Hillary Clinton issued a statement clarifying her “basket of deplorables” comment earlier today which begins:
Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.
This is clearly not an apology, it’s a quibble over numbers. She’s not retracting the statement only the math. And yet, the media seems eager to give her credit for walking this back. Here’s Ron Founier writing at the Atlantic:
Clinton didn’t apologize, which for some reason is hard for her to do, but she did say the remark was wrong and she didn’t try to excuse it – even as she accurately described the choice voters must make.
Fournier makes three specific claims in this sentence, two of which are wrong. It’s true she didn’t apologize. It’s not true that she said the “basket of deplorables” remark was wrong. She explicitly said “half” was wrong. But half was not the remark.
To put this in some perspective, if Mitt Romney said, ‘I regret saying 47% — that was wrong’ I’m fairly certain Democrats would have called that a quibble. The point of the outrage back then wasn’t that Romney’s figures were off a bit, it was that he had suggested some large swath of Americans were indolent and relying on the government for support.
Moving on, Hillary definitely did try to excuse her remark. In fact, the entire rest of her statement is one long excuse:
But let’s be clear, what’s really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values…
Notice what Hillary is doing here. She made a comment about something approaching 25% of American voters and then waves David Duke and the white supremacists (read: KKK) like a red flag. She’s made this point before but, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the KKK has about 5,000 to 8,000 members. To be clear, that’s 5,000-8,000 too many in my view. I genuinely wish the number was zero, but it really is a tiny fringe when compared to the size of the electorate Hillary was invoking last night.
I think Allahpundit is on to something about this being a strategic move. Hillary’s camp would clearly rather have the media discussing this than another week devoted to her email or the future of the Clinton Foundation. Here’s what appeared on Clinton’s official blog the Friday night:
…a lot of journalists are failing to hold Trump accountable and grading him on a curve, while forcing Hillary Clinton to meet an entirely different standard.
So instead of most voters hearing about how Trump is empowering a new generation of white supremacists, for instance, and having that news placed in a proper, terrifying context, they read stories of Hillary and Trump lumped together.
And that makes our jobs in this election all the more important. We have to do what the media won’t do. We have to speak so loudly that every voter in America hears us.
And just like that, we’re all talking about Trump and racism again.