Friday, May 15, 2015

The GOP Clown Car: A Gift to Hillary Clinton

Despite the efforts of the right wing pundits to slime her - and liberal policies in general - to date the GOP attacks don't seem to be gaining much traction and, if anything, Hillary looks better and better simply because she is not one of the occupants of the GOP clown car of presidential contenders, declared or not.  The prospects of just how insane the GOP candidates will become as they pander to the evangelical voters in Iowa and South Carolina must be putting a smile on Hillary's face.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the phenomenon.  Here are excerpts:
At this point in the campaign, do you see the Republican presidential hopeful who’s going to beat Hillary Clinton? I didn’t think so.

Not if what we’re watching now is the best the GOP can do. Maybe a thoroughbred will emerge from the coming debates, assuming the party finds a way to cram all the candidates onto the same stage. So far, however, most of the GOP field seems to be in a contest to make the likely Democratic nominee look better. Jeb Bush has been the biggest disappointment. It’s one thing to be rusty after spending a few years away from politics — indeed, Clinton’s handling of her e-mail controversy was less than balletic. But Bush shows no sign of having given more than a passing thought to the central challenge he faces in reaching the White House: the fact that his brother got there first and made a mess of things.

This week, Jeb Bush struggled to deal with his brother’s biggest Middle East blunder: the invasion of Iraq. He sounded as if it had never occurred to him that someone might raise the subject.

Mistakes were definitely made in that answer, and other GOP contenders quickly piled on. Sen. Ten Cruz of Texas said that “of course” he would not have invaded, because “the entire predicate of the war against Iraq was the intelligence that showed they had weapons of mass destruction and that there was a real risk they might use them.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that “I don’t think you can honestly say that, if we knew then that there was no WMD, that the country should have gone to war.” Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said that it was “a real problem if [Bush] can’t articulate what he would have done differently” and that “I thought the war, even at the time, was a mistake.”

How could he not anticipate that his brother’s and father’s presidencies might occasionally come up? How could he not formulate talking points on Iraq, commit them to memory and practice his delivery until they became pure reflex? Either Bush learns to deal with these dynasty questions, or the dynasty ends.

But hardly anyone is getting anything that looks like traction. There are far too many contestants to mention them all, but let’s start with Cruz, Paul and Christie, who remain stuck in the single digits in most polls. The same is true of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson got a bump from his formal announcement, but since he has never held elective office and believes Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery, I’m betting his prospects are limited.

This leaves a top tier of Bush, who can’t get out of his own way; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who seems to be fading; and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the flavor of the month, who hopes to win by propounding a robust, interventionist, Bush-like foreign policy, but without the whole Iraq part.

GOP to Hillary Clinton: Have a nice summer.

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