Doing Her Job

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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69 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Well at least the poo slinging at Clinton is starting in an orderly chronological manner. In a few months they will be up to Whitewater, then Vince Foster culminating in whatevergazi around nomination time.

    People typically don’t understand what people in the legal system do. I had a mom complaining to me about what she thought was a bad custody plan the judge put in place. She said, correctly, that the dad had a significant criminal record which strongly disfavored him. I asked her what the judge said about his record and she said the judge didn’t mention it. I asked her if she questioned the dad, she was pro se, about his criminal record. She hadn’t. I asked if she submitted the dad’s criminal record as evidence. She said “no” she thought the judge would get all of dad’s police records and criminal files on his own. She thought it was the judges job to get all the evidence in the case.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

      What is that saying about Pro Se cases & fools?Report

      • greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        True enough but more and more people are representing themselves in divorces and child custody cases. In some case they do just fine. Law talking types are expensive so for many people in civil cases its either represent themselves or not have their day in court.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        The sad thing is, compared to how many people behave in similar situations, she acted admirably. She didn’t fly off the handle or make stuff up; she was prepared to let the facts speak for themselves.Report

  2. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Thanks for commenting on this Burt. I think the vilification of defense attorneys (along with the almost worship of some for cops & DAs) is one of the ways we are descending toward a police state, so any pushback we can get is a good thing.Report

    • Michelle in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Ditto MRS. The minute I read about this latest hullabaloo, my immediate thought was “for goodness sake, she was doing her JOB.” Lawyers are supposed to be zealous in the representation of their clients, even when their clients are scumbags (as a majority of criminal defendants are).

      The Republicans must be really afraid of Hillary if they’re stooping this low this early in the game. My other favorite right wing meme of the week was that Obama had one of the guys responsible for the Benghazi killings captured to boost Hillary’s book sales. So pathetic.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    I think people generally do understand what lawyers do and need to do in abstract terms and axioms. The problems happen with specific cases and when people run into a case where they think one party is really in the wrong.Report

  4. Patrick says:

    So today, she stands accused of… having been an attorney. I guess she really doesn’t have any choice but to plead guilty.

    ‘Arf wid’ ‘er ‘ead!Report

  5. Fnord says:

    Clinton certainly shouldn’t be faulted for defending her client even if she knew he was guilty. But, correct me if I’m wrong, don’t lawyers also have a duty of honesty? Among the accusations is the one that Clinton claimed that the victim had made false accusations of assault in the past, when the victim had not made any such accusations. If that’s true (and Clinton knew the claim was false), that does seem to be more than just doing her job.Report

    • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Fnord says:


      That’s a good point. I guess it depends on the facts and on what Clinton knew or ought to have known back then. From reading the Daily Beast article, it’s not entirely clear, to me, that she purposefully said things she knew to be false, but it’s not clear she didn’t.Report

      • The affidavit that the DB article refers to quotes Clinton as saying “I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body. Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.” The word “informed” as used here is a bit of legal tradecraft. It means “I’ve got some facts that indicate this is true, although I don’t know it’s true for myself.”

        That fact seems likely to have been a witness who told her that (might have been her client, might have been counsel for the co-defendant, might have been a third party).

        So it’s likely thinly-concealed hearsay in this case. Laypeople sometimes think calling a statement “hearsay” is the same thing as calling it a “lie” or “not worth anything,” which is not the case. The testimony I’m presuming Clinton indicated she could elicit might or might not have been ultimately admissible before a jury, is all that means. But on its face, it’s not something she conjured up out of her own imagination.

        For the victim to say to Clinton now, “You lied on me,” sounds a lot like accusations I get myself, quite a lot — from folks without sophisticated education about how courts work, access to the same information I do, and an emotional dog in the fight which lenses their memories, after I impeach their credibilities. Is that what’s happened to the victim here? I don’t know for sure npbut I strongly suspect so: this woman was raped, for crying out loud, and has been recoiling badly from the way the system treated her after that awful event, for 39 years. How could her memory not be lensed?Report

      • @burt-likko

        I guess my complaint, then, if I have one, is based more on what the profession accepts as acceptable practice than what Clinton (probably) did in this case. At the same time, I have to balance my complaint with the belief that the accused should always get a fair, zealously defended trial (if he/she wants one). I do wish the victim in this case had had a lawyer like Clinton when she was brought up on drug charges, though.Report

      • That’s a fair cop, @gabriel-conroy .Report

      • I get what you’re saying, Burt, but I still don’t know if the whole “lying” situation is clear (and the DB article isn’t clear, which hurts their credibility).

