Throwback Thursday: Those ‘Dog Days of Summer’ primary debates


Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., talk onstage during a break in the ABC News Democratic candidates debate Sunday at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo)

Good evening, newsjunkies!

Since it’s the first of August, my memory has jogged back to those primary debates from way back when, the ones before the total loss of my innocence about the Democratic party as a young whippersnapper 20-something — one who Hillary Clinton was starting to win over in those debates with her masterful debate skills and just the simple plain-as-day fact that not only was Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton the diametric opposite of the BITCH warmonger stereotype that the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, et al. had been feeding in the trough up until then…But, also the growing evidence with each debate that she was the best candidate standing on that stage. Time and time again, and the more the good ol’ boy network ganged up on her, the stronger she became…sheer baptism by fire! And, myself–a radical feminist in the making. Like Sarah Slamen told our Texas ‘all asshat, no cattle’ legislature: “Thank you, for being you, Texas legislature. You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us…” . The experience of 2007-2008 radicalized my feminism… or at least, cemented a process that had already started to unfold as I came of age politically.


In a sea of male empty suits, the workhorse in the pantsuit with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt at her side. (Click pic for HQ)

Mind you, I did so in a time where a faux cowboy running off of nepotism and Forrest Gump like charm first took the election Al Gore essentially dropped on the floor, with the media laying banana peels on the floor for him to trip over every step of the way. Four years later, Cowboy Clueless unarguably claimed the election from one John F. Kerry who let it slip clear through his hands as he windsurfed his way through being swiftboated. I saw the worst of presidential matchups and media shenannigans in both of the first presidential elections in which I was old enough to vote–and here came Hillary Clinton, like a breath of fresh air. Not a saint by any means, but a Joan of the American political arc nonetheless compared to the fallen over cliff-view I’d seen in the decade prior. She laughed, she cried, and she honed her debate points like a laser as the chatter of the male suits on stage became even more obvious for the shallow, insular horse manure it was.

I’ve been poring over transcripts from the summer of ’07 for the past hour or so, for a throwback moment to spotlight tonight, and here’s what I settled on…Hillary’s response to the closing question asking all the candidates, what the decisive moment was in their life, with George S. opening the final round by saying, “You know, presidential biographers are always looking at the turning point in a life, the moment where an ordinary person went on the path to the presidency, the decisive moment.” Hillary, August 19th, 2007, Des Moines, in the fateful state of Iowa:

CLINTON: Well, when I was growing up I didn’t think I would run for president, but I could not be standing here without the women’s movement, without generations of women who broke down barriers, the civil rights movement that gave women and people of color the feeling that they were really part of the American dream.

So I owe the opportunity that I have here today to many people; some of whom are known to history and many who aren’t.

But more personally, I owe it to my mother, who never got a chance to go to college, who had a very difficult childhood, but who gave me a belief that I could do whatever I set my mind…

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the last word.


…and the spirit of Dorothy Rodham living through her.

All eyes on Iowa 2016.

A few Hillary-links for you to peruse tonight:

At the Golden Heart  Awards on October 16,  Michael Kors will present his inaugural award for Outstanding Community Service to Hillary Clinton who clearly needs a museum in which to store and display the many awards and honors she continues to collect.

FILMMAKER and Academy Award winning documentarian Charles H. Ferguson has signed on to a CNN Films project about Hillary Rodham Clinton, which will have a theatrical release before it hits television.

This is a double-edged sword, because the scrutiny Hillary will receive will be more intense than her Republican rivals or a Democratic challenger, who will likely get to throw everything at her. While she will be expected to be above it all, starting with not punching down, as the saying goes, acting presidential while working to get the presidential nomination for the first time in American history.

CNN will surely be once again dubbed the “Clinton news network” whether they stay objective, accusations of going soft inspiring them to do the opposite. The cross promotion of the feature on CNN is likely to set Republican teeth on edge.

For women and girls of all ages it’s not possible to hedge or try to be coy about what this means. It is an exciting moment in American history, because women have waited a long time to see such building fanfare over a potential female presidential candidate with the viability and star power of Hillary Clinton. She’s getting the exact same due that a man of her stature would demand and it’s been a long time in waiting for this moment.

Documentarian Charles Ferguson already has one Oscar to his credit, for a movie about the financial meltdown (“Inside Job”) and another Oscar nomination for his film about the Iraq War (“No End in Sight.”) He’s now going to be making a full-length documentary about Hillary Clinton. Given his track record, I doubt it will be a puff-piece.

