Moe Lane at Redstate ran across an amusing bit of liberal panic published in the UK this week. It centers on the idea that the Democrats have eaten all their seed corn when it comes to Hillary Clinton and are finally beginning to notice that they may have no crops to plant.
Hillary Clinton towers over the putative Democratic field as no non-incumbent party candidate has in recent memory, leading every rival by 40 points or more.
In 1988, Bob Dole was available for Republicans who didn’t fancy George Bush Snr. And if they didn’t want George Jnr in 2000, there was JohnMcCain. Ditto on the Democratic side. Al Gore from the outset was heavy favourite, but Bill Bradley, senator from New Jersey, gave him a decent run for his money. But in 2016, it’s Hillary or nothing for Democrats – and that’s why the fuss over the emails sends shivers down their spine.
Never has a party been so invested in a single candidate.
Moe finds that this is no accident, and feels that credit should actually be given to the grassroots GOP work being done at the state and local level. They are the ones who have essentially left the Democrat cupboard bare.
Admittedly, it’s from the UK Independent; hence, my use of the word ‘panic.’ This is, of course, not a new problem for the Democrats (although they hadn’t realized that there was a problem until quite recently). But the reason why I’m bringing it up this time is that all of this is due to a lot of patient, careful effort in federal and state races across the country, from 2009 onward. The Democratic cupboard is bare because the Republican grassroots decided to empty it ahead of time. The numerous state legislative and gubernatorial advances we’ve seen since then are a direct result of our strategy.
All of that sounds great and I’m not arguing with the specific logic behind saying that removing Hillary from the mix would be devastating to the nearly nonexistent Democrat bench. But all of that sunny disposition relies on two things which are far from certain. First, it assumes that Hillary is “out” of the game or at least substantially being shoved in that direction. Having sat through the endless discussions of this on the Sunday morning shows today, let’s just say I am far from convinced. They’ve got people like Chuck Schumer out there pumping up the “Hillary didn’t do anything wrong and this is all a Republican fueled misunderstanding” like an industrial bellows. Hillary is saying nothing, and that may well turn out to be the smartest move possible.
Trey Gowdy was on Face the Nation and, to his credit, Bob Schieffer asked him if there were any gaps in the emails that Hillary had turned over during previous phases of the investigation. Gowdy said there were huge gaps, including the period of time when she was heading to the region and was caught in a photo wearing sunglasses and typing away on her Blackberry. Where is that email? It’s a great question, but there’s a big problem on the horizon. If that email is gone forever then all we’re ever going to have is a question. If you can’t show the juicy bits of what it is that’s actually gone missing, the story stays in the realm of wonkdom and you can just about hear the viewers grabbing their remotes and clicking back over to Sports Center.
The second part of this equation – even assuming that some dirt is found under Clinton’s doormat – is making sure that the Republicans don’t manage to turn the rifle around and point it at their own collective heads. Leon Wolf seems to be concerned about the same possibility, saying that the Democrats may be the evil party, but a smart evil character will still prevail over a stupid one with good intentions.
Here is an unfortunate fact of life: the shortest route between any elected Republican and an invitation to a television interview is criticism of another elected Republican. And hey, who doesn’t like being on television? Accordingly, every time any Republican says anything even slightly off kilter – especially a front running Presidential candidate, the media goes looking for other Republicans to pile on their own criticism to make it appear all the more reasonable and relevant, and like dogs waiting for their scraps, Republicans are happy to oblige in exchange for their 15 seconds of fame.
I’d like to say that Leon is exaggerating, but that certainly has the ring of truth to it. As much as the email story is such a scandal that the media is forced to talk about it for now, we all know what they’d really prefer to be serving up. We only need a slight misstep by someone with an R after their name (and you know one is coming) and this Hillary story will fall to the back page. The rest of the GOP will join in the dogpile to make sure that happens. Of course, that’s only one end of the spectrum. While there are Republicans who will stand in line for the scraps that Wolf mentions, we also have some who are far too quick to try to look too reasonable about the opposition when the cameras are turned on. In that case, they wind up essentially making the Democrats’ case for them by playing down things like the Hillary email story and amplifying our own issues.
The Evil Party vs the Stupid Party. Two will enter, one will leave.