The Weekly Standard Does Not Have the Democrats’ Best Interests At Heart

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Over at the Plank, Chris Orr approvingly excerpts a Weekly Standard article that claims Hillary Clinton is “running a right-wing campaign.”

Bad idea. Clinton does attack Obama from the right and does use classic right-wing frames, so I can understand why Orr might see the Standard‘s point. In fact, he’s welcome to try to make the point on his own. But progressives shouldn’t use conservatives’ arguments as evidence or confirmation. The mouthpieces of the far Right don’t make their arguments about internal Democratic politics in good faith. They seek to divide progressives and fuel whatever media meme is most damaging to the Democratic Party at the moment.

As evidence, take a look at what the Standard piece accomplishes. First, it tars Hillary as a do-anything-to-win politician who is willing to change her core identity in a quest for power:

Hillary!–whoever that was–never really cohered as a character; her previous poses–the Perfect Wife, the Aggrieved Wife, the Empress-in-Waiting–were all unconvincing, but in her new role–the scrapper, forced to the wall,
and hanging in there with ferocious and grim resolution–she is suddenly all of a piece.

Second, it employs and reinforces the tired liberals-as-elitists trope:

She is hated on all the right fronts. The snots and the snark-mongers now all despise her, along with the trendies, the glitzies; the food, drama, and lifestyle critics, the beautiful people (and those who would join them), the Style sections of all the big papers; the slick magazines; the above-it-all pundits, who have looked down for years on the Republicans and on the poor fools who elect them, and now sneer even harder at her.

And finally, it implies that somehow being a middle-class heartland American is incompatible with being a progressive.

…she is becoming a social conservative, a feminist form of George Bush. Against an opponent who shops for arugula, hangs out with ex-Weathermen, and says rural residents cling to guns and to God in unenlightened despair at their circumstances, she has rushed to the defense of religion and firearms, while knocking back shots of Crown Royal and beer.

If a Democrat embraces gun, religion, and beer, she isn’t “becoming a social conservative.” She is simply one of many kinds of Democrats. She isn’t the Nancy Pelosi variety, but she may be the Jim Webb variety.

These arguments are destructive. They are made about the Democratic race with the intention of helping the Republicans win in the fall. Progressives ought not give them any amplification.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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