Hillary Clinton destroys Fox News — but needs to ditch excessive caution

Easily handles lame right-wing grilling -- but on paid leave, marijuana and racism, risk avoidance is unsatisfying

Topics: Hillary Clinton, 2016 Elections, CNN, Fox News, Christiane Amanpour, Greta Van Susteren, Bret Baier, Benghazi, marijuana, national rifle association, women's vote, Race, President Obama, Editor's Picks, aol_on, , , ,

Hillary Clinton destroys Fox News -- but needs to ditch excessive cautionHillary Clinton (Credit: Fox News)

Hillary Clinton has always been a quick study, and just a week into her “book tour,” she’s worked some of the rust out of her system. In back-to-back televised interviews with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Fox’s Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren, there was none of the defensiveness we saw last week with Diane Sawyer or Terry Gross. She was calm and confident throughout, she bested Bret Baier on Benghazi, charmed Amanpour and Van Susteren – and yet she remains way more cautious than she should be if she wants to run for president again.

Because “Hard Choices” is on foreign policy, Clinton mainly faced foreign policy and national security questions. But there were three questions in the CNN/Tumblr Town Hall with Amanpour that will likely matter to the younger, female, strongly African-American Democratic base, and her answers were unsatisfying on all of them.

One reply was so unlikely I have little doubt she’ll eventually be walking it back. Asked in the CNN town hall whether she supports measures to strengthen the Family and Medical Leave Act her husband signed in 1993 by adding some portion of paid parental leave, she said she supports state and local initiatives to do that but stopped short of saying it should be federal law.

AMANPOUR: So, should paid maternity leave for companies be mandated by law?

You know it is in many parts of the world.

CLINTON: It is.

AMANPOUR: Many parts of the developed world.

CLINTON: Right.

AMANPOUR: Not here.

CLINTON: Right.

AMANPOUR: Should it be?

CLINTON: I think, eventually, it should be, but, right now, we’re seeing some — some very good proposals being implemented in other parts of the country, so that we have answers.

You know, it’s like the debate over the minimum wage.

AMANPOUR: Why do you …

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: … not now?

CLINTON: Well, because I don’t think, politically, we could get it now.



Sadly, if anything confirms that Clinton is running for president, it’s that cautious, consensus-oriented answer. A woman who didn’t plan to run for office again wouldn’t worry about what we can get now politically. In fact, many congressional Democrats are way ahead of her on this issue. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supports paid parental leave, and the issue tops the roster of policy prescriptions backed by the Fair Shot campaign, a coalition of SEIU, the Center for American Progress, Planned Parenthood and American Women supporting an economic agenda they hope will galvanize women voters in 2014 and 2016.

To be president, Clinton is going to have to turn out women to vote Democratic like never before, and soft-pedaling an issue like paid family leave won’t cut it.

Clinton’s answers on marijuana legalization were also unsatisfying. While she did support the legalization of medical marijuana, she claimed there is only “anecdotal evidence” for its benefits and insisted the issue needs more study – and that’s really not true. She was on firmer ground saying she wants to let the states lead the way on legalizing the recreational use of the drug; I don’t think anyone expected her to say legalize it everywhere.

But she might have used the question to talk about the disparate impact of marijuana laws on black people, who are much more likely to go to jail than white users.  Reforming marijuana laws has gained urgency not because we’re a nation of stoners, but because even people who don’t use the drug think its discriminatory legal impact is more damaging than its potential abuse. Clinton should have at least acknowledged that criminal justice problem.

Finally, and maybe most understandably, she dodged a question about whether she agreed with Sen. Jay Rockefeller “that some of the political opposition to President Obama could have something to do with the color of his skin.” Clinton danced around the uncomfortable issue, until Amanpour pushed her:

AMANPOUR: Do you think some of that is latent racism, vestiges of racism, as some people have said?

CLINTON: Well, I know that — I don’t want to — I don’t want to say that I verify that, because that would be generalizing too broadly. I believe that there are people who have trouble with ethnicity, with race, with gender, with sexual orientation, you name it. And therefore, they are not developing a reasoned opinion — even if it’s an opinion in opposition, but they are a reacting on a visceral stereotypical basis. And that’s unfortunate.

So technically, that was a yes, but it was a passive yes, a very qualified yes, an “I don’t want to say yes” yes.  Certainly she doesn’t think all opposition to the president is racially driven – nor does he – but acknowledging that electing our first black president surfaced an enormous amount of ancient American racism is almost a precondition for moving forward politically in this country. It would also go a long way toward healing some of the wounds of the bitter 2008 primary where many African-Americans believed she and her husband played at the edge of white racial politicking in trying to defeat Obama.

It may seem unfair to nitpick Clinton’s performance on a night when she vanquished Fox – to the extent that commenters on the network’s website trashed Baier and Van Susteren for asking softball questions. But vanquishing Fox – temporarily; they’ll be back at her today – is less important than at least occasionally placing herself at the vanguard of social change, not merely ratifying what’s already been accomplished.

One answer in which she did that was on guns, where she stood up to NRA bullies. “We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” she told the town hall. It may have been her best moment of the night. Another was calling for automatic voter registration when young people turn 18. We’ll see if Clinton decides to do more of that if and when she actually decides to run.

Hillary Clinton's Interview with Christiane Amanpour

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...