Count Charles Krauthammer out of the Hillary-inevitability caucus. While the Washington Post columnist and Fox analyst concedes that Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner, he argues that the 2016 primary won’t be a coronation, despite the media’s assumption that she’ll waltz to the nomination. If any Democrat who wants to challenge her asks just one question, that status may change quickly, Krauthammer told Hugh Hewitt last night — just one: What did you accomplish in four years as Secretary of State?
Besides antagonizing the phlegmatic Canadians, literally our closest ally, that is (via Truth Revolt):
HH: That’s very true. Let me finish up there on Hillary. With these fiascos underway in Kiev, a massacre, and in Venezuela, the arrest of opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez today, Hillary’s foreign policy trifecta is complete. She’s lost South America, she’s lost the Middle East, and she’s lot Eastern Europe. How does anyone recover from that and run for the presidency?
CK: By losing the Pacific Rim.
CK: Then you get a straight flush. You get a royal flush. Look, you know, when people talk about Hillary being a superb secretary of State, I just ask one question. Name me one thing, just one, not three, give me one thing she achieved in her four years as secretary of State. I have yet to hear an answer.
HH: You’re right.
CK: She traveled a lot. So did Marco Polo. And you want him to be president?
HH: No, I’ve asked repeatedly your friend, E.J. Dionne, many other people, Jonathan Alter, abba dabba dabba dabba dabba is what we get out of them, because they don’t know, they don’t see it coming, Maggie Haberman of Politico. But nevertheless, one of them, well, Dana Milbank said she accomplished becoming the frontrunner for the nomination. And you know what? That was astute on his part. Cynical, but astute. And is he correct that that will endure?
CK: I think she is the frontrunner. I don’t think the convention will be a coronation. It’s going to be a worship service. But that’s not exactly why we have a secretary of State. I do think it’s really awful that you can have a four year term, achieve nothing, [audio stops here] and as you say, go backwards with Russia, backwards on Iran, backwards on Syria, backwards on Venezuela, backwards in relation with just about all of our allies, including, I would add, Keystone, which sits on the President’s head, and antagonizing Canada, for God’s sake. Canada, of all people, that’s quite an achievement when you can antagonize Canada. That’s not easy to do. And to get them upset, which is never happened in about 100 years, I mean, this is foreign policy of failure. And the only reason people haven’t focused on it is because there’s been so much failure at home that it’s overshadowed what’s happening abroad.
As I’ve repeatedly argued, 2008 was supposed to be a coronation, too — and a first-term Senate backbencher outfought Hillary and the Clinton machine to the nomination. Hillary has the same problem she had back then, too; a lack of a reason to be running, other than just her ambition. What’s the message? The first woman president? That didn’t work in 2008. It can’t be competence, not after Benghazi and the reset button. She’s leading the pack at the moment because the pack consists of Joe Biden. Who couldn’t lead that pack?
Will her fellow Democrats have the nerve to challenge her on her record at State, though? If she really is seen as inevitable, the ankle-biters who jump into the race may not want to damage her for the general election, but that won’t do their party any favors, either. Republicans will come with both barrels loaded for that track record, with the two bookends of incompetence and the collapse of American standing at all points in between. If nothing else, the Democratic primaries have to address that just to toughen her response to it, but it’s not going to be pretty for Democrats in 2016. All they will have with Hillary at the top of the ticket is frequent-flyer miles and a sorry record to defend, against what will likely be a solid Republican governor with a real track record of executive success and an outside-the-Beltway narrative.