March 30, 2008

Walking into the lion's den

Hearts are aflutter in the "progressive" blogosphere over Hillary's meeting with Richard Mellon Scaife. One commenter, on a blog which escapes me now (No Quarter, I believe) couldn't figure out what all the wailing and gnashing of teeth was about, after all, paraphrasing said commenter, it's not like she went on a weekend tryst with him, she was there to meet the editorial board and he owns the freekin' paper.

And as always, when people actually meet her, she changes minds.
Walking into our conference room, not knowing what to expect (or even, perhaps, expecting the worst), took courage and confidence. Not many politicians have political or personal courage today, so it was refreshing to see her exhibit both.

Sen. Clinton also exhibited an impressive command of many of today's most pressing domestic and international issues. Her answers were thoughtful, well-stated, and often dead-on.


Does all this mean I'm ready to come out and recommend that our Democrat readers choose Sen. Clinton in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary?

No -- not yet, anyway. In fairness, we at the Trib want to hear Sen. Barack Obama's answers to some of the same questions and to others before we make that decision.

But it does mean that I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today than before last Tuesday's meeting -- and it's a very favorable one indeed.
Update: It's after ten at night, and I need to get in bed, but I just had to update and bump this post. Over at MyDD bobbank reflects on this article as well.
This seems to me consistent with many in the media, whose disposition toward the Senator from New York ranges from skepticism to contempt. Indeed, I confess that I was once guilty of this bias myself. While all who know her describe her as warm, I was taught she is "cold". Despite the fact that she has a strong, proven record for working across party lines, I was taught that she is "polarizing". Despite her campaign's consistent focus on the articulation of real policy, I was taught that she is "negative".
I can certainly identify with this. Until I looked for myself, I bought into the narrative as well.
One of the most disconcerting aspects of this primary contest has been the herd mentality that many, including prominent pundits, exhibit. There is a tendency to latch onto whichever opinion piece best resembles your own. And there is a stark determination not to learn the truth, when the truth is not convenient.

I remember my mindset, when I cast my vote for Barack Obama in the Virginia primary. I believed that I was voting for change. I had hoped that, despite his lack of qualifications, Barack Obama might be the "real thing". And I was willing to take a chance on that. In short, I accepted unquestionably the caricatures that the media had invented, crutches that alleviated the challenge of thinking critically about these two historic candidates.


All of this serves to underscore the contrast between the characters of Clinton and Obama, and the real people behind those characters. In that sense, the results of Hillary's recent interview with the Pittsburgh Trib are not so surprising. Finally able to meet the real person, and question her for over an hour, they walked away with the same impression that many have after spending time with Hillary Clinton: a competent, thoughtful person who is imminently qualified to be our next President.

And in the comments HillaryKnight08 links to this video, saying:

It is clear that many people have interpreted Hillary Clinton's expression of emotion in New Hampshire as cold and calculated. But, what they don't know, is that Hillary has always been a warm and caring person. She is fighting for Universal Health Care. She has always been so passionate about this.

TRUTH: Hillary is NOT cold and calculating. Please view this video. It is very important that you see the true, concerned and caring Hillary that she really is.

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