With plenty of real issues to focus on in the 2016 presidential race, it’s time to take the pretend distractions off the table.
As the Republicans continue to try to outdo each other on how many people they’d bomb or kill or ignore, they also continue to toss as much anti-Hillary faux stories out there to see what will stick. I guess that’s what you do when you’re not exactly sure what your substantive strategy would be on the real issues, like managing ISIS, how to explain that the ever-growing list of mass shootings has nothing to do with our gun regulations, or how they would actually work with world leaders to make the world a safer place.
As they say in the law, if you can’t argue either the facts or the law, pound the table. So here are four ‘pounding the table’ things you can ignore so you can focus on the real issues in the race:
1. Hillary Clinton’s middle name. Several outlets, including The Washington Post, have reported that the Clinton campaign has supposedly requested that Clinton’s middle name of “Rodham” be dropped from official coverage and that she just be referred to as Hillary Clinton. That request has set off a string of stories about “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!” She used to be just Rodham! Then she was HRC! Now she just wants to be a Clinton! What is the bigger meaning here, many are demanding? The suggestion that there is some sort of manipulative agenda about which name to use – when all are correct- is something conservatives are hoping will keep us from focusing on real issues.
2. Her stamina. Hillary Clinton is 67. That isn’t a secret. Yet Donald Trump keeps bringing up her age suggesting, as he did again this weekend, that he has heard that all Clinton does when she’s not on the campaign trail is rest. Trump keeps saying she can’t be president because someone in her state of aging just doesn’t have what it takes to manage the rigors of the campaign trail, let alone the presidency. The funny thing is that Trump is two years older than Hillary, yet no one is challenging him on his own stamina. But when it comes to Hillary, she’s already shared how she keeps her “stamina and strength up” — chili peppers! Maybe The Donald should try it out!
3. Her ability to be our BFF. Yes, again the issue of Hillary Clinton’s “likability” is being raised as an issue. Can we really elect a president we don’t want to hang out with over a cappuccino or at book club? While any candidate’s personality can be an issue for voters when deciding who to cast their ballots for, when did we become a country that looks the other way on actual qualifications? Maybe we can get beyond that in 2016?
4. Bill’s past. This weekend as Hillary Clinton was talking about the issue of sexual assault, one audience member asked whether her position that women who say they have been sexually harassed or assaulted deserve to be believed, applied to the women in her husband’s past who have made harassment claims. Clinton handled the question deftly, saying that if evidence came out to the contrary, then that was something to be considered. But aside from that exchange, the bigger question is this — isn’t it funny how voters have given a pass to candidates like Mark Sanford and David Vitter, who have admitted to extramarital affairs. Yet, voters are still holding Hillary somehow responsible for alleged actions of her husband. It makes me wonder how would The Good Wife have handled that question and whether we are still a country that can’t forgive a woman for being cheated on.
Joanne Bamberger is an independent journalist, journalism entrepreneur and founder of The Broad Side. She is the author/editor of the new book, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, already an Amazon #1 Hot New Release! You can find Joanne on Twitter at @jlcbamberger and on Facebook.