Even though Hillary Clinton has not announced a presidential run, the Bill and Hillary haters are already squeezing forth their old venom, trying to poison the wells.
A recent anti-Hillary salvo comes from presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who indulged in a despicable “guilt-by-association” tactic, trying to smear Hillary because of husband Bill’s tawdry affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Republicans are afraid of Hillary because they know she has ranked highly, in poll after poll, as one of the most admired women in the world. Of course, cynics note one reason she may be so popular is she has not been in the running, yet, for the presidency. Just the same, Republicans think she just might destroy any chances of a Republican being elected as president in 2016. Many view Hillary as a Goliath that must be stopped by a David or an entire army of little Republican Davids.
And, thus, the onslaught has begun. What’s almost amusing is this time around their slings and arrows are likely to backfire and boomerang right back into the faces of the Hillary haters.
Good rational Republicans have been warning for several years the Republican Party has become fractured and disunified – pulled apart like Turkish taffy by radical, obstructionist Tea Party forces on the far right. It’s widely acknowledged Mitt Romney lost his bid for the presidency because his elitist attitudes did not jibe well with most voters – mainly Afro-Americans, Hispanics, women and the economically disenfranchised. With every passing year, too many Republicans continue, almost gleefully, to alienate those voters, and several caveman candidates were so despicably anti-women, they were soundly drubbed in the last elections.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has warned the party it must broaden its tent to welcome all people and to address universal concerns. In most quarters, that call for unity has fallen flat. In fact, Priebus himself has been known to ignore his own advice, such as when he blamed the shutdown of the WW II Veterans’ monument on President Obama rather than the Tea Party obstructionists who forced a government shutdown.
Those kind of tactics and antediluvian attitudes are not winning strategies; they are a virtual guarantee of more failures to come.
Because both Clintons are so popular these days, it’s easy to forget how some Clinton haters whipped up such a frenzy of charges, rumors and lies against them during their years in the White House. They were accused of complicity in the murder of friend and aider Vince Foster who, in fact, committed suicide. They cooked up and investigated charges Hillary had been embroiled in legal and fiscal corruption in Arkansas. They constantly tried to paint Hillary as a version of Lady Macbeth, a power-mad wench working behind the scenes. They excoriated her for chairing a health-care reform committee. When she demonstrated intelligence, insight and resolve, they called her pushy, aggressive and power-hungry.
In recent years, these desperadoes have transferred their contempt for the Clintons to hatred of Obama. But make no mistake: Those old hatreds will explode again like firebombs if and when Hillary announces her candidacy. And the old hatreds and baseless accusations are not going to “stick” with a critical mass of voters, no matter how much the Koch brothers spend on smear ads. It could be voters won’t want another Bush (Jeb) or Clinton (Hillary); they might opt for someone with a new last name. On the other hand, plenty of voters would be happy to see not one but two Clintons back in the White House so this country could get back on track again.
A reasonable Republican candidate, advocating rational mainstream policies, could well win the next presidential election. But where is such a contender? That bright hope, Chris Christie, has been tarnished if not ruined. A viable Republican candidate will have to be in step with the progress of history, not a reactionary backslider. If we keep getting more extremists and Hillary haters, stuck in the stale past of discredited accusations, their nonsense will ensure the White House once again remains a receding mirage for Republicans. And Hillary, if she’s in the race, will almost certainly win.