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Hillary’s Movie: Spoiler Alert

| August 11, 2013

That strange painting, an oddly youthful, seemingly carefree and graduate-student-like rendition of Hillary Clinton, is actually the official White House portrait of the former secretary of state and First Lady, by Simmie Knox.

That strange painting, an oddly youthful, seemingly carefree and graduate-student-like rendition of Hillary Clinton, is actually the official White House portrait of the former secretary of state and First Lady, by Simmie Knox. The book on the table is her ‘It Takes a Village.’

The Republican temper tantrum over the nascent NBC Hillary Clinton movie tells us only one thing: The GOP is scared to death of a Hillary presidential run. We’re talking heart-pounding, flop-sweating, bunker-building terrified. How else can you explain the weeping and whining over a film that hasn’t even been scripted, and may yet be produced by Fox Television Studios, a corporate cousin of the GOP’s publicity arm, Fox News.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is also apoplectic about a Hillary documentary commissioned by CNN. The 24-hour news network says its offering will not involve actors, and asked Priebus to “reserve judgment” until the final cut. But Priebus insisted that if the networks go ahead with their respective projects, neither MSNBC nor CNN will be allowed to participate in Republican presidential debates. That would mean having to watch Rick Perry make a fool of himself only on Fox, CBS or ABC.

Priebus’s threat is absurdly out of proportion to the offense, and his tirade is bound to ensure that the programs will be well-watched, regardless of how lame they turn out to be. But more interesting are the reactions of serious journalists like NBC’s Chuck Todd and CNN’s Candy Crowley, both of whom fear their objectivity will be tarnished if their networks’ Hillary offerings are either too harsh or too admiring.

In both cases, the life of Hillary Clinton offers rich, if familiar, material to work with: She is by all accounts ruthlessly ambitious, brilliantly analytical, indefatigable and unwilling to suffer fools. She is also a devoted mother and a wife who long ago made a decision to stand by a man who has humiliated her from his earliest days as governor of Arkansas.

She is a uniquely accomplished woman who has known great success—she was elected to two terms as a senator from New York, cutting short the second to serve as Secretary of State—and great failure—her plan for health care reform died aborning during her husband’s first term. All of this is so well known that it’s hard to imagine either a TV movie or a news documentary that will change anyone’s mind about Hillary.

Perhaps Priebus is worried that Hillary, who in real life is not known to be warm and fuzzy, might be portrayed that way. Diane Lane, the actor slated to play Hillary in the NBC movie, could end up portraying a Hillary who is passionate about the welfare of children and the plight of the poor—and wouldn’t that be a calamity for the Republican Party.

The irony here of course is that if Fox News were to produce a documentary about Hillary, it would probably be a play in three acts: Placing naked ambition ahead of fidelity, Hillary marries Bill because she figures he’s her ticket to the White House. Hillary suffers the indignities of a betrayed spouse during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment fiasco. Hillary stonewalls Congress on the details of Benghazi, which is the single greatest scandal of modern times. Fade to black.


It’s true that a well-scripted, well-acted movie can go a long way toward permanently shaping our view of a public figure. The gold standard for this is Julianne Moore’s devastating portrayal of Sarah Palin in the HBO movie, “Game Change,” whose script is based largely on the recollections of Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain’s presidential campaign. Moore accomplished the impossible: She crafted a dead-on parody of a woman whose ascension to fame was itself a parody of American politics.

Even though the ridiculous Palin was raw meat for Moore, Priebus must be thinking that if a negative portrayal can be that effective, imagine what a positive portrayal by a skilled actor like Lane could do for Hillary. As for the planned CNN documentary on Hillary, I have one piece of advice for Priebus: Relax. The network will bend over backwards to prove its right-down-the-middle mettle. Let’s face it, we’re not talking Murrow and McCarthy here.

When the dust settles, Priebus will have accomplished only one thing: He will have told every voter that even Hillary’s TV images are too powerful for the Republicans. We are left to wonder: However will they handle the real thing?

Steve Robinson moved to Flagler County after a 30-year career in New York and Atlanta in print, TV and the Web. Reach him by email here.