        If a lawyer says she is “informed” of something even though she doesn’t know whether or not it’s true, that’s not lying. I get that.

        What if a lawyer says she is “informed” of something that she has since learned to be untrue? She still claim that she wasn’t lying (“Gary told me that little blue men from Mars are the real bank robbers!”), but she was still being incredibly dishonest.

        So that’s what I wonder about. If Clinton knew these stories were false, claiming that she was “informed” of them is pretty damn scummy… especially when we’re talking about a 12yo rape victim.

        (But until I get the full story–which will probably never come out–I’m not going to assume that she stooped to this level of dishonesty.)Report

      • j r in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


        If I am understanding the affidavit situation correctly, it’s a bit like a card player making a bet that implies that she has the cards to back up that bet. Then it’s up to the prosecution to decide whether to plea down the charges or gamble and let the defense present the testimony alluded to in the affidavit.

        Is that an accurate, if not precise, description?

        If it is, what are the ethics of this sort of play. Is it fine to bluff as long as you’re not outright lying? If you know that the testimony or evidence in question would be worthless if presented, is it fine to pretend like you’re holding a trump card? Is it something that you are expected to do as part of defending your client to you fullest ability or is it something that is merely tolerated?Report

      • I’ll call that roughly accurate, @j-r , with some emphasis on the word rough. Ethically, a lawyer does have an obligation to zealously advocate for her client. There’s nothing wrong with portraying evidence as being better or stronger than it is. But there would be something wrong in an affirmative misrepresentation of the substance of that evidence. So this falls into something of a grey area.Report

  6. greginak says:

    There was a law dude nominated for high judgeship recently whose nomination was pulled back or failed i believe. He has been a defense attorney for Mumia( a convicted cop killer in philly). At least that is what i remember. For many conservatives defending the accused is just wrong.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

      You are correct on this event.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

      Likewise, Andy McCarthy (who combines the worst qualities of Joe and Charlie) calling defending Guantanamo detainees “assisting the enemy in lawsuits against the American people during wartime”.

      But both of these have a partisan aspect. One of the ways Republican candidates try to distinguish themselves from Democrats is being tougher on terrorism (whatever that means on any given day.) And for many years Mumia was a cause for much of the left.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    Though I do think there is almost an act of cognitive dissonance that needs to be done in balancing the rights of criminal defendants and sympathy/compassion for the victims of crime.

    I think most people do believe that people accused of crimes deserve fair and helpful and effective representation from legal counsel. They also realize on some level that this involves counsel for the defense doing everything they can do exonerate the defendant or get the defendant a substantially lower sentence.

    Say Bob is accused of a botched robbery that left Andy paralyzed from the waist down. Andy is going to be physically disabled for this rest of his life and likely psychologically traumatized as well. How do you balance Bobs right to a fair trial with sympathy for Andy if you are just a person on the street who is trying to sincerely believe the constitutional rights of defendants? What if defense secures a not guilty verdict by some tough interrogation of a parapalegic? The optics in the situation are bad if necessary on a liberty level.

    A lot of my friends on fans of the Humans of New York blog/thing. I dislike it and the guys seemingly innate ability to find mawkish stories everywhere. I saw on fb today that featured a picture of an old-school punk rock guy with a spikey mohawk and big black boots (at the start of summer!) Punk Rocker said he spent 8.5 years in prison for attempted murder and that the victim was a creepy 30 year old who was stalking punk rocker’s 12 year old sister

    I think the general reaction to this is that the assault will be wrong but the victim was a creep. If the story is true, the victim was a creep.

    Yet why should I believe the story is true at face value. People of New York is fairly well known right now. What if the victim was really just a guy who heckled punk rocker’s band for sucking? Would we feel on the side of punk rocker as much? Probably not. What if punk rocker is completely lying about the whole thing just to get onto People of New York with a great story? What does the People of New York blogger do to verify the stories being told and featured?

    I can add that people generally dislike when I get in this question mode because it ruins something or other.Report

  8. I think @fnord ‘s comment above raises a good point, and if his/her suspicions are right, then we might need to reconsider the “just doing her job” aspect of this. Still, assuming that she did nothing wrong, I agree, she was probably just doing her job.

