We’ve been pointing that out for months, but Democrats can be forgiven for not taking our word for it. They may not be forgiven for putting all of their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket, though, after months of watching the presumed nominee proving that her fumble of a certain nomination in 2008 was no fluke. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza hears from Democrats that they’ve begun to see Hillary as an albatross, but with no other options on the horizon, they’re lost as to how to handle it:
Increasingly, Democrats — privately, of course — have begun to wonder whether the problem is not the campaign but the candidate.
“She has always been awkward and uninspiring on the stump,” said one senior Democratic consultant granted anonymity to candidly assess Clinton’s candidacy. “Hillary has Bill’s baggage and now her own as secretary of state — without Bill’s personality, eloquence or warmth.”
That same consultant added that he expected Clinton to easily win the Democratic nomination despite her weaknesses. “None of her primary opponents this time are Obama,” the consultant said. “Each lacks the skills, message and charisma to derail this train unless she implodes.”
But. “The general [election] is another question.”
The latest round of hand-wringing got an adrenaline-panic boost after Democrats watched Hillary’s attempt at stand-up comedy in Iowa. Making cracks about disappearing messages turned out not to be a winner, not even among the cheering sections:
That sentiment was echoed repeatedly in a series of conversations I had over the past few days with Democratic strategists and consultants not aligned with Clinton or her campaign. And it’s evident anecdotally as well. Clinton’s decision to make light of her e-mail problems — she joked that she liked Snapchat because the messages disappear automatically — during a speech at a Democratic event in Iowa over the weekend rubbed lots of people in the party the wrong way.
“The combination of messy facts, messy campaign operation and an awkward candidate reading terrible lines or worse jokes from a prompter is very scary,” admitted one unaligned senior Democratic operative.
Apparently, none of the Democrats interviewed by Cillizza see Bernie Sanders as a viable option. Why not? He’s pulling massive crowds, not too dissimilar to Barack Obama eight years ago when Hillary tried this the first time. Presumably, they see the dangers of offering a declared socialist as the party’s standard-bearer without any of the mitigating rhetorical and demographic advantages that Obama brought to the party in 2007-8. Sanders might be drawing crowds now, but those crowds are not likely to change election outcomes — and Sanders’ hard-Left ideology will almost certainly lose voters in the middle.
That leaves Democrats with few options, but they’d better not look to Obama administration officials for a rescue. The latest developments from the State Department on Philippe Reines’ e-mails makes it clear that Hillary is not the alpha and omega of cover-ups in this administration, as I argue in my column today for The Week:
This is a really big deal. Until now, the transparency and honesty issue has focused solely on Hillary Clinton. However, by early 2013, Clinton had left the State Department. John Kerry had taken over as secretary of state. If the lack of transparency was limited to the State Department under Hillary Clinton’s direction, then why did it continue under Kerry — and in such an obviously clumsy way?
It is entirely possible, and frankly likely, that the lack of transparency didn’t start and end with Hillary Clinton, although she may have pushed it to the point of damaging national security. Though liberals are loathe to admit it, the Obama administration has too often suppressed transparency, be it the Department of Justice in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal or the IRS or now the State Department.
And because of that, Clinton’s scandal could stick to the two men getting the most mention as possible emergency replacements for her in the Democratic primary. John Kerry’s State Department seemed perfectly willing to hide Clinton’s potential issues from public oversight. How could he take the 2016 mantle from her? And if Joe Biden ran for president, the argument for his candidacy would explicitly rest on continuity from the Obama years — years in which those in power tried to manipulate courts and avoid legitimate oversight.
If this scandal gets any worse, Democrats may have no one left to rescue them from a disaster of their own making.
After the release of the video from this exchange with Black Lives Matter activists, expect that panic to increase exponentially.