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Thursday, October 20, 2016

During the first term of the next president of the United States, on August 18, 2020, we’ll mark the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. If the 2016 election is anything like 2012, women will be the majority of voters, and will — fittingly — decide the winner.

And if the gender gap remains as wide as it was in 2012, Republicans will have almost no chance of winning and reaping the extraordinary spoils of that victory, which could include the chance to appoint up to four members of the Supreme Court.

Needless to say, the prospect of facing Hillary Clinton, given these enormous obstacles and opportunities, gives Republicans fits as disturbing as Ted Cruz’s Winston Churchill impression.

The GOP isn’t running against Clinton as much as they are pre-impeaching her.

As with President Obama, there are many legitimate critiques to be made of Hillary Clinton — but Republicans aren’t making any of them. Using tactics they mastered in the ’90s, which mostly involve inventing crimes to investigate, and probing until the investigation manifests some wrongdoing, they are in search of some scandal without any ethical concern for how or why they find it.

Led by former House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), the GOP has unsuccessfully deployed this tactic on President Obama for years. As soon as Obama was re-elected, Clinton became the focus of a series of never-ending Benghazi investigations that uncovered serious errors, but no wrongdoing. The GOP blames the pointlessness of these inquiries on Issa’s incompetence, and now hopes that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will embarrass the party less.

The recent flap over Secretary Clinton’s emails poses some serious questions — but given Congress’ exemption from email laws, massive problems with lost emails during two Bush administrations, and Clinton’s likely opponents’ similar email problems, the larger issue seems to be that we need better retention and sunlight laws all around.

The GOP will do its best to prop up this scandal until it finds a juicier one. But they will likely not be able to obscure that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is historic in numerous ways.

1. She’s a woman and the “strongest non-incumbent” candidate since at least Eisenhower.
It’s rare for American voters to give a political party a third consecutive term in the White House. Since Franklin Roosevelt’s death it’s only happened twice, in 1988 and 2000 (although the Supreme Court decided not to let the winner of the popular vote and likely victor of the 2000 election take office).

Republicans should be the favorites, but none of their likely nominees leads “the strongest non-incumbent” in the polls—Clinton has polled more like an incumbent in recent surveys of a possible Democratic primary field. And she’s much stronger now than she was in 2008.

Republicans like William Kristol and Karl Rove aren’t pining for Clinton to have a primary opponent for the virtuous reasons that liberals would like to see one. They’re just praying that there’s some escape hatch that will give them their advantage back.

Democrats have every right to demand that Clinton continue the progressive advances of President Obama while leaving the foolhardiness of preemptive military aggression and the drug war behind. But Clinton has thus far “won” the primary by being strong and talented enough to dominate her semi-declared competitors and keep even stronger ones out of the running.

Arguments that Hillary benefits from a weak Democratic bench are ridiculous, notes Bloomberg‘s Jonathan Bernstein. “There’s Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, who is actually running,” he writes. “And Elizabeth Warren. And Andrew Cuomo, Al Franken, Tim Kaine, Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner. Oh, and Michael Bennet, Mike Beebe, Christine Gregoire, Maggie Hassan, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper and Deval Patrick.”

And all of these candidates are at least as strong as the GOP frontrunners. Two of them are leading Scott Walker — in Wisconsin.

2. She’s the most vetted candidate in living memory.
Only Thomas Jefferson — who became president after stints in the Continental Congress, as governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, and vice president — comes close to having spent as much time at the top rungs of American politics as Hillary Clinton. And that was during the birth of political parties.

After a decade serving as Arkansas’ First Lady — reportedly threatening to run for the office when her husband considered not seeking re-election — Clinton entered the national spotlight in 1992. And though the Clinton administration is now remembered for peace and prosperity, it was also the birthplace of the modern conservative scandal machine.

“If you think the endless Benghazi investigations are ridiculous, you should have been around then; if Bill Clinton wore the same tie two days in a row, Republicans would hold a week’s worth of hearings to investigate what he was covering up,” Paul Waldman wrote in The Week.

