Everybody take cover — Hillary’s in Martyr Mode

This news is hardly surprising — Hillary Clinton’s kicking into martyr mode again, just as she did on the eve of New Hampshire:

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she must respond in kind to attacks from rival Barack Obama even though she’d rather keep the race for the Democratic presidential nomination focused on their differences on public policy issues.

"I try not to attack first, but I have to defend myself — I do have to counterpunch," Clinton told NBC’s "Today Show."

"I took a lot of incoming fire for many, many months and I was happy to absorb it because obviously, you know, I felt that was part of my responsibility. But toward the end of a campaign you have to set the record straight," the New York senator said.

Let’s review that statement again:

"I took a lot of incoming fire for many, many months and I was happy to
absorb it because obviously, you know, I felt that was part of my

In case you are not among the Elect, lemme ‘splain that to you: That’s your cue to go "Aw-w-w, that poor woman!" and "How Hillary has bled for me!"

The message in this statement is the same as the one in the famous "tears in New Hampshire" incident. No, I don’t mean the "Canuck letter," the thing that destroyed Ed Muskie. I mean when Hillary wept with her sorrow for the nation at the very thought that it might be deprived of her divinely ordained leadership.

Being only a man, I get all confused and look around for an exit when a woman starts to weep, so I sort of needed Maureen Dowd to ‘splain it to me:

    … There was a poignancy about the moment, seeing Hillary crack with exhaustion from decades of yearning to be the principal rather than the plus-one. But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing.

And when Hillary Clinton foresees the prospect of losing, she gets her Martyr Face on. And when Hillary gets her Martyr Face on, we’d all best duck — especially Barack Obama.

27 thoughts on “Everybody take cover — Hillary’s in Martyr Mode

  1. Sally

    I had the SAME thoughts when I saw her play victim. She has her Husband and Surrogates ATTACK, then when Obama straightens out the record, she plays VICTIM! THAT is nOT the best choice for first Woman President. My vote would go to Nancy Pelosi, SHE is a strong Woman who stands on her OWN record.

  2. bardonaut

    It is really sad that Democrats in general have allowed themselves to be so caught up in “making history” that the actual issues have been lost. While i think America is very ready for a minority or woman president, it is increasingly appearing that Democrats are not mature enough to nominate anyone based on their merits.
    If the racist misandry that has come to permeate the “Democratic” party doesn’t quit soon this lifelong Democrat will have to disengage and possibly even go Republican.
    Watch out! Here comes President McCain!

  3. Jacob

    I’ve only recently begun following your postings and commentary in the weeks before to today’s South Carolina primary. I would much rather be reading careful local analysis of the issues and “on the ground” analysis of the lead up to the primary there than what has become your relentless, baseless attacks on Senator Clinton.
    I am extremely grateful that your newspaper has little or no national repute, and that after today the audience for your mean-spirited, sarcastic rhetoric will decrease markedly. Do not pretend to be a deliberative political commentator just before launching into diatrabe like this posting. Senator Clinton has been fighting against her own personal benefit for decades–and she genuinely is concerned about the direction of our nation. Shame on your for your petty attempt at making light of Senator Clinton’s noble and all too rare dedication to helping empower those in our society who need it most. One can only hope that by the time the national focus turns once again to South Carolina in four years, your newspaper will have found someone who is a substantially more competent representative for political analysis and commentary than you seem to be.

  4. JimT

    I agree the post is pretty disgusting. In the last debate it was Obama that started the attack, making some remark about Hillary having served on the board of Walmart (as if that were a bad thing), and to which Hillary attacked in return. Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  5. Pat

    Hello Jacob and South Carolina.
    I agree, Sen Clinton is a very accomplished and intelligent woman. Personally I favor Obama or Bloomberg. I lean toward making sure the many people in poverty are protected at a basic level.
    In listening to the early debates, I was disappointed to hear Sen Clinton repeatedly talk about “the failed policies of President Bush.” (I agree with the idea, but I disagree with the partisan phrasing). Bush’s unbelievable re-election, in the face of Iraq, meant to me that there are many conservatives in this country. Surely you have many in South Carolina. Some of my in-laws hold these beliefs. They are sincere, they are more organized than the Democrats, and they vote.
    My vision of this democracy is that people who tend left LISTEN respectfully to people on the right, treat their ideas with respect and then work out a solution. Experts say that Sen Clinton has done this successfully in the Senate, but I did not see it in the tone of the campaign waged by herself and Pres. Clinton. In groups generally, we see that the tone of leadership will be fulfilled when a new leader is chosen. I do not want to spend 4 years hearing Pres. Hillary Clinton castigate her opponents, whoever they may be: (Russia, Venezuela, pro-life activists, Obama activists, business leaders) ? The searchlight swings around and it may well fall on me one day.
    I am looking for a President who treats everyone with human dignity and I did not see this in Sen. Clinton.
    Have South Carolina voters seen a better side of both Clintons, something I have missed?
    Thank you,
    Michigan Democrat

