Saturday, August 01, 2015


It's being reported that Hillary Clinton attacked Jeb Bush in a speech yesterday to the National Urban League, and that Jeb chose not to respond in kind. But please note how it's being reported, because we're watching a 2016 media narrative in the early stages of formation.

Here's the Politico story:
Appearing Friday at the National Urban League Conference here in the country’s most important swing state, Hillary Clinton didn’t mention Jeb Bush by name, but tore apart the entire premise of his “right to rise” mission statement. Striding onto that same stage less than an hour later, Bush acknowledged Clinton’s presence at the conference in order to thank her for appearing there, then proceeded to ignore her attacks and campaign altogether.

... Clinton and Bush demonstrated the starkly different ways the two candidates are addressing each other on the campaign trail, despite their shared commanding advantages.

“I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a right to rise and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare, or repealing Obamacare,” Clinton said, a jab at Bush’s well-known PAC slogan, “Right to Rise.”

“People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care,” she continued. “They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you can’t seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.” The crowd cheered.

When Bush finally took the stage to address issues of race and repairing American cities, he didn’t hit back. “I’m pleased to see other candidates here as well,” Bush said, even acting like a host in his home state and thanking Clinton, as well as the three other candidates who spoke, by name.
We're told that Bush didn't attack Clinton because he probably would have been booed by a pro-Clinton crowd. But there's also a suggestion that we're seeing the nature of the two campaigns, particularly Bush's:
He’d made a point of attending this conference of several thousand African-American leaders to offer a unifying message to a traditionally Democratic audience, one “that laid out how his record of success in Florida, increasing minority income and student achievement -- can be replicated nationally and give people facing unjust barriers to success the opportunity to rise up,” said Bush’s spokesman, Tim Miller, after the speech. “He didn’t see a value in delivering divisive, false cheap shots like...Clinton did.”

... while Clinton often singles out Bush as her No. 1 target to flog on policy issues such as voting rights, women’s rights, entitlements and the economy, Bush’s critiques of Clinton are less pointed....

Comfortably near the top of the GOP field, Bush doesn’t have to ratchet up the rhetorical red meat; moreover, doing so would undercut his effort to distinguish himself from his party’s unrestrained grievance-based politics with his self-described “optimistic” and “joyful” message....

Clinton, however, has been less restrained, eager to draw comparisons with Bush....
But what does the supposedly more restrained Bush say about Clinton?
When he does take swipes, Bush typically raises questions about Clinton’s character and fitness to lead.

In an interview on Fox News the day after he announced in June, Bush raised questions about Clinton’s record. “As secretary of state, in all honesty, the things she’s known for, the reset [with Russia], the pulling back of our commitments, Libya, put aside Benghazi, Libya in general, it turns out was a complete failure,” he said. “I honestly don’t know what her successes are.”
Wait -- calling her Cabinet term "a complete failure" is a sign of his restraint? Of his reluctance to go on the attack?
Last week, he mocked Clinton for keeping her distance from reporters while emphasizing his own openness with the press. “You’re not going to see me rope-lining myself off with people,” Bush said, referencing the rope that was used to hold reporters at bay while Clinton marched in a July 4 parade in New Hampshire.

On Friday, an hour after he left the stage here without criticizing Clinton, Bush’s campaign issued a news release blasting her support for lifting the embargo on Cuba as “politically expedient.”
Oh, and, as we learn from a New York Times story, the campaign of the high-minded, non-attacking, above-the-fray Jeb Bush is not above attacking Clinton for attacking:
Mr. Bush’s aides, however, could barely hide their disgust over Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, which they spoke of, bitterly, as uncivil and uncalled-for.

On Twitter, Tim Miller, Mr. Bush’s communications director, called it a “Clintonesque move to pass over chance to unite in favor of a false cheap shot.”

Allie Brandenburger, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, followed up with an email saying, “The Urban League deserved better.”
Assuming that these two are the nominees, this is going to evolve into a key media narrative of the campaign: Jeb is restrained and good-natured, Hillary is harsh and mean-spirited. Never mind the fact that there's nothing ad hominem about anything Clinton said in her speech -- she's attacking his policies and the policies of his party. That's the purpose of a presidential campaign -- to draw out the distinctions betwen the candidates in order to inform the electorate.

But when Clinton does it, she's vicious. When Bush refrains from doing it -- strategically in this one instance, after having gone on the attack in the past -- then compensates for his restraint by sending his people out to be nasty on his behalf (much as his brother routinely did when he was president), he gets to call himself a nice guy. And the media may decide that's the correct characterization of both.


Victor said...

Here we go.

Our MSM should form a club:
"The He-mans and He-woman's Hillary Haters Club."

I'm not her biggest fan by a long shot, but the fact that she can keep taking the GOP's MSM's worst BS and insults for almost 25 years, says a lot about how tough a person she is.

Jeb attacks her directly about her time as SoS.
MSM: *crickets*

Hillary takes Jeb(!)'s "Right to Rise" program, and points out its hypocrisy:
MSM: What a nasty beyotch!!!

This is going to be a long and grueling 15 months...

Glennis said...

I see.

Hillary talking about Jeb!'s policies not matching his rhetoric = nasty.

Jeb! calling Hillary dishonest, scandal-plagued and bringing up Benghazi = "restrained."


nancydrew said...

Yesterday I received a fat packet of garbage in the mail from one "Judicial Watch" -- which included this bumper sticker: "Four Americans Died and Hillary Lied" and 12 pages of material, return donation envelope and bio of someone named Tom Fitton. Ensconced since 1998.

Please tell me we are not going to watch this play again. Please. Something tells me Mr. Fitton could not answer a single question about the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon on Reagan's watch nor the embassy attack before it. Or. Or. Or.

Yastreblyansky said...

"He didn’t see a value in delivering divisive, false cheap shots like...Clinton did.”

Translation: He didn't have anything to say to the audience about his plans to privatize Medicare and repeal the ACA and he thought it was very rude of her to mention them. It's so divisive when you tell an audience that your opponent disagrees with them on life-and-death matters.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with all this, which worked for Gore vs. Dubya, is that Jeb Bush is a lummox. He doesn't seem cheerful, chummy, or fun to be around. That's why I don't think it's likely to connect with John Q. Public.

petrilli said...

nancydrew: If that return envelope postage paid, spread the inside with anchovy paste and send it back to them.

petrilli said...

I'll just jump out ahead of the village and roll out their meme for the next year right now:

Headline:Hillary slams Jeb's policies at the National Urban League...

Village lede: "6 reasons why this is good news for Jeb..."