Which of the major party nominees gets more vindictive when crossed in politics? “Man, that’s a tough question,” Face the Nation host John Dickerson told Hugh Hewitt this morning, and makes it clear that both candidates have that reputation. It’s Hillary Clinton by a nose over Donald Trump, Dickerson decides, but only because The Donald tends to let grudges go more quickly:
HH: Who do you think would be more vindictive toward their political enemies, Trump or Clinton?
JD: Oooh, man, I don’t — I don’t know. I think, ah, I think Clinton. Trump is very tough on those he does not like, as I know, but he gets over it. And now having said that also — but I also think about some of the people who’s now supporting Hillary Clinton who supported Obama last time, and where there were really hard feelings, and now she’s working in sync with them. So … man, that’s a good … that’s a tough question.
HH: I think it’s Clinton. I think your first instinct was right.
Hugh’s question probably won’t ingratiate Dickerson with either campaign. You can almost feel the gee thanks Hugh coming through Dickerson’s answer, but that comes with the territory.
At least from what we’ve seen on the campaign trail (and Trump’s lengthy record as a public persona), the Republican presumptive nominee’s grudges tend to be mercurial and easily resolved … once the ring has been kissed. Privately, it might be another matter, but his political grudges tend to be brief but very public affairs. Trump might call people all sorts of names in public while competing with them or being criticized by them, but a friendly word will result in a head-spinning turnaround. One wonders whether Trump sees these people as political enemies at all, or just opportunities to underscore his stature as top dog.
The Clintons, on the other hand, have long memories. Dickerson’s correct that Hillary is now working with people who backed Obama in 2008, but she had little choice if she wanted to run for the nomination in this cycle, too. The Clintons and Obamas patched up their relationships enough to work together, but that was transactional as well — Hillary needed to have a serious role in the administration to set up another run for president, and she got out when she had the opportunity.
Dickerson’s first instinct is almost certainly correct. Get on Donald’s bad side and you’ll end up spending a short time in a firestorm of personal attacks. Get on Hillary’s bad side, and prepare to spend a long, long time out in the cold … unless she needs you for something.