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Thursday, October 20, 2016

I once knew a curmudgeonly physician whose wife practiced family therapy. In her off hours, she often counseled a small army of girlfriends through romantic entanglements. One evening at dinner, the grumpy doctor decided he’d heard enough secondhand tales of woe.

“Look,” he said. “I know people have got to [bleep]. It was covered in the medical school curriculum. But they certainly don’t have to talk about it to the exclusion of all else, do they?”

That’s my attitude toward the 2016 presidential race. I’m assuming that Hillary Clinton’s running because of how ostentatiously she’s not made up her mind. By sitting tight, she basically freezes potential Democratic rivals in place, passively using her lead in opinion polls to prevent others from raising money.

Otherwise, can’t we please, please wait until 2016 to obsess about it around the clock? There will be three World Series, two NBA championships and a couple of NCAA football seasons between now and then. Politically speaking, we’ll be in a different world.

But no, we’re not going to get even an August recess if the Washington infotainment industry gets its way. Witness the recent stir over Clinton’s ill-advised interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, a colloquy quickly cartoonized into a rebuke of President Obama that never actually happened.

For now, the only important thing is to recognize how these media quasi-events take shape. Guided by Goldberg, headline writers focused on a throwaway line characterized by the inimitable Maureen Dowd as “a cheap shot at President Obama… calling him a wimp just as he was preparing to order airstrikes against ISIS.”

Clinton said this: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

Actually, President Obama’s version of the slogan was earthier. However, turning Hillary’s paraphrase into an insult required ignoring almost everything she said about his administration’s foreign policy.

Why had Obama used the phrase?

“I think he was trying to communicate to the American people that he’s not going to do something crazy,” Clinton said. “I’ve sat in too many rooms with the president. He’s thoughtful; he’s incredibly smart, and able to analyze a lot of different factors that are all moving at the same time. I think he is cautious because he knows what he inherited, both the two wars and the economic front, and he has expended a lot of capital and energy trying to pull us out of the hole we’re in. So I think that that’s a political message.”

Does that sound like a slam to you?

Elsewhere, Clinton added that “it was stupid to do what we did in Iraq and to have no plan about what to do after we did it. That was really stupid.”

She’d voted for the Iraq war, you may recall. Dowd certainly remembered. The erratic New York Times columnist bitterly blamed Hillary for the death of her friend Michael Kelly, the first “embedded” journalist to die there. Dowd neglected to mention Kelly’s own September 2002 column calling Al Gore “wretched,” “vile,” “contemptible,” and worse for opposing the invasion.

I guess she forgot.

But did Hillary really argue that if Obama had armed Syrian “moderates” as she’d recommended as Secretary of State, that the United States wouldn’t have to be bombing ISIS fanatics in Iraq today — blowing to smithereens our own tanks and APCs that they captured from fleeing Iraqi soldiers?

That was another headline take from The Atlantic interview. Once again, no, she did not. Indeed, she reminded Goldberg that the chapter on Syria in her recent book was entitled “A Wicked Problem.”

“I can’t sit here today,” Clinton said, “and say that if we had done what I recommended, and what [then-U.S. Ambassador] Robert Ford recommended, that we’d be in a demonstrably different place….I don’t think we can claim to know.”

Obama’s position was that the idea of an effective fighting force of Syrian “moderates” is essentially a fantasy. He said exactly that to CBS Morning News last May, although he’s since asked Congress for $500 million to help train and equip this fantasy army — money he’s unlikely to get.

James Fallows argues that people who thought the U.S. could stage-manage the Syrian civil war were deluding themselves: “Yeah, we should have ‘done something’ in Syria to prevent the rise of ISIS. But the U.S. did a hell of a lot of somethings in Iraq over the past decade, with a lot more leverage that it could possibly have had in Syria. And the result of the somethings in Iraq was… ?”

Well, it was the mad fanatics of ISIS.

Actually, The Atlantic interview is fascinating, if not for the ballyhooed reasons. Hillary Clinton has provocative things to say about U.S. foreign policy — some alarming, and others more about political positioning than anything else.

