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Friday, May 01, 2015
It's Not About Hillary's Scandals: It's Her Ideas!

It's Not About Hillary's Scandals: It's Her Ideas!

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks after being inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame in New York, March 16, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Republicans haven't laid a glove on Hillary Clinton yet, because, to paraphrase James Carville, Mrs. Clinton's longtime chief apologist, "It's not about Hillary's scandals: It's her ideas stupid!"

To defeat Hillary Clinton Republicans should be challenging and campaigning against her policies – yet they remain fixated on attacking her at what may be her strongest point – the ability to weather a crisis.

Yes, the mindboggling revelations about the venality, conflicts of interest and prima facie illegal conduct by Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State set forth in Peter Schweizer's new book Clinton Cash would have driven any Republican from the presidential race and straight into an interview room at their local U.S. Attorney's office.

There would have been a stampede of donors disavowing such a Republican candidate and a legion of elected officials and others withdrawing their endorsements, while the conservative pundit class would have demanded the candidate's head on a platter.

But Democrats do not think like Republicans.

As far as we can tell the revelations in Clinton Cash have cost Hillary only the support of a few obscure Democratic-leaning donors, while 28 of 44 sitting Democratic Senators, including the Senate Judiciary Committee's Ranking Member, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have now endorsed her.

Likewise, 60 out of 188 Democratic House members have announced they back Mrs. Clinton and none have withdrawn their endorsements in the wake of the revelations in Schweizer's book.

Establishment Republicans can't grasp that while the Clintons and their team are terrible at crisis avoidance, they wrote the book on how to weather a scandal – it's what they do every day, and they do it better than anyone.

Bill Clinton was on the verge of an expected victory in New Hampshire, when his campaign faced the biggest media feeding frenzy of the 1992 presidential campaign cycle. As The Washington Post put it ever so delicately, "allegations arose of an extramarital affair with Arkansas state employee and cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers."

Clinton faced down the press with a series of boldfaced lies and went on to defeat incumbent establishment Republican President George H.W. Bush whose acknowledged heroism in World War II and veneer of old fashioned New England Protestant rectitude gained him not a single vote he didn't already have.

The reason Bush lost was not a shortage of Clinton scandal – it was a failure to draw a clear conservative contrast with what the election of Bill Clinton might mean; "giving" Americans health care, more taxes, more spending – in short the policies that promptly handed control of Congress over to Republicans in the very next election.

The Republican establishment, who remain fixated on Hillary Clinton's scandals, seem immune to history.

They just can't grasp that scandalmongering isn't going to defeat Hillary Clinton. Scandals are a part of the Clinton package that has already been accepted by Hillary's base in the Democratic Party and they will be old news to general election voters when they come around to making a decision in November 2016.

Does that means Republicans should ignore the scandals – no, of course not.

But it does mean that Republicans must stop treating them like a silver bullet and start telling voters what the election of Hillary Clinton would mean, and drawing a sharp and clear contrast between conservative policies and those far-Left policies upon which Hillary Clinton is already campaigning.

First, and most importantly, Republicans ought to be asking if voters really want the third term of the disastrous Obama presidency.

Mrs. Clinton supports Obama's unconstitutional use of executive power to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Those who have expressed fear for the future of constitutional government under Obama ought to be in abject terror at the thought of Hillary Clinton with unfettered executive power. Yet the Republican establishment has not made the use of executive power an issue, no doubt because they secretly support the amnesty for illegal aliens that Obama's use of executive power has achieved.

Mrs. Clinton is also a firm believer in manmade global warming or "climate change" saying, "The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say; sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc."

This would appear to lead her to support any number of policies that would wreak further havoc on the U.S. economy, particularly in coal country and the coal-dependent Midwest. But the Republican establishment hasn't said a word against Clinton in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio – key presidential election states where her policies would send thousands, if not millions, to the unemployment lines and drive up electricity prices for those who did still have jobs.

Finally, Hillary Clinton has firmly embraced the far-Left social agenda on same-sex marriage, abortion and the purging of religious belief from the public square. The delegates to the 2012 Democratic Convention who booed mention of God and purged religious references from the Democratic Party Platform are the core of Mrs. Clinton's base.

These far-Left secular liberals are so far out of sync with majority opinion in America it's as if they were on another planet.

Yet the Republican establishment has failed to stand for religious liberty and against liberal bigotry against believers every time it has been put to the test. In Indiana and Arkansas, establishment Republican Governors, including Indiana's Mike Pence who some conservatives saw as a potential presidential candidate, quickly caved when challenged by the secular-Left on state religious freedom legislation.

These are just three of many areas where Republicans have given Hillary Clinton a pass on her truly radical ideas and policies – and instead played to her strongest point – the ability to weather a crisis.

Republicans never win the big national elections unless they draw a clear contrast between the conservative worldview and the liberal Democratic worldview. And when they run content-free campaigns or worse yet, campaign as Democrats-lite, they almost always lose.

Unfortunately, as things stand right now the Republican establishment is stuck on talking about Mrs. Clinton's scandals, rather than drawing a clear conservative contrast between her far-Left progressive worldview and the conservative worldview. Perhaps this is because on all too many issues they, and their preferred candidate Jeb Bush, have embraced policies that are strikingly similar to Mrs. Clinton's.

Republicans hungry for victory in 2016 should take history as their guide and recognize that scandalmongering while running a Hillary-lite candidate is sure to put the real thing in the White House.

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