Thursday, August 11, 2016
I have just finished a book you Hillary Haters, left and right, really need to read to understand how you got that way. Not that Hillary is by any measure a perfect person. But then, neither are you or me. But if you possess even a modest amount of curiosity about your own biases and how they got implanted in you regarding Hillary, KILLING THE MESSENGER, The Right Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government, is strongly recommended.
What is particularly interesting about this book and the author is that this is a guy who started it all, deeply embedded in the so called Right Wing movement that Hillary and Bill liked to call the vast right wing conspiracy. According to Brock, they really got that right. This massive industry got its start with the Clinton campaign for the Presidency. Ironically, Brock was a product of Cal Berkley, more noted for left wing stuff than right. But, my own Santa Clara Political Science Department Chair was a rightist and product of the graduate program at Berkley. So this is not unfamiliar territory for me.
But unlike many ideologues practicing the dark art of political myth-making, Brock, in the middle of a very successful career on the right, saw truth and was unable to discard it for his personal gain. Right wing political operations are very profitable and he was doing very well. Commissioned by one of the 90's wealthy right wing financiers of the Movement to build a major hit designed to ruin Bill and Hill before they really got started on a national level. As Brock dug deep into their dealings, lives, and character, he had an epiphany. His own character and moral compass kicked in because all he found in Hillary was intelligence, decency, idealism and motivation to do good.
As Brock investigated the manufactured dirt on the Arkansas era Clintons, he found, as an investigator of integrity, that indeed all the Little Rock stories were completely manufactured. This book deals with the ones about Hillary. The verbal abuse the Arkansas State Trooper Security Detail allegedly heard and took from the Arkansas First Lady, for one as well as her role in the allegedly illegal/unethical real estate deals in Arkansas. The Travelgate non-scandal and alleged Hillary role in the death of Vince Foster, all deconstructed. Like a poorly knitted sweater, the stories unraveled and fell into a heap of tangled yarn.
Not that Hill and Bill were totally true to their early idealism, they learned by political loss in the world of arcane Arkansas politics, if they were to succeed going forward, they were going to have to abandon the progressive instinct to commit Hari Kari for truth and justice. They'd adjust to fight another day and defer some grand progressive plans for immediate change and reform for a future day when circumstances were more amenable to fixing what was broken. Thus progressive pragmatism.
In 1997 Brock switched to the far less lucrative Democratic political operations on principal and abandoned the likes of Ann Coulter and Grover Norquist. He began the process of building Media Matters, the left watchdog designed to head off the continued right wing assault on truth so effectively executed since the beginning of the Reagan era. By the time of Brock's defection, the right had built several so called think tanks like the Heritage Society and the Cato Institute and communications machines routinely trashing hapless Democratic campaigns and political icons. Brock was as the heart of this machine building process and chronicles it in detail in this book. Here you can learn the psychological manipulation these Machiavellian operators have done to your brain that makes you believe and hate Hillary the way you do.
Their methodology plays off an endemic amount of misogyny in all of us, male and female. Our culture and history programs us to view smart, ambitious women as vicious, driven harridans set on dominating the rest of us. The Movement adds myth making, untruth and fear mongering to round out the package. And here you are, hating, though really fearing down deep.
It took nearly twenty years for Democrats to move beyond their penchant for making long lists of programs to help you, appealing to your obvious intelligence and begin to understand how to head off bald face lies manufactured by Republicans designed to make you mistrust and judge Hillary a conniving woman bent on dominating you. Thus the rapid response truth machine built by Media Matters to at least minimize the damage before the myth becomes solidified in the concrete of lies. That concrete has set firmly in your brain, unless you dislodge it.
He gives you all the truth background to very current lie manufacturing in the infamous Benghazi and the State Department email capers. He chronicles Hillary's efforts to put distance between the Clinton Foundation and her duties at the State Department and interactions with those international figures having business with both. This required finess and often difficult potential conflicts of interests Hillary strove to avoid. Welcome to the real world, haters. Such potential conflicts are loaded with gray areas. He sets the record straight that she never shied away from addressing human rights issues with world leaders with whom her State Department had to do business and the Clinton Foundation accepted contributions from. Brock shows you the brilliantly conceived Rovian technique of turning Hillary's strengths into flaws. This is the same technique Rove created to do Kerry in; turning him from war hero (I'd rather view him an an anti-war hero anyway) into hero imposter. In Hillary's case, ambition becomes cat claws shredding all that stands in her way. Super caution and lawyerly word crafting into habitual lying. Life long Methodist values to do good to self-aggrandizement.
You get the idea. All the negative, bad stuff you believe about her in spite of the truth and fact-based narratives you choose to ignore because the bad stuff is just easier to process. Somehow, the Clintons both managed to muster a cherished value, forgiveness, in creating a non-adversarial relationship with the contrite Brock. Just maybe you have the self discipline to at least rethink your hate. Just as Hillary, unassailably the most scrutinized and publicly flogged woman in American history Brock points out, has somehow managed to navigate through her life without obvious bitterness or retaliation against those who oppose her assent to political power. Do you have this much character?
So, those few of you haters out there on the left (I've given up on the crazy right haters long ago), chip away at the concrete in your brain to allow at least some truth to seep in. Try to get your powerful women fear under some control. That will enable you to read this book with new eyes and perhaps not wind up loving Hillary, but at least having some grasp of the reality of her character, morality and good values that those who know her intimately attest. It will give you some understanding that, yes, Hillary has changed her personal position on some issues. But, you might better understand after reading Brock that part of the political craft is adjusting your issues based on what your constituency tells you its wants of you, as long as you don't abandon your moral compass. If not, if you are just too comfortable being a left hater of this alleged corporate Democrat, lapdog for her Wall Street buddies, neo-liberal and interventionist, go ahead, give us Donald Trump via your non vote, write in vote or vote for a third party candidate with no reasonable chance of winning.