Come 2016, there will be plenty of time to discuss them.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Eleanore Whitaker

    The “Media?” or MEN of the Media who are roiling in their Fruit of the Looms should the first woman topple The Great Regime of White Male Swaggering, Drawling, Booming, Bombing, Bastions of Superiority from their thrones?

    The concept of women as leaders are foreign only to men who have for too long used their gender as a weapon. Not working any more is it?

    Women represent 52% of the US population. More than 80% work outside the home and/or totally financially independent.

    Why then should any woman take a back seat at the table to any man? If anyone thought racial bias was bad. Wait…These Male Supremacists are already looking for any possible way to crucify Hillary.

    Not to worry Bois…She’s already been drawn and quartered so many times by the males seeking ultimate political control. Now, you guys built a woman with the toughest and most politically impenetrable armor. Thanks guys!

    • cleos_mom

      Indeed; if she wins, the “governing while black” complaint will be replaced by “governing while having the wrong plumbing”.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        I’ve lived my entire life since birth in a mostly all male world. There is nothing and I mean nothing 5 brothers and half brothers, 2 sons, 11 nephews and a staff of overeducated engineers didn’t teach me. If there is one connection I’ve seen among nearly all of the men, save about 5 I’ve observed, it’s their selfishness borne of male ego. Once you see past their egos, you see also their massive insecurity, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding..rofl.

        • Dominick Vila

          Most of the people who fear the rise of women and ethnic minorities to positions of authority are insecure, and fear the changes that may put an end to the pervasive male dominance that has been the norm since the beginning of mankind.
          I think it is appalling that the United States is among a handful of Western industrialized nations that never had a female President.

    • JDavidS

      “MEN of the Media”? Really? Last I checked Peggy Noonan, Anne Coulter, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Heather Nauert, Anna Koolman, Patti Ann Browne, et al were women, and they’ll be first in line to hang Clinton. And there are certainly more than those named. More than a few WOMEN ready to draw and quarter her.
      That’s a pretty broad brush you’re painting with.
      Having said that, I do acknowledge that there are more than a few men ensconced in their positions ready to hang her.
      BUT…the men are not alone.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        JDavidS….How many of the top media mogul billionaires are women?

        I paint with a truthful brush men suffering from massive male supremacy issues can’t admit.

        Not a single one of the women you mentioned own NY Post, Fox News or The Wall Street Journal…do they Joi Boi?

        Eat your heart out. You men have had 235+ years trying to prove (only to yourselves) how you are the Master Race.

        Time for you to step aside. and let the 11 NH women, Wendy Davis, Allison Grimes, Elizabeth Warren and the future President Hillary Clinton do the jobs you and your right wing asshats are too lazy to do…restore the integrity and honor of this country and help those your Greedheaded king helped unemploy. Hurts your hinnie doesn’t it?

        • JDavidS

          Hey, Ms. I’ll Try to be so Condescending, you merely said “men of the media”. You said zero about men who “owned” the media. Before running off at the yap you should try being a tad more specific. Bill O’Reilly, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and numerous others would be “men of the media”.
          “Hurts my hinnie”? Nope., not in the least. What does annoy is your blatant misandry and your woeful lack of clarity.
          You clearly have anger issues about your gender which I certainly don’t intend to deal with. Your comment verges on the pathetic.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            JDavidS…As a man, you are clueless and still think women can’t possibly see through your condescending games. Grow up already. Little Boy Blue you aren’t. As for blowing your horn, only men like you are in the meadow while the cows are in the corn…Men of media was posted exactly as I intended it..which, last I heard, is the right of any individual to express their thoughts and ideas…The only one running off at his yap is you.

            You have reading comprehension problems…But since you want proof..Ever read the NY Post’s favorite male tripe writer? Krauthammer? His mindset is like yours…HIS way or the highway. Too bad women don’t have the patience anymore to endure that BS.

            The thing I also enjoy most about chewing up an spitting out guys like you is how fast you show how you can’t admit when you are wrong.

