Fred Thompson

Politics, by Don Rickles

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The weekend brought a wealth of 2008 stories whose drama–indeed, whose very point–came from politicians acting odd or being insulted. Here's Patrick Healey with an already-enraging-feminists piece about Hillary Clinton's disconcerting, rude-sounding laugh.

… she copes with the pressure by using what friends have come to call the Cackle. At Wednesday's debate, for instance, former Senator Mike Gravel complained about her vote on an Iran resolution and said he was "ashamed" of her. Asked to respond, Mrs. Clinton laughed before answering, as if to minimize the matter. Last Sunday, meanwhile, she appeared on all five of the major morning talk shows, and her laughter seemed heavily caffeinated. Chris Wallace, of Fox News, first pressed Mrs. Clinton about why she was so "hyperpartisan," and that drew a huge cackle. (Coming from Fox, her aides said, the question was pretty funny.) At another point, Mr. Wallace switched gears and said, "let me ask you about health care," and Mrs. Clinton responded, "Yeah, I'd love you to ask me about health care" — and then let it rip, again, a bit quizzically.

The great Matt Taibbi follows Fred Thompson on the trail and finds incoherent answers matched up with reporters who, shrugging, report them as wisdom.

I spot Carl Cameron, the right-wing hatchet man for Fox News. Cameron is whaling on Thompson, doing a mocking impersonation of the candidate's "Security, Unity, Prosperity" campaign shtick.

"We're, uh, gonna be yoo-nited bah owre yoo-nity!" Cameron cracks.

A crowd of reporters doubles over in laughter. Then they get in their vehicles and chase after Thompson to the next event, so they can feverishly record those same hackneyed lines again and again for posterity. They'll laugh in private, but they'll be repeating that shit on air with a straight face for the next 400 days.

James Pindell reports that Ron Paul's family was having some fun on the trail with Rudy Giuliani's oddball cell phone addiction.

While introducing his father, Rand Paul, a Kentucky physician, pretended to take a phone call.

"Oh Rudy Giuliani, how are you," Paul joked. "Oh what's that? You don't have any members of your family who want to campaign for you and you want to borrow ours?"

And from the comments on the Friday thread, here is a disturbing yet compelling video for Roy Shivers' song "Ron Paul 2008," a litany of insults and calumnies against the other candidates.

It seems weird that he couldn't find any images or video for the Fred Thompson part.

NEXT: McCain on Burma, Medical Marijuana

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  1. >It seems weird that he couldn’t find any images or video for the Fred Thompson part.

    Probably scared of falling outside Fair Use doctrine for using a three second Law and Order clip.

  2. If you check out Clinton’s Meet the Press interview this week you’ll notice he does the same phoney-baloney laugh when they go over Hillary’s debate performance. There’s this weird once second delay where he waits to be sure the camera is on his before he laughs it up.

  3. I’ve definitely become annoyed by Hillary’s cackle-response. It’s so obvious she does it to try to disarm the person who just asked her a tough question. By far, it’s the most annoying thing any of the current presidential candidates does. Her advisors have obviously told her to keep doing it, I’m sure she’s spent at least $100,000 on focus groups which say that the cackle “makes her appear confident” or some crap like that.

    Stop it, Hillary. It makes you look and sound like a jackass. Just answer the damn question.

  4. The thing is, every political candidate uses the laugh-off routine.

    They’re just singling Clinton out because her laugh sounds like a woman’s laugh.

  5. Wallace’s “hyperpartisan” question was definitely cackle-worthy. Hell, it was spit-take worthy.


  6. They’re just singling Clinton out because her laugh sounds like a woman’s laugh.

    Ha. “Sounds like”.

  7. The thing is, every political candidate uses the laugh-off routine.

    They’re just singling Clinton out because her laugh sounds like a woman’s laugh.

    I would not equate a little chuckle to relieve tension to Hillary (who does absolutely nothing by accident) laughing manically instead of answering questions DURING A PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN!!!

    I agree that the right is using this much in the way they used Howard Dean’s laugh. But I’d say it has more to do with her being a Clinton than a woman.

