Thursday, October 4, 2007

Discovering the Masterful Clinton Cackle

Cross-posted at Political Fleshfeast
and the Democratic Afrosphere.

There's been a lot of discussion in the media over the last week concerning the way Hillary Clinton laughs, but with few sources considering the context and obvious intentional purpose of her laugh. The New York Times gets it most right:

At that moment, the laugh seemed like the equivalent of an eye-roll - she felt she was being nitpicked, so she shamed her inquisitors by chuckling at them (or their queries). New York Times

Watch the video (below). Clinton was being interviewed by on Face the Nation when Bob (whatisname) asked her, "Last week was a big one for you, Senator. You rolled out your new health care plan, something the Republicans immediately said was going to lead to socialized medicine . . . "

If the public decides that Clinton's plan is "socialized medicine," it will not be approved, even though Clinton is elected president. So, Clinton understands that this question goes to the heart of her potential success as president.

Had Clinton responded with a wonkish explanation of the difference between socialism and capitalism, the word "socialism" would have stayed in the public's mind more than anything else she could have said.

But look how masterful her response was. What is remembered from this exchange is not the question itself, or her response to the question, but the fact that she laughed heartily. The message is clear: 'The question itself is too silly for words.' If this approach discourages others from asking this question, Hillary Clinton may be one step closer to being elected president and implementing a program of national healthcare.

In fact, the pure capitalist approach to health care would be "everybody for himself." Likewise, the pure capitalist approach to the US corporate take-over of Iraq's oil wells would require Halliburton and Exxon to gather up their own armies to invade Iraq - at their own expense - instead of depending on a "government takeover of invasions." And yet, the Government spearheads invasions that only help corporate interests while leaving citizens high and dry when it comes to organizing a health care system that would allow each of us to see a doctor and get medicine when we need to do so.

Now, should Hillary have responded as I have, leaving her audience with their eyes glazed over, bewildered by a response that most would not understand and the rest would disagree with? Clearly not! The best response was to simply laugh at that question about socialized medicine, and I believe she will laugh at that question quite a few more times before she is inaugurated in January 2009. The best way to diffuse Republican nonsense, Hillary is saying, is to start by laughing at it like one laughs at any silliness that is ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post says that Hillary Clinton is taking advantage of the tremendous affection for Bill Clinton and nostalgia for a more prosperous, more peaceful administration:

Hillary Clinton is nearly ready for her Restoration. The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination has been talking much lately about those happy days when Clintons were in the White House and all was right with the world.

"Some of you might remember," she told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute yesterday. "We began with an agenda to address how to keep young Hispanics in school. . . . Well, that agenda unfortunately was put into cold storage. We're taking it out and we're warming it up and we're going to go back to business together."

Two hours later, Clinton strolled anew down memory lane as she accepted the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers. "We're going to be able to encourage Americans once again to believe that we can solve our problems," she told the union, informing its members of a need "to act like Americans again." Washington Post

No comments: