Our Clinton Problem - And Mine

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A reader writes:

I see you quote with approval Maureen Dowd's column on Clinton's tears. Every day you tell us how much we need Obama's reasonable, fresh, high-minded vision of unity, and every day you pour gas on the fire by elaborating, just like Dowd, all of your personal resentments about Clinton and her husband. You know all about how selfish and arrogant they are, you know they pressure people, pull levers, and operate a merciless machine, you know their motives, their hidden motives, their secret motives, and even the ultimate motives behind all their other motives. Is such intimate knowledge standard ethical equipment for a journalist? Do you see no contradiction between the qualities you praise in Obama and the very different qualities you display yourself?

How do you help him when you charge, over and over, that any Democrat who prefers Clinton must be addicted to political poison or just plain dim?

I'd like to see Obama president myself. I want to vote for him. But I know that if you take all the bad the Clintons have ever done and piled it up in a heap, it just doesn't equal one month of the horror of the current administration. Are you a deeply self-deceiving man, or just a deeply cynical one? Do you people in the media take no responsibility for the poison of the last fifteen years? How do you expect to change the air in Washington when you sit down on Sunday morning with Chris Matthews and smile at his pathological hostility? And Dowd --- who in politics appears more troubled and sick than this sad woman? Don't you notice these things? Do you think we don't notice? How is this journalism? And how in God's name does it help?

I've received many emails criticizing my Clinton obsession. Most I do not find convincing. I do not believe that holding a female politician to exactly the same standards as a male one, and refusing to give her a pass because of her gender on anything, is sexist or misogynist. I've tried to be gracious when appropriate. I have aired defenses of them. But I have to say this email has brought me up short in ways others have not. It isn't so much the content of my criticisms but the tone. I will probably fail to get the better of my emotions when it comes to the good Senator and ex-president. I'm a human being writing in real time with no filters. That's blogging. But, while not stinting on legitimate criticism, I'm going to try a little harder to be a little more temperate. Goodbye to all that, eh? 

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