    But since we’re all talking about work these days, I’ll say the following. I do wish the “just doing one’s job” acknowledgment is carried over to the treatment of other workers. I’m thinking primarily of customer service workers and bureaucrats, who often have to say or do things that their “customers” (to use the term broadly) don’t like or don’t understand. But I suppose what I say could apply to pretty much all workers.

    There’s still room for criticism and questioning. There’s usually a range of acceptable choices such employees can make and that are legitimate to that job, and if one makes choices out of those bounds, there’s something to be criticized. Even if the choices are technically allowable, but the wrong choice, then maybe those can be criticized, too, at least as choices (some of the vitriol lobbed at such workers, however, sometimes is disproportionate to what was chosen). And of course, we could go the Godwin route and point out that some really bad people have tried to claim they were just doing their job. If we do go that route, however, I do think there’s some limiting principle between what those people did and what a worker, in the course of his or her job duties (for most jobs), does.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like a criticism of the OP. I mean this comment more as a way to expand on the OP’s point.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    Shame on Republicans for criticizing lawyers that are just doing their jobs

    A simmering feud between Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama erupted into charges of distortion and exaggeration in a gloves-off presidential debate Monday, with Clinton accusing him of representing a Chicago slumlord and Obama countering that she was a corporate lawyer for anti-union Wal-Mart.

    Yes, shame on the Republicans.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Kolohe says:

      Oh my. Very well done, @kolohe .Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Very well done in exposing politically motivated rhetoric. Not so very well done at eliminating political motivations. Those are part of life, no? So K can criticize how the world is an imperfect place all he likes, but that won’t make it any more perfect by *his* standards. I do hope that it makes him feel better about things tho. And you too Tod!Report

    • NobAkimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think there’s a difference between accusing someone of being a Big Law corporate attorney and attacking someone taking on a criminal defense case.Report

      • Kim in reply to NobAkimoto says:

        Depends on how much harm the corporate attorney was privy to, I’d say.

        I’m now wondering how much advice a lawyer could legally give as to how to get out of rape charges (skirting the line)… before someone commits the sexual act.Report

  10. Tod Kelly says:

    I am very much in agreement with both Burt and Kolohe (just above).

    I’m curious about another more political point, however: Was this an issue in the lead up to 2008, and I’ve just completely spaced it? If not, than why this issue now and not earlier?Report

  11. aaron david says:

    It’s not that she was doing her job, its that she is now failing one of the lefts purity tests. Not only this one, but many others such as having voted to go to war with Iraq, being late with her evolving on SSM, etc.

    These won’t necessarily preclude her from getting the D nomination, but might keep some people from coming out to vote for her on the big day, and will give team red lots of ammo come the debates.Report

    • morat20 in reply to aaron david says:

      its that she is now failing one of the lefts purity tests.
      Strangely, it appears the Right is both giving AND grading the test and is now standing around confused as the left fails to get angry about it.

      I’m sure it’ll be all “hypocrisy” versus “nuance” shortly when in reality it’s the GOP trying to use an issue they don’t fully understand as a weapon against Clinton. Unsurprising they’re not particularly good with it, it’s not their thing.Report

      • aaron david in reply to morat20 says:

        Morat20, it’s not the right you have to worry about, its the inbetweeners who make the whole thing happen in Nov. If you think its all good, then sweet, have at it.Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        That’s right. And America is just so DARN MAD about Benghazi too.

        You can’t see it, but I’m rolling my eyes.Report

      • aaron david in reply to morat20 says:

        Well, I am curious as to were you picked Bengazi out of my comment, as that sure as shooting isn’t something the left cares about, and maybe not the center either. What I am saying is that on many questions that the left does care about, she isn’t doing so hot.

        Hell, even the Tod is having doubts:

        I think for most people on the left none of those thing will matter, ’cause, you know, Woman Prez! But in reality, those people don’t matter, as their vote is almost a given at this point. What does mater though, are the undecideds (people who by nature will not show up at this website to voice an opinion as they aren’t as actively engaged in politics) and the people who might get turned off, and stay home.

        That is where she has a problem.Report

      • aaron david in reply to morat20 says:

        Moderation, please!Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Aaron, you cited a “left purity test” on a right-wing hit piece, which itself is a ham-handed attempt on push-back to the whole ‘war on women’ thing.

        It’s really unlikely to fly with independents (if it was, it’d have come up 6 years ago. Or 20+ years ago, for one). Mostly because most people are, indeed, smart enough to realize how defense attorneys work (hence the mockery of that piece that is the original post).

