Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Almost as Much Fun as Beating Your Ex-Wife

BEATING HILLARY CLINTON. One of the interesting things about the Republican Party is the principled viciousness of right-wing activists and a lot of conservative voters. One such South Carolina conservative got down to the brass tacks about Hillary Clinton when she asked John McCain "how do we beat the bitch?" Talking Points Memo focuses on McCain's response to the name-calling as "an excellent question." But I think it's better to focus on the statement itself. What's striking about the statement is the powerfully off-hand quality of the woman's contempt for Hillary Clinton. In the video, "bitch" is not a stereotype of an unpleasant or overly aggressive woman or a term of opposition. Rather, the pejorative thrust of the conservative woman's use of the term in relation to Hillary Clinton was to treat Clinton as sub-human, as somebody who could not be imagined as equal in dignity to anybody in the room. What's "principled" about this kind of viciousness is the refusal to recognize Hillary Clinton as a worthwhile being. It was much like the principled refusal of slave owners and segregationists to recognize the humanity of black people. For this Republican woman, "bitch" was the female version of a racial epithet like the n-word.

In this context, the use of the term "beat the bitch" has an ambivalent meaning in the sentence as a whole. The primary connotation is to defeat Hillary but there's a strong secondary connotation of "beating" as in physically beating Hillary or in visiting upon her a humiliation and degradation that Hillary would deserve as a sub-human "bitch." The implied violence is captured by another person in the room who jokes that "she's talking about my ex-wife" and the idea of "beating my ex-wife." The implied violence deepens the racial analogy. Asking "how do we beat the bitch" is the functional equivalent of asking "how do we keep blacks in their place." Except that conservatives are not so nice as to use the term "black." And the implied answer to that question is "with all the violence we need."

GIULIANI'S APPEAL. As I've already mention, Talking Points Memo emphasized McCain's agreement with the questioner in calling the question an "excellent question." Actually, that's not the case. True, McCain did break up in laughter over the question. But he also made important symbolic gestures to reincorporate Hillary Clinton into symbolic humanity. Most significantly, he referred to Hillary by a name as "Sen. Clinton." By referring to her name, McCain brought the discussion out of the stock symbolism of bigotry and into a world where people can compete and disagree without dehumanizing to the nth degree. In that context, he could then talk about his respect for her and his respect for the Democratic Party despite his many disagreements.

But that probably wasn't the answer that McCain's questioner was looking for. To find the "right" right-wing answer, she's going to have to look at Rudy Giuliani. According to the Wall Street Journal, Rudy Giuliani appeals to Republicans primarily because of his carefully calculated image of "confidence" and strength."
"It's all about leadership," says Scott Reed, a Republican strategist who ran Bob Dole's 1996 campaign but is unaffiliated this time around. "It's all about him being a tough guy who won't take c--- from anyone. Social conservatives have embraced this and have overlooked the traditional issues of life, marriage and the Second Amendment for the guy," Mr. Reed adds.
To be more precise, not taking "crap" means "dishing out a lot of crap" without apologizing for it. It means that Rudy is going to engage in a lot of insults and put-downs as ways to display his aggression. As Giuliani has shown with his fibs about health policy, he's not going to care much about care much about the accuracy of his claims and that he's especially not going to back down on any of his inaccurate claims. Like Bush, Giuliani will also refuse to disown the inevitable smear campaigns against Hillary and view them as "just politics."

And that's what Republican voters want to see. They want to see Republican candidates "beat" and humiliate Hillary Clinton as well as defeat her in the election. They want to "beat the bitch" with insults, innuendo, and smears and they want to feel good about the beatings they dish out to her.

And Giuliani is doing his best to project himself as the guy who's going to make Republicans feel good.

THE PROSPECT. To the extent that Giuliani or another Republican nominee refers his insults and innuendo to real missteps on the part of Hillary Clinton, they have a chance to succeed. But I don't think they're going to have that much self-discipline. Following the example of McCain's questioner, the Republicans will attempt to give Hillary Clinton a "beating." And I think that's going to backfire with a lot of women and moderate voters who are much more suspicious of the right than they are of Hillary.


vote for hillary online said...

