Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton officially announced her candidacy for president on Sunday in a well-assembled video designed to establish The Folks as the centerpiece of her 2016 campaign.
Matt Yglesias broke down the video by the numbers:
Number of people in Hillary Clinton's announcement video besides Hillary Clinton: 38.
Number of women: 20.
Number of people of color: 13.
Number of women of color: 7.
Number of non-Hillary Clinton speaking roles: 13.
Number of speaking roles for non-Hillary Clinton women: 8.
Number of speaking roles for people of color: 7.
Number of speaking roles for women of color: 5.
Number of same-sex couples: 2.
Number of seconds until Hillary Clinton first appears: 91.
Number of seconds with Clinton talking or onscreen: 37.
Number of references to career readiness: 2.
Number of references to motherhood: 3.
Number of references to school or college: 2.
Number of references to inequality: 1.
Number of concrete policies mentioned: 0.
Number of times the name "Hillary Clinton" is spoken: 0.
Bottom line: this is not a video that Clinton would've released eight years ago. Why? Clearly because it's been eight years since 2007, when the political climate, the Democratic field, the Republican field and the roster of top-shelf issues were completely and totally different.
Think about where the country was in 2007. We were still ensconced in the Iraq surge, same-sex marriage was largely illegal across the country, we were experiencing the initial warning signs of the economic collapse, the GOP was getting ready to nominate a Vietnam War veteran, Clinton herself had not yet served four years as Secretary of State, and a soon-to-be Democratic rock star named Barack Obama had just entered the race with a state-of-the-art new media machine backing him. And that's right off the top of my head. Consequently, Clinton's priorities and tactics will be different. They have to be.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the pervasiveness of Hillary Derangement Syndrome, from both the left and the right (though as you'll see, the right's derangement is far worse). Sunday's Political Twitter turned in it's most insufferable day since the tan suit debacle last Labor Day -- everyone weighing in with both recycled old boilerplate criticisms of Clinton, as well as some truly despicable new ones. Let's begin with the left.
Hillary is Republican-lite.
No, no she's not, actually. Admittedly, she's not Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) either. Then again, Bernie Sanders would be unelectable nationally. Nevertheless, this caricature of Clinton mainly has to do with her foreign policy positions -- at least the ones we know of. And other than her 2002 vote in support of the Iraq Authorization for Use of Force (AUMF), she's largely in line with President Obama on predator drones, intervention, NSA operations and so forth.
That aside, watch carefully to see if any Republicans release a video favorably showing two men holding hands. Elsewhere, Clinton will likely appoint center-left justices to the Supreme Court; she'll veto any legislation to repeal Obamacare; and she'll continue the Obama administration's approach to the climate crisis. All of that aside, the whole "GOP-lite" meme is just another version of the "both parties are the same" meme -- it's good for some RTs on Twitter, but makes little sense in terms of a break-down of Clinton's positions on the issues. Indeed, when Clinton served in the Senate, she was considered the 11th most liberal senator. That's basically in the top 20 percentile in terms of liberal votes. That's lightyears away from being a DINO.
Elizabeth Warren and Dr. Jill Stein are better.
This particular observation is one we'll be seeing for a long, long time. And while both candidates are more liberal than Clinton, one of them isn't running and the other is unelectable because she's running as a third party, and third party candidates don't have a shot at winning. By that very measure, Clinton is obviously a better candidate because she's running and she can win. I've never quite understood the penchant for fapping away over candidates who don't have a prayer, either because they refuse to run or because they've marginalized themselves to the sideshow of the campaign. So why, then, are they deserving of time and energy? I personally think Warren would make a fantastic candidate, but using her non-candidacy as a cudgel against the one Democrat who's currently defeating each of the GOP frontrunners in their home states is counterproductive. It's like refusing to pursue relationships with anyone who's not Jennifer Lawrence or Ryan Gosling. Good for you if one of those two is into you, but they're probably not. Frankly, the activist left doesn't have a particularly strong track record of picking solid primary contenders. Both Howard Dean in 2004 and John Edwards in 2008 crashed and burned in spectacular fashion.
We need a primary, not a coronation.
Having a largely uncontested primary doesn't by default mean a "coronation." Sometimes it works out like this because American politics. There's no rule that says every presidential primary has to feature a cast of thousands. Sometimes it's a big fat clown car, sometimes it's not. In recent memory, Al Gore was only challenged by Bill Bradley in 2000. Every poll in the field shows Clinton with roughly a 48 point lead over other potential Democratic candidates. In other words, Democratic voters believe Clinton is the best bet -- today -- to beat the Republican nominee. A smoke-filled room at the DNC can't manufacture those numbers. That's not to say there shouldn't be other candidates. There should be. What happens if Clinton gets into serious trouble? Who's playing second string? And will he or she be able to step up and beat the Republican nominee? The party should be planning for this possibility, if it isn't already.
Wikileaks: Hillary stole our logo!
By the time this tweet went up, I was about ready to shoot Twitter in the face.
Yes, not only does Julian Assange (or whomever) think a red arrow is "innovative," but they also think Clinton was interested in horking Wikileaks' brand. This raises a salient question: exactly how far is Wikileaks up its own ass? Regarding "innovative" here's a screen grab of a Google image search for "red arrow":
This piece of clip art is almost exactly like Wikileaks' precious arrow:
Bottom line: clip art is not innovative. Also, is it me or is it totally ironic that Wikileaks accused someone else of theft?
While we're here, this tweet from Rawstory's "T Bogg" saved the day:
Elsewhere, as promised, conservative Twitter was far worse...
More 9/11 Imagery!
Still More Sexism!
Did We Mention Sexism?
And Super Stupid!
The 2016 election is underway, and it's officially shaping up to be silly season every season. Brace for impact.