Notable Reads 6/16/15

By Tom Watson

There are few brighter voices in modern political commentary than the great liberal blogger Heather “Digby” Parton, a good friend to both Peter and me. Go read her Salon column on the difference in media coverage of Hillary’s kick-off and Jeb Bush’s. Here’s a taste: “Far be it from me to suspect that her gender might play into that calculation in a way it doesn’t for Jeb who, for the record, would be eligible for Social Security when he takes the oath of office if he wins.”

Another friend and brilliant political analyst, Joan Walsh, wrote a smart and considered take on Hillary’s Four Freedoms Park kick-off speech. We agree with this: “So much tired commentary seeks to place Clinton on a spectrum defined by Elizabeth Warren on the left. By placing herself squarely in FDR’s camp, she reminds us that these struggles have had a much longer history — and that history shows Democrats have a record of sharing prosperity and opportunity, as she noted FDR did, while fighting ‘special privilege for the few.’”

It almost slipped by in a media landscape obsessed with scandals that don’t really exist, but one expert in that very phenomenon wrote a column this week that took on the notion that Hillary is somehow “tacking left” to appeal to Democratic primary voters. In truth, writes veteran journalist Joe Conason in the National Memo, Clinton has always pushed for policies like family leave and early childhood education. What Hillary said two decades ago “undergirds what she is still saying, more and more forcefully, in this campaign.”

Rebecca Traister is one of the best feminist commentators on the scene today, and she wrote a thoughtful New Republic essay on how Hillary reached back to her own roots and found the kind of voice young women can relate to in 2015: “Whatever the mechanisms, it seems we’re about to get reacquainted with early Hillary. It’s a risky, brave gambit: betting on a controversial past with an eye toward a more equal future.”

Finally, take a look through the serious and damning evidence our friend Eric Boehlert presents about the New York Times editorial page and its apparent campaign to prevent the election of the first woman President of the United States. Though we don’t always like what reporters write, or agree with their daily spin, Peter and I have great respect for the working political press and always discourage personal attacks against them. But the NYT editorial page has become a swamp of anti-Hillary vitriol. Eric lays out the most recent examples in troubling detail.


Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.