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Just days after C-SPAN began its Road to White House 2016, frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have begun blasting the woman they fear they may have to face in less than four years  — Hillary Clinton.

While House Republicans are intent on using the tragedy in Benghazi to engage in their ritual witch-hunt of any Democratic president who wins a second term, Paul and Rubio — along with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney — are intent on destroying the reputation of America’s most popular politician, likely in hopes of dissuading her from running.

Desperate, uncontainable fear of a Hillary candidacy is one of the few Republican policies that makes sense.

Last month, Clinton was leading Rubio by a 6-point margin — in Kentucky. Kentucky! Kentucky’s state bird is any bird that’s pooping on a Democrat. In the same poll, Clinton was tied with Rand Paul, who is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.

Since his drone filibuster earlier this year, Paul has rocketed to the top of the polls in the two states that will play a crucial role in deciding the next GOP nominee for president — Iowa and New Hampshire.

Paul’s advantages for 2016 include a political machine built by his father Ron, who sought the presidency for most of a decade, and a willingness to say just about anything in public. As news of revised talking points on Benghazi came out, Paul tweeted:

ABC’s Jon Karl, who reported the revisions, told Politico, “There’s no evidence that Hillary Clinton was aware of what was going on, or in any way tried to direct what was in these talking points.”

So to make a case against Clinton, Paul is blasting the former Secretary of State because she didn’t not respond personally to requests for more security. Based on Paul’s standard, Republicans in the House who cut nearly half a billion from State Department security shouldn’t hold office either.

It’s a crazy thing to suggest this disqualifies her for office but it wasn’t — by far — the craziest statement Rand Paul put his name on this week.

In an email to supporters, the junior senator from Kentucky uncovered a plot by “anti-American globalists” to limit the Second Amendment with a U.N. small-arms treaty. In a world full of complex, pressing issues, Paul is offering completely debunked science fiction to trick his followers into donating a few bucks.

Paul’s scaremongering about “globalists” only really makes sense to those who follow radio host Alex Jones, whose show Paul has appeared on several times. Jones is the truthiest truther who has ever truthed. He believes everything is a secret “false flag” plot, from suicidal fish to Newtown to the Boston bombing.

And who’s behind all these plots? Anti-American globalists, of course.

Paul’s paranoid populism is appealing to cable news, AM radio and Tea Partiers. And the monied interests that power the GOP love to see Paul dive-bombing into Clinton, but they know supporting a Paul candidacy would make 2016 look more like 2008 or 1964, a landslide that will set their movement back decades.

To win the White House, the GOP’s funders know they probably need a Bush or a plain-brand midwest Republican who can win a few blue states.

That’s why Larry Sabato’s renowned Crystal Ball sees the GOP’s top 2016 frontrunner as — you’re not going to believe this — Scott Walker (R-WI).


Walker promised to deliver 250,000 new jobs… instead he delivered about half that, along with a union-crushing, high-speed-rail-rejecting, Koch-loving assault on liberal values that drove his state from 11th to 44th in job creation.

New evidence suggests Walker’s secretive Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), which was supposed to create jobs, but has instead been acting as a piggybank for Walker’s cronies.

Madison’s The Cap Times called for an investigation into the WEDC, adding “[W]e think the greatest outrage should be reserved for the failure on the part of Walker and his appointees to bring even a minimal level of seriousness to the task of job creation.”

Despite this, Walker is still appealing to national Republicans, according to the Crystal Ball, for the following reasons:

—Midwest GOP gov. in Obama state
—Heroic conservative credentials
—Shown political durability

Basically, they love him because Democrats hate him — the chief credential for any GOP candidate.

Though Walker was able to withstand a recall by running against the idea of a recall, with his supporters massively outspending his opponents, he may not seek re-election in 2014.

Thus he’d retain the glow of defeating the left twice and not have to move to the center. This would position him to begin running for president about a year after Paul, Rubio and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have all begun to do so.

The GOP is stuck with either the increasingly nutty rantings of paranoiacs who see UN conspiracies everywhere — Paul and Cruz — or the chief purveyors of failed economic policies — Walker and Paul Ryan (R-WI).

(Or they can pick Rubio, whom half their party is trying to destroy for supporting immigration reform — or Chris Christie (R-NJ), who is about as popular with GOP primary voters as Michelle Obama.)

With this wealth of terrible options, you can bet that the GOP will continue harping on Benghazi endlessly, even though, as Democratic consultant Tom Bowen said, “The idea that one of the most popular secretaries of state to serve this country will be damaged by revisions of ‘talking points’ is foolhardy.”

Still, when the GOP is in doubt, nothing brings them together like attacking a Clinton.

Photo: Ready for Hillary Facebook page

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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