Friday, April 22, 2016

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.

“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.”
This analysis, this framing, leads to important questions, I think:
  • 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?
Is Sanders attacking Clinton's character? I'll let you answer; it's a fairly subtle question. Is it fair to attack Clinton's connection to the lobbyist–Wall Street–Washington system? Clinton has called it an "artful smear" to make such a connection. Is that really true? Is it fair to make this connection? Again, I'll let you answer, but it's a fairly subtle question.

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!)


Labels: , , , , ,


At 11:15 AM, Blogger Mark Gisleson said...

Excellent questions for which there are no easy answers, at least not if you're supporting HRC.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Alan Bickley said...

Behavior is a mark of character. HRC's behavior with respect to finance capitalism is a matter of record, although gaps in that record persist (the transcripts). One may properly draw inferences about her preferences in allies from an examination of that record. Ordinary people draw such inferences all the time, usually without being accused of attacking character. In HRC's case, her sale of her time and opinions at rates far above market strongly suggests that she will behave in a way that is pleasing to the dominant figures in finance capitalism. Although these figures and many ordinary Democrats may be as one on such matters as gay marriage and bathroom access, they are not as one on economic questions. To say so is to make a judgement about Hillary's character, but it is hardly a consequence of prejudice; neither is it an attack on her character.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger CardboardCaskets said...

Why do people have to walk on eggshells to ask questions about her allegiances? She's a POLITICIAN, not any primary voter's PERSONAL FRIEND. I capitalize because godalmighty, the conversations I've been having recently with people who seem to be personally invested in maintaining a flawless facade around her person and her candidacy have really started to rankle me. If I perceive something off-kilter or questionable about Bernie (who I support), I'll open my piehole and flap my gums about it, without breaking stride. But the inability of so many HRC supporters to do that with their candidate, has just started to irritate me.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Statements of fact and of reasonable inference based on fact is NOT an attack on her character. It's not personal either. It's a reasonable evaluation of her candidacy based on her vast public record of being horrible in so many ways.

You'll find that everyone who bitches about these "personal attacks" and "attacks on her character" are among the corrupt Ds and D $hills who have a ve$ted interest in seeing their own nominated and elected. As such, you can apply that filter to your own diagnoses about it.

It is both reasonable and NECESSARY to remind everyone that $hillbillary is corrupt, a devoted neocon and neoliberal, a warmonger without remorse and a serial prevaricator. Her own history shows these to all be true, and her own declaratives and her refusal to make other declaritives prove them to be true.

It's only a shame that Bernie (and just a few others of prominence) haven't been crowing about this for the past 8 years. After all, her record as secstate created quite a pile of reasons to so state.

Knowing of her record, I challenge you to find a picture of $hillbillary that DOESN'T lead one to conclude that she is the worst D candidate (that we can be sure of at the time of candidacy) to ever be a presumptive nominee. The worst by far.


Post a Comment

<< Home