November 21, 2002


COLLEGE CRAZIES VS. HILLARY: I just watched the latest installment of Chris Matthews' "Hardball College Tour," this time featuring Sen. Hillary Clinton and taking place at SUNY-Albany. I was shocked enough that Hillary would agree to appear considering the not-so-nice things Matthews has said about her over the years, but the conversation between the two of them was actually quite civil. I just wish I could say the same about the audience...
Over the course of the hour-long interview, each time the conversation drifted to either the potential war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, students suddenly began screaming loudly at Hillary, who despite reservations about the president's plans on both fronts voted for the Iraq resolution and has been outspoken about the need for a strong and secure Israel (even while continuing to support a Palestinian state). Of course, the "ruffian fake radicals" (to borrow Nat Hentoff's phrase) were having none of that, and attempted to shout down the junior senator from New York nearly every time she opened her mouth on either topic. To Hillary's credit, she kept her cool and even spoke positively of the "passion" exhibited by the students. At one point a student offered Hillary an apology on behalf of the school- and was of course himself booed and shouted down.
And all this time I thought Hillary was a hero of the left, one of the few "progressives" left in the Senate following Paul Wellstone's death. Right-wingers have long considered Hillary the antichrist, yet I don't believe any conservative audience has ever tried to shout her down in a public forum the way the wackos at Albany did tonight. Funny that these self-proclaimed heirs of the '60s (the decade that began, you may remember, with the Free Speech Movement), have so little respect for speech they disagree with today. Then again, it's pretty hard to take them seriously when they deride Hillary for not being liberal enough.

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 21, 2002 01:34 AM
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