Whitewater, Travelgate, the tragic death of Vince Foster. All were “scandals” that only raised conservatives’ ire and wasted taxpayer money.

After her two terms as First Lady, she was elected to the U.S. Senate twice, then ran in one of the most competitive primaries ever. She was then appointed Secretary of State, and that’s when the investigations really began.

3. Republicans have been trying to destroy her for decades — and will never stop trying.
Washington Monthly‘s Ed Kilgore notes, “[T]here’s not much question Republicans are driven like candle-moths to the possibility the emails will give them fresh justification to pursue their precious: the shimmering fool’s gold of Benghazi!”

It should be noted that the GOP’s attempt to make a scandal out of Benghazi — given their reluctance to investigate 9/11 and absolute unwillingness to even admit that 220 Marines and 21 others were killed in Beirut during the Reagan administration — is the real scandal. It also makes little sense. Clinton and the Obama administration have admitted security lapses. The GOP’s fictionalized “stand down” orders make no sense. Yes, we want Americans killed months before an election!

It’s offensive to any adult’s intelligence and would never be tolerated in a nation that didn’t have ample conservative propaganda-spewing networks that need to prop it up.

4. The press is her fiercest primary opponent.
Voters want change, and many members of the media seem to share that opinion. Reporters keep writing about “Clinton Fatigue” because they may be the worst (and possibly only) victims of this obviously debilitating condition, as The Daily Kos’ Greg Dworkin has suggested.

The New York Times shut down its race beat this year, but it still hosts Maureen Dowd’s smearing invective against the Clintons. And with numerous “insiders” willing to give comments to the press that validate animosity toward the Clintons — “Look, she hates you. Period. That’s never going to change,” a Clinton “veteran” told Politico‘s Glenn Thrush — get ready for endless stories about how people are tired of Hillary, because that’s how much of the press obviously feels.

Somehow, though, it seems the public — which hasn’t had to cover the Clintons for decades — has built up an immunity to the GOP’s scurrilous scandalmongering.

Hopefully the press will actually consider the facts and the polls, which show her approval rating is higher than any Republican candidate’s. It’s also still above water, which is extremely rare in our polarized political environment. But her approval is nowhere as high as that of America’s most popular living politician.

5. She’s considered part of a dynasty, though she helped build her husband’s legacy.
Jeb Bush is a plutocrat who was born to a plutocrat. Does anyone believe the first political office he sought would have been governor if his name wasn’t Bush? As “Dynasty’s Son,” his ability to provide access to his father helped build his business and political career.

It’s easy to see Hillary Clinton benefiting from similar advantages, though she wasn’t born rich or powerful. But arguing that she’s in the tradition of dynastic politics is belied by the historic nature of her career. Her husband was assailed for suggesting that he considered his wife a “two for the price of one” asset in 1992, and she took a historic drubbing for championing health care reform. After she became the woman who came closest to winning her party’s nomination for the presidency, she and her husband then devoted themselves to electing her opponent twice, as she joined his cabinet.

How can you say her campaign is politics as usual when no other First Lady has ever entered political life?

Jeb Bush’s last name is his worst asset in a general election — though I’d bet his unbreakable bond to his brother will save him in his primary. Jeb’s net approval rating in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was -11, more than twice as bad as George W.’s -4, because conservatives still worship him for keeping us safe (if you don’t count 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina).

Mrs. Clinton’s rating is currently +8, and the man she’s been married to since 1975 is +30. That’s the incredible two-for-one deal that these two groundbreaking Americans have created for themselves.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the press after attending the annual Women’s Empowerment Principles event at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. The potential 2016 U.S. presidential contender defended her use of a personal email account for official communications, saying it was “for convenience.” (Niu Xiaolei/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)

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Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Dominick Vila

    Hillary Clinton has been a bull’s eye in the GOP cross hairs since her husband decided to run for President. The GOP recognized that Hillary is a formidable politician, with the attributes and qualifications needed to become a great President, many years ago, and they have never let go. From White Water, to Benghazi, to the use of personal accounts and a private server to send and receive e-mails, they have done everything they could to derail her candidacy and prevent the potential election of a female President.
    Has Hillary Clinton made mistakes? Of course, she would not be human if she hadn’t, but her mistakes pale in comparison to what what the leading Republican 2016 candidates have done and, most importantly, she has not violated any laws or deliberately undermined the authority of our institutions of government or the credibility of the United States.
    In addition to name recognition, a record, relevant experience, and academic qualifications, Hillary is admired and trusted, not only by women, but by most Americans…and the GOP knows it.