        So basically you come waltzing in, claiming a right-wing hit piece is Hillary failing a left-wing purity test and that’s gonna cost among independents.

        Indeed. And the right-wing also assures me that the country is VERY upset about Benghazi and Fast and Furious.Report

      • aaron david in reply to morat20 says:

        So, when Terry Gross had her-puff-piece-that-wasn’t, the left let out of sigh of “well, that explains everything, people will drop this issue now.”?
        As for this specific issue, rape wasn’t the hot button issue six years ago that it is today. Nor was SSM. These are issues because the left has made them issues, not the right. Therefore, she will have to answer to the left on them. And do so by not turning off the center. The right doesn’t make any difference at this time, but they will bring up issues that they feel will make a difference to the left, and that the left will have to deal with.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to morat20 says:

        I’m pretty sure that the argument is that Monica Lewinsky’s consent was enthusiastic. And if you bring up Paula Jones or Juanita Broderick, you’re bringing up shit from a million years ago.Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Aaron, I don’t know how to make this clearer:

        The “left” isn’t demanding answers. The right is. The left understands — as everyone here does — what a defense lawyer does.

        Not to put to fine a point on it, but it’s the right wing that seems to get angry whenever defense lawyers do their job. The left is the one moaning about understaffed public defender’s offices and overuse of plea bargaining to clear case loads.

        This ain’t a Hillary killer. It’s just a badly thought out attack piece by someone who doesn’t even understand what the whole ‘war on women’ thing is, so it’s really no surprise that his magic bullet turned out to be, well, a disappointment.

        The right can bring it up all they want, and get indignant and scream hypocrisy and stamp their tiny little feet. Neither the left nor the middle is going to be demanding answers, because the left and the middle have them “Oh, yeah, that’s what defense lawyers do. God it sucks that that’s STILL a working tactic!”Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        I’d put it more simply: If people were gonna care about Flowers, they’d have cared 20+ years ago, when the guy who actually did it was up for election.

        It’s a rare election that turns on an issue people digested, considered, and voted on decades before. I’d suspect it’s even rarer when that issue was about another person entirely.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to morat20 says:

        Aaron, you cited a “left purity test” on a right-wing hit piece

        Is Josh Rogin a right winger?

        I’m not really familiar with him, so I just spent a half-hour poking around to learn about him, and I’m not seeing any real sense of right-wingerism. Do you have evidence that he’s actually right-wing, or are you just saying that because it’s ideologically convenient for you?Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        You know, I don’t really know.

        I simply assumed it was, because the piece was:

        1) A badly written attack piece. (As noted in the OP here)
        2) It bubbled up from the conservative side of the wall.
        3) It led to things like Aaron here chortling about how lefties are hoist on their own petard when, in fact, I haven’t heard a peep about it from lefties.

        And, I suppose, it had the vibes of the general ‘attack Clinton’ pieces I recall from the late 90s — the Obama attack stuff had a different feel to it. As I noted, liberals tend to be pretty staunchly behind the public defenders system and the whole ‘even the worst person deserves solid defense in court” setup.

        Liberal attacks tend on Clinton tend to come from another quarter (hawkishness, for one) and centrist attacks don’t generally go after stuff like decades old PD work. I mentally pigeon-holed it in the “benghazi” spot because it had the same earmarks — inflammatory stupidity based on zilch echoing around one side of the partisan wall.

        (like I said, the original post here is pretty stock “Um, that was her job” sums it up)Report

  12. Murali says:

    “So today, she stands accused of… having been an attorney. ”

    And that’s a terrible thing to be accused of, right next to being accused of being a politician…Report

    • Damon in reply to Murali says:

      Being a politician has to be worse than being a lawyer. SOME lawyers are good at what they do and are honest. That’s a bit much for politicians.Report

  13. So, I will just casually mention in a totally oblique way that I am acquainted with someone who writes from time to time for the publication in question, and said person was really pretty appalled by the piece linked above and thought it was a pretty transparent clickbait hatchet job.Report

  14. zic says:


    I have a notion that I would value your opinion on it: if you recall my new ‘year zero’ theory — that new calendar that starts with a year 0 being the year that greater than 50% of women globally having access to contraception, voting, and education? My guess it was sometime in the 1980’s; you provided a lot of good information that backed that guess up. Based on a comment Francis made on one of the Mr. Will threads, another way of thinking of this is the change of ‘reasonable person’ standard from that of ‘reasonable man,’ to including ‘reasonable woman.’