            You and your asshat type of men who love to lord it over women and anyone else you can ramrod through your militarized spin machines are flashes in the pan and we all know how long that lasts.

            Try growing up and acting your age instead of your IQ.

          • JDavidS

            All rant and narrow opinion, except for yourself, of course. ( The sign of a truly insecure little person…having to constantly pat yourself on the back, because apparently no one else sees your genius…ever stop to think it’s just not there?) Simply the ravings of a misandrist idiot. And not even an attempt to rebut the points I made about your woeful lack of clarity, followed by a pathetic attempt to assume you know anything about me or what I think. You simply project your lunacy onto others.
            As for IQ’s…Yours’ would appear to be smaller than your shoe size.
            And reading comprehension? Yours’ is simply nonexistent, as proven by a childish rant, backed by zero fact and ignoring anything that doesn’t agree with your infantile ravings.
            Go take your misandrist crap out on the males unfortunate enough to have to share your miserable existence. And give them my regrets.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Little Jack Wackie….Can’t stand the truth? Little Jackie Wackie doesn’t like ANY woman with more brains than him. In his testosterone overdosed world, intelligent women are a very serious threat to LIttle Jackie Wackie’s power base.

            Men like you are a joke. Women rant and men do what? Play with their family jewels every day?

        • JDavidS

          Oh, and incidentally, Ms. I’m Also Too Clueless to do any Research, “me and my right wing asshats”? Read some of my past comments, kid clueless. I am to right-wing as Rush Limbaugh would be to bleeding-heart liberal.

      • Dominick Vila

        I think you are right. All of the women you mentioned, and many more, are likely to be as determined to destroy Hillary’s candidacy as right wing males are. The reason so many women are likely to attack Hillary – or any Democrat running for President – regardless of gender is usually associated with issues, such as abortion rights, immigration, gay marriage, or foreign threats, which are important to them. Ideology, religion, and the way we are brought up can often persuade us to do things that are against our best interests.

      • SophieCT

        You’re including Ann Coulter?

        • latebloomingrandma

          Not only is she not a “journalist”, she’s her own individual hate group.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          Or, Michele Malkin whose journalism is more akin to tearing flesh?

    • jointerjohn

      The racial attacks and insults thrown at President Obama are nothing compared to the gender assault that will accompany Secretary Clinton’s candidacy. Both parties have insecure little boys in treehouses marked “no girls allowed”, although the republican party has embraced it in a most insulting way. Unable to tolerate smart, tough women, they bore us to death with the Sarah Palins and Michele Bachmanns. They photo-op these complete dingbats as if we are so stupid we will be fooled into thinking that their using them as hand puppets will cause us to think they are gender inclusive. That is more insulting than if they just honestly ran an all male party. Even the democrat party has their sexist males, just fewer of them and more clever than to be so obvious about it.

      • Canistercook

        Well hopefully that will take the dogs off Sarah Palin! They sure attacked her even on Saturday Night Live!

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          What precisely has the Tundra Tootsie, Bachmannistan or Little Cutesy Nikki done to reduce unemployment? Other than dump the cost of their unemployed on blue states and help themselves to our federal tax dollars to hand as subsidies to their corporate cronies? These women are the “call girls” of the GOP..only speak when the Big Bois pull their puppet strings.

      • Dominick Vila

        I don’t expect the media, or the opposition, to go as far as they did against President Obama. Republicans do go to extremes to score points, but they are not dumb. They understand that anything that comes close to denying a woman the right to run for president would be a death blow for them.
        They will resurrect Bill’s peccadilloes, the alleged real estate transaction scandals, alleged murder plots, Benghazi, and just about everything but the kitchen think, except for gender.

        • Independent1

          I agree. I don’t think Hillary will get anywhere near the animosity shown to her that the GOP has inflicted on Obama. Sadly, racism still brings out the absolute worst in many who otherwise appear to be good people.

    • itsfun

      Do you spend all of your time hating men?

