America has a Hillary Clinton obsession.
I hate to make over-generalizations, but I believe it’s safe to say that most of us are or have been obsessed with Hillary at one time or another. Whether you love her or hate her or love to hate her, everyone has an opinion about her. And, since she ran for president in 2008, our collective fascination with all things HRC has been evident in almost all media outlets.
I’m just as guilty of being someone who loves to follow what Hillary is up to, hearing about what she’s doing and pondering what she’s doing next, what color pantsuit is she going to wear today?
But what I am super tired of is this — the “young guns” of outlets like Politico and BuzzFeed thinking they not only have the lowdown on analyzing Hillary, but also trying to get the jump on as much former FLOTUS bashing as possible. It’s hard not to wonder — was there a memo at some point that instructed them to find a criticism for any move she makes?
There were so many examples of that on display in the 2008 election, and it didn’t stop when she was Secretary of State, even though her approval ratings were through the roof. But the current Exhibit A in the world of baseless anti-Hillary memes is this BuzzFeed article entitled, “Hillary Clinton’s First Tweet Shows What She Fears Most: Can Hillary Be a Candidate of the Future?” There was nothing in her innocuous first tweet other than this —
Somehow, a freshman tweet acknowledging the Texts from Hillary tumblr is really code for suggesting that as a 60-something woman who didn’t get a Twitter account until 2013, means that her relevance with young voters in 2016 is already doomed? It’s been a few years since I earned my degrees in law and political science, but I have to say that Smith’s conclusion, which others are now agreeing with, is one of the biggest logical stretches I’ve heard since Richard Nixon suggested that if the president commits a crime, it’s not a crime because he (or she) is the president.
The underlying motivation of Smith and others like him is clear — they’re the ones with the fear. They don’t want her to be the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, so they are setting up a speculation trail to help others support the idea that Hillary has become too old, too irrelevant and too out of touch with the world of social media hipsters who believe they run the world. Don’t believe me? Here are a few samples:
“Dr. Politics” (aka Roger Smith) says Clinton has no edge over her male Democratic competitors (even though polling shows a completely different story).
Politico recently gave op-ed space to a writer who penned an article entitled, “Why Democrats Might Reject Hillary in 2016.”
Not to mention BuzzFeed‘s implied message that Hillary has no clue what she’s doing in social media outreach because she’s been editing and tweaking her Twitter bio. Dudes — people do that every day, including the other 45+ million women who rule the social media space in a way you just don’t (The numbers also prove that, even though you thin you’re the top Twitter and Facebook dogs).
Even older white guys get in on the act as Politico‘s Roger Simon recently went after Clinton with this — “How good a job did she really do as Secretary of State?” It’s a fair question to generally ask of any official how are they doing, but it sure does seem like some outlets are taking every chance to mock the idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton is fit to be President. And it’s hard not to see the disconnect between how some men view the former Secretary of State when compared to what some women journalists have written, like this piece from Jill Lawrence at the National Journal, “Hillary Clinton’s Global Feminist Legacy.”
As for Hillary and connecting with “the future,” all I have to say to Ben Smith and others like him is this — don’t discount Hillary’s faithful, including the tween and teen girls who turned out in droves — with their mothers — to campaign for their Hillary in 2008. You know, the women who actually dominate the online world? The ones who will be voting age in 2016 and will be bringing all generations to the political table if she decides to run. And don’t worry — to those young guns who think they know what women are thinking and how they’ll react to another Hillary Clinton candidacy, you might want to pick up a copy of this book. Because social media women don’t like being told by a bunch of guys what they’re capable of. And they also don’t like hearing that women of a certain age are past their prime. They get enough of that in their own lives.
Joanne Bamberger is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Broad Side. She was formerly known around these internet parts as PunditMom, but now she is trying to be herself. She is the author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (an Amazon.com bestseller and now available in E-book form!). She was recently awarded the Campaigns & Elections Magazine/CampaignTech 2013 Advocacy Innovator Award for her research and writing on the power and influence of women online. She makes no secret of the fact that she hopes Hillary Clinton will be the next POTUS.