CBS News reports: conservatives across the fruited plain are apoplectic this Memorial Day weekend after an interview on CBS News, in which Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado had the temerity, the effrontery, the gender-traitorous gall to suggest something we suspect about half our readership (give or take demographic samplewise) already know before he said it:
“Some people say, and you’d have to look at it, if she was a man all this stuff wouldn’t be at the same level,” [Pols emphasis] the Democratic governor said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “There’s an awful lot of criticism–literally millions of dollars of criticism against her every week, over things that really aren’t that, against a man, wouldn’t be brought up like that.”
“I think they’ve parsed this about as much as they can,” he said of the email issue. “I mean, she was trying to protect family and friends from unwanted scrutiny — she said it’s a mistake, right? Let’s move on.”
And then Hick lowers the boom on the right wing mediasphere’s obsession with Hillary Clinton’s admittedly undersecured private email server she utilized as Secretary of State–as criticized last week by a State Department report.
“It points out that previous secretaries of state had done roughly the same — had used their own servers, like Colin Powell, and no one had come out officially at the time and said, you know, this is a bad precedent,” he said. “Again, she’s admitted she made a mistake. I don’t understand, it’s not like the end of the world. I understand it’s been made a big deal because people have spent millions of dollars trying to blow it into this incredible flame.”
And folks, Hickenlooper is right–at least right enough that it’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask. In all of hand-wringing over Clinton’s private email server, the one obvious missing component is actual harm done–some demonstrable example of her use of a private email server as Secretary of State actually compromising American interests. Somewhere in the 24/7 obsession by conservatives with an issue that they didn’t care about when a (male) Republican predecessor made the same mistake, the obvious question presents itself.
Because there is no evidence of any harm, and Republicans have no good answer when confronted about former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s exact same mistake, you have to ask why this issue is the subject of so much attention. But that isn’t a new thing: the Clintons have been subject to the most extreme and relentless scandalizing by the conservative media, over the course of decades, that any American political family has arguably ever faced. Indeed, the right-wing media machine we know as an institution today cut its teeth on turning every Clinton molehill into whatever mountain they could conjure up.
Along with that relentless scandalizing, the personal assault on the Clintons since the 1990s set a precedent we see as normal today. Along with every new angle of attack comes a thick coating of personal animus about these two political figures that has effectively dehumanized them among consumers of conservative media.
For Hillary, it’s a bunch of sexist crap. This latest affected “scandal” over her email server is just the latest segue into 20 years of character assassination that freely makes use of every sexist trope in the book where it concerns Hillary personally. It’s likely that Bill would also be getting some of this had it been his email server, but with Hillary, the attacks are bitter in a way that evokes more than the usual political demonizing.
And as hard as it may be to admit, there’s an easy way to explain the difference.