There was a brief time this year when it almost seemed like the nation’s biggest newspapers, including the Gray Lady, were going to be giving Hillary Clinton the same level of required scrutiny which should apply to every candidate for elected office. It came when they actually covered the email server story and went into a fair amount of depth on it. Of course, it would have been embarrassing in the extreme to not do so, since everyone else on the planet was talking about it. But all good things must come to an end, as they say, and New York Times reporter Amy Chozick is “balancing” the coverage back out with this hard hitting background piece on the former Secretary of State. The title alone sets the tone in case you had any doubts.
Mrs. Clinton has made the struggles of her mother, Dorothy Rodham, a central part of her 2016 campaign’s message, and has repeatedly described Mrs. Rodham’s life story to crowds around the country. But her father, whom Mrs. Clinton rarely talks about publicly, exerted an equally powerful, if sometimes bruising, influence on the woman who wants to become the first female president…
If Mrs. Rodham, a homemaker who never attended college but who raised her daughter to be confident and caring, is forming the emotional core of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign, invoked as the inspiration behind her decades of public service, then Mrs. Clinton’s father quietly represents the candidate’s combative, determined and scrappy side. The inspiration, friends said, that toughened his daughter up to not just withstand but embrace yet another political battle.
“He was such a force in the family, and there’s a lot of him in Hillary,” said Lisa Caputo, a friend and former White House press aide who knew Mr. Rodham. “The discipline, the tenacity, the work ethic, a lot of that’s from him.”
The piece is a real tear-jerker which portrays the father as at least a borderline abusive parent (which I suppose they have to do since he was a Republican) while still managing to find the positive side for Clinton since he toughened her up for the hard task of being president. But for all of the silky praise they manage to slide into this thinly disguised Clinton campaign advertisement, there is at least some interesting information about her family. I’ll confess, I don’t recall ever digging into her parents’ biographies very much and the elder Rodham seems like an interesting character.
For one thing, Clinton’s dad seems to have been a surprisingly sensible sort considering how far the fruit fell from the tree. He was definitely not a spare the rod type when it came to discipline on the home front and his opinion of Democrats certainly wasn’t too far off base. This was pointed out by Bill Clinton during the eulogy after he passed away.
When Mr. Clinton eulogized Mr. Rodham, he described him as “tough and gruff” and said he “thought Democrats were one step short of Communism — but that I might be O.K.”
Mr. Rodham seems to have disagreed with the idea that Bill was “O.K.” and was perhaps still trying to save his daughter from a bad influence even when she was walking down the aisle.
At his daughter’s wedding in 1975, Mr. Rodham was hesitant to give the bride away to Mr. Clinton, a penniless Southern Baptist Democrat. “You can step back now, Mr. Rodham,” the minister finally said.
If you can put aside all of the flowery, Go Hillary undertones, it’s actually an interesting piece on the Rodhams if you’re looking for something to read today. But as far as political coverage goes, it’s pure propaganda.