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September 18, 2007

He Hate Me
Posted by Moira Whelan

So remember the XFL star who made a big name for himself by putting “He Hate Me” on his jersey? (Admittedly, I didn’t either—H/T to George Kivork and Pat Barry on this one.) The dude went on to a pretty successful career by admitting that after games, your opponent is gonna hate you, so why not just say it? Innovative strategy, that seems to be finding its way into US politics as well.

Rudolph has taken up the “He Hate Me” strategy in his claims today that he’s the liberals’ “worst nightmare.” Hillary Clinton has also jumped into the fray in the past by bringing up the “vast right-wing conspiracy” and claiming on the campaign trail that having faced said conspiracy and survived, she’d make a good President.

Now hold on. I really thought the race for the Presidency was about people liking you, not hating you. For 2008, at least two campaigns are banking on a win by having the right people hate you.

Clearly this tactic works with base voters. I do not doubt that, nor am I denying that conservatives love to hate Hillary (and she’s certainly battle-tested) and that Giuliani would love to be more hated by liberals. What I am saying, is when did this become a qualification for President that I had to weigh as a voter?

Now, I’m not suggesting a Broder-esque bipartisan path is the ideal, but I am noting that strategic hating is very much being used as a tactic on both sides. On the Giuliani front, he’s trying to make bank out of drawing fire from MoveOn, while HRC is trying to spin the benefit of having negatives as high as 78% among Republicans (which interestingly have occurred without a real strong backing of progressive bloggers---who usually get blamed for generating conservative ire by institutional Democrats). Smart moves by both, but I guess I just don’t feel good about it, when the main theme of the election on both sides is always about bringing America together---and frankly this is something I'd really like to see happen, even with my jaded perspective on things.

Hate works, clearly, but I guess I’m just hatin' on the whole hate thing.


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I don't want to be brought together with the kind of people who believe in angles and not evolution. There are real differences between the parties and candidates. They need to be emphasized for once so that we don't all wind up in the mushy middle.


I know this is a concept the journalistic herd lumbers toward applying to any public figure who has been around for a while. In Sen. Clinton's case it's a concept that applies because she badgered her husband into turning the most important domestic policy initiative of his administration over to her, got behind the wheel and ran it off the road and into a tree -- and now claims it as a "learning experience." Try that line with State Farm and see how far you get.

She was also a party to the attacks her husband endured as a consequence of his being elected President and conducting himself in the office as he did. These, and the many election campaigns in which she has been involved nearly continually throughout her adult life, are the things that are said to make Sen. Clinton battle-tested.

Glad thats over !



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