    • mike

      In 2007 the democratic party had two choices for their Presidential Candidates, one a women, the other a Black man. Both would be a first as President.
      Barack Obama, Black, articulate, smart, good looking, highly educated, who was going to transform America. No Red States, No Blue states all Purple. As far as accomplishments almost none, yes, elected to Illinois Legislature casting almost every vote “present”, was elected to US Senate and in his very short term had 0 accomplishments.
      Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill “womenizer” Clinton, a women, smart, highly educated, married, undistinguished first lady and 2 term US Senator. 0 accomplishments other than as an enabler to Bill. Below average campaigner. Later to become Sec. of State under Obama and again with 0 accomplishments. Reset on Russia-disaster, Libya-disaster. When Diane Sawyer asked what her accomplishments were as Sec. State, she changed the subject. She didn’t have an answer.
      So the democrats picked the Black man, whose lack of experience, poor decision making have put him in the same category of another well educated man Jimmy Carter. Hell in Carter is criticizing his Foreign Policy.
      And now the Democrats say it is Hilary’s time just because she is a women, thinking maybe we made a mistake in 2007, and nothing more! No accomplishments, other than the name Clinton. She has no record to run on that distinguish her from the others.
      The trust factor for Hillary is far from settled, will the other foot drop if she did or did not sign OF-109 when she left the State Department?? What is taking so long for the State Department to release the form, do we have a coverup in the makings. All it takes is pulling it out her personnel file and give it to the press. Isn’t transparency great?? Carvel said it best yesterday when he admitted that she set up her own server and email “so the likes of Louis Gohmert, couldn’t see her emails”. Her judgement and trustworthiness will be tested in the coming weeks. We don’t know for sure if she violated the law, but we do know she broke the rules and regulations of the State Department, Volume 5, Hand book 4 as to storage of documents.
      And if you don’t think the Powers that be aren’t about ready to panic, your crazy.

      • Dominick Vila

        Bill Clinton is a womenizer? Hillary is a women? “Your” crazy? Why don’t you learn how to write in English before you post?

        • mike

          Why don’t get your head out of your A$$. You can try and be dismissive all you want but the record is there. It is all about power between the two. Blow jobs next to the Oval Office, cigars used-not for smoking, and you think it means nothing. He lied to the American people.
          To ignore his many affairs is typical Dom.

          Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey! Bill Clinton

          Best Presidents ever!! You’ve got another load in your pants Dom.

          • InsideEye

            Bill Clinton should have been fired for jeardizing national security by womanizing . Look what happened to poor General Petraeus . The press, as usual, was covering for this bastard, POS.

          • Dominick Vila

            When I vote for a President, Congressman, Senator, Governor or anyone else, I do it based on their record, demonstrated performance, vision, and a subjective determination of whether or not they can strengthen our economy, create jobs, and do everything they can to protect our national security. Since I am an agnostic, leaning atheist, I am not too interested in spiritual or moral counseling from anyone, but if I was a religious person I suspect I would seek the help of a priest or minister…not a President. What the latter do with their personal life is none of my business. Anyway, if you find their personal behavior objectionable, you may want to add George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ike, JFK, Buchanan, and all the other national leaders that have engaged in extra marital affairs.

