That thesis is defensible. Although, contra the clip below from For America, it’s Jeb’s chumminess with the Bushes rather than with the Clintons that’s the strongest argument for his unelectability.
Still, a fair point from Brent Bozell. How’s the GOP going to frame Hillary’s record at State as an endless disaster for America when its own nominee-in-waiting was handing her awards for public service — on camera — months after she left office?
Bush, as chairman of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, awarded the group’s Liberty Medal to Clinton during an elaborate ceremony on Independence Mall on Sept. 10, 2013, a day shy of the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead…
“If Jeb Bush is her opponent she will make him look ridiculous,” Bozell said in a statement announcing the video. “Anytime Jeb calls Hillary ‘Obama 2.0,’ any criticism he makes of her awful record as Secretary of State, any time he shows how much of an extremist she is on the issues, will be completely dismissed when she reminds everyone that he gave her an award for public service. As it stands, Jeb has absolutely no credibility to criticize her because he has already anointed her as a great public servant; and he inexplicably did so almost a year to the day of the Benghazi massacre.”
The reply to that if you’re a Jeb fan is … what? I guess it’s “well, voters don’t vote on foreign policy anyway.” That’s largely true, but not always: Certainly foreign policy was a factor in Dubya’s win in 2004. Certainly it was a factor in Reagan’s in 1980. Extraordinary developments abroad will move votes, and right now, between Russia stomping on Ukraine, ISIS rampaging in Mesopotamia, and post-Qaddafi Libya falling into total chaos, the Obama/Clinton foreign policy record looks pretty darned extraordinary. A horrible nuclear sellout to our new partners in peace in Tehran will be the icing on the cake. The fact that the people who run the GOP want to tackle all that by nominating a guy who literally gave Hillary a medal is … not surprising, really. This is the same crew that’s going to exploit Clinton’s dynastic vulnerabilities by nominating … another Bush. It’s the same crew that tried to exploit middle-class dissatisfaction with the economy in 2012 by nominating a guy worth hundreds of millions of dollars, who’d spent his whole life as a business executive. And it’s the same crew that responded to Americans’ war fatigue in 2008 by nominating the most hawkish guy in the Republican Party. Rest assured, if there’s a candidate out there who’s uniquely unsuited to take on the Democratic nominee in a presidential contest, the Republican establishment will find him.
That said, I think the Benghazi line of attack here is going nowhere. There’s a chance that Trey Gowdy’s committee will find something hugely incriminating in its investigation, and there’s also a chance (actually, an increasingly good chance) that Libya will become so anarchic and overrun with jihadis that Benghazi will come to be seen as a microcosm of catastrophic Obama/Clinton haplessness. For now, though, I think it’s the foreign policy equivalent of “you didn’t build that” in 2012 — something that gets the right excited but which most voters, while “concerned” about it, just aren’t going to care much about when they’re in the booth. Especially if the economy’s moving sharply in one direction or the other.