Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

March 7, 2008

Why Would Samantha Power use That Word About Hillary? Hint…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:57 pm

…I’ve come to believe it had nothing with her distortion of Obama’s NAFTA position.

I admit I’d been caught up in the minutiae of journalistic protocol, the retroactive off the record. I’ve actually shifted my opposition somewhat on this issue influenced by the writing students I taught at Columbia, NYU and The University of Chicago. A vocal faction of them rejected gotcha journalistic techniques .Hurting someone unnecessarily just because they could, according to oh so pure “journalistic rules”. The precise off-the-record rules were not laid out so the reporter went with her big scoop. And I can see her justification. Those are the ground rules. Power was in public life. She should have known. But she slipped.

There’s a case to be made that the interviewer could for instance have said “Powers can’t stand Hillary” for x, y and z reasons, rather than use the word “monster”, which Power clearly wanted back. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t believe it.

But then why? Why the extreme choice of that word.

I can think of one theory. Samantha Power wrote an important book about the evolution of 20th century genocide–A Problem From Hell— and the attempts to stop it.

Hillary has been boasting that she”s been in on all the big foreign policy decisions of the Clinton era.

One of the big decisions was to fail to make a serious effort, much less a humanitarian intervention to stop the genocide in Rwanda in which upward of 700,000 were slaughtered. While the Clintons stood by. Maybe intervention would have backfired. But there are certainly 700,000 who will never know.

Maybe Hillary argued forcefully for intervention and lost. Then we should hear from her about it. On the other hand maybe Samantha Power believes something different about Hillary’s role. Maybe Hillary argued for inaction for standing by while 700.000 were slaughtered. Or maybe she said nothing at all. Samantha Power should let us know what she feels, whether that’s behind “monster.”

That’s what we should be talking about. that’s what reporters should be digging into: what is Hillary’s attitude toward the “Problem From Hell”. What did she do then? What would she do now?

Obama’s campaign shouldn’t have fired Samantha Power. They should have said she was an expert on genocide, and that actions count for more than words and that calling someone a “monster” is not the same as allowing bloodthirsty monsters to have their way. Ask Hillary to spell out just what powerful “experience” she got from that particular genocide. And how she’d react in future. Then she’d know what so-called “tough” questions from the press are like.



  1. If Samantha feels that about Hillary, why should a journalist disguise it with some euphemism? To protect the tender public? To ensure future access? Let the cards fall where they may, I say.

    Comment by Banjo — March 7, 2008 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  2. Hillary made a big deal about being the first Senator to dub what is happening in Darfur “genocide”. The problem with our politics is that our politicians no longer have experiences, they have discourses with the discourse. The power of “monster” is one person making a word mean something, for Hillary is a monster, an all devouring, self-focused, narcisisstic thing that will not recognize, in the Hegelian sense, any reality but her own. To ask her to authentically describe the reality of any experience he might have is to presume a detachment from her monster state which Hillary no longer possesses. Eleanor Clift implictly summed up Hillary’s monster stae of alienation in the “NYT Magazine” last Sunday. Describing Hillary as the kind of person who officiously acknowledges birthdays (and, in this case, the death of Clift’s husband), Clift then goes on to say, furiously, that she voted for Obama, because of Bill Clinton’s South Carolina racebaiting. Thus, no matter how assiduously Hillary might pay court to the form of any intimacy she is incapable of expressing any authentic sentiment whatsoever: she is in an inviolable state of alienationm, to wit, a monster and her mode of survival and, ultimately, triumph, is to metamorphosize everyone else, especially the Obamas, into monsters, too

    Comment by charlie finch — March 7, 2008 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  3. you seem to be hitting Hillary a bit harder these days. This was someone i believe you were supporting for president of the United States just a few months back. just curious why the borderline hostility? i have noticed this in a large number of my Obama backing friends. i myself am a Republican and have been railing against the Clintons for about 15 years now. its interesting because many of the Obama backing friends are bringing up the same points I have for years when criticizing the Clinton machine. I guess my point is, for all these years none of my democrat friends could understand why I could possibly have a problem with Bill and Hillary. are you starting to see what we were saying all this time? and if Obama wasn’t around would you now really want another 4 – 8 years of the Clintons instead of John McCain, being a bit more enlightened to what the Clintons’ might be about?
    Also, side note which you can delete… have you seen the Stewart MacBeth at BAM?

    You’re right. I did, despite all, feel there was an idealistic side to her that might emerge out of the shadow of her corrupt husband. But her camaiogn has been nothihng short of disgusting. Viz, the Obama not a Muslim “as far as I know” remark.

    Comment by Bryan Veronneau — March 7, 2008 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  4. I almost have to laugh, with the article at Drudge today from the Telegraph: “Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a “wee bit silly” for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.”
    The Clinton’s are the ultimate self serving, duplicitous political power couple. By coincidence, I happen to have finished reading Power’s book about a month ago. It’s quite compelling. But then consider Power’s now well known stance concerning Israel vs Fatah/Hamas/Hezbollah and proposed “peace making”, and her “positions” seem incredibly muddled. Power’s has a right to her opinions, of course, and they do rightfully reflect on Obama, since he selected her for his good reasons. How strange that all of those people can make issue of mass murder here and there, while simultaneously glossing over the reality that is the active Hamas & Fatah (Hamas lite), and more general moslem-nazi mass murder conspiracy against Israel and the Jews. Power would have us believe it’s more complex than that (much like Rice suggesting Abbas is someone akin to Martin Luther King). Power, the Clintons, Obama, and Republicans too at times, have a way of tailoring their politics to their audience when they’re looking for votes, making excuses for past decisions, or otherwise aspiring to influence and power. It’s not for no reason that their playground is the Democratic Party, the current state of which is the greatest national tragedy we face at this time.

    Comment by Barry Poladsky (Perfected Democrat) — March 9, 2008 @ 4:59 am | Reply

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