With Hillary Clinton and Ed Miliband flying the flag for centre-left politics in their respective countries (with the caveat that centre-left in the US is not the same as centre-left in the UK), both have come under heavy fire from the right, the enemies of change spewing forth an infected gut of personal attacks.
But which politician has suffered the more egregious wrath?
Perhaps the most suspect attack on the Labour leader emanated from Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who last week accused Miliband of “stabbing his own brother in the back” over the party leadership. From there Fallon made a daring leap to predict Miliband would perform the same betrayal on Britain, particularly in regards to the country’s Trident nuclear weapons programme.
Around the same time 3,662 miles away Hillary Clinton was being called a lesbian. Yes -- a lesbian. Sandy Rios of the powerful American Family Association said that the inclusion of two gay couples in her campaign video added to "rumours" that Clinton was gay, the former First Lady boasting a long history of “embracing homosexuality” and promoting “lesbianism.”
Sex was also being used in Britain, with old media behemoths The Daily Mail and The Telegraph painting the dowdy and professorial Miliband as a socialist lothario, with a “tangled love life” and scores of “secret romances.” This from the Mail: “Not only did he knife his elder brother in the back by ending his dream of getting the Labour leadership by standing against him (contrary to the wishes of their mother) but he met his future wife Justine (albeit unwittingly) at that dinner party hosted by his then girlfriend.”
Back in the New World, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre (“guns don't kill people; people kill people”) attacked Clinton speaking in prose shorn from the 16th century. “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair, forced upon the American people to endure,” he said, before blaming Clinton for the suicide of a White House lawyer during her husband’s administration.
At the same time, a slightly older attack over Miliband having two kitchens (isn’t he removed from his party’s working class roots?), was being rehashed by The Sun, Murdoch’s tabloid mocking up the Labour leader as “Downton Eddie” who employs a nanny, suggesting a hypocrisy between his "class warrior" rhetoric and his middle class, north London lifestyle.
Hillary meanwhile was being eviscerated by The Sun's sister organ Fox News, the Murdoch channel attacking the former senator for being old. Sean Hannity offered the following assessment: “She’s aging, out of ideas, often shrill, apparently, according to oral reports, angry and clearly not inspiring." Speaking of shrill, conservative legal activist Larry Klayman declared that Hillary was only “technically a woman,” while a spokesperson for the World Congress of Families said that Clinton could not be president because of her "hideousness factor."
Isn't character politics fun...