By MARC McDONALD
Trying to fathom the various hatreds of the Republicans these days is always a tricky exercise.
After all, these are people who despise saintly figures like Jimmy Carter. How, exactly, does one go about hating someone like Carter? It's like hating Mother Teresa.
The wingnuts also despise decorated war heroes like John Kerry, John Murtha and Max Cleland. I've never understood how soldiers who fought and bled for their country could be the target of such venom from anyone, either on the Right or the Left.
But it's always been a complete mystery to me why the Republicans would hate someone like Hillary Clinton.
Surely it's clear to anyone outside of the Rush-listening, knuckle-dragging base of the GOP that Hillary is hardly an extreme liberal. In fact, she's quite moderate.
Despite what the likes of Fox News would have us believe, Hillary is a business-friendly politician who is hardly the champion of worker's rights. In short, she's not much of a progressive.
In fact, Hillary's 2002 vote in favor of using military force against Iraq and her pandering on the flag-burning issue have been enough to distance her from a number of progressives.
Liberal columnist Molly Ivins, for example, famously declared last January that she would not support Hillary for president.
The mainstream media hasn't helped things over the years when reporting on exactly what it is that Hillary stands for.
Indeed, the MSM continues to insist on calling Hillary a "divisive" figure.
Presumably, in giving her this label, the MSM is referring to the rabid GOP nutcases who are consumed with hatred for Hillary. What's interesting about all this is that the MSM hasn't stuck a similar label on George W. Bush---even though no president has ever done more to divide the country (and alienate the world from America).
Frankly, the mainstream media has done a lousy job of reporting on Hillary Clinton over the years. And nowhere is this more evident that the lies and misinformation that it spread about the 1993 Clinton health care plan.
The MSM went out of its way to try to scare the American public about Clinton's health care proposal. As a result of the media's misinformation, most Americans were under the impression that the plan called for some kind of scary, Communist-style government takeover of the entire U.S. health case system. This is a misconception that exists to this day.
In fact, the Task Force on National Health Care Reform (which Hillary headed) called for no such thing. It didn't even call for a Canadian-style single-payer plan. In fact, it left the nation's health care system firmly in the hands of the private sector.
The MSM's inability to convey even this basic, fundamental fact about Clinton's health care plan, of course, played right into the GOP's hands as they fought fiercely against the plan. I suspect we'll see a great deal more of this MSM misinformation about Hillary should she pursue the presidency.
Which brings me back to my original question: why, exactly does Hillary inspire such foaming-at-the-mouth hatred from the GOP these days? It sure as hell isn't because Hillary is some sort of FDR-style progressive.
It's clear that the real reason the Republicans hate Hillary is that they simply can't stand strong-willed women.
Let's face it: such "uppity" women frighten the Republicans. It's not that the GOP necessarily despise women in general---it's just that the right-wingers want women to stay in their place in society.
Republicans, of course, would strongly deny that this is the case. They'd protest that they're not hostile to women and, as "proof" would offer up examples like Bush's appointment of Condoleezza Rice, as well as the various female GOP politicians and leaders in America.
However, Republicans know damn well that a significant part of their base supports "traditional family values"---which is simply code for keeping women in their place as docile, cookie-baking homemakers.
It's important to remember that for all of the boasting that our nation does about being some sort of "beacon" of human rights, the fact is, today's America still harbors tens of millions of bigots, whose views on race and gender haven't changed much in the past 100 years.
And what party do you think these bigots vote for? It sure as hell ain't the Democrats.