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With the happy news that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky expect their first child later this year, the Clinton family can anticipate warm good wishes from most Americans – and a less uplifting response from all of the usual suspects.

The inane but mostly harmless speculation from the pundit class already has begun. How will Hillary Rodham Clinton’s prospective future as a grandmother, they ask, affect her potential candidacy for the presidency? (Not at all, except in the minds of the geniuses who have never noticed that most presidents and many candidates were grandfathers.) Even more inanely, a prominent columnist hinted on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that her daughter’s pregnancy might actually be a scheme to “soften” Mrs. Clinton’s image and improve voters’ opinion of her.

Still not inane enough? Steve Malzberg eagerly picked up the challenge.

“Well, now I’m not saying, when I say staged I have to believe she’s pregnant, if she says she’s pregnant,” blurted the NewsmaxTV host. “I don’t mean that they’re making up she’s pregnant. But what great timing! I mean purely accidental, purely an act of nature, purely just left up to God.

“And God answered Hillary Clinton’s prayers and she’s going to have the prop of being a new grandma while she runs for president,” he added. “It just warms the heart, it brings a tear to my eye. It really does.”

While Malzberg plainly has no clue about human nature or reproductive biology, he can always rely on that heavy-handed wit to sustain him as an entertainer. (Plus his persistent taste for every poisonous flavor of conspiracy, from standard Obama birther swill to “federal internment camps,” and so on.)

Now it is true, of course, that Bill and Hillary Clinton have persistently and sometimes publicly urged their daughter to produce a grandchild, in that slightly kidding, wholly serious way that almost all parents do with their married offspring. It is not true — except in the deranged fantasies of the minority of Clinton haters in the press and on the political right – that any woman gets pregnant in order to advance a parent’s presidential campaign.

Indeed, like everything else that the Clintons do – or that merely happens to them – Chelsea’s impending motherhood becomes fodder for the perverse imagination of their critics. In the bizarre universe inhabited by such people, the Clintons are capable only of political calculation and conspiracy, rather than the range of human behaviors and emotions that all of us experience. These weird projections have always told us little about the Clintons and everything about the character of adversaries who don’t hesitate to fabricate nonsense from nothingness.

Consider the latest moronic episode in the annals of the Hillary Conspiracy, starring a mentally disturbed woman who hurled a shoe at the former secretary of state during a speech.  Within hours, a post on the website of Fox News “media analyst” Bernard Goldberg claimed that the shoe-thrower had been inspired (paid?) by the Hillary camp, to make her seem more presidential – like George W. Bush, who once had to dodge shoes thrown by an angry Muslim protester.

Although Goldberg has long posed as a journalism expert, his site continues to host this absurd accusation without the slightest evidence. Naturally, Rush Limbaugh and Herman Cain, among others, soon parroted the “shoe-truther” canard on talk radio and Twitter. The crafty Limbaugh went on to offer his own theory about the real motive for the shoe tossing.

“I know these people so well,” he rumbled, referring to the Clintons. “I just do not attach much genuineness to them at all and I don’t know why anybody would be throwing a shoe at Hillary unless, maybe it’s an attempt to make the Benghazi people look like nuts and lunatics and wackos.”

Of course, a crazy person just might do something crazy without any political motivation at all. The lady who threw that shoe had previously disrupted legal proceedings against James Holmes, the Colorado theatre shooter, because she claimed he had “entered” her mind through “subliminal messaging.” But that is just another annoying fact of the kind that the Hillary paranoia-mongers, both respectable and disreputable, have long since learned to ignore.

Perhaps we should be relieved that the Clinton conspiracy industry is no longer marketing its old allegations of murder and cocaine trafficking to its credulous customers, of whom there still appear to be millions. Strange speculation about shoes and babies seems almost benign compared with the past products peddled by this same gang.  But so long as Hillary Clinton may run to make history as the nation’s first female president – and so long as she trounces every possible Republican opponent in voter surveys, as she does now – the stream of salacious garbage will swell.

Will her adversaries ever realize how often and reliably these tactics tend to boomerang? They ought to listen to Bill Clinton: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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