The “too big to fail” quote is a nice touch from the New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman, but they’re not the only people realizing that Hillary Clinton needs a bailout. The Washington Post’s Dan Balz notes the lack of competition — and therefore the lack of options — in the Democratic primary, and the panic that has begun to rise at the realization by Democrats of their predicament. As the Times’ trio points out, the “too big to fail” dynamic doesn’t apply only to the presidential race, either:
Congressional Democrats are counting on a strong Clinton campaign to help lift them back into the majority. Party leaders at all levels want her fund-raising help and demographic appeal. And from the top of the party to its grass roots, Mrs. Clinton’s pseudo-incumbency is papering over significant disadvantages: a weak bench, a long-term House minority and a white middle class defecting to the Republican Party faster than the Democrats’ hoped-for demographic future is expected to arrive.
Mrs. Clinton, many Democrats say, is simply too big to fail.
“There is no one else — she’s the whole plan,” said Sarah Kovner, a leading Democratic donor and fund-raiser in New York. “She is by far the most experienced and qualified person we could possibly nominate. Not even on the horizon but on the far horizon.”
Ahem. What, pray tell, are the experience and qualifications of which they speak? Hillary was First Lady for eight years, a position with no official duties or responsibilities. She served eight unremarkable years in the US Senate outside of leadership, and then four disastrous years as Secretary of State. During the latter period, Hillary got suckered by Russia, led the dismantling of Libya into a failed state where terrorist networks openly operate (and nearly succeeded in conducting a coup in nearby Mali), approved the substandard security in our facility in Benghazi which ended up costing four American lives. Since her early 2013 departure from State, Hillary has not offered her leadership on any issue; she’s only poked her head into the media tent to fumble a book tour last summer and to offer outright lies about the e-mail server on Tuesday.
If,as Kovner states, Democrats have no one with more qualifications than that now or “on the far horizon,” they are in very deep trouble. Philip Rucker and Paul Kane report that Democrats believe it, and that’s why they’re panicking at Hillary’s baggage and incompetence:
Some Democrats said Clinton’s initial refusal to provide answers in the growing e-mail controversy smacked of arrogance and a worrisome bunker mentality — and that the controversy was a self-inflicted wound.
“Had this story been responded to in two or three days instead of in eight days, it would not be as big,” said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary under President Obama. “They are the ones who put air in this balloon in a way that was not necessary at all. . . . It’s clear they lack an apparatus. She’s a candidate without a campaign.” …
William M. Daley, an influential Chicago Democrat who served as White House chief of staff during Obama’s first term, said he thinks Clinton “stopped the bleeding” with her news conference. But he acknowledged that neither her performance nor her continued strength in polling have calmed agita among Democratic elites.
“There’s a disconnect between her standing right now and this Democratic chattering class of nervousness,” Daley said. Asked how she might convince leaders in her party that the controversy is in the rearview mirror, he said: “Assure Democrats there can’t be another flare-up? She can’t do that.”
Even the worry here is misplaced. They assume that the problem relates to a lack of organization on Hillary’s part, combined with bad timing. This is an amazing level of denial. Her 2008 campaign and the book tour last summer made it plain what the problem is: Hillary herself. She’s a political mediocrity at best, one with tons of baggage of her own making. The 2008 campaign was hers to lose too, and she managed to lose it to a one-term Senate backbencher who out-organized her. The book tour should have been a layup, but Hillary fell on her face by claiming victimhood status to the point of poverty.
Hillary Clinton’s arrogance rises to the level of monarchism, and that was made clear in Tuesday’s press conference, as I argue in my column for The Fiscal Times. She wants a coronation, and so far Democrats seem desperate to give her one:
From the very start of her remarks, Clinton insisted that the decision to use her own homebrew e-mail server, located in the family home in Chappaqua, New York, put her convenience above the Federal Records Act and the need to provide adequate security for State Department communications. “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account,” Clinton said in her opening statement, “because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”
Never mind that just two weeks earlier, Clinton had bragged about carrying multiple devices wherever she traveled. Never mind that under her direction, State had fired Ambassador Scott Gration in 2012, partly for trying to set up his own Internet connection to allow access to his private e-mail account. And never mind that gaining access to the communications of a Secretary of State would be a Holy Grail for hackers and intelligence agencies. Compliance with the same standard that the State Department and the White House imposed on everyone else was just too inconvenient for Hillary Clinton. …
Hillary Clinton gave the clearest possible demonstration of her contempt for oversight and accountability when asked about the server itself. This system might still hold the e-mails that didn’t go to State – 30,000 or more supposedly personal e-mails over four years, or roughly twenty-one personal e-mails a day – either in preserved form or recoverable from the hard drive. When asked whether she would make it available to “an independent arbiter, Clinton refused. “I believe I have met all of my responsibilities,” she replied, “and the server will remain private.”
Clinton could have defused the issue, or at least mitigated it somewhat, by offering a self-deprecating apology for having imposed standards on others that she didn’t follow for herself, and a pledge to allow an independent authority to vet her e-mail system. Instead, Clinton offered a haughty and imperious sneer to legitimate questions about her actions as a public figure, along with a message that might be most politely translated as pound sand. …
It’s not the circus. It’s a pretender to American royalty, demanding her coronation, and this is exactly what we can expect if Democrats are foolish enough to nominate her in 2016.
Not everyone on the Left lives in denial on this point. Greg Sargent wants a competitive primary:
I suspect most Democratic voters and activists want to hear a spirited debate about Clinton’s emails; in fact, such a debate among Democrats could be more illuminating than whatever results from Republican criticism of her over it, which is likely to be polluted by overreach.
More broadly, there are plenty of other topics important to Democratic voters that would benefit from a good debate between Clinton and one or more challengers: The massive trade deals that Obama is currently negotiating, which will likely be opposed by major constituencies within the Democratic party. The desire by some high profile Democratic lawmakers and activists to see Social Security expanded, rather than cut (as Obama has flirted with doing). Obama’s too-vague and too-broad request for authorization for the use of military force against ISIS, which will have ramifications for the next presidency. The possible nuclear deal with Iran, a topic on which Clinton has been vague. And so on.
The alternative to a real primary is a year and a half dominated by the aforementioned Hillary-versus-the-media death struggle.
Well, I don’t think Democrats have to worry too much about the latter. Sooner rather than later, the media will make this all about how the GOP is “polluted by overreach,” which is the easy out for national media when it comes to scandals among Democrats. (Case in point: political hysteria over a letter and a speech in Congress as opposed to the horrendous and actually dangerous deal Obama is cooking up with Iran.) When Democrats put up an unchallenged political mediocrity who embodies the worst of establishment and dynastic entitlement against a fresh Republican face in November 2016, that denial won’t last too long.