    It seems to me that any liberal purity tests (real or pigments of the Conservative media), could and should be reflect that change; what was acceptable in 1960 was not acceptable in 1986, a potential year 0 or 1. For Clinton (or nearly any other politician born before my mythical year 0) to navigate the shoals of purity tests, something akin to progress and lived experience is necessary.

    It seems very likely very few people could pass such a purity test given the magnitude of social shift to include ‘reasonable woman’ standards. Any politician must, to succeed, navigate the shoals here with lived experience leading to evolving views (SSM included). It’s not where you were, it’s where you are now and the path that goes from then to now.Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to zic says:

      “It’s not where you were, it’s where you are now and the path that goes from then to now.”

      Unless you’re Ron Paul and thirty years ago you might have wrote some maybe-racist stuff.

      Or you’re Mitt Romney and back in college you and some other guys shaved a fellow student’s head as a hazing stunt.Report

      • Kim in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Unless you’re Bill Clinton, and you had open heart surgery?
        Unless you’re Mitt Romney, and you’ve had brain damage?Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        *shrug*. I dunno, everyone’s gonna make a judgement call. I give my dad a pass for some of the stuff he did when he was younger, because that was the times and he’s grown to realize how incredibly wrong it is.

        If you’re judging someone’s place and actions in the past, you need to be aware of their context — my grandfather, when he was a kid, said some incredibly racist stuff that even the Klan would probably shy from — but that’s because he grew up with the speech codes and that’s how black and whites interacted.

        I don’t consider him racist now because of what he said then. (If he said it now, that’d be different. I could also judge him if he was racist, even by the standards of the day, on his past actions).

        I don’t recall either the Romney or Ron Paul incidents well enough to judge — but the key questions would be (1) were they racist or bullying by the standards of the time and (2) have they shown they’ve moved with the time, or are they mired in the social mores of the past?

        With Clinton and this — what she did as a DA back “then” was, frankly, what DA’s do now — both in the specifics (smearing the accuser is a common tactic, in everything from rape trials to custody battles) and in the general (“Defense attorneys use the best stick they have at hand, inside of professional ethics, that’s their job”).

        As a society, maybe we’re finally looking at that as something that SHOULD be outside the pale. But, well — it isn’t now and it wasn’t then and I don’t see Clinton lining up to smear rape victims in general or claim it’s the best legal defense ever and should be enshrined as a tool or anything of that sort. It looks like someone doing their job, a crappy job that’s often done for the scum of the earth but all the more important for it.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        “I don’t recall either the Romney or Ron Paul incidents well enough to judge”

        You should, because you commented on the Romney incident (although I should mention that you said about the same thing then that you just said here) (although I should also mention that you found a way for Romney to be wrong but your dad to be OK)Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Ah, that refreshed my memory. (Seriously, I didn’t want to bother to look it up and I didn’t want to speculate on stuff I only vaguely recalled).

        Yeah, but that’s entirely because I *know* my dad. I know how he feels about it now.

        I really don’t know Romney, so I have to guess — which, well, is hilariously aptt with Romney. He did have everyone guessing on practically everything. (One of the high points of that election was reading people divining the True Romney, often with opposite results).

        Frankly, I think the reason I wouldn’t extend him the benefit of the doubt was that dog story. Anyone willing to not just do that to a dog, but cheerfully admit it now without basically saying “WTF, was I insane or just a budding psychopath” does not strike me as a self-reflective sort nor one given to really giving a crap about anyone he didn’t consider important.

        It’s funny. It’s not like a vote for Romney was ever on the table for me, but if I had — out of everything in the election, it would have come down to that dog. He could have been Jesus 2.0, and that dog story still would have been a deal breaker.

        Anyways, meandering back to bullying — there’s a tone my dad takes, a tone I’ve heard from a lot of people, reflecting on things they’ve done in the past compared to now. Sometimes it’s wistful, sometimes it’s regretful. You can tell how they feel about it in the way they speak. My Dad talks about that bit of youthful idiocy with deep regret and shame, but he’s almost proud of other things (including one memorable story involving a hill, a bowling ball, a moving car, and what came close to giving him a Darwin award).Report

      • Kim in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        morat and Jim,
        I think in the same spirit, Byrd’s continual and vocal apologies count in the same way. I think at least by the end he was honest about ’em.

