In the interest of bipartisanship and general goodwill, I’d like to offer the following advice to the Hillary Clinton campaign and other voices on the left: Drop the birther nonsense.
It’s obvious why they’re doing it. After one of the worst stretches in campaign history, Hillary’s forces were desperately grasping for a diversion from damaging story lines that were inflicting real damage.
Since there is no un-seeing her disturbing 9/11 collapse video, or un-hearing her hateful derision toward millions of Donald Trump voters, she redeployed the old, tired projectile of personal insult. The hope was that millions of those Trump supporters would suddenly remember the long-dead Obama birth certificate issue and suddenly realize that their support of him is horribly ill-founded.
No one has done that. This flogging of the birther horse resonates only with people who hate Trump anyway. It doesn’t gain her a single vote.
(As evidence of my objectivity on such matters, I offer an example of an issue conservatives are fond of invoking that also has virtually no effect on voters: Benghazi. I care deeply about her failures in that chapter of history, but none of her supporters do. E-mail lies and Clinton Foundation corruptions may sway some independents, but only conservatives care about Benghazi.)
As the Clinton campaign and others on the left suddenly rediscovered dormant outrage, Big Media suddenly remembered whom they will be voting for and mobilized accordingly. The actual birther story doesn’t particularly bother the average reporter, but here’s what drove them to apoplexy: the actual Trump announcement that he would have a comment on the matter.
He commented all right, for about 30 seconds, but only after a presentation promoting his new Washington hotel and revealing a crowd of military supporters, all on glorious wall-to-wall live TV. The last time campaign reporters were that angry, it was when they learned that bars close early in Iowa.
ABC’s Tom Llamas launched a particularly intrepid quest, informing us from the back seat of a moving SUV that since Trump had not chosen to answer a dozen questions on a matter he had just declared closed, doggone it, he was going to chase him to a suburban Virginia fundraiser.
So in someone’s front yard, the tireless reporter yelled the question that occurs to practically no one outside Clinton campaign headquarters: “Will you be apologizing to the President?”
Let’s help Tom with that one. No.
And now let’s offer further help to those who think it’s a good idea to badger Trump with apology expectations on this dead issue: You guys do not want to start a side-by-side list of who ought to be apologizing for what. The Clinton campaign in particular contains the last people who should be suggesting expressions of regret from others.
But the media have dutifully attached the comical “firestorm” label to this teapot tempest that will not sway a single vote. They have resorted to the weary tactic of suggesting it was driven by Trump’s distaste for a black president. Did these people pick up a paper when he asked the same question about Ted Cruz? At some point, Trump-haters are going to have to get a handle on his list of actual flaws. Broad, ham-handed jabs at opponents, yes. Distaste for black people, no.
But this is all they have.
The debate stage is one week away. Hillary Clinton faces a real challenge in going toe-to-toe with Trump on issues of immigration, terrorism, job creation or Supreme Court justices, to name a few.
He will spend this week huddling with people who will help him craft substantial answers in an attempt to appear worthy of the presidency. She will huddle with people lugging binders of Trump quotes designed to make him look like an execrable soul who should scarcely be allowed to tour the White House, much less live there. We’ll see how that works out.
Here’s the problem: America knows him already. They know his strengths and weaknesses; they have seen the skilled communicator who can resonate like no one else, and the undisciplined adolescent that occasionally pops out in the form of a midnight tweet or an unfortunate interview blurt.
There is no new material here. Donald Trump, warts and all, is neck and neck with a woman we are told is the most qualified candidate since the invention of candidates. He actually leads in some key states.
She knows this, and she knows why it has happened. Her negatives are cresting as his positives are re-emerging. She and the American left are scared to death. This is why they have returned to their reflex strategy of bottom-feeding.
And as they grow more shrill and slanderous, they tell us they are confident Americans will reject the man they will demonize hourly for the next fifty days.
Take the Congressional Black Caucus group attack Friday. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) called the election a “referendum on bigotry,” surrounded by members who will gladly share their firm expectation that Trump will do worse among blacks than any Republican in recent memory.
Then why not just relax and let that happen? Let Trump and his Deplorables just stew in their own hatreds while Hillary cruises to an easy win on the winds of her unique personal virtue.
They know better. They know Trump’s appearances in front of black crowds, even when interrupted by the occasional plotting pastor, are resonating among voters of all colors who are less than compelled by Hillary, especially lately. How much? Maybe just a few percentage points, but that could be enough in several electorally rich swing states.
But they should also know this: the things they could fairly criticize Trump about have already been vetted by an American electorate that seems to be warming to the notion of choosing him over Hillary Clinton. Additional obnoxious days of false smears of racism will not attract a single vote to their troubled candidate.
So what would? Effective arguments that she would make a better president than he would, that her judgments would be better on issues from the economy to global jihad to protecting our borders and our constitutional rights.
Good luck with all that.