  6. obamaoverrated

    oh.. so when Obama accused Clinton of rushing to start a war with IRan by labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, that was fair. How about he attacked her for voting that way when he missed the damn vote. Then he twisted her vote to call her Bush-Cheney lite, despite the fact that he missed the vote. Also, Clinton explicitly sponsored a vote saying labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was not a vote for war with Iran, and said Bush would have to come to Congress and seek authorization. Even Dick Durbin, Obama’s senior senator in Illinois who supports him and opposed the Iraq war from the start in the Senate, he voted to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
    OBAMA did twist her words. But you know what, Obama is little substance, all hype. The key to his success: a freshness, a lack of record to run on, the constant repetition of simple feel-good platitudes that lull listeners into a sense of trust and induce in them a yearning to believe. No wonder Barack Obama is so popular among denizens of Hollywood like Oprah: they certainly have an eye for those who can create an image, can generate a buzz that compels others to suspend their disbelief, and who can induce a trance-like stargazing. But the fact is that Barack Obama does have a record to run on and its a record of vote dodging and triangulation. Barack Obama talks about the audacity of hope… but how about the audacity to show up and vote.. and not criticize others over resolutions you conveniently missed while campaigning.
    I was elected yesterday, Obama said. I have never set foot in the U.S. Senate. Ive never worked in Washington. And the notion that somehow Im immediately going to start running for higher office just doesnt make sense. So look, I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years, and my entire focus is making sure that Im the best possible senator on behalf of the people of Illinois. He further elaborated: Look, Im a state senator who hasnt even been sworn in yet. My understanding is that I will be ranked 99th in seniority. Im going to be spending the first several months of my career in the U.S. Senate looking for the washroom and trying to figure out how the phones work.
    So, in four years, Obama went from figuring out how to use the telephones and finding bathrooms, to becoming a foreign policy expert, while missing 1/3 of his votes and failing to hold a single hearing as the CHAIR of Senate Foreign Relations committee. Right?

  7. jamaaljackson

    As a young black man, I can’t stand how OBAMA is being shoved down our throats. What my generation needs to understand is that WORK ETHIC matters more than HYPE. I concede that the remaining three Democrats are more hype than substance, and that they are all political celebrities. However, when you compare their time in the Senate, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator Clinton has been much more hard working than Senator Obama or Senator Edwards. Obama’s missed way too many votes, and he started running for president even before he finished his first term. In my opinion, his work ethic in the senate makes him look like a resume builder.
    It’s crazy that the media allows Obama’s great speechwriter and his own good teleprompter skills to let him create the image that he is somehow qualified for President.
    It’s the last message my generation needs to hear: Hype and ambition are more important than work ethic.

  8. No Imports

    Guess Clinton’s about to get out of town before the polls close. Wolfson’s starting spinning that S.C. isn’t important. Jeez, guess bringing down Rangel and Dinkins from New York didn’t quite do the trick.
    South Carolina knows about “carpetbaggers” and it’s a shame New York couldn’t figure it out until they elected one to the Senate twice! Real smart folks!

  9. Rody Walsh

    Hi Brad,
    From one of those who must sit and wait for a chance to vote, I have to write again to thank you for your thoughtful article detailing The State’s endorsement of Obama and your blog.
    Rody Walsh

  10. Jason

    Boy—-it’s amazing the MOST powerful reason of rejection to Senator Obama is—-“his missed votes”. Wow! America, that’s remarkable. Perhaps that’s why Obama’s kindergarten years were thrown at us. Reachin’, reachin’, reachin’! Those who continue to do this—you’re lookin’ more stupid by the day.
    Thanks Brad for THE NEWS FLASH!!!!!

  11. Rachel Q

    In response to jamaaljackson’s interesting post about work ethic vs hype: There are many situations when I agree with you, and I get frustrated by situations in the workplace when a younger, “cooler” person is promoted over someone with better qualifications. I agree that our culture has a counterproductive tendency to reward quick, huge career success over slow and steady career development.
    However, I don’t think that viewing the remaining Democratic candidates through this lens is helpful. The candidates who have served decades in national public office have already been defeated. I support Barack Obama partly because he has done hard work in low-paying, thankless, hype-less jobs for long periods of time: community organizer, civil rights attorney, state legislator, constitutional law professor (and his students did not even consider him one of the brightest young stars at their law school). I think these jobs gave him a better idea of how the government is broken and what is wrong with America than a lot of time in Washington ever could.

