Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Life is short, campaigns are long, and Hillary Clinton is an Alpha dog

At least he didn't call her an Alpha bitch, though technically bitch would have been more accurate if we were really talking about the furry four-legged woofy creatures.

David Brooks has clearly been watching too much Cesar Milan. To wit:
Hillary Clinton went on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” incarnating her role as the first Democratic Rambo. The Clinton campaign seems to want to reduce the entire race to one element: the supposed masculinity gap. And so everything she does is all about assertion, combat and Alpha dog dominance.


I'm thinking Brooks is the one with the masculinity gap here.

Assertion
? Since when did that become a bad thing in a President? Combat? Stephanopouplos is the one who who, out of the blue, launches the unprovoked aggression, suddenly hardening his voice with his questions on the gas tax. Up to that point, Clinton had been speaking calmly and rationally and knowledgably, with just the amount of animation you would expect to see in a person who believes in what they're saying. She changers her demeanor just enough to signal that she's not going to be bullied, but otherwise treats her interlocutor with the same patience that a true alpha dog would show to an upstart pup in a similar situation, so I guess maybe Brooks was right about the alpha part of it.

Domination, on the other hand, I don't think he's a got clue about. It's not my cup of tea, but I could probably set him up with somebody....
A few questions in, Clinton rose from her chair and loomed over Stephanopoulos. The country hasn’t seen such a brazen display of attempted middle-aged physical intimidation since Al Gore took a walkabout on the debate stage with George Bush. It was like watching someone get elbowed in a dark alley by their homeroom teacher.


Loomed? Over Stephanopoulos? No. Stephanopoulos has just turned the floor over to questions from the audience, and the first questioner --- with a politley worded but nonetheless hostile question --- is standing at a microphone that's been placed towards the back of the room and just to one side of the center aisle . To better talk to this person, Clinton stands up, and stays on her feet when she addresses the wider audience, elaborating on her point.

Stephanopoulos remains seated during her answer, and when he asks his next question, but Clinton is on a roll now. Still standing she turns and answers him directly, then turns back to address the audience, just as she had with the question before. No elbows were involved.

Brooks then goes on --- and really at this point nothing but the most outrageous snark is called for so I'll just paraphrase since I'm all out of snarkery at the moment --- he goes to call her a liar, and a shameless one at that, apparently because she refuses to back down on her proposed gas tax holiday when Stephanopoulos informs her that Every Economist in the Country knows It Won't Work. Not even Paul Krugman thinks it will Do Any Good.

Sure there's plenty of debate over what it would do, but nobody's proven that a tax holiday will be bad, or even neutral. Branding her a liar just because she's got an opinion that doesn't agree with the media-preferred wonks is about as dishonets as they come. When is somebody going to put a leash and muzzle on this Brooks dude?

The rest of Brooks' column is here.
The videos [all 5 of them] of the entire show are here.

I give you the first video here because it's the only one I've watched so far, and judging by what Brooks wrote, it's probably the only one he watched too.

4 comments:

Steve Bates said...

"When is somebody going to put a leash and muzzle on this Brooks dude?" - hipparchia

Better call your domination specialist right away...

Bryan said...

Moi, over at Bloggg met Mrs. Clinton in the Pennsylvania campaign and her first comment was how tiny Hillary is. You get used to seeing her on television and it doesn't occur to people that she is small.

I would think, based on experience, that small people are not really capable of "looming" over others, and they tend to stand up more often than tall people so they will be noticed and heard.

Bella Abzug was one of the few small people I've known who could loom, but she did it with her hats. [I worked her personal protection detail once, and we had words about my going through doors first until I pointed out that I was the one with the body armor, and she was not the most popular person on the planet. This was the 1970s and political assassinations were all the rage in the US.]

hipparchia said...

those hats were justly famous, bryan. she loomed, even on tv.

[i remember that, about the assassinations]

i hadn't realized clinton was all that small until you mentioned it just now. makes it all the more impressive that she's got terrific presence.

and yes, as someone whose physique is mostly unimposing, i can vouch for some of the difficulties in dealing with taller and bigger people.

hipparchia said...

whipping out the little book... a.. b.. c.. d.. ah, yes... one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy....