In response to the “media tear” she said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been on in recent weeks, a New York Times editorial board member wrote an opinion piece Wednesday imploring Clinton to stay out of politics.
Michelle Cottle denounced Clinton’s “master class in distraction” as the midterm elections approach, insisting that “Democratic candidates need to be laser focused on their message to voters” instead of dealing with “unnecessary drama generated by comments from one of the party’s most iconic, and most controversial, figures.”
The writer went on to advise Democrats against “talking about impeachment, or about the results of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA testing,” but the bulk of her column dealt directly with Clinton.
Cottle wrote that “someone needs to perform an intervention before she further complicates life for her fellow Democrats.”
She took issue with the two-time presidential candidate’s assertion earlier this month that Democrats “cannot be civil” with Republicans in the current political climate.
Though acknowledging she is “hardly alone in this assessment,” the writer advised that Clinton’s statement could turn off many of the voters Democrats must reach next month in order to flip either the House or Senate.
Many Democrats and independents “feel queasy about the depths to which public discourse has sunk and are not eager for an arms race of unpleasantness,” according to Cottle.
“Having Mrs. Clinton proclaim political civility dead until her team wins again is unlikely to prove an inspirational message for these voters,” she wrote.
Cottle further criticized Clinton for a subsequent interview in which she declared her husband Bill’s sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky while he was president was not an abuse of power because Lewinsky “was an adult.”
“To be fair, she was asked the questions,” the writer said. “But her reaction was to point out that Ms. Lewinsky had been an adult at the time of the affair — as though that technical legality, when the president of the United States was getting busy with an intern who was young enough to be his daughter, was all that mattered.”
In addition to potentially suppressing her own party’s vote, Cottle wrote, Clinton could cause double damage by rallying Republicans to revisit the last presidential election.
She described the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee as the “ultimate boogeyman to be invoked whenever a Republican politician is having trouble exciting his constituents, or when a Supreme Court hopeful needs to shore up his endangered nomination.”
According to Cottle, Clinton made a further misstep in vigorously defending her husband as then-President Bill Clinton fought sexual assault allegations against him.
“It’s one thing for a wife to stand by her spouse, especially when both have long been the targets of partisan warriors dead-set on destroying them,” she wrote. “But it is no secret that Mr. Clinton’s response to sexual scandal was to try to trash the reputations of the women involved.”
Cottle denounced what she sees as Clinton’s “fundamental complicity” in her husband’s attempts to damage his accusers’ reputations.
Media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News that “it was probably hard for the Times to run this column, given its broad support for Hillary over the years.”
Fox News also noted that some viewed the editorial as a directive for an entire political party beneath the veneer of a Clinton critique.
Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center said he thought it was “hilarious how The New York Times is trying to control the messaging for the Democrat Party.”
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