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Reading the Far Right: Hillary Clinton's Book Brings Out Haters

HILLARY CLINTON

Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, is food for thought for many, but fuel for hate on the far right.

Not that some hate isn’t coming from the far left as well, but it’s the job of this column to monitor the far-right media so our readers don’t have to — and in the past week or so these outlets have been filled with attacks on and untruths about Clinton. They’re entitled to their opinion, of course, but the level of vitriol is mind-boggling. And they’re not entitled to their alternative facts.

Also in the latest news from the extreme right: lots of love for bigoted Senate candidate Roy Moore, regressive gender politics, and praise for Donald Trump’s bombastic United Nations speech.

But first, the reaction to Clinton’s bestselling memoir on the 2016 campaign and her public appearances around it. Jeffrey Lord, the political commentator fired by CNN for tweeting “Sieg Heil!” at Media Matters president Angelo Carusone, made his debut as a Breitbart columnist by likening Clinton to white supremacist David Duke. Yes. Really.

“In an interview with Jane Pauley on CBS Sunday Morning, in which the failed 2016 Democratic Party nominee was promoting her new book What Happened, Clinton actually sounded exactly like former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, blaming her loss on race,” Lord wrote. He opened the column with a fake quote from Duke blaming his various electoral losses on “millions of black people,” then revealed it was actually Clinton blaming her loss, in response to a question from Pauley, on “millions of white people.”

Well, Clinton’s not wrong — exit polls did reveal that a majority of white voters supported Trump, while other racial groups favored Clinton by wide margins. But Lord said that by “playing the race card,” something anyone who points out racism is accused of doing, Clinton shows she’s just as bad as Duke. A statement like that, of course, totally ignores the differences in the way blacks and whites have been treated over the course of American history.

Lord went on to claim that those fighting racism ignore the racist actions of past generations of Democrats, such as President Woodrow Wilson. Actually, a large group of Princeton University students had called for the removal of Wilson’s name from its School of Public and International Affairs and from a residential college (Wilson was president of Princeton before he was president of the U.S.). Princeton trustees last year decided to keep his name on the institutions but also announced a renewed commitment to diversity and inclusion at the university.

Lord also took President Franklin D. Roosevelt to task for appointing former Klan member Hugo Black to the Supreme Court. The columnist called Black a “lifetime member” of the Klan, which is not true — he resigned after two years, long before he sat on the court. Lord further pointed out Black’s support for FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, but far from ignoring this act of persecution, many progressives have denounced it for years. Black, by the way, became a great supporter of equal rights for people of all races in such decisions as Brown v. Board of Education, which declared that segregated public schools violate the Constitution. People can and do change.

But back to Clinton. World Net Daily contributor Patrice Lewis had this to say: “Hillary, dear, I have a simple explanation for why you lost: NOBODY LIKES YOU. You’re a shrill, foul-mouthed harridan. You lie like a rug and loathe half of America’s population (‘deplorables’). You throw violent, childish temper tantrums and have the dignity of a drunken sot. The thought of you with a finger on the proverbial button is terrifying. The visual of you representing us on the world stage in your ever-present pants suits was enough to turn even the most ardent progressives toward Bernie Sanders.”

Wow. Along with sexist insults coming from another woman, there are some passages in there that would be an apt description of another presidential candidate, the one who got 3 million fewer votes than the woman “nobody” liked but now occupies the White House because of the vagaries of the Electoral College and, perhaps, Russian meddling.

On Townhall, John Hawkins called Clinton’s book a “monstrosity” and offered a “short, handy list explaining reasons why so many people hate Hillary Clinton that go beyond her socialistic political beliefs.” These include, according to Hawkins, that “her whole campaign could have been boiled down to ‘Vote for me because I’m a woman’” and “Hillary’s entire claim to fame is being married to Bill.” So much wrong with so many statements in one column. But Clinton seems to exemplify everything the far right despises.

A politician who exemplifies everything the right-wingers love is Roy Moore, the ousted Alabama Supreme Court chief justice turned U.S. Senate candidate. Moore will face current Sen. Luther Strange (appointed to fill the vacancy left when Jeff Sessions joined Trump’s Cabinet) in a runoff Tuesday to choose the Republican candidate, who will face Democrat Doug Jones in December. Breitbart and similar sites are filled with effusive support for Moore and hyperbolic hatred for Strange, even though he shares Moore’s far-right ideology and has the support of Trump. But Strange has committed the cardinal sin of being too cozy with mainstream Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not trusted by the extreme right to realize the conservative vision for America.

“It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the Alabama Senate primary is the most important Senate election of our generation,” wrote Moore supporter Daniel Horowitz at a site called Conservative Review. “That is because this is not just about filling one conservative Senate seat; this is about the future of the Republican Party and perhaps the opening shot that will create momentum for a new political party in America — one that will challenge the uniparty of Republicrats and Democans. We don’t have two parties in America. We have one unibrow party that serves various sectors of the special interest cartels, which both lead to the growth of government and the furtherance of cultural Marxism.”

