A clever rejoinder from CNS to the “Ready for Hillary” crowd: What is it, exactly, that you’re ready for? Lest you think they’re cherry-picking the least articulate Democrats they ran into, have a look at this new data from Pew. Alex Seitz-Wald, citing other data from the same poll, frets that Benghazi is more of a liability for Hillary than liberals think because it topped the list of her biggest negatives at 15 percent. Is that really her biggest liability, though? Behold:
She spent eight years in the Senate and another four as secretary of state and yet her time as First Lady (including dealing with her husband’s affair!) is still her second-biggest credential within her own party. That’s her core liability. She’s been an icon for so long that people take for granted that her iconic status is based on major achievements. And it is, sort of — she’s achieved lots of power. She just hasn’t done much with it, which is why voters mention her tenure as SoS as something positive about her without mentioning anything she did as SoS. In fact, Hillary’s a more interesting example of the celebrity candidate than even Obama was. Obama skyrocketed to stardom and didn’t have to worry about the thinness of his actual record; that was, after all, one of his big selling points, that the country was ready for someone young and unspoiled by politics after the Bush years. Hillary’s trying to pull off something much harder, a celebrity candidate whose own fame has been his/her biggest credential for decades yet who, necessarily, will be running on experience. The better the GOP does at giving her the emperor’s-new-clothes treatment, demystifying her by forcing people to focus on how thin her record really is, the harder she’ll have it during the campaign — in theory.
I say “in theory” because … well, just watch these people cooing over her for no particular reason, by their own admission. The same Pew poll I cited above shows that 67 percent approve of the job she did as secretary of state even though there’s no “achievement” from her tenure commensurate with the disaster of Benghazi. There are lots of independents out there who couldn’t name a Hillary accomplishment either and who’d nonetheless behave just like the Democrats you see below. Demystifying an icon is very hard. And don’t forget that Hillary, uniquely among celebrity candidates, is able to run on someone else’s record in lieu of running on one of her own — namely, Bill’s. She won’t be easy to beat, as comically surreally true as this is.