        It’s fair to say about something, “Dayum, I had forgotten I had even Done That. Hang on, let me collect myself. Oh, god that was so damn stupid, and I am so sorry. Here are the concrete acts that I’m going to do to show that I’m not a total moron.”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Did Hillary say anything about this particular thing?

        Was her response wistful/sad or was it more like the Fresh Aire interview?Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:


        Should she? Isn’t the thrust of the OP here that those statements were, in fact, part and parcel of her job as defense attorney? That they are, in fact, common procedures and defenses even today?

        Maybe they shouldn’t be (I rather think so) — but isn’t the job of a defense attorney, one acting in the best interests of their client (which is their ethical duty, yes?) to give the best legal defense possible?

        I guess I’m not really sure what she’s supposed to have done wrong, exactly. She used an unpopular and ugly defense, which was her job. A defense that remains common today, as distasteful as it is.

        Should she have forgone it, and offered lesser representation to her client? Pawned him off on someone else who would offer that defense?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Well, I’d like you to imagine her saying something like this:

        “You know, that very case has been bothering me for years. Not a week goes by that I haven’t thought about it and winced at my actions. Now, I know, *TECHNICALLY* that I was doing what was best for my client and our Constitution protects the right of every defendant to a vigorous defense. My regrets aren’t that I was defending my defendant, but that I had to attack someone who did not deserve the treatment that I gave her. I am the candidate most likely to protect young women like this one going forward and that’s why I hope you will vote for me in November.”

        I mean, you know for a *FACT* that Big Dog could turn this into a reason to vote for him.

        Sigh. I miss the 90’s.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        *shrug*. I suspect you scratch any defense attorney and you’d get that about tons of clients. Hillary and this one included. Heck, I suspect they drink over the scum they’ve defended and how soul-destroying a job it can be, however necessary.

        Defense attorneys, by and large, defend people who are as likely to be scum as innocent. But they are ethically required to go to the mat, pull out all the stops, and defend that guy or gal as if the world were at stake.

        We have an adversarial justice system, which means both accused and accuser spend the time (among other things) calling each other liars and worse.

        Honestly, this just feels like an excuse to drag Hillary (whom I’m not even fond of and don’t want to get the 2016 nod at all — from politics to personal distaste at the feel of the Presidency passing back and forth in a family. Didn’t like it for the Bushes, don’t like it for the Clintons) through the mud for, well, being a defense attorney.

        That’s literally what they do. They did it then, they do it now. What’s the point?

        I mean, if we’re — as a society — actually going to talk about what happens to rape victims when they go to the police, when they take the stands — they yeah, bring it up. She’d have a valuable, personal experience there on how nasty it gets and how effective a tactic it can be.

        But let’s face it — we ain’t having that conversation, and that’s not why this was drug up.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        I suspect you scratch any defense attorney and you’d get that about tons of clients.

        Do you have different opinions about the defense attorneys who give speeches like that one than you do about the defense attorneys who give speeches attacking you for bringing the topic up in the first place?

        If you don’t, do you see how someone out there could have different opinions about the two groups and do so in good faith?

        And, if you can go that far, do you see why it might be better to be one of the attorneys who gives a speech like that one than one who argues defensively about it? (Like, maybe if there were an election or something?)Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Honest to god — I don’t get your point. I don’t get the point of the original attack piece. And I’m not alone — the TITLE of the post these comments is attached to is “Doing her Job”.

        Heck, she’s not even practiced law in what — 30 years?

        So literally so what? Again — it was her job. The job is done exactly the same way now.

        What’s the point? The fact that it’s a crappy practice? Okay, so why is Hillary spokeswoman for that — and why right now? Why not actual practicing lawyers? Lawmakers who can change the system? She’s secretary of state, not a lawyer, lawmaker or President.

        Seriously, what’s the point — either of the original article or yours?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        My point? It’s “oppo”. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know who they’re going to vote for in 2016 and, if you asked them “would you vote for Hillary?” would honestly have their answer colored by stuff like “how she responds to stuff like this”.

        Personally, I’m one of those who thinks that there are ways to respond to stuff like this that could turn the situation around and create an opportunity to sing the praises of Team Blue.

        As for the point of the people making the attack in the first place, I imagine it’s a combination of a “hypocrisy!” attack with a side of “get people to say things that we’ll be able to quote later when they pull out the #waronwomen hashtags”.

