Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not Up Trump's Alley

At a town hall meeting in December in Iowa, Hillary Clinton was asked whether she'd rather be President or Beyonce. Mrs. Clinton appropriately answered "President," charmingly explaining that she did not have such talent, yet "I want to be as good a president as Beyonce is a performer."

That was nothing.  Politico now reports that in a taping Tuesday of "Ellen," E. Degeneres could be seen

luring Clinton into a facetious game of “Who Would You Rather, VP Edition," which may have been accidentally revealing of Clinton's true feelings about Sanders. The show is set to air Wednesday afternoon.

In the first round, a choice between Joe Biden and Mark Cuban, Clinton said without hesitating: "Oh, Joe!"

But Biden was quickly displaced in a matchup against the actor Tony Goldwyn, a stalwart Clinton surrogate who plays the president on ABC's "Scandal."

"Gotta go with Tony," Clinton said.

The following matchup between Goldwyn and Sanders seemed to present Clinton with another no-brainer for her.

“Tony!” she exclaimed without hesitating. Clinton had a harder time choosing between George Clooney, a big donor to her campaign, and Goldwyn, than she did between Sanders and the actor who only plays a president on television.

She eventually settled on splitting the baby. "Tony can be the first term, George can be the second," she said.

Speaking to an audience undoubtedly well-versed in the entertainment business, Mrs. Clinton can't be blamed for demonstrating that she, too, likes film.  It is not only a nod to popular culture, but an acknowledgement of the ecultural superiority- as is imagined- of film over television (except, of course, for HBO).  CBS, NBC, ABC, even PBS are so twentieth century.  It's almost as if she were tipped off that later that day she could read The New York Times' David Brooks arguing

Clinton’s career appears, from the outside, to be all consuming. Her husband is her co-politician. Her daughter works at the Clinton Foundation. Her friendships appear to have been formed at networking gatherings reserved for the extremely successful.

People who work closely with her adore her and say she is warm and caring. But it’s hard from the outside to think of any non-career or pre-career aspect to her life. Except for a few grandma references, she presents herself as a résumé and policy brief.

But Clinton went a little further than praising Goldwyn and Clooney. Politico added

In choosing Beyoncé in a matchup over Leonardo DiCaprio, Clinton explained: “I really believe in making lemonade out of lemons,” a reference to Beyoncé’s latest visual album whose theme is working through the emotions surrounding a relationship with a cheating spouse.

"Working through the emotions surrounding a relationship with a cheating spouse" is all well and good.  But there are a few other things Beyonce is noted for.

They include her "Formation," released approximately 24 hours before her performance at the Super Bowl, which elicited efforts by police unions to boycott her performances. The Washington Post explained the video

opens with the singer standing atop a half-submerged New Orleans police cruiser, a recurring image throughout. Other related symbols periodically flash on screen: Sirens; a jacket that says “POLICE” on it; graffiti that reads “stop shooting us.”

At one point, a hooded boy dances in front of a line of riot gear-clad officers who later join him in raising their hands — an apparent allusion to Michael Brown, who some initially believed had his hands up to surrender when he was shot dead by a police officer. (That version of events was later challenged by federal authorities.)

At the end of the video, the police cruiser fully submerges in the water, taking Beyoncé with it.

In her Super Bowl show

Beyoncé and her back-up dancers wore costumes reminiscent of the Black Panther Party, whose members projected black empowerment and sometimes committed violent acts during the Civil Rights era. The dancers at one point formed an “X” with their bodies, a possible allusion to Malcolm X.

Whether Beyonce's act encourages police violence, as has been alleged, is questionable. Still, Hillary Clinton's veneration of Beyonce is not only suspicious but disturbing and provides an opening for a conventional right-wing politician. Fortunately, Donald Trump is not conventional and because criticism would be legitimate, he probably will ignore it.

We liberals/progressives should consider ourselves fortunate.  An orthodox Republican well-versed in backlash politics and comfortable with cultural conservatism would successfully link Hillary Clinton's musical taste to an antipathy, real or exaggerated, toward police. Alas, that traditional conservative is relegated to planning his re-election campaign for Senator in 2018 and for President in 2020..

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