Is Hillary Jealous of Bill? Or was it sexism?

Jealousy probably is the wrong word to use, but that’s exactly what a lot of media watchers concluded after the Secretary of State got testy in answering a question thought to be about her husband. Bill Clinton, you see, casts a long shadow. His work in freeing those two journalists from North Korea sent speculation abuzz.

What new role might he play in an Obama Administration? Did he freelance? How much did Hillary know about the mission in advance? There were even jokes about his being on the plane with two women.

For a lot of people, this meant the Big Dog was back.

For his wife, it meant having to share the spotlight on a situation that’s normally handled by her office. And remember, this is a woman who came close to being President of the United States, and now handles foreign policy for the most powerful nation in the world. So how is this made manifest?

A university student in Kinshasa, Congo asks her what was translated as “Mr. Clinton” would think about a World Bank concern regarding a Chinese loan offer to the Congolese government. Clinton fired back, “My husband is not Secretary of State. I am”. If you look at the video of her response, her exasperation is clear.

And you know what? She’s got a point.

Reverse the people involved here, and ask yourself if Bill Clinton would have been asked a similar question in an identical situation. Maybe, maybe not, but could Mrs. Clinton have been reacting to what she felt was a sexist inference? To add an ironic twist to the saga, ABC News says the translator got the question wrong, and that the student was actually asking what President Obama, not former President Clinton thought of that loan offer.

So now we’ll go through at least one news cycle with snarky talking heads, male and female, cocking their eyebrows and asking “What’s wrong with Hillary”? And the substantive work she’s been doing since her appointment will mean nothing. Is she getting enough rest? Will Bill be ordered to fade into the shadows? How are they really getting along?

And once again, we’ll see one unintended consequence of cable news without end. I’ve talked about it far too many times on this blog, but only the demands of the 24 hour news machine can take a possibly misunderstood question and run with it like this. And that’s because we as news/political junkies need our fix.

Too bad. But what do you think?


Obama’s Muslim Roots- Again?

It was bad enough when right wing lugnuts tried to smear President Obama during the election campaign. Remember all those “He’s not Christian, he’s Muslim, and he isn’t really an American” items in the blogosphere? Now, as he tours the Middle East, people who ought to know better are bringing up this foolishness, again.

Witness Jake Tapper, an otherwise “responsible” journalist who has the title Senior White House Correspondent for ABC News (the caps on senior and correspondent are theirs).

Jake Tapper

Jake Tapper

His “Political Punch” column from yesterday is headlined, “The Emergence of President Obama’s Muslim Roots“. Yeah, I know reporters don’t always write their own headlines, but this piece does Tapper’s reputation no good.

It posits the notion that Obama’s people are now willing to talk about his growing up in a Muslim country, and the fact that his father was also a Muslim.

Big deal. We knew all that before, and we also knew the campaign took pains to talk more about Obama’s Christian beliefs than his background of growing up in a predominately Islamic country. We also know why. Throughout the campaign, there were various inferences about Barack Obama’s citizenship, whether his birth certificate was forged, and even the notion that he himself was a terrorist.

Think all that has disappeared? Just take a look at the comments following Tapper’s piece.  For some people, it’s never gone away, because their belief system won’t let it. To be fair, there are a number of comments that make the opposite point, but you have to ask yourself, why would Jake Tapper give Matt Drudge, of all people, fodder for the lead story on his Website?

There are any number of conclusions you could draw from the timing and wording of this item. How about this one?  “Obama heads to Middle East, makes nice with Arabs, means he must be a Muslim”! Is that what Jake Tapper is trying to say? How about flipping the coin, and saying this? “Obama’s contact with the Muslim world as a child can serve him well as he tries to find common ground with leaders in the Middle East”?

But that’s not what we’re reading, not from Jake Tapper or from many others with high sounding titles who write tabloid level articles or columns.

I for one am sick of it. Are you?