Martha Bayles: January 2008 Archives
I have never been a fan of Hillary Clinton. But I will scream if one more pundit equates her now famous eye-moistening episode with her response to Scott Spradling's question about "the likeability factor" in the most recent Democratic primary debate.
The eye-moistening episode was not her finest moment. She did not cry, and it was a long way from a tantrum, but it smacked of one. She was saying, in effect, "I care more than they do, I'm better than they are, and I deserve to win. And if I don't, I'll cry." By itself, it would keep me from voting for her (if I did not already have other reasons).
The debate moment, on the other hand, won me over (for a fleeting second). To a patronizing question, one that I doubt would be asked of a male candidate, Clinton came back with a sly, kittenish, screw-you expression on her face: "Well, that hurts my feelings. But I will try to bear up." I wasn't in the room when this occurred, but I could hear the laughter, and my husband called out, "Hillary just did something brilliant." He was right: it was a brilliant stroke, intended to mock both the question and the questioner.
This was acknowledged by the talking heads right after the debate, but a day or two later, Chris Matthews boneheadedly ignored the ironic nature of Clinton's retort and equated it with the tears of New Hampshire. Then all the other boneheads piled on, and this dumb factoid is now bouncing around the media echo chamber.
Unfair. If the pundits can't detect irony any better than that, then they deserve to be exiled to the same howling, no-Blackberry-service desert as the pollsters who tried to persuade my fellow New Englanders how to vote. So there!