          • mike

            She has no record or proven performance.
            As to your last sentence, Bill’s behavior is relevant now as it was back in the “90’s, he got caught while in office and he lied to the American people, it is all on tape. Did you ever figure out the definition of “is”? And Hillary just kept enabling him.
            You should have thought of those, jobs, economy, etc., before you elected Obama.
            Hillary does not have a record, her candidacy is based on how smart she supposedly is and that she is a women.
            If you don’t think the democratic power brokers aren’t concerned you have more than one screw loose.
            Where are documents from the State Department?? You sure played your dismissive game again.
            No, just more of the Clinton Fatigue!!

          • CPAinNewYork

            Hillary Clinton is a sleazebag. I believe that if the Democrats are dumb enough to nominate her, the Republicans will win the election, provided they choose a moderate Republican, like Jeb Bush. They must avoid the hacks, like Boehner, Cruz, Ryan, the chinless one, etc.

          • Dominick Vila

            I disagree with the sleazebag description, but I agree that if Jeb Bush is the GOP nominee he will give Hillary a run for her money.
            BTW, are you aware of the dealings that Jeb had with very shady Cuban refugees in Little Havana? His intervention in the Schiavo case? Do you remember what he did to hand Florida to his older brother in 2000?

      • InsideEye

        These forms can be signed tomorrow and make her look as if she complied , it be lthe way government works , many inside corrections can be made to clear records. The longer one waits , the easier it is to expunge documents , look at the IRS scandal , on going ,till all documents are nullified . Been there and seen it . There has to be a whistleblower ,that if fired, can make money on a book about the situation . Go For It , Someone !!!

        • mike

          Isn’t the Obama admin. so transparent.
          One week after NY Times broke the story and yet the State Department still can’t come clean.
          If she had signed the documents and given all she was required to give at departure it would all be out. Or is this Obama not wanting her to run???

  • Leftout

    This is a contrived issue, recent survey have shown an 8% increase of female salaries over males in a younger subset of the population, since more women than males are opting for higher education. All professions that are structured as to qualifications ( teachers, nurses and other licensed groups, unions , military, with defined trainng criteria) they have similar starting pays. In other non government jobs , NO two people anywhere in the world have the the exact experience levels, and so salaries are based on what one can negotiate and a good dose of personality.

    The GOP certainly loves women as do Democrats……this issue is again utter ??? Non sense. Recent politics is based on pitting groups against each other and letting them think the other opponent is less mean spirited. These techniques are sooooo transparent, who would believe these tactics are other than playbook stuff.

    As for having a female in the White House, do we not have already an all in one mix currently. ?What in this mix is missing: male / female/ gay / etc, black / white, Melanesian, vegetarian ? origin unknown. How is that working out for you.?

    We need a regular hard working , drinking , asexual. Atheist , practical lay person That loves everyone and particularlly, loves America, the country that all hoped to come. And enjoy the fruits of hard labor,……. and not the only the fruits …..with no labor.

    • CrankyToo

      You and I have something in common… neither of us knows WTF you’re talking about.

      • Leftout

        It appeared as if people were more concerned about having a woman in the White House as no matter what , as opposed to a qualified candidate for the times.

        • CrankyToo

          Thanks for clarifying your position for me. It’s clear as mud now…

          • Leftout

            I guess you are cranky too. Do not crank so much.

          • CrankyToo

            Sorry, Squire. I don’t suffer fools very well.

        • Independent1

          “as opposed to a qualified candidate for the times.”

          Did you miss these comments in the article?

          2. She’s the most vetted candidate in living memory.
          Only Thomas Jefferson — who became president after stints in the Continental Congress, as governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, and vice president — comes close to having spent as much time at the top rungs of American politics as Hillary Clinton. And that was during the birth of political parties.

          After a decade serving as Arkansas’ First Lady — reportedly threatening to run for the office when her husband considered not seeking re-election.

          Hillary has forgotten more about how to govern, than all the worthless Republicans seeking to run against know all put together. But that’s not surprising given that Republicans as a rule, no absolutely nothing about how to run a government.

          And you really don’t have to look far to see that, as virtually every Republican run state is akin to a 3rd world nation in virtually every aspect aside from sucking money from its taxpayers into the pockets of the already wealthy.

