While things on the GOP side of the aisle in presidential campaigns can only be described as insane, on the Democrat side, there is unexpected turmoil and Hillary Clinton's cake walk to the party nomination is seemingly burned to a crisp. The result is what some describe as panic in the Clinton campaign as attempts are made to figure out what went wrong. Here are highlights from one piece that argues that Hillary's problems stem from her own actions and bad choices, both past - e.g., the freaking private e-mail server - and present:
Panic now grips the Clinton campaign. Polls show Bernie Sanders surging to a dramatic lead in New Hampshire and closing in Iowa. The Washington Post reports that Hillary's national numbers are dropping faster now than they did in 2008. The Clinton campaign has started throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Sanders, with the gutter award captured, thus far, by Senator Claire McCaskill who smeared him with the "hammer and sickle," transparently attributing the red-baiting to future Republican attacks of her own imagination.But the question isn't what's wrong with Bernie -- he's soaring beyond all expectations. The question is what's wrong with Hillary? She has universal name recognition, unparalleled experience, the support of the big money and the political gatekeepers, the Hollywood glitz, the best political operatives, the pollsters, the ad makers, the establishment policy mavens, and political press coverage. Having learned from 2008, she's got the best ground operation in the history of Iowa caucuses that still may rescue her there. But she's sinking rapidly against a 73-year-old political maverick who is still just introducing himself to the American people.Already the inevitable Clinton circular firing squad has begun firing its salvos: We should have gone negative on Bernie earlier. We should have used Bill more... or less. We shouldn't have bet the house on the first four primaries. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.Inevitably, any Clinton campaign carries a lot of baggage that simply has to be overcome. . . . What is plaguing the Clinton campaign are less the sins of the past than the strategic choices of the present -- particularly her decision to be the candidate of big money.Her ability to raise money helped scare away other potential contenders. Her continued commitment to this path is symbolized by the $33,400 a plate dinner Warren Buffet is hosting for her in Washington, D.C. on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. People who can afford $33,400 for one seat at the table aren't exactly the working people Hillary claims to champion.Sanders, of course, made a different decision. . . . . He doesn't have anything like a traditional campaign fundraising operation. That independence gives both force and integrity to his core message that it is time to take back our democracy from the "billionaire class," the entrenched interests, and the Wall Street banksters.Clinton argues that she favors fundamental campaign finance reform, but she can't "unilaterally disarm." Deep pocket Republicans are amassing huge war chests to assault her. She has to be armed with big money to defend herself.But in doing so, Clinton "unilaterally disarmed" her own credibility. The Clinton family foundation and the family fortune have been built with large contributions and lavish "speaking fees," significantly from the biggest financial interests in the country. Wall Street made Hillary herself a millionaire . . . .The result is corrosive. When Clinton insists that her Wall Street reforms are far tougher than those of Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, it rings false. She attacks Sanders for supporting Medicare for All which naturally is the bête noire of the private health insurance and drug companies.When Sanders invoked the $600,000 Clinton received from Goldman Sachs alone in speaking fees (a bank that just agreed to pay $5 billion essentially for mortgage fraud) in the last debate, her only defense was to suggest that a similar criticism would apply to Barack Obama who also raised money from Wall Street.This helps explain the remarkable excitement that Sanders has generated among the young. He passionately champions popular big reforms -- tuition free college, a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all, a bold climate change agenda, breaking up the big banks and more. And his integrity and credibility are affirmed by his commitment to funding his campaign with the support of millions of citizens, not the big money of special interests.As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post notes, Hillary's credibility gulf also undermines her argument about "electability." Democrats have a natural majority among the electorate, but only if they turn out. Even the Clinton campaign has been worried about whether HRC can generate the excitement among the rising American electorate to get them to the polls. Now, they worry about whether Sanders will generate so much excitement that he will flood the Iowa caucuses and primaries with a wave of new voters.
There's more. Ultimately, the issue is one of electing a Democrat in November. Either Hillary or Bernie will be light years better than any of the GOP contenders, all of whom would lessen my - and may other people's - legal rights.