Hillary supporters: please don’t get discouraged. PLEASE. She is getting attacked from all sides because people deep down know she is our only hope for America and they’re trying to ruin it for everybody. Hillary is the ONLY candidate with these 4 attributes (there are more but I forget): honor, patriotism, loyalty, and kindness. I got $35 in the bank that says no other candidate has those attributes.

Anonymous said...

Tell us about the crackhead you vigorously and enthusiastically promoted in your department, Ric.

Courtney said...

This is all so ridiculous and juvenile. The man has a blog to express his thoughts and feelings on the world. If you don't like it, don't read it. Take your business elsewhere. And, the last time I checked, basically accusing a man of molestation or pedaphelia without any evidence is a crime in and of itself.

By the way, J.K. Rowling did an interview a year or more ago now where she stated that she was slightly annoyed that her books and movies have been dubbed children's books and movies. Her intentions were for these to be read and viewed by adults. Ric reading these books and blogging about them was nothing more than a stepping stone to get a point across.

Just know that Ric has really been a great prof who *most* of us can relate to. Even if we don't have the same points of view on issues, he listens and doesn't bash us for our thoughts or feelings. Which is more than I can say for you.

I could go on forever on this topic but I will stop where I am.

Cleo said...

So, Ric Ric, what did you know and when did you know it?



scott sparks said...

Cleo, for once just shut up. I mean seriously, a child's life was put in danger and you use it as a means to attack Dr. Caric? Awesome character man. You call him a douche bag, but clearly you are nothing but a worthless piece of shit. Anyone who would stoop to such a level is the lowest form of human being on the planet. Good job jackass.

Ric Caric said...

For those unfamiliar with Red State Impressions, Cleo has been banned for at least six months and will continue to be banned.

dirtyword.net said...

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Anonymous said...

Now calm down, Scottie. Go have a donut. Or in your case, a box of donuts.

scott sparks said...

Wow, how intelligent of you to make that comment yet get the spelling of my name wrong, bravo jackass. Tell me, did they not teach grammar at your school or were you to dense to learn it?

While I'm mentioning it, Cleo are you in love with Dr. Caric? These kinds of fixations often seem to stem from a strong emotional attachment.

Anonymous said...

"Tell me, did they not teach grammar at your school or were you to dense to learn it?"

Um, Scottie, if you think you're going to lecture someone on grammar, be sure YOUR grammar is correct first. Otherwise, YOU look like an ass. It's not "TO dense," it's "TOO dense."

Your grammar lesson is over for today, Scottie.

Now go have another donut.

(BTW, I'm not Cleo)

scott sparks said...

Wow, ya got me on a typo. Genius, you are a genius!!!!! He figured out that I don't always proof read my messages. Holy crap! What a jackass I am. Oh thank you for the lesson sensei!! It could only have been worse if I had misspelled someone's name or something.

Since you aren't Cleo, then does that mean you're too cowardly to actually put your name on your messages? Classy!

Anonymous said...

Are you getting angry, Scottie? Don't blow your knee out.

Have another donut. It'll calm you down.

scottYE sparks said...

Yes, I'm soooo angry that an anonymous person is trying to be witty. It just ruins my whole night knowing someone is so creative that they came up with a fat joke. Oh the pain and anger, another three sessions of therapy for me. Thanks!!!

S. Bartley said...


Dr. Caric is merely writing on his thoughts and observations. He is exercising is freedom in a very thoughtful manner. Why do you attack him for that?

Also, do you know everything about your friends and colleagues? I bet there are many things you don't know about those closest to you. Right? Do you honestly expect Dr. Caric to have foreseen what happened to Prof. Ndiaye? Of course, not. He made a judgment on the best info he had, and even the best info is always far from being perfect.

But you already know that everything I said is true. The problem is you are not interested in being fair, honest, or thoughtful. Actually, you only want to draw attention to yourself and to believe that you have hurt someone's reputation. In fact, you've only made yourself look foolish. I hope you choose to grow up and get some real courage. Until then, Dr. Caric has you handicapped in every way.

(Would you now like to make lame comments about me? Do you need some more attention?)