          So, if you’re point was that the Democrats should be looking for a stronger candidate than Hillary based on qualifications, aside from being a female, that would be an impossible task as she’s by far qualifications wise, the strongest possible person to serve as president today, other than Bill and Barak Oama (without question the best president since Teddy Roosevelt aside possibly FDR).

          • InsideEye

            She is as vetted as Obama was by the Press. Only obfuscated stories come out about these two. There are many good candidates, Jim Webb, even Gov o Malley, solid executive experience, with no baggage, they tell it like it is . Hillary has No accomplishments , being elected in NY is no indication other than she stating herself ,as a non republican , and will win, it is a ceremonial post .her biggest foreign accomplishment is bringing the middle east to an Armageddon , which they themselves actually desire to happen so they can be exonerated by the Jewish – Christian , Jesus.

          • Independent1

            Sure there are a number of Democrats more qualified than any of the Republicans and the author of the article listed a lot of them. But other than that, your post is pure hogwash!! Being a Democrat in NY these days, is no guarantee of being elected!!

            And not one other Democrat has the extensive experience in government that Hillary has.

            Just look at the Republican from Long Island who just got kicked out for being a fraud after being elected twice and clearly being a crook/gangster!!

          • InsideEye

            One can say that republicans do get kicked out for misdeeds. Unfortunately political titles are more important than issues that require executive and management skills, even though it is government business. Being in office for a long duration does not mean that one has actually accomplished anything other than ride out their term, under the radar , in many cases and enjoy a good life style. Hillary has zero accomplishments, her experiences (time) in government is extensive.

          • Independent1

            Hillary has zero accomplishments, her experiences (time) in government is extensive.

            Again, total hogwash. Especially considering that the last 3 GOP presidents spent 28 years in office and accomplished absolutely zero in those 28 that has been positive for America. So, it appears, that even spending time in the oval office is no guarantee of tunnelvision people ever learning how to govern!!

            During her time as Secretary of State, Hillary did more in the way of improving America’s relations with other countries around the world than the last 5 SOSs combined. None of which really had any “real accomplishments”.

            And Hillary was never disengaged with the aspects of governing when she was first lady, not only of Arkansas, but also of America. And although the GOP was successful in trashing her efforts in trying to revamp America’s healthcare fiasco while Bill was president, I’ll assure you she learned a lot more about the ins and outs of how our congress and politics works than any of the clowns that are running for the GOP nomination.

            And similarly, although she may not have gotten any major legislation passed when she was a Senator, I’ll assure you that even during that time she learned a heck of a lot more about the workings of our federal government than any other potential GOP candidate and a number of those on the Democrat side.

            You don’t have to have sponsored a whole lot of bills to learn how our politics works. Look at some of the legislators from Texas for example that have been in Congress for over 20 years and haven’t gotten one bill passed or even co-sponsored one. Yet they kept getting re-elected. (In case you’re wondering – I’m thinking of Rand Paul’s dad who also thought he was qualified to be president and never accomplished anything while in Congress.)

          • InsideEye

            Now you have hit on the essentials of good governing. Do as little as possible in creating legislation, stalemate is best, no further laws are needed to be passed. The system works except when one branch thinks they have to do something for show. We don’t need more wars, laws or taxes. Politicians think that they have to grandstand and bring home money to their areas to get a grade. “Sit down and shut up” as gov Christie would say.
            We should vote for issues, roads to be built, education and healthcare for all via vouchers paid by a flat sales tax , everyone pays . No angst. No political labels, no PAC S. There is enough corrupt money in PACs to pay everyone’s premiums for free health insurance and A Retirement plan and most importantly- one AK47 for individual security as in Switzerland.

  • FT66

    It is good to go back and refer to history, BUT I think reporters nowadays don’t do their homework as it is supposed to be. Like in this article, the writer wrote: “It is rare for American voters to give a political party a Third consecutive term in the White House”. Are we living in those days when the most source of getting news was from reading the newspaper? Are the problems which existed that time the same as we have now? And if it was rare to give a Party a Third consecutive term in the White House, what was the use of going to vote then? Third, Forth, Fifth etc. etc. terms of one Party in the White House will continue. Until and unless the losing Party will learn their mistakes and rectify them as required.

