At a John McCain Presidential campaign stop on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, a woman is the audience publicly uttered the words that many Republicans have used in private to describe the party’s concerns with Democratic front runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“How,” the woman wanted to know, “do we beat the bitch?”
McCain smiled and called her query “an excellent question,” setting off a political firestorm from Clinton supporters who want to know why the Arizona Senator didn’t get huffy and say something like “how dare you call my esteemed colleague from New York by that terrible word!”
Instead, the McCain campaign is trying to turn the B-bomb (as it is now called) into a fundraising opportunity, much like John Edwards did when Ann Coulter called him a “faggot.”
Politics may be a nasty business but it is one that each side hypocritically claims must be played politely – at least in public.
During my time in Washington, I heard Hillary Clinton called many things. “Bitch” is one of the more polite terms. I also heard her call male members of Congress “bastards” and “sons of bitches” and “motherfuckers.”
Hillary, like her husband, has a mouth that would embarrass a sailor (and McCain was one). As First Lady, she would tell aides who displeased her to “fuck off,” often referred to opponents as “shit heads” and “dick heads.” Like the equally-foul mouthed George W. Bush, she sprinkles her conversation with four-letter words.
During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Democratic contender John Kerry came under fire for saying “fuck” in an interview with Rolling Stone but his language paled next to Bush, whose Presidential temper tantrums are laced with expletives and threats against his enemies.
I first met George W. Bush in 1998 while attending a GOP fundraiser outside of Houston for Harris County Judge Robert Eckels. Bush, as governor of Texas , was already putting together his campaign for President and was the center of attention. When asked how he would run his campaign, Bush said “I’ll raise more money than anyone else and destroy anyone who fucks with me.”
Eight years earlier, while serving as Vice President for Political Programs for The National Association of Realtors, I traveled to Little Rock for a meeting of the state Realtors group and then-Gov. Bill Clinton and his wife attended a reception at the city’s largest hotel.
Mrs. Clinton kept female attendees at the reception entertained with a seemingly endless stream of dirty jokes, even ones about her philandering husband. Bill was already running for President and Hillary told me that the national Realtors PAC should “get on board early with him.
“Fuck the others,” she said. “They don’t stand a chance.”
I didn’t think anything of her language, just as the remarks of George W. Bush wouldn’t bother me eight years later. I’ve spent most of my adult life around journalists and politicians who use four-letter words more often than rap singers and I use them often too
The woman who asked John McCain how to “beat the bitch” was simply repeating a phrase heard often in Republican circles. In 2004 Democrats wanted to know how to beat a “bastard” named Bush.
Hillary Clinton is a bitch. John McCain is a bastard. Most people involved in politics are one or the other. That’s a fact of life and one that does not need to become another campaign issue diversion.
With Americans dying daily in Iraq, the economy headed into the toilet and most Americans worried about the future, what we have to do is weigh the real issues and then elect the best bitch or bastard to deal with them.