  12. Sublime Dialectic

    Thanks for this Blog!! I’ve attempted as much as possible to get local news on the SC primary because the national cable media is beyond biased towards Billary but aims to shape the outcome of the Democratic elections process.
    I want to thank you for posting the horrendous call you received recently. That took bravery and conscience to do so. I do not live in your state but look forward to visiting very soon.
    God Bless America!!!

  13. weldon VII

    So saith you, Jacob: Senator Clinton has been fighting against her own personal benefit for decades–and she genuinely is concerned about the direction of our nation.
    As to part two, maybe so, but doesn’t tjat depend on what the meaning of “genuine” is?
    As to working against her own benefit, then how did she accumulate 50 million bucks?
    Later in your post, you used the word “noble” with reference to a Clinton.
    She and her husband have been using the poor for their own personal gain for as long as Hillary claims to have experience. What’s so “noble” about that?

  14. Bill

    Hillary with feelings and emotion?
    Yeah, and Bill took a vow of celibacy!!!
    Here’s a proposal. Let’s elect a president whose last name isn’t Bush or Clinton. The ban will be lifted in 2024. How’s that?

  15. catherine

    from your blog, as a member of the press, you are supposed to be unbiased, and clearly you are not. The media wants the black man.
    They think they can fool everyone. Maybe in SC. Frankly I thought oyu all would be smarter. as for liar, look to Mr. Obama about most things. HE NEVER TELLS THE TRUTH. GOd bless HIllary Clinton. Those who actually listen know you will win. One year’s experience for a country this in peril is an abomination. If Obama should eek this nokmintion, I’ll go back to the days of Reagan, Mr. Obama’s favorite, and vote republican. SHAME on all of you.

  16. Redd Turtle

    Brad –
    It is amazing to me how thinly you choose to veil your dislike of all things Clinton. Not sure whether it is insecurity, misogyny or just a grab for a pat on the back. Everyone loves to roll “everything” Clinton into a nice little package – easy to hate and easy to throw to the wolves. It would be nice if you guys were just a little more thoughtful and a great deal more informed.
    As a lifelong Democrat I will support the candidate our party chooses.

  17. Christopher Stratton

    I just now sent the below e-mail to Mr. Brad Warthen and wanted to share it with others here. Such blatant, petty venom-mongering as he engages in with the above posting is unworthy.
    I respect others’ right to support the candidate of their choice. Personally, I think all three Dem “finalist” candidates are excellent and will be pleased to support whomever is our nominee.
    I think, of the three, Senator Clinton has to most to offer at this time, but let’s get off our high horses here, people! None of the three of them has been an angel in the past month. It’s politics! And they are human, each with feet of clay.
    Let’s not let such bottom-feeding media types get us all stirred up and set against each other! If we do not hang together in this, we will assuredly hang separately. Ben Franklin said it first at the birth of our republic, and it remains true today.
    Keep your eyes on Democratic victory this fall. It is within our reach!
    Mr. Warthen:
    Is your extraordinarily venomous anti-Hillary posting about her alleged victimhood a good example of how you ordinarily comport yourself, or is Senator Clinton just lucky? Seldom have I seen a purportedly serious political commentator stoop to such a grade school level of invective, though it does often seem to be the stock in trade of Maureen Dowd, whom it you cite with favor, tellingly enough.
    You have every right to oppose Sen. Clinton and to support the candidate of your choice. But such personal taunts and jibes as deriding her “divine right” to the presidency, Sir, these scarcely ennoble a common internet discussion board, much less the commentary sections of the best-regarded daily newspaper in South Carolina.
    Let’s look at it this way: you complain of alleged pettiness on the part of this candidate, ignoring, frankly, that none of the three remaining Democratic candidates has exactly covered themselves over in glory in the past few weeks.
    Do you really think President Clinton calling Mr. Obama’s claim to purity on the Iraq war issue a “fairy tale” had one thing to do with race? Likewise, Sen. Clinton’s comment that MLK’s dream required a president signing the Civil Rights Act into law to become reality? Honestly, if you think the Clintons, of all people, were race-baiting here, then you are simply irrational and not worth bothering with, which is, I suppose, useful to know. And yet Mr. Obama’s surrogates and many of his undeclared and declared supporters in the news media flogged these NON-racial comments into a race war! Could that possibly be because these supporters KNEW he NEEDED to win SC or his candidacy was toast?
    Does that bother you, sir? Or does it boil down, in the well-known words of no other than Malcolm X – the Clintons must be taken down by any means necessary? If that is the case, Mr. Warthen, you are no better than the worst you would ascribe to the Clintons – much of which is highly disputable. But as to your mentality and level of dignity, you leave little room for doubt.

