'Pandering for Miss Hillary,' Starring David Shuster
A voracious interest in politics produces strange acts, and undoubtedly a conservative watching MSNBC is one of them. That I do this several times a week can be only explained by Fox's afternoon obsession with pulp news and the cult of celebrity. Sometimes the added information is not worth the accompanying pain. Putting up with Chris Matthews and a menagerie of pseudo-liberal journalists borders on masochism.
Ensconced within MSNBC's lineup is David Shuster. He always (un)impressed me as being just another hyper-verbal journeyman with a snarky personality. His slant is pervasive and in keeping with the views of his master, Chris Matthews. Yet this year, Shuster, like so many reporters, is trekking though unfamiliar terrain. The campaign of Barack Obama has wrought chaos upon the left.
The Clinton/Obama clash has resulted in the junior senator from New York being abandoned by scores of journalists who once fawned over her. In their rush to prevent a new Clinton White House, they have even elucidated a few of her numerous character flaws. This has discombobulated Hillary, who is no Don Corleone. She doesn't take bad news well and really doesn't want to hear any at all.
While the Democratic infighting pleases, it should come as no surprise. Radicals hate everybody and, as the 1968 Democratic convention illustrated, they despise insufficiently pure allies more than they do their ideological opposition. So it is with the press and Hillary Clinton. The mainstream media will smother Barack Obama with praise while deriding his challenger in the hopes of freeing themselves from the Taj Mahal of baggage that is the Clintons.
David Shuster altered the power balance last week by publicly expressing his contempt for the manipulative nature of the former first lady. He sinned by implying that Chelsea Clinton's habit of calling up celebrities and superdelegates as a means of convincing them to vote for her mother was unseemly. Specifically, he said, "but doesn't it seem like Chelsea's being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
Yes, it did and he was right. It was an astute observation from a man best described by the word "flibbertigibbet." MSNBC thought otherwise, however. His remark resulted in a suspension. At first he fought back, but then submitted to the laws of political correctness by issuing yet another self-denigrating apology. Shuster slathered mush in the hope of purification: "All Americans should be proud of Chelsea Clinton and I am particularly sorry that my language diminished the respect and regard she has earned from all of us and the respect her parents deserve in how they raised her."
This has to rank as one of the most disingenuous comments ever. What unique respect should we have for Chelsea Clinton? She should be respected no more and no less than any other member of the general public. Chelsea deserves courtesy -- and that's it. To my knowledge she has never provided any service to the American people. Actually, it's worse than that. The hawking of her mother's liberal wares will spell doom for our nation. Any further growth in the federocracy will qualify us for honorary membership in the European Union.
That we should respect the senior Clintons for the way they raised their daughter is preposterous. Oh, one should respect both husband and wife -- but only out of fear. Wariness is warranted when it comes to individuals obsessed with fantasies of control and fantasies of unlimited power.
There was nothing wrong with what Shuster originally said. This is always the way political correctness works, though: nobody ever is really offended. Neither of the two left-of-center commentators he interviewed at the time saw anything repulsive about his remark. One even laughed upon hearing it. PC is all about convincing oneself that you should be offended.
All the ire was manufactured and absurd. Hillary was indeed pimping out her daughter by having her do telemarketing. Obviously, Chelsea would not have called those people by her own volition. Her good deed did not go unpunished, however. The kindly gals of The View informed their audience of her solicitations and ridiculed her by imitating her childlike voice. They did so for the same reason that the scorpion stung the frog.
What's important to note about these phone calls is that no one with any familiarity of The View would ever trust one of those matriarchs with an obsolete 29-cent stamp. Their taking advantage of the situation was entirely predictable. Hillary's placing of her child into the scrum that is their world does not suggest maternal concern.
Their segment outlined the contrived nature of Hillary Clinton far better than the words of David Shuster, but there was nothing Hillary could do about it. She cannot exact revenge upon talk show bubbleheads. Their fans are her fans. Attacking the hosts would have been as self-destructive as the Giants banning Giants fans from their home games.
Talk show audiences will decide the 2008 election, so Hillary's gambit was not ill-conceived. Emotion owns America. The charged, insipid words of celebrities can sway hundreds of thousands of voters. I know this belief runs contrary to conventional wisdom, but ask yourself this: For what reason do emotionacs vote? To express themselves while also advancing their need for social conformity.
Factors that influence conservative voters -- such as whether or not a politician understands the law of unintended consequences, comprehends that bureaucracies are inefficient, or will shrink the size of the government -- are meaningless to emotionacs. Their focus is on texture and color as opposed to substance. They're looking for someone to "connect" with on a personal level. They need to "feel" that their talking head "really cares." Jerry-rigged minds hold genitalia and skin color to be accurate predictors of moral worth and leadership capacity.
Of course, Mrs. Clinton is cognizant of her constituents' belief systems, so she began grandstanding at once. The senator remarked, "I am a mother first and a candidate second, and I found the remarks incredibly offensive. I can take whatever comes my way, that's part of what I signed up for as a candidate, as an officeholder. But I think that there's been a troubling pattern of comments and behavior that has to be held accountable."
What rubbish. Hillary can take nothing and that's always been the case. Here again Hillary successfully played the victim even though she willfully had her daughter contact the hosts of The View. Unlike the results of a Texas poll, the bonds of blood fail to move her. She sacrificed her daughter to the gods of ambition.
I laughed upon reading that Hillary had "found her voice" in New Hampshire when she merely fabricated a new one. She will say anything if she thinks it will garner more votes. Her synthetic personality is something she wants illuminated under no circumstances, yet Jon Stewart did so brilliantly in this segment and concluded, "she'll be our first president that you can't spill water on."
Intrinsic to the defense of Mrs. Clinton is the persistent use of the "insult one woman, insult all women" fallacy. The words of this sympathetic journalist embody the technique aptly:
There are the constant adjectives: angry, shrill, divisive, polarizing. They're really just "code words for b*tch," said Hillary supporter Andrea Cabral, the sheriff of Suffolk County. Lots of women identify with and feel mortified by the Hillary "cackle" replays, or the derisive "first wife" jokes. Many are derided first wives themselves. ... It's one thing for a bunch of women to sit around lamenting or joking about themselves. It's something else again when a bunch of men with microphones on TV -- no woman in sight -- start doing it.
I believe her completely but find such an outlook pathetic. Why do so many American women empathize with Hillary and confuse her (infrequent) struggles with their own? I have met hundreds of warm, sincere women and they are no closer to Hillary than they are to an android. Rather than worry about how Mrs. Clinton is treated or how her hand is shook, they should instead focus on whether or not the criticisms made of her are valid.
The David Schuster imbroglio tells us much about America. PC reigns supreme and its power increases with each passing day. Everyone must be sensitive and tolerant or their existence cannot be tolerated. Verbal deconstruction is to journalism what play is to dogs. No one means what they say they mean; they mean what you say they mean. Clarification is impossible as those who speak honestly are reflexively teleported to obscure quadrants within the sex, race, and class oppression empire.
When logic has no dominion there can be no truth. We may save the nation from terrorists, but ultimately experience defeat at the hands of basket cases who feel they're above reason.