Lordy

Lordy, I hope... well, a lot of things...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hacks Gonna Hack

Following up on what I wrote yesterday about the New York Times's depiction of the Clintons, it's also worth mentioning that I spent months volunteering for the campaign at the Brooklyn headquarters and found it to be a really professional operation. I've said it many times before, going by Nate Silver's estimates (and some others), before the Comey letter, she wins by six points (for comparison, Obama beat McCain by eight points and Romney by three) and receives perhaps more popular votes than any other candidate in American history. Sure, her campaign made mistakes. Every campaign does, win or lose. I know I sound like a reflexive apologist, but I'm pretty studied up on most of the Presidential campaigns from the last few decades, and her 2016 one was better than most (her 2008 one, however, was not). If her campaign made a boo-boo that cost her the election, it was forgetting that Republicans are traditionally willing to cheat and commit treason to win elections.

I volunteered for a few months at Hillary's national headquarters in Brooklyn and found it very professional. The place was always humming, there was a lot of positivity and camaraderie, and from what I could tell, they were coordinated and knew what they were doing. The campaign I'm hearing about being reflected in Shattered and the Times is not the super-competent one I saw in the office,  on TV, and on social media in 2015 and 2016. Former Clinton campaign staffer Christina Reynolds expressed similar sentiments yesterday in a piece on Medium:

I wanted to speak out because after spending most of the campaign watching some people question the enthusiasm and our supporters, it’s hard to read a depiction of the campaign that paints a dedicated, cohesive team as mercenaries with questionable motives who lacked a loyalty to a candidate described as “imperial” and removed from the campaign.
That’s just not the campaign, the staff or the candidate I was in the trenches with for 18 months.
In April 2015, I came to Brooklyn as a favor to a friend, pitching in for the launch due to the early arrival of Brian Fallon’s twins. I wasn’t a lifelong Hillary loyalist. I was a huge fan, but I didn’t know many of those on the team prior to walking into the office that first day. As the new person joining a team that had already been working together, I assumed I would be pushed aside or ignored and was ready to just be an extra pair of hands to grab lunch and coffee as needed. Instead, on the first day in a brand new office, I was welcomed by everyone I met, from the State Department team to those from the 2008 campaign, from the campaign manager on down. I was immediately drawn to their passion, good humor, and smarts. Ultimately, one of the reasons I decided to join the campaign full-time was that it was clear from the beginning that this would be a campaign not driven by factions or who had been around the longest, but by only one shared goal — a belief that we were all lucky to be a small part of electing Hillary Clinton president.
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Why were we there? Because of Hillary. Because we had a candidate we KNEW would be a great president. A candidate who took far more time than scheduled to shake every staffer’s hand when she came through headquarters during a very busy time — and kept up with some of the struggles our staff went through, emailing them to check in, asking how she could help. A candidate who sought the advice of junior staff, who pulled field organizers aside and asked them what they thought, what they were hearing, and how we could do better. 

I began volunteering in mid-September, so I wasn't there for that long. But so many of the volunteers who had been there longer had taken pictures with Hillary and had great stories to tell about their interactions with her.



My first experience was at the debate watch party in Long Island for the first debate at Hofstra. After the debate, she, Bill, and Andrew Cuomo stopped by in person for a surprise visit and to speak to the group. Trump, on the other hand, after having his ass handed to him, declined to show up to his own party. Which campaign was doing it right?


Not a single stupid red hat, either.

Digby's chronicled Clinton's treatment at the hands of the press better than anyone around. They had their reasons for going after the Clintons in the early '90s, but why does this persist after all of these years? Three simple words:

Hacks
Gonna
Hack.

One of the definitions of "hack" in the dictionary is "a tip, trick, or efficient method for doing or managing something." Writing takedowns of the Clintons is one of the easiest shortcuts to sell newspapers and books, to get on TV, maintain job security, and to ingratiate oneself on the cocktail party circuit that so many journalists want to be part of. Frankly, in those circles, it's just a fashionable thing to do. Certainly, Bill and Hillary have had their missteps over the years, but I don't think there's anywhere near a precedent in American history of a family being hounded the way the Clintons have been.


Hacks. Gonna. Hack.