  • cleos_mom

    If 2008 is any indication, there will be an orgy of “Hillary” bashing (if she wins in 2016 will “President Clinton” be heard only outside the US?) and the right/left split will be about 60/40. Get ready for trumpetings of “both parties are the same” from both the Right and the Left; the Left should know better.

    Oh, and that doctor’s wife should ignore the grump.

  • David

    She seems a little bit too much of a hawk for me.

    • FT66

      Agreed. She doesn’t behave like Angela Merkel in Germany. People there likes her very much as she behaves like a woman and still does her job perfectly.

      • SophieCT

        Behave? Oh please. Can you get out of the 19th century?

        • FT66

          Oh! come on. A woman will always remain as a woman and also applies the same to men. Let us all be realistic. Hillary tries to show now that she is as tough as a man. Does she think we have forgotten how she sobbed before the New Hampshire primaries after she lost flatly in Iowa in 2007? Tell us what man could have done what she did? This has nothing to do with whatever century. Its human nature. Please get it.

  • FT66

    Hillary deserves all kind of attacks. No time to wait and no any sounding reason to buy time. She didn’t do so herself either. She has put herself forward even before the time is ripe. She should understand that any woman who competes with men in anything, knows its always very tough and a hard battle to win.

    • Canistercook

      Especially in America today! Not s much where civilization exists!

  • Canistercook

    Hillary is not a leader and we badly need one now to correct the mess we are in. She is just a nice lady with a law degree and married to Bill. She will make a good lawyer possibly!

    • Independent1

      She’s 5 times the leader than any of the last 5 GOP presidents were – all of which were cataclysmic failures!!!

  • ExRadioGuy15

    I’ve already explained this several times, that is, why the GOP are attacking Hillary Clinton now instead of waiting until she actually announces her intention to run for President:
    The GOP faced a similar situation last year regarding the PPACA (GOP “dog-whistle” term, “Obamacare”)….they were desperate to “kill” it before the 2014 implementation knowing that, once people got insurance and found out they liked being insured and getting health care, killing it would be a very unpopular move. They even went so far as to SHUT DOWN the government to try and get that done. Look at how well that worked out! LMAO
    So, now that Hillary Clinton may run for President, they’re faced with the same challenge: throw as much mud as possible at her, hoping that the extra scrutiny will convince her to refrain from running.
    In this case, as with the PPACA, they’re making a huge mistake by “prosecuting” her right now. The GOP wrongly believe that we’re too stupid to remember what they’re doing now when they renew this same propaganda if and when Mrs. Clinton decides to rn. But, the GOP have become the “boy who cried wolf” on this and several other issues.
    But, that’s how desperate they are…the tide is turning against them and they’ll do anything to try and reverse that tide…good luck with that! LMAO

  • itsfun

    what difference does it make now?

  • ericlipps

    I’m assuming that Hillary Clinton’s running because of how ostentatiously she’s not made up her mind. By sitting tight, she basically freezes potential Democratic rivals in place, passively using her lead in opinion polls to prevent others from raising money.

    Or in other words, she must be running because she keeps saying she isn’t but people don’t want to believe it.

    Otherwise, can’t we please, please wait until 2016 to obsess about it around the clock?

    Hear, hear. Or at least wait until she actually says she’s running. So far, the punditocracy has correctly predicted three out of her last, um, one runs for the White House. Remember 2000, and the “third term” nonsense where people were saying she was sure to run to keep the family in power? Remember 2004, when Gen. Wesley Clark was supposed to be her “stalking horse” in the South? If Hillary had actually run and won both of those years, she’d have been ineligible to run in 2008–the only time she’s actually done it, at east so far.

  • Whatmeworry

    The State Run Media will run cover for her just like they have done for the past 8 years for obama

    • Independent1

      Oh please!! That’s the most moronic comment I’ve heard in weeks!!

      The “state run media” has crucified Obama during everyone of the past 6 years!! Anyone who even remotely believes that America’s media has a liberal bias IS A TOTAL MORON!!!!!!!!!