        Big Dog was always pretty skilled at this kind of political judo. The fact that Hillary is less skilled (and her responses to this demonstrate that she is less skilled) could be seen as a warning sign at this point in the nomination process.

        I mean, except for the fact that the Republicans will find some way to nominate Huckabee/Christie or something like that.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:


        Honestly? Hillary’s oppo — and public perception of her — was a done deal 20 years ago. This? This isn’t even going to register.

        I mean, think about it — if you weren’t voting in the 90s, you’re young. Which means, statistically, you’d probably vote for practically anyone over a Republican. (I’m looking at the potential GOP field for 2016 and it does not look promising to reverse that trend). Not to mention that the right has screamed about socialism, benghazi, impeachment, shut down the government… would this stick out to them, much less get them to change their minds when the alternative is going to be Santorum or Ryan or….I’m running out of names here. Huckabee, maybe?

        If you WERE voting in the 90s, after dealing with years of various ‘gates’ that culminated in an impeachment over a blowjob, not to mention the endless parade of “Did Hillary have Vince Foster offed” — “when she was a defense attorney, she did the stuff defense attorneys on law and order do every episode” isn’t going to sway you. it’s just another piece of noise, another boring, predictable, pointless grab at the ring by people who’ve basically lost all credibility on the issue.

        Why would it? Seriously, Hillary’s biggest strength as a candidate is basically the GOP has poisoned their own well when it comes to her. After accusing her of multiple counts of murder, why would “She was just like an attorney on every episode of law and order” stick out?

        It’s not going to turn off a single Democrat, and if it was going to bother a single independent — well, Jesus, there’s 20 years of crap. This is what you get AFTER you’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        I don’t have a politician in this particular fight. I’m just saying that, as attacks go, this seems to be a low and slow lob down the center *AND* that there have been politicians in the past who could turn tougher pitches into home runs.

        But, hey. Maybe I’m totally misreading this sitch and everything’s coming up Milhouse for Hillary. Rock on.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        I don’t have a politician in this particular fight. I’m just saying that, as attacks go, this seems to be a low and slow lob down the center *AND* that there have been politicians in the past who could turn tougher pitches into home runs.

        But, hey. Maybe I’m totally misreading this sitch and everything’s coming up Milhouse for Hillary. Rock on.

        She’s literally been accused of murder, Jaybird. Plotting it. Conspiracy to do it. A list of enemies she and her husband had killed.

        I’m literally not seeing how this sinks ANY politician, left right or center. Or even nudges the needle.

        I’m not kidding — that’s like the defense attorney’s job on every episode of law and order like ever — and everyone has watched that. It’s what people THINK of when they hear “lawyer”.

        Jesus, she’s up to her eyeballs in US foreign policy right now. Drone strikes, Syria, Libya, Iraq — there’s actual stuff people care about.

        If the GOP is banking on Hillary’s legal career 30 years ago, they’re screwed sideways. I’d bet solid money on it.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Jesus, I don’t even LIKE Hillary.

        Like on my list of 2016 Democratic candidates, she barely edges out Lieberman and Edwards. She’s basically at the absolute bottom.

        I’m not a Hillary fan, and predisposed to dislike her — and I think this is bloody stupid.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        But clearly team spirit is involved, since you were immediately outraged about the “right wing” attack, without bothering to figure out whether the author was a right-winger or not, so it can’t be said persuasively that you’re entirely objective about this.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        But clearly team spirit is involved, since you were immediately outraged about the “right wing” attack, without bothering to figure out whether the author was a right-winger or not, so it can’t be said persuasively that you’re entirely objective about this.

        It could ALSO be that it was (1) a stupid attack (See Original Post above) and (2) Aimed at a presumptive 2016 nominee and (3) the only place I’ve see it besides here has been from conservative sites, and they weren’t in the “Jesus, what a stupid article” mode.

        So yep, I’m pretty confidant calling it a bad political hit piece. The right-wing part was, as you noted, an assumption based entirely on who was running with the idiot ball and not any research or knowledge on the author’s actual leanings.Report

  15. Jim Heffman says:

    “This isn’t even going to register. ”

    Maybe it won’t register on Hillary Clinton, but she’s not the only person whose name will be on a ballot in 2016. “The Democrats say they’re the party that has women’s interests in mind, but here’s what Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton said about a rape victim–while defending the rapist! (quotes appear on the screen) Bring honesty back to politics in 2016! Paid for by the Citizens For Honesty In Politics nonpartisan political action group.”Report