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22 Responses for “Hillary’s Movie: Spoiler Alert”

  1. Sgt Saber says:

    Perhaps a discussion with the relatives of VINCE FOSTER would enlighten you about “her” .

  2. Ron says:

    Is that the favored “presidential” portrait of the highly dishonest old hag? Ha ha ha haaaaa

  3. Anonymous says:

    God help us if she is president .

    • NortonSmitty says:

      It’s either her or Jeb Bush, Coke or Pepsi, Chevy or Ford, Bud or Miller, Hunts or Heinz, Fox or MSNBC. God knows it don’t matter, we’re fucked.

  4. Sherry Epley says:

    I say, Go Hillary! She would make a wonderful first . . . of hopefully MANY women Presidents! Plus we would get the input and influence of Bill Clinton. Although foolish about his sexual exploits (like many other notable leaders- which is NO excuse), a truly great American President!

  5. m&m says:

    The GOP is scared to death because they’re lost. They don’t know what to do and they have no leadership. They are affraid to go up against the democrats because it might hurt their chance for re-election.. That’s the ONLY thing they worry about and work on.. Wisconsin Goveror WALKER would be a good choice because he does things because they’re right not because they’re politicaly correct.. GOP GET SOME BALLS AND STEP UP TO THE PLATE…

  6. tom jack says:

    Candy Crowley a serious journalist really? Obviously you did not see the presidential debate she moderated where she blatantly favored Obama. Chuck Todd is in the bank for all democrats as well. You must believe the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi and the continuing cover up are nothing but a “phony” scandal as your president keeps trying to sell unsuccessfully to the American people. A partisan movie produced by the clinton news network and its sister NBC would be nothing more than campaign fodder for Mrs. clinton. To say cnn would bend over backward to to prove its right down the middle mettle is like saying their news hosts from alec baldwin to melissa harris perry are non partisan. Take off your liberal blinders and at least try to be objective, oh being from the left coast I believe that is an impossibility for you. Mr. Priebus is well within his rights to do what he says and even your beloved Chuck Todd and Candy Crowley think the movie is a bad idea. Why don’t you wake up and stop sniffing the partisan flowers. You also probably believe as Mr. Read said just last week, if you don’t agree with the President then you are raciest. Well new’s for you, most Americans who disagree with the Presidents socialist policies are not raciest, just loyal Americans tired of seeing this once great country collapse. It is the Democrats who historically have been raciest. The Republicans passed the civil rights act in 1963 over Democrat resistance. As Margret Thatcher said “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money.”

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      A little fact-check: tom jack states: “It is the Democrats who historically have been raciest. The Republicans passed the civil rights act in 1963 over Democrat resistance.”

      While the statement is correct in the absolute–a higher proportion of Republicans than Democrats voted for the 1964 legislation in both the House and Senate–tom jack is putting the anti-vote in the context of racist motives. He would be correct about that too. But he should then fill in the blanks of his argument. He would have to point out that the near totality of votes against the legislation was from Southern states, where 100 percent of Southern Republicans voted against it (10 House members and one senator), and 93 percent of Southern Democrats did. That was a time when white-sheeted bigots like Strom Thurmond called themselves Democrats (while of course in good Jeffersonian style, screwing a black maid and fathering a child with her). It was indeed a racist vote. But it highlighted the North-South division on that score, and the racism of the South, as opposed to the progressivism of the North.

      Those Southern Democrats and soon-to-be Republican converts in the Thurmond mold were soon to become part of Nixon’s and Reagan’s Republican coalition, without whose racist compulsions (from Nixon’s code-worded crusade for law and order to the older Bush’s Willie Horton race-baiting) the Republican dominance of the Reagan-Bush-Bush years would not have held.

      Cherry-picking history that makes the bigoted look virtuous (from the same cherry tree that wants to pass off Martin Luther King as a modern-day Republican) is also one of the more scabrous legacies of those years, in the South especially, where racists’ stacked decks are evident the moment they bitch about blacks or what they once so pleasurably called nigger-lovers (but now merely call liberals) pulling the race card.

