underwater" — which looked at the Washington Post's evaluation of the state of the Clinton campaign following her New York win.
That piece contained this paragraph, which we quoted (my emphasis):
Clinton’s image is at or near record lows among major demographic groups. Among men, she is at minus 40. Among women, she is at minus nine. Among whites, she is at minus 39. Among white women, she is at minus 25. Among white men, she is at minus 72. Her favorability among whites at this point in the election cycle is worse than President Obama’s ever has been, according to Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.In a section I didn't quote, McInturff, a Republican, but also one of the pollsters, also said this:
“By any conventional standard, this is a candidate who’s been disqualified to be president [by the voters],” McInturff said. “Her terrible numbers for months have been masked because we have the one candidate in modern history who has worse numbers. The spectacle of Donald Trump has gotten so much attention that she’s slipped under the radar for what ought to be a real story. . . . Her numbers have gone from terrible to historic and disqualifying.”Her numbers have gone "from terrible to historic to disqualifying" because, according to unnamed "Democrats," Bernie Sanders has attacked her "character":
Democrats see Sanders as an agent in Clinton’s decline, arguing that in recent weeks his attacks have been aimed less at policy differences and more at questions about her character. Sanders has attacked Clinton as being too cozy with Wall Street, too dependent on big money and for not releasing transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs.This analysis, this framing, leads to important questions, I think:
“It’s hard to dispute the rising negatives,” said Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. “I was actually surprised when Sanders began not just to make [the contest] that personal but appeared to be producing enduring damage.”
- Character: Are attacks on Clinton's ties to Wall Street actually attacks on her character, or just attacks on the system of which she's a part?
- Fairness: Is it fair to Clinton to call the system corrupt and say Clinton is part of it?
And to end where we began, is it unfair of me to lead this piece with the picture I placed at the top? If so, what does the picture imply? And if you think it implies something bad, why?
I don't mean to answer these questions; just ask them. This piece isn't about Clinton's character or the fairness of pointing out her professional ties. It's about the concepts of "character" and "fairness" themselves. Something to think about.
(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. If you'd like to help out, go here. And thanks!)