Hidden amidst all of the focus and media hyping up the divisions within the Republican party, is the conveniently forgotten fact that Bernie Sanders in many recent polls is either within a margin of error or outright leading Clinton in the important early primaries of New Hampshire and Iowa. That an avowed socialist that admits to wanting a single-payer tax system and much heftier taxes on the middle class has made it this far says something remarkable about both the general leftward tilt of the Democratic Party and the weaknesses of Hillary Clinton as a candidate. I will say that if there is anything that Sanders has going for him and that I can’t help but find a bit endearing, it is his sincerity and candidness of his beliefs, which is in marked contrast to the constantly calculating, scheming, and ultimately polarizing Clinton, who seems to have missed the moral lessons that many parents constantly teach our kids that if one lies too much, often times one can’t even remember which lies they have told and have a very difficult time keeping the mounting lies going in a straight direction. Should not love of truth and some relation to honesty be a virtue that we at least have the veneer of holding our leaders accountable to?
We don’t get a sense of the Clinton challenges, perhaps due to the general air that Trump continues to suck out of media attention, but more sinisterly, the fact that the Democratic National Committee is doing whatever it can to keep the coronation process moving along according to the schedule. This means lack of competition and coverage, as made evidenced by the Democratic debates that are scheduled alongside NFL playoff games and Downton Abbey – out of sight and