Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Clinton Rules trump the Democratic Mark of Shame

I mentioned this a few years ago, but one way that the media has treated Republican and Democratic politicians differently is when a Republican presidential candidate loses the general election he remains as respected elder statesman and is still considered to be politically viable. But when a Democrat loses the presidency in the general, it is portrayed as a point of shame and that politician is expected to disappear for a while. For example, compare Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry to Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. While McCain and Dole were considered too old to try another presidential run after they lost, they still were regular guests on the political bobblehead shows and reporters regularly asked their opinion on the issues of the day. Dukakis and Gore, by contrast, just disappeared from politics. Kerry did too, at least initially, even though he was still a member of the Senate he was not a regular guest on TV political shows. Kerry did get a second life as a public politician, but that is only because he was appointed to be Secretary of State.

It occurs to me that pattern is not holding with Hillary Clinton. She still gets attention when she decides to talk about the issues of the day. Maybe it's because she won the popular vote (but Gore!), or maybe it's because she is an irresistible contrast to President Trump, or maybe she is just making more of an effort to put herself out there, but I think part of what is helping her get attention is that, unlike other defeated Democratic presidential candidates, the right likes giving Clinton attention. She has just been too much the focus of their wrath for so long, they don't want her to slink away into the shadows like her predecessors have. The President himself keeps bringing her up. They just can't quit her. So it's not just fans of Hillary Clinton pushing to give her attention.