Monday, February 22, 2016

Clinton Can Withstand the GOP’s Attack Machine

As other posts have indicated, the number one question Democrats need to be asking themselves is which candidate can win in November and stand up to what will no doubt be a vicious and lie-filled Republican campaign.  There is too much at risk, especially the Supreme Court, to nominate a candidate that will not win.  A piece in the Boston Globe looks at this issue and makes the case that Hillary Clinton is best equipped to stand up to the GOP's coming assault.  Here are excerpts:

[W]e are still just in the early days of one of the most fascinating, unpredictable presidential elections in generations. But it’s not too soon for Democratic voters to take seriously the fact that this process ultimately serves up a party nominee. A key part of that decision has to be which nominee can best compete with the Republicans to hold the White House?

It’s understandable that so many young people find Bernie Sanders’ message of economic and political fairness appealing. But many of them may not be familiar enough with recent political history to sense the huge risk that Democrats would be taking by nominating Sanders.

We could not only lose the presidency, but also hand over the entire government to an increasingly extreme Republican party. And having Congress, the president, and ultimately the Supreme Court under Republican control would make this a vastly different country.

The stakes are profound: an effective approach to engaging with allies on combatting terrorism; protecting individual rights and liberties; addressing climate change, income inequality, poverty.
Democratic primary voters need to use their heads — as well as their hearts — to pick a nominee who can win. We need to be ready for the kind of campaign that Republicans are sure to wage. 

Having been in the firing line twice — for Governor Mike Dukakis in 1988 and for then-Senator John Kerry in 2004 — I feel obliged to share some lessons.

The day the Democratic nominee becomes obvious, the Republican attack machine will spring into action. Those who have not experienced this at the national level can barely imagine its ferocity. And, too often, these attacks have worked.

We have no way to know whether Sanders can handle such a full-throated and coordinated assault. He has never remotely been tested at the national level. To date, he has campaigned effectively in two small states. Addressing the entire country with an actively engaged and hostile opposition is a very different — and daunting — task.

And make no mistake: A Sanders nomination would offer the GOP a target-rich environment. His self-proclaimed socialism, his support for higher income taxes, his policy toward Iran, and his trillions in proposed new spending are ripe targets for attack — and distortion. Nor will the GOP attack machine limit itself to ruthless and unfair criticisms of Sanders’ policy prescriptions. It will go after the man himself — aiming to make him look weak, un-American, old, and incapable of dealing with a dangerous world.

After years of enduring extreme scrutiny, Hillary Clinton has convinced a majority of Americans that she has the intellect, stature, and temperament to do the job. She has faced up to — and successfully faced down — decades of right-wing assaults, many of them false. She is battle-tested. She doesn’t fold under pressure. Republicans won’t get away with running a “swift-boat” into her candidacy.

Voters clearly want to send a strong message in 2016. The single best way to do that would be to elect our first woman president, a lifelong champion of progressive causes, a fighter who will give as good as she gets. The choice is clear.

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