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.