  18. Brad Warthen

    “Redd,” my impression of Sen. Clinton, and of some of her supporters (the angrier, most eager party warriors in the Democratic Party) has evolved over the past week. It’s caused me to think more and more that Maureen Dowd really had her pegged.
    But hey, it’s over now — for us in South Carolina. I hesitated to post this earlier in the day because I anticipated reactions such as yours. On account of being a guy, I don’t have the license to write about her the way Maureen does, which is pretty damned weird if you think about it. Maureen can say whatever she wants about Hillary OR Obama, or Bush or whomever. I can’t, without being accused of that fancy word you just used.
    But not being a feminist, I don’t really mind a double standard, and that’s why I was hesitant to post this — because I think it’s unchilvalrous. But in the face of that, I thought, “This is my honest reaction to this story — I see it as further confirmation of what Maureen Dowd wrote about.” And isn’t a blog supposed to be about honest reactions?
    Anyway, my point is, if more folks than you think this is inappropriate and ungentlemanly — which it may well be — I’ll take it down. Now that she has suffered such a crushing defeat, I feel worse about it. At the same time, do I take down something that y’all have taken the time to comment on?
    I don’t know; this is a new medium for me still. Y’all decide.

  19. Redd Turtle

    Hi Brad –
    First, thanks for responding to my comments. And, actually – I enjoy reading your blog, and whether or not I agree I always find your opinions insightful. It certainly is a medium for you. After living in Columbia for 30 years and spending the last 11 in NC I like checking in with my home state – and this section of The State.com has caught my eye.
    Not sure I really even find this particular posting “ungentlemanly.” Just don’t think an entry leading with the title “Everybody take cover — Hillary’s in Martyr Mode” particularly insightful, helpful or fair.
    I imagine she’ll put this “crushing” defeat behind her. And, I think you have every bit as much a right to share your thoughts about Hillary Clinton as much as Maureen Dowd does. I’m just thankful you are more entertaining than she will ever be. As a side note – I’ve pegged her with the “misogynist” tag as well.
    Congratulations to Obama. Again, even as a Clinton supporter, if general election time rolls around in NC and he’s my option I will be pulling the lever by his name with a smile on my face. As a pundit on TV said very recently – it is indeed an embarrassment of riches the Democrats have with their slate this go round.
    Keep writing.

  20. Brad Warthen

    Well said, sir — like a true gentleman. You put me to shame, sir.
    Now if other Clinton supporters can greet today’s results with the positive, constructive attitude that you display, this will have been a great day not only for Barack Obama, but for the Democratic party — and most of all, for the country.
    It remains my fondest hope for this country that we will have a choice in the fall between the two men most likely to lead us beyond the partisan garbage that has held us back. The system, the many interests whose living depends on all this partisan hatred — from Rush Limbaugh to moveon.org — will push back as hard as it can.
    But we must not let it prevail. A McCain-Obama contest will mark a great moment for this country — the best, happiest, win-win choice I’ve seen in my entire lifetime. I long to see that tremendous new day in American politics.

  21. Karen McLeod

    Dare we hope for such a choice come election day in November? I have at least twice before been hopeful of a similar outcome, only to have to hold my nose, and try to choose the least repulsive. Both of these persons have a rare virtue, integrity. I disagree with Sen. McCain on a lot of things (however, he’s the only other candidate to whom I’ve sent money, back in 2000). But, at least I can trust what he says. If he changes his mind, that’s one thing. But at least he doesn’t switch back and forth at the drop of a polling point. I agree with Obama a lot more, and I find him honorable also. Got hope?

  22. Christopher Stratton

    Mr. Warthen:
    I am pleased to see a note of contrition from you. That is encouraging. You fail to acknowledge that, even as he denounces a politics of personal demonization, Sen. Obama allows his surrogates to demonize the Clintons, of all people, as racist. As a long time Clinton supporter that is a bitter pill to take.
    Just know that I worked for her on his campaign 16 years ago and greatly admire her personally – I have seen a side of her you likely have not, and the better you know her, on a personal level, the better you like her.
    Anyhow, I have great regard and respect for Senator Obama and will be happy to support him if he is our Democratic nominee. I just think the notion that the only campaign playing bare knuckles politics here is Sen. Clinton is patently false. And I think his campaign’s somewhat desperate, though successful, injection of race into this dialog has been highly unfortunate, both for the Democratic party and for himself, in the long run. And it simply disserves the facts about the Clintons’ LONG record of service to the poor and under-represented of all stripes, genders and ages. To cite one extraordinary statistic, the african american poverty rate during the Clinton years went down precipitiously, from the low 30 percentiles to the low 20s. That’s called moving the needle!
    Even so, I’m not saying you’ve gotta like Senator Clinton – though I assure you that if you had the chance get to know her personally, Mr. Warthen, and if you gave her half a chance, you would like her – but at least try to be fair here. And yes, as a somewhat old fashioned southern gentleman (I grew up in Arkansas and now live in Connecticut), I would say, gentlemanly.


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