We’ve just learned of the death of NBC’s Tim Russert. We offer condolences to his family. Much will be written about Russert’s stellar career. On women, we would direct our readers to the great blogger Taylor Marsh for a balanced look at Russert’s recent work during the presidential campaign.

The debate last night was something else. I’ve never been prouder to be a Democrat. But evidently Tim Russert felt that with Hillary Clinton the frontrunner it was his job to do what her opponents have been unable to do for months: attack her full out, no matter the subject or tactic. So Russert came loaded and ready last night, but not for bear, but for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, using her former husband president to drive the point home. For good measure he came equipped with documents, which he even held up at one point that seemed to reveal new information, but that was anything but. I’ll get to that in a minute. But the predictable reveiws are out and the hack pack press is picking up where Russert left off last night.

The drivers licenses question at the end obviously surprised Clinton. But when explaining Spitzer’s plan Clinton once again showed something that her opponents do not get. She is willing to go to bat for our guy in New York, Elliot Spitzer, who has been trying to deal with the immigration challenge he’s facing as governor. The same cannot be said for the rest of the group on stage standing next to Clinton. What’s Spitzer supposed to do when Congress shirks their responsibility on the immigration issue? Clinton absolutely got caught up in the subject, but she nailed, without flinching, what Spitzer is trying to do. It’s obvious that most of her opponents not only weren’t familiar with Spitzer’s legislation, which lost out because no one would stand up with him, but were only interested in going after Clinton. As an aside, I think this issue will ignite the wingnuts, just like the anti gay marriage amendments did in ’04. I’m against illegal immigrants getting licenses as was proposed by Spitzer (too cumbersome, for one), but I fully understand and appreciate Spitzer had to do something because Congress is not. However, that’s no reason to throw Spitzer under a bus. Clinton is getting hammered today, which I predicated, especially on the drivers license question moment, which came at the end of a withering assault from The Boys. But make no mistake about it she stood up and fought back for Spitzer.

Richardson coming out to defend Clinton at one point was a gallant gesture, even if it was badly disguised as a pitch to be vice president. Clinton’s opponents did everything to break Clinton down, including call her “unelectable.” They insinuated she couldn’t be trusted and was not fit for the presidency. Her opponents got personal, but the worst offender was someone who forget his job. Tim Russert’s play last night was not only nakedly sexist, but showed his immaturity and lack of respect for any woman standing up to be commander in chief. If only The Boys in the group would have gotten Tim’s glare. But he was all in for Clinton. He’s evidently been taking notes from Chris Matthews.

There were 52 questions asked last night; 25 had to do with either Hillary or Bill Clinton, including very personal insinuations, with 22 of the 25 being abjectly hostile.

Tim Russert asked 26 questions; 14 were to Clinton, with 5 directly targeting her personally.

Russert’s unfortunate moderation of that debate should not detract from a long career as a fair journalist.
-Elaine L.
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  • Bella June 15, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I have no patience with Clinton. She claims she’s tough enough to be president, but then she pulled out the victim card when Russert challenged her (as he challenged everyone he came face to face with). That a woman would pull out the victim card to get her own way (and it’s all been about what Hillary wants lately) doesn’t create respect for women. It means they need to be catered to, poor dears, because they just can’t stand up for themselves. Bull. Clinton is a wealthy woman, who stuck with a philandering husband through her own choice, and changes her position faster than a chameleon changes colors depending on her audience. I don’t buy her alligator tears. I distrust anyone who blatantly lies (and both Clintons are expert at that). I’m a life long Democrat but I will vote McCain if Clinton is put on the Obama ticket as V.P.

    Reply
  • Beth Wellington June 14, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I found your site through http://newpagesblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/in-memoriam-nuala-ofaolain.html
    Your readers might enjoy my piece on Nuala O’Faolain, which cites her moving essay on Senator Clinton.
    http://bethwellington.blogspot.com/2008/05/nuala-o-faolain.html
    It’s a bit ironic that I found your Russert piece citing his treatment of the Senator when I was looking for your entry http://www.womensvoicesforchange.org/2008/06/nuala-ofaolain.html
    As a feminist, I found O’Faolain spot on. She was able to separate what Clinton had done from what it meant to Irish women.
    I was interested in the 10/31/07 blog critique of Russert’s moderation of the debate, but am not sure why you described it as “balanced” and “recent.” Neither that piece nor your current entry provide an overall look at Russert’s “record on women.” I hope your blog will further pursue this topic. The last line, “Russert’s unfortunate moderation of that debate should not detract from a long career as a fair journalist” seems something of a throwaway without any further information.
    By the way, I always found it troubling that Senator Clinton claimed so much of her experience came from her part in her husband’s administration. By that, James Carville could claim experience. I also found it troubling that she felt it necessary to swagger so, as in her statement about Iran. And the whole minimization of SC with its injection of race by her campaign was unsavory, as was her own “hard working Americans, White Americans” reference. On the other hand, her concession speech was a class act. I fear this won’t be a popular position here, but I think we all, women included, need to be objective about what kind of woman we want running this country. I think the horse race coverage in the media eliminated better candidates than the two finalists. I just hope we won’t have McCain in January, given his positions on the issues.
    See:
    http://bethwellington.blogspot.com/search?q=McCain+issues

    Reply