Why can't MoDo quit the Clintons?November 16, 2008 11:17 AM EST ››› ERIC BOEHLERT
Leave it to Maureen Dowd to perfectly capture everything that's wrong with opinion journalism today. In a way, her Sunday Clinton-hating column (she's really expanding her repertoire) does everybody involved a favor because she unintentionally pulls back the curtain and reveals what's eating away at portions of the Beltway press: Clinton Derangement Syndrome. More on that later.
First, let's just note that it's been less than 72 hours since reports first surfaced that the new Obama administration could include Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and within those 72 hours the press, and especially the pundit class, has managed to embarrass itself multiple times.
My hunch is that the emotional, and often irrational response, is because some in the press are furious that Clinton has not been sufficiently vanquished and humiliated in the wake of Obama's victory. For many in the press, that seemed to be the whole point of the election cycle.
Here, for me, is the key Dowd passage. Once you get past the stunning misogyny at the top of the column (i.e. Clinton felt "entitled" to run for U.S. Senate and for president because her husband cheated on her), you come to the source of Dowd's complaint:
There are Obama aides and supporters who are upset that The One who won on change has ushered in déjà vu all over again. The man who vowed to deliver us from 28 years of Bushes and Clintons has been stocking up on Clintonites.
Think back to the campaign and try to recall a single instance during his 20-plus months on the trail when Barack Obama ever promised to rid the country of the Clintons. I remember plenty of references from Obama about doing away with the failures of Bush. But Clinton? I can't recall a single example and my guess is that's because that's not how Obama felt. I never got the sense that his candidacy was driven by animosity towards the Clintons. (Indeed, he's been tapping scores of former Clinton aides for jobs in his new administration.)
I think it's inconceivable to suggest that Obama ran for president because he wanted to rid the country of Clintons. But the pundits? Based on Dowd's writings, that's absolutely how they interpreted Obama's campaign and they simply attached their Clinton hatred onto his candidacy. And now, some in the press are furious that Obama's non-existent promise has been broken. They're furious that Obama has made clear, yet again, that he respects and admires Hillary Clinton. They're beside themselves that Clinton may soon be viewed as a very important player on the national and international stage. They can't stand the idea of her succeeding.
And that is the working definition of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.