      • Dan-Air National Guard Vet

        Why do you call my comment moronic?? Do you think the Media is run by corporate America?? I hardly think so

        • Independent1

          Really!! Tell that to the folks who own ‘Clear Channel Entertainment’ who live in Texas – here’s what their website says:

          With 245 million monthly listeners in the U.S. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has the largest reach of any radio and television news outlet in America.

          And tell that to Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and numerous other media outlets as NewsCorp.

          • Dan-Air National Guard Vet

            You must not read newspapers where you live

          • Independent1

            I certainly do, I read the Bangor Daily News, rated the of of the best small city newspapers in America and it certainly has nothing to do with the government. You’re certainly not trying to suggest that America’s newspapers are owned by the government, that’s even sillier.

          • Whatmeworry

            The socialist newspaper??

      • Whatmeworry

        Hmmmm must not have newspapers where you live. The State Run Media ABC, NBC CBS, NPR, CNN Wash Post, NYTimes have been running interference for him for the past 7 years and excused everyone of his criminal acts

        • Independent1

          You seem to like to focus on the lies and distortions spewed by Fox News. How about focusing for a few minutes on some of the positive things Obama has accomplished.

          Here’s just a partial list:

          o The stock Market is at the highest level in
          history restoring retirement accounts for millions of American seniors that were trashed under Bush administration

          o -Obama has been the smallest spending
          president since Eisenhower

          o -Obama has reduced deficit spending faster
          than any president since Truman

          -There have been more than 54 straight months of job growth with more jobs created in last 5 years than Bush created in 8 years

          -Obama ended the war in Iraq – AS PROMISED

          o –The 9/11 perpetrator, bin Laden, was eliminated
          and al Qaeda severely weakened

          -War in Afghanistan almost wound down – AS PROMISED

          -American auto Industry saved from bankruptcy and flourishing again despite GOP opposition; making profits not seen since Clinton was in office.

          -More than 150 billion in taxes collected from auto industry related companies over the past 5 years that would have been lost in industry went bankrupt

          -More than 1.5 million American jobs saved through bailout helping keep America out of another GOP created depression

          o -College loan process was revamped cutting
          banks out as middlemen which has made college loans more affordable for millions of HS graduates

          -More fraudulently charged monies in the defense and healthcare sectors recovered (billions) and crooks brought to justice than 3 prev. pres. combined

          -More PROBLEM illegal aliens rounded up and deported over the past 5 years than by any other president (more than 1.5 million)

          o -Obama’s stimulus energized America green
          energy initiatives such that alternative energies (solar, wind, hydro and plasma) may well make fossil fuels obsolete within the next 10 plus years.

          o -More gas and oil pumped out of the ground
          the past 3 years than at any other tine in US in history; America is now the largest energy producer on the planet supplanting Russia and Saudi Arabia for that title.

          -America’s relationships restored with virtually all it’s international partners after Bush had virtually the whole world hating America (and that
          includes the British people).

          • Dan-Air National Guard Vet

            Don’t you read newspapers where you live??

    • Independent1

      The “state run media” has blown every GOP fabricated lie, fake scandal and distortion of the truth about Obama way out of proportion and mooned on every word that idiots like John McCain, Ted Cruz and every other moronic GOP Senator even remotely hints at. Wake up!! What planet are you living on????????

      • Whatmeworry

        Lets see Fast and Furious have yet to see 1 person jailed, IRS dirty tricks again not 1 arrest, the VA 800 Vets dead not 1 arrest, Benghazi out right misinformation to the causes, Illegal immigration, training arming and funding ISIS, the list is endless

        • Independent1

          Wow! You are gullible aren’t you. Just for starters, Fast and Furious was a

        • Independent1

          Darrel Issa has spent millions upon millions of wasted TAXPAYER dollars trying to prosecute Obama for all those fake scandals you listed and because they were fake, couldn’t come up with one conviction. It’s not because he didn’t try and didn’t waste millions trying – but it’s tough when you’re trying to make scandals out of nothing – every single one of them except the VA problem is an OUTRIGHT FAKE!!!