Michael Reagan is asking Democrats to lay off Hillary so that Republicans can have another go at her. I say to Republicans, beware of the “Blue Dress Democrats” and the Clinton effect.
Reagan recently wrote, “I know you Democrats don't want to do us Republicans any favors, but just this once let us have our way. Give us the opportunity to give the Republican attack machine another shot at Hillary Clinton. Let her coast to victory in the primaries. Then we'll take it from there.”
It appears, barring some spectacular development, that Hillary Clinton will most likely be the Democrats’ choice in 2008. I am not so sure that Michael Reagan and other Republicans should be celebrating that prospect though.
There are certainly plenty of skeletons in Hillary Clinton’s closet. Just off the top of my head, I remember the Whitewater billing records, the White House travel office firings, the harassment of women so callously referred to as “bimbo eruptions,” the FALN terrorist group pardons, and recently, the Norman Hsu campaign contributions. In addition to those matters, Clinton has problems with her high profile failure to come up with a reasonable health care proposal during her husband’s term and, on her own side of the aisle, with her various positions as a Senator on the war in Iraq.
All of these matters are already well known though. At least they are well known to the media covering the presidential election. It is true that many of the pesky, unattractive details are not known to the public. It is unlikely though, that the media will see any reason to revisit those issues and give the public any more information than they already have on those matters.
When Hillary ran for the Senate in New York we were told the tough New York press would pounce on her and show her no mercy. We learned that the New York press is not so tough when it comes to questioning Clintons. Just think of the media coverage Hillary has received so far in the presidential race. Many of the interviews, particularly the ones on the highly rated morning talk shows, look more like infomercials than interviews. There is no reason to believe any interviews done after she wins the nomination will be any less friendly than the ones she has done already.
When Republicans step in to fill the role the media has neglected and remind the public of Hillary’s skeletons, they will be slammed as negative right wing conspirators. Or Neanderthal cavemen afraid of a powerful woman. Or Clinton haters – that one worked particularly well for Bill.
Michael Reagan wrote “Republicans want to have the honor of exploiting the lady's negatives for all the world to see. She likes to boast that she has faced the worst the so-called Republican attack machine can throw at her and has survived. Let me tell you, she ain't seen nothing yet. We have long memories and a huge arsenal of ammunition to fire at her when the time comes.”
He is absolutely right about that. There is plenty of ammunition there and there are many Republicans who would genuinely enjoy it, too. But even if the “attack machine” did a first rate job of revealing every questionable, unethical or illegal thing Hillary Clinton had either said or done, I doubt it would make a difference. Or at least not the difference Republicans would like.
She is about as well known as a person can be and those who know her love her or they hate her. What the Republicans would reap in bad media for going back into Clinton attack mode would far exceed any benefits gained from exposing the details of the various Clinton scandals.
Jack Kemp at The American Thinker recently said the following about a comment he read at Lucianne.com, “You've heard of Blue Dog Democrats? Now we have Clinton-supporting Blue Dress (of Monica Lewinsky fame) Democrats who will vote for Hillary and the return of Bubba to power.”
Just remember, were it not for the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal, Hillary Clinton would almost certainly not be sitting in the U.S. Senate today. The Clintons seem to flourish in the midst of scandal. Hillary is currently unable to hit 50 percent in national polls and she will very likely hurt the chances of some down ballot Democrats, especially in the South, if she is the nominee.
I would not be surprised if the one thing that could actually help Hillary break that 50 percent mark, though, is a high profile attack machine for her to run against. If she could play victim to a Ken Starr figure again there is no telling how many percentage points she might pick up. Don’t underestimate the power of the Blue Dress Democrats and the ability of a Clinton to turn a scandal into an advantage.