Enjoy this while you can. The unanimity in rejecting Hillary Clinton’s absurd accusation of sexism against Bernie Sanders for accusing the Democratic frontrunner for “shouting” about gun control in the Democratic debate may not be present when Team Hillary starts lobbing these bombs at Republicans. In that sense, Hillary’s playing the gender card is merely a throat-clearing act for later use, although this silliness may have diluted its impact at least for now. Try to count how many times the word “pathetic” gets used in this clip:
Scarborough and Brzezinski lit into Clinton, talking over each other to repeatedly lambast her as “pathetic.”
“Let me just say that’s pathetic,” Scarborough said. “That’s just absolutely pathetic … She’s going to win but that was pathetic.”
Brzezinski unfavorably compared Clinton to the HBO show Veep, whose main character Selina Meyer, portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is an incompetent, hypersensitive, power-hungry politician.
“That was pathetic,” Brzezinski said. “I know that she’s the front-runner. I’m sure she’s going to win, and I’m glad. I want a Democrat to win, but that was like Veep. That was Veep. It was worse than Veep. It wasn’t funny.”
When Veep does it, Brzezinski said, it’s funny, but this wasn’t.
“I know sexism. Hillary Clinton knows sexism,” Brzezinski said. “She should know better than to let her staff make her do that. it needs to be her. She needs to get out there and talk. Everyone stop writing lines for her. They’re bad. Really bad. When we talk about sexism, when we talk about women and equal pay and all these things that are important, let’s not denigrate it with that stupidity, because we embarrass ourselves.”
I counted eleven “pathetics,” but YMMV. The irony here is that Sanders’ comment wasn’t sexist, it was clueless. It was Sanders himself who spent most of the debate yelling into the microphone as though he was Garrett Morris doing the hard-of-hearing bit for Chevy Chase’s Weekend Update on SNL. Hillary rarely raised her voice at all, attempting (and largely succeeding) at posing herself as the steady hand on the tiller in comparison to her competitors. Team Hillary passed up an opportunity to score real points on Uncle Bernie’s attic antics by perhaps discussing the need for senior citizens to get regular checks on their hearing.
Undoubtedly Team Hillary will need to refine their use of the victim-of-sexism card in the future, but perhaps they’d be well advised not to use Sanders as a practice field for it. He’s not interested in playing along, and it’s the kind of attack that really only works when it forces opponents to the defensive. Otherwise, it looks … well, pathetic. That’s a lesson that Republicans can learn early and cheaply, and one they will no doubt get plenty of opportunities to use if Hillary ends up with the nomination.
Update: I should have written “steady hand on the tiller,” not “till” as in the original. Thanks to the commenters and e-mailers who pointed it out. I did enjoy the Freudian slip explanation, too.