As for that biopic, it’s very pointedly going to be called “Rodham.” Directed by James Ponsoldt, whose film “The Spectacular Now” opens this weekend, “Rodham” will focus on Hillary’s earlier years. In the Watergate era, Hillary Rodham was in her mid-20’s and working with a group of fellow D.C. lawyers on how to legally impeach a President. The movie will focus on how she wrestled with her personal and professional prospects: a brilliant political career in D.C. versus moving to no-count Arkansas to be with the man she loved. We all know what path she ultimately chose but a lot of us may wonder why she made that choice.

  • Thinking now is as good a time as any to post this primer Peter Daou wrote in April of this year, for all your Hillary diehard ninja needs in the coming election cycles– A Reader’s Guide to Anti-Hillary Themes:

Now, as the floodgates open on 2016 speculation, and despite her high standing in public polls, commentary about Hillary Clinton is following predictable patterns. Several pervasive anti-Hillary themes are being dusted off for yet another political cycle; these are carefully-crafted and patently false talking points designed to dehumanize and demean her. Many of the themes are rooted in the sexism that permeates our culture.

During the 2008 campaign, under withering fire for allegedly being, among other things, too ambitious, too polarizing, and willing to “say or do anything to win,” Hillary refused to play into stereotypes. She told her staff, “I don’t want to succeed because I’m a woman, I want to succeed because I’m the best at what I do.” Whatever she chooses to do in the future, as a former advisor and current supporter, I sincerely hope she is judged based on her actions, not on other people’s inventions. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of anti-Hillary themes so that readers, viewers and listeners recognize them for what they are.

Rooted in decades-old Clinton conspiracy theories from the fringe, this catch-all attack has been adopted by mainstream critics and is designed to portray her as unscrupulous, unethical and even sinister.

Another way of saying she doesn’t know a woman’s ‘place,’ this is designed to undermine her achievements and to frame her actions and goals in an unsavory light.

Any popular figure generates strong feelings, but in Hillary Clinton’s case, it is ascribed to her as a negative personal trait. The irony is that it’s most often peddled by people who are busy bashing her, thus creating the very polarization they are lamenting.

A way to strip her of humanity and to deny that she has genuine feelings, this portrays her as a machine, methodically scheming to attain predetermined goals.

Used disingenuously by people who want to call her a liar but are too timid.

No matter what she says about working hard, staying focused and not taking anything for granted, detractors create this perch then try to knock her down from it.

Translation: she is old. Ageism in various forms.

Often used in faux-jest, it is still a potent and all-too-common way to undercut a successful woman by highlighting appearance over accomplishments.

See #8.

When all else fails, attack her family.

I just LOVE this list, it is so perfectly reflects the experience of 2007-2008.

And, with that…

This is your Thursday evening/late owl overnight thread, and it’s an open one for you to use until Dakinikat’s Friday morning post. Do your thing in the comments, Sky Dancers!

16 Comments on “Throwback Thursday: Those ‘Dog Days of Summer’ primary debates”

  1. still4hill says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Mona!

    • Ooops so many upcoming Hillary films etc. I added a note to the post, wanted to add it here–that second link I quoted about all the Hillary projects, the first para is about Ferguson’s doc on Hillary (i.e. won’t be a puff piece!) and the second is about the Ponsoldt biopic on her (i.e. “Rodham”). Just wanted to make that clear. I transposed those a bit by accident by quoting them together.

  2. If you want to see some funny pictures, check this out:

  3. RalphB says:

    I agree with this post on the “Snowden scoops”. Hillary/2016!!

    TBogg: This Too Shall Probably Pass

    If history has taught us anything (besides never getting involved in land wars in Asia and, when he says: ” I’m only going to put the tip in”, it’s a total lie) it is that each Greenwald/Snowden must-credit-Greenwald/Snowden blockbuster immediately generates much frantic hand-waving (at least the hands that are not being wrung) and wild eye-rolling and plans to invent a a new interweb that runs on kerosene and brainwaves and good intentions , to say nothing of the angsty lamentations of the “SecurityState!Empire!1%!IDon’tKnowNothingAboutVisitingNoAnthonyWeinerPeen.comwebsite” crowd and then slowly … inexorably … it all starts to fall apart if not crash and burn like the Hindenberg.