      • DLF says:

        It is amazing how these liberals can twist the facts to support their liberal cause. But shame on anyone else who may try to twist the facts in their favor. May be if we need to bring in the race cards we need to review the killings, two and 12 shootings in Chicago again this last weekend. Who is running Chicago, Thurmond, Regan are dead and Bush is out of office. Ooops I forgot , Chicago is run by one Obama’s buddies, was run by Obama before the racist of America elected him and has been under the control of the nigger loving Democrats( new name liberals) for a long time. Using the “N” word after quoting our leader Flagler liberal Pierre.

  7. Shocked, I tell you... says:

    Partisanship is killing this country. And so are politicians who will not listen to their constituents. Not sure how to handle that as it is becoming more difficult to see any difference in politicians. However, I think I would like to start with no more Kennedy’s, Bush’s, and Clinton’s running for the White House. Your family gets one shot at it and that’s all. The country needs a break from all of you. It never stops.

    It has become so bad that many major corporations now have offices in or just outside of Washington, DC. Enough already. Your actions are destroying what used to be a great country. Everything is about money and power now, both sides. You don’t care what kind of damage you cause out here in the rest of the country. You don’t care how many people you hurt.

    Time to eliminate all contributions from any entity. If we don’t, we will lose this country. And that may just have already happened.

  8. Sherry Epley says:

    Very, very well said Pierre! While Florida is certainly my family’s home state for generations, I am embarrassed by the passionate Fox Vombies who defensively say they are not racist while twisting every historical fact and event in favor of “white” dominance. I’m quite certain that some really believe they are not bigoted. . . but their comments often come directly from the ultra conservative play book that considers all “whites” to be superior and all persons of color to be lazy, or drugged out criminals. . . all on welfare.

  9. Sherry Epley says:

    While I agree with the comments that we should not be divided into partisan camps and that big campaign contributions should go . . . it is more than interesting to note that of the 3 family names (who should not run for President) mentioned, two are Democratic ones. . . not so subtle a message. . . especially in this context.

    I personally would love to see the next generation of Kennedy’s get very much more involved politically.

    I also feel strongly that big money is “buying” our elections. . . and that the Republican dominated Supreme court passed a horrific law that allows corporations to contribute to campaigns under the same rules as individuals. That law needs to be over turned!

  10. A.S.F. says:

    It would be foolish to expect a vast majority of Republicans (especially of the Tea Party ilk) to be any more comfortable with the idea of a woman president than they are with the reality of a Black president. This is the party that pets the coats of politicians who would like to force any woman who might elect to have abortion (for any reason) to submit to a totally unnecessary ultrasound (while screaming about the waste in healthcare they like to imagine would result from “Obamacare” and all the insults they they imagine are being made on THEIR privacy under a dully elected Democratic President.) They don’t protest Benghazi as much as CELEBRATE it because it gives them anti-Hillary, anti-Obama, anti-democrat traction. These are the same people who, while seething about this film, seem to have NO problem with a videa game that features the ability to punch Hillary in the face–for their total amusement–truly disgusting! Pierre, why don’t you write about that?

    • A.S.F. says:

      By the way, I just read another article about how some politicians in the GOP are joining in the outrage over the “slap Hillary in the Face” video game that the GOP PAC people created. It seems to be a habitual pattern for Republicans (who truly seem to love to embrace the crazy element in their constituency) to do these sort of inflammatory, outrageous and offensive things, apologize for it once they start getting a little flack and, then, DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN ASAP. The party of righteousness indeed!

      • Shocked, I tell you... says:

        @ ASF: I guess we needn’t go into the games, masks, Howdy Doody faces of George Bush put out by the left?

        We need to respect the office and the candidates, but it’s a tall order when it wasn’t shown to the previous president.

        • A.S.F. says:

          You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I never saw any video games put out by any Democratic PACs that featured George Bush being virtually punched out by the user. That Hillary video was vicious, if not downright misogynistic. Do you approve of women being slapped around in the virtual world? Do you think that is entertaining or that it was meant to heighten anyone’s political awareness? It was a cheap shot created by the GOP PAC that was playing to its ignorant audience. If the Democrats had put out a video game that did the same to Saint Sarah Palin there would have been HOWLS of protest from the Republican peanut gallery!