Well, there’s ample reason to criticize the power that lobbying groups hold over our government, but last we checked there were some big, big differences between the two major parties. Not big enough, though, for people like Horowitz, who also said Trump hasn’t done enough to promote conservative values. “A Moore win could either open the floodgates for successful primary challenges or serve as the impetus for a new party built upon the true outsider agenda Trump campaigned on but ultimately betrayed,” he wrote.

Breitbart radio host Alex Marlow interviewed former Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a homophobe who’s now with the Family Research Council’s political action arm, about why conservatives should support Moore. Praising Moore’s “courage” and knowledge of the Constitution, Boykin said, “When the [U.S.] Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a right, a constitutional right, Roy Moore said to his judges there in the state of Alabama, ‘The Supreme Court can’t tell us in the state of Alabama what to do on this issue, and unlike what most people think, all federal rulings don’t supersede or overtake all state rulings.’ He stood up and said, ‘You don’t have to obey this.’” Actually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling did supersede state laws, and Moore’s resistance eventually got him booted from his job.

There are many more articles in this vein in the right-wing cyberworld. The view from the other side is that Strange and Moore amount to bad and worse, and it’s encouraging that Jones is receiving enough support to assure that either one will face stiff competition in the general election.

Regressive gender ideology is common among the far right, but a couple of recent examples really stand out. One came in response to a rather dumb column published by Glamour magazine, which really is generally much smarter. The Glamour column by Korey Lane, a liberal woman, was titled “Help, I Can't Stop Hooking Up With Trump Supporters.” Apparently political arguments excite her.

But Kurt Schlicter, in a Townhall column, mansplained that the real reason is that conservatives are just, well, more manly than liberals. “Look, it’s pretty clear that women naturally respond to men whose idea of initiating a romantic encounter doesn’t involve crying or abject, craven apologies for bearing the biological hallmarks of manhood,” he wrote. “But that’s what liberal women have sculpted out of the already soft clay of liberal males. Their coastal elitist mommies and daddies, or other mommies, plop them down in some leftist college where the pierced and piercing fascist feminists get to work on them.”

Oh, he also called feminists “shrill harridans.” The right wing just loves to use that term. And ironically, his thoroughly heterocentric column was illustrated with the cover of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. Townhall’s editors apparently don’t realize who A&F’s biggest fans are.

Another Townhall contributor, Bill Murchison, endorsed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to scrap Obama-era guidelines on how colleges and universities should investigate sexual assault allegations, as he believes those “seem strongly to favor alleged victims over alleged perpetrators.” As part of his argument, he claimed things were so much better 50 years or so ago, when parental influence and school rules helped young people avoid temptation. This didn’t work perfectly, he said, but “at least we never heard back then about a national sexual assault crisis.”

No, Mr. Murchison, we didn’t hear about it because a lot of people were unwilling to admit that assault was assault. If a woman was raped by a man she knew, maybe even dated, it was because she “led him on” and “asked for it.” If she became pregnant as a result, her options included back-alley abortion and marrying her rapist. Yes, those good old days were really good. And then there was the shaming of women who had consensual sex and the persecution of LGBT people — please, let’s not go back there.

Before we wrap up, a little on the man who remains pretty much far-rightists’ favorite president ever, even though he’s disappointed them at times. His bombastic speech at the United Nations this week, vowing to “totally destroy” North Korea and to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, appalled many liberals and centrists, along with many world leaders. But the right wing loved it.

Cal Thomas, a longtime conservative syndicated columnist who’s not always a fan of Trump, called said it “may have been Trump's finest speech as president” in a piece posted at Townhall. “Clearly, the president was trying to mobilize a lethargic world body to act in its own and the world's best interests,” Thomas continued.

On BarbWire, Timothy Buchanan said the address “will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the best speeches in President Trump’s political career.” He further contended, “True American patriots and freedom-loving people the world over were cheering at the prospect of a coming end to the failures of previous U.S. administrations.” OK — those who dislike Trump’s approach hate freedom!

And Breitbart, Infowars, and more are gloating that revelations about the FBI wiretapping of onetime Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort have vindicated Trump’s claim that President Obama had his “wires tapped.” That is an overstatement at the very least, according to such respected sources as The Washington Post and The Atlantic (not respected by the far right, but respected by pretty much everyone else). The situation is complicated, but there is nothing to suggest Trump was the target of the wiretapping or that Obama was personally involved, the publications noted.

That’s it for now. We’ll be back next week with more insights into right-wingers' mind-set, gained from reading their sites so you don’t have to.

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