    However, even you joe have to admit that Hillary’s eerie laughing responses were a little over the top…

  8. I demand some kind of policy reducing the volume of political-weigel posts

    Seriously. Less gossip-column shit… fewer, more substantial analyses. Please. For the love of god.

  9. I fully expect Guiliani to respond to this joke with a rant about how he answered his wife’s call due to 9/11, damnit, and this proves Rand Paul spits on the WTC ruins, whizzes on the American flag, and wants the terrorists to win.

  10. Seriously- if you heard that laugh behind you while you were walking down a dark street, you’d start shrieking for mercy.

  11. For political protest music, that Ron Paul song wasn’t half bad.

    Is that just my biases showing through, or is it objectively a half way decent bit of music.

  12. Taktix,

    Of course I saw Clinton’s laughter for the rehearsed tactic it was. The difference is, I saw the other candidates’ shtick for the rehearsed tactics their behavior was, too.

    I guess seeing the same shtick being done by a woman just doesn’t jolt me as much as it does some other people.

  13. Am I the only one who thought that was Kool Keith at first listen? Hell, I still kinda do.

  14. Taktix,

    And let’s not pretend that the criticisms are devoid of their sexual content.

    Shrill. Cackle. These are words designed to draw attention to the fact that her voice is female.

  15. That, or her laughter sounds like a shrill cackle.

  16. yeah, female and horrible. Maybe if she was male and had a similarly horrible laugh they would use the words “chortle” or “whoop.” It’s all just people, man. All just people sucking at life.

  17. “Sounds like a shrill cackle” is just using terms with negative connotations to describe the fact that her laugh sounds like it comes from a woman and not a man.

  18. joe,

    Give us a better description, because so far “shrill cackle” is what I hear. It’s far from a hearty belly laugh.

  19. If I was going for a value-neutral description, I might choose “high-pitched laugh.”

    If I was going for a positive spin, I might choose “lilting giggle.”

  20. there was nothing lilting about that laugh

    maybe if someone has an annoying laugh they should just call it laugh diarrhea.

    “Hillary responded to the jab with loud laugh diarrhea.”

  21. Hillary’s laugh is obviously fake — no one spontaneously bursts out laughing with that long a time delay unless they are thick, which Hillary isn’t. And when the same tactic is done over and over again on five different shows the same day — well, it reminds me of the dark side of this:

  22. what friends have come to call the Cackle.

    Geez, nice friends. There are already enough voters who view her as a witch without her friends talking about her cackle.

  23. Is it remotely plausible that Hillary’s laugh strikes you as especially grating because you already dislike her?

  24. But by going for a value-neutral description, you lose accuracy. Shrill cackle is the most apt description of that sound. Pants suit also implies female but it best describes what she wears.

  25. “Is it remotely plausible that Hillary’s laugh strikes you as especially grating because you already dislike her?”

    Yes. Maybe not even remotely. Mostly I find it confirmation of my theory that she is not a genuine person (and before you take that to mean I think she is something other than human, I mean that she is not free from hypocracy or dishonesty).

  26. “If you check out Clinton’s Meet the Press interview this week you’ll notice he does the same phoney-baloney laugh when they go over Hillary’s debate performance. There’s this weird once second delay where he waits to be sure the camera is on his before he laughs it up.”

    Just like when he was walking out of Ron Brown’s funeral and noticed a camera on him, so he pretended to wipe a tear from his eye when just seconds before he was laughing it up with the people with him. Then he kept looking back to see if he was still being filmed. If you look up phony in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of him and Hillary.

  27. This is all preparation for her inaugural address, which will begin, “I am the President. Yo actually elected me! You fools! Gimme that Button! Gimme that signature pen! You’re DOOMED. DOOOOOOMED. Ha-ha-ha-HAA! HAAA-HAAAA!! HAAAAA!!! HAHAHAAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!”*

    *NYAH-HA-HA!

  28. sixstring,

    I don’t think she’s terribly genuine, either. But who among them are? I don’t hear John Edwards or Sam Brownback getting called out for their fake laughs.

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