The thing that’s so difficult about writing a column – about communication in general – is that no matter what words one uses, others will interpret them through their own experiences and emotions. What I write or say is of far less consequence than what you say to yourself in response. As evidence, I present the following sentence.
If you are over 30 years old, your opinion about those words probably is set in cement. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had asked “Hillary Clinton?” or exclaimed “Hillary Clinton!”
Not that it will make much of a difference, but here’s my opinion about her. Politically, I think she’s more liberal than she presents herself but not as liberal as she’s painted to be. Personally, she has her good points and bad points like all of us, and that’s enough said about that. I do not think she is evil or scary, but I do not intend to vote for her if she runs for president.
That said, a guy who actually changed his mind about her spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock Tuesday. David Brock said that, as a young man, he was part of the “vast right wing conspiracy.” Employed by a conservative-leaning magazine, he was the first journalist to print the name “Paula Jones.” He now says he wrote inaccurately about the Clintons. Over the course of his reporting career, he had a change of heart, apologized, and became their passionate defender.
He also became an opponent of the conservative media. On Tuesday he called Fox News “Orwellian,” which is a ridiculous adjective. How about just “biased?”
Your opinion about Fox News in particular and the media in general is probably set in cement, too, but I’ll share mine. Of course, most members of the mainstream media have been liberal, and their reporting has reflected that bias – purposely at times, unconsciously at others. There have been good and bad reporters, but there won’t be any unbiased ones unless human nature somehow changes. It would have been good had more moderates and conservatives become regular reporters to create more balance.
That didn’t happen. Instead, more and more Americans are getting their news from well-organized message machines that reinforce what we already believe rather than present us with challenging information. As with David Brock, Hillary Clinton is either wrong all the time, or she’s right all the time.
Brock also said that, if Clinton runs, she will be the most thoroughly examined candidate in history.
That’s true, and it will continue. People complain about “Clinton fatigue,” but that family is a story, and the media will continue to report on it.
Meanwhile, Republican political operatives already are doing what political operatives on both sides always do: Attack and destroy. That’s what they are paid to do. They don’t know how to do anything else.
They might personally discourage Clinton, who’s 66, from entering the race. That’s part of their goal.
But if she does run, the Republicans will lose yet another presidential election – they’ve lost the popular vote in five of the last six – unless their candidate also presents a positive vision for America. The party can’t just rely on a billion dollars in negative ads and dozens of congressional hearings about Benghazi. Those efforts will reinforce the GOP’s image, particularly among women, as the “party of no,” but they won’t move the needle much on a Clinton candidacy.
After all, if you don’t already have an opinion about her, you’re probably not a registered voter. She’s Hillary Clinton.
(Contact Steve Brawner through Twitter @stevebrawner)