  11. Sherry Epley says:

    For all the conspiracy believing “Rush” lovers. . . this from RationalWiki regarding Vince Foster:

    Investigations:

    No less than five investigations ruled that it was an unfortunate suicide, and nothing more:
    The original investigation, performed by the United States Park Police (as the suicide occurred in a federal park, it came under their jurisdiction), determined it to be a suicide.
    Original Whitewater prosecutor Robert Fiske issued a 58-page report, which also concluded it was a suicide.
    Subsequent Whitewater prosecutor (and noted Clinton-hater) Kenneth Starr ruled it a suicide in 1997.[1]
    Finally, Congress conducted two more investigations. Both determined it to be a suicide as well.

    What really happened?

    The version backed up by all available evidence:

    Unprepared for the pressure-cooker environment of Washington, Foster was almost immediately made the public scapegoat for several PR debacles in the early months of the Clinton Administration. He was being mocked by national media, had been placed in an untenable professional position, and his friends, family and co-workers either didn’t notice his spiral into a deep depression, or noticed it but thought he could handle it.

    The version cooked up by “nutbar central”:

    Foster worked for the Clintons until 1993, when they had no further use for him. As they did with most of their old friends, they murdered him! All five investigations, of course, are total lies! Despite the fact that Starr, in particular, spent five years and $40 million dollars looking for any conceivable pretext to get Bill Clinton into a courtroom, he apparently didn’t think something as trivial as murder would be worth pursuing.

  12. Liana G says:

    I don’t profess to understand the American motives for voting so maybe there is cause for concern from republicans since Hillary Clinton is America’s Iron Lady. Yes, the wealthy elites certainly will love and adore her. But heaven help us poverty stricken folks should she become president. NO. She is NOT getting my vote. Elizabeth Warren would get my vote though. And I would love to volunteer on her presidential campaign too!

  13. Liana G says:

    For anyone tired of hearing about the racist South, this article by Henry Luis Gates. Yes, the Henry Luis Gates, the black Harvard professor arrested by a white policeman for entering his own home under the mistaken assumption that he was a burglar.

    “Like most of you, I suspect, I was raised to believe three things about slavery in America: first, that slaves who gained their freedom did so by escaping on the Underground Railroad to the North; second, that all of the black people living in the South before and during the Civil War were slaves; and third, that all of the free black people in pre-Civil War America lived in the North. If any of us knew anything at all with certainty about the history of slavery in our country, it was these three things, right?

    But in last week’s column, we learned that, quite surprisingly, this is not the way it was. In fact, the Free Negro population (to use the contemporary term for them) in the South before the Civil War actually outnumbered that in the North by a substantial margin. Of the 488,070 free African-American people in the United States in 1860 — 11 percent of the total black population — according to the federal census, some 35,766 more lived in the slave-holding South than in the North, as analyzed in Ira Berlin’s magisterial study, Slaves Without Masters, and more recently in Eva Sheppard Wolf’s graceful book Race and Liberty in the New Nation: Emancipation in Virginia From the Revolution to Nat Turner’s Rebellion. Just as remarkably, the vast majority of these free Southern black people stayed put in the Confederate states even during the Civil War. How was this possible?[…]

    One of the most important reasons Free Negroes stayed in the South, Berlin suggests, was uncertainty: They couldn’t be so sure things would be better for them in the North. In many cases they were right, especially in states that restricted the admission of free blacks, among them Ohio, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois (the last two in their state constitutions). […] “In the North,” Berlin writes, “blacks were despised and degraded as in the South.”

    For the full article see: (http://www.theroot.com/views/why-did-free-blacks-stay-old-south?page=0,3&wpisrc=obinsite)

  14. John Boy says:

    What will the Tea Baggers Terrorists say when they learn that Fox Entertainment is the production company behind the Hillary movie?

    • DLF says:

      At least Fox may show how Hillary reacted to her husband having oral sex with another women. On the other hand CBS, NBC and ABC would support the statement ” I did not have sex with that women” and tell us how the First Lady stood by her man.

  15. A.S.F. says:

    I think it would behoove the Republican Party to worry a little bit more about what is going on in THEIR Backyard. If they could come up with a viable candidate that doesn’t make any thinking person shudder, they might stand a chance in the next election–No matter who the Democrats put up against them.

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