"Take a two-by-four" to Clinton

Sen. Chuck Schumer called for the secretary of state to be hit with a piece of lumber. Anyone care?

By Tracy Clark-Flory
Published January 12, 2010 11:13PM (EST)

The massive outrage following the revelation that Harry Reid once celebrated our "light-skinned" president's lack of a "Negro dialect" has been so deafening that few seem to have heard about another disturbing revelation from the bombshell book "Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime." Well, that or people don't care that Sen. Chuck Schumer allegedly encouraged Obama to hit Hillary Clinton with "a two-by-four."

Of course he was speaking figuratively, but still, we're already talking about language here. We're passionately debating the words "light-skinned" and "Negro," can we also talk about Schumer's choice of words? As the Confluence blog points out, telling Sen. Claire McCaskill to tell Obama to whack Clinton with a piece of lumber isn't far from Keith Olbermann's suggestion in 2008 that the Democratic party get rid of the female contender by finding "someone who can take her into a room and only he comes out." There is only one real divergence between these two remarks: the particular weapon of choice for a man to beat Clinton to a bloody pulp. Fist or timber, take your pick.

Politics is a blood sport full of rhetorical body slams and a politician's gender is no reason for pulled punches, but one has to wonder about the sexual subtext of Schumer's alleged comment, as well as what the reaction might have been if the "two-by-four" statement had been said about Obama instead.

Update: It's important to note that Schumer has denied making the comment.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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2008 Elections Broadsheet Chuck Schumer D-n.y. Game Change Hillary Rodham Clinton