The main appeal, to me, in watching the Oscars tonight is that Jon Stewart is hosting it during an election year. Stewart, aside from Steven Colbert, is one of the few people doing good political comedy these days.
Which brings me to Saturday Night Live.
SNL opened the show last night with a skit that attacked the fact that the media has a bias towards Obama, which I think is a legitimate point to go after. The problem is that they set the skit during the latest debate in Texas, arguably the least biased televised debate we’ve seen. In the previous CNN debate, Wolf Blitzer went Chris Matthews on Hillary Clinton at one point. That was a moment rife with comedic potential and that deserved such attention. Yet, as is often the case with SNL these days, they dropped the ball and tried to force a joke where it was least welcome.
That, however, was nothing compared to what would come at the end of “Weekend Update.” And unfortunately for SNL and Tina Fey, it pointed to a fundamental misunderstanding of Hilalry supporters.
In the bit, Tina Fey returns to “Weekend Update” to do a segment called “Women’s News.” After a few pop culture stories, she delves into why it is that people don’t like Hillary. From what I can remember, she mentions the Rush Limbaugh (always a source of valid commentary, of course) criticism that America doesn’t want to see their president turn into an old woman, which she follows with a joke about Reagan. She mentions that people don’t think she’ll be able to control Bill and that the office will be a co-presidency, which she explains wouldn’t be a bad thing, having two qualified people in office. And she mentions that people think Hillary is a “bitch” (her word, not mine), which she claims is actually a good thing, because, to paraprhase, bitches get things done.
The problem with this bit is that these are, in fact, not the reasons why people dislike Hillary.
The “bitch” tag has nothing to do with whether or not she gets things done, it’s HOW she gets them done. From staying with Bill to moving to New York so she could be a senator, many people see Hillary as conniving and opportunistic. Her campaign has only served to amplify those feelings. As the article I linked to the other day pointed out, steps like introducing race to the campaign (and they can claim it was the media all they want, but Bill’s comments about Jesse Jackson were unprovoked and, in context, completely random) indicate that the Clintons will do whatever it takes to win, no matter who gets in their way.
As Jonathan Alter from Newsweek said recently on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” the Clintons believe that what works is what’s right, as opposed to, in his example, the Kennedy’s, who believe that what’s right works.
The “bitch” tag also comes from hypocracy. It’s hard to believe that Hillary will change the way things are done in Washington when she’s taken more money from lobbyists than anyone else in the primaries (and that’s including the dozen or so people who have dropped out). It’s hard to believe she’ll take a hard line against insurance companies in the fight for universal health care when she takes more money from the healthcare industry lobbyists than anyone else in Congress. It’s hard to take her seriously when one days she’s arguing for a positive campaign then the next she’s going after Obama on, of all things, plagarism.
And the “bitch” tag also comes from her smugness, her seeming sense of entitlement, like claiming in December that the nomination would be wrapped up by Super Tuesday.
All of these things work to make her an extremely divisive figure, particularly for conservatives. The idea that she can win over anyone on the right in a general election seems at odds with reality and is clearly at odds with recent polls that have her either tied or losing to McCain.
I’m applying all these things to the public in general. If there’s any specific reason I personally would give for disliking Hillary, it’s her inability to motivate the disenfranchised. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the simple act of getting Americans to vote is revolutionary and the importance of that can never, ever be overstated. It’s just huge.
So there you go, Tina Fey, SNL, and Hillary supporters, a few actual reasons why people dislike Hillary Clinton. I would recommend taking that information and running with it, but at this point I think it might be too late.