    • Dominick Vila

      What would be rare is for voters to elect members of the party that were in control of the WH and Congress when 9/11 occurred, when we engaged in unfunded crusades carried out on false pretenses, the party whose tax policies and deregulation contributed to the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the party that destroyed the reputation of the USA by using torture, among other things.

  • Whatmeworry

    No question about it She rivals Barak as the least qualified to ever run with O accomplishments in her entire life

  • No question about it She exceeds Barack as the best qualified to ever run with many accomplishments in her entire life

  • fortunev

    The fact is that Hillary Clinton is so intellectually qualified, experienced, and knowlegeable compared to the dog meat rethug presidential candidates that it’s a joke considering the clown car with its blathering morons is even a viable alternative. What person is the most qualified to lead our country? The achievements of our great President Barack Obama are a natural leap forward with Hillary Rodham Clinton at the helm and a continuance of intelligent, progressive leadership. Not the lumbering, idiotic, backward vindictive thinking that characterize the regressive policies the opposition wants to impose on the country.

    • Independent1

      Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more!!

    • [email protected]

      I really cannot comprehend the people who are considered being candidates for President. If I had a Burger King I would not hire them to be night managers. I am not kidding.

      • fortunev

        Yet they have a cadre of stupids who vote for them and keep them in office. H.L. Mencken was right:
        *We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.*

      • fortunev

        Excluding Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, of course.

  • bernieo

    This may be nitpicking but Hillary “threatened” to run for governor?? The word is “considered”.

    You are right that Republican operatives started attacking her in advance because they fear having to run against her so they want a preemptive strike. That is a standard tactic for them – identify serious competition in advance then try to bring them down before they get traction. What far too many Democrats do not get is that no matter who runs Republicans will use any tactic to destroy them and that includes vicious lies. Which, sadly, the MSM will either downplay if they like our candidate or join in with if they don’t which is what they did to Gore.

    You are also right about the Clinton fatigue thing. Right now the media is criticizing Hillary for not yet declaring. Jeb has not declared, either, but that is no problem because he is an aristocratic Bush, I guess. How long after she declares do you think the “Clinton fatigue, the campaign season is too long” narrative starts? Bets, anyone?

    And thanks for tackling the dynasty stupidity. Both Clintons came from modest backgrounds, studied hard, got into elite universities and got to the top through intelligence and hard work. (Both Clintons are far above the Bushes in the smarts department and that includes Jeb – the smarter one. (Low standards, people.) The Bushes have been an elite power family going back the powerful oil executive Samuel P. Bush born in 1863. The Bush boys got where they are by using daddy’s powerful friends and the influence of their name. so the dynasty theme is another flaring example of media faux balance that sadly many Democrats buy into.

    Another faux balance narrative is the “money raising conflict of interest concerns”. The Clinton’s GLOBAL Foundation raises money from from dreaded furriners!!! Jeb is raising money for his campaign, not a charity, from all kinds of rich people but that is fine because they are Americans so they won’t expect any favors. Personally I like the fact that Hillary uses money from the Saudis to improve conditions for women and children, but Andrea Mitchell seems to have a problem with this.

    The “liberal” media is the biggest problem for Democrats. We all need to hammer the media – emails, phone calls, letters – whenever they play their game of double standards. We need to push them to report facts, not spin or conjecture (The Times’ reporting that Hillary “may” have broken the law – as if they could not have fact checked this before rushing to print. ) we also need to pressure them to report on important issues like TPP. You may think this will have no effect but Republicans have been getting their base to do this at least since the 80’s. Faux balance is the result. I have heard journalists admits it is intimidating even when they know there is an orchestrated campaign behind complaints.

  • [email protected]

    Well written article which will be interesting to read in the coming months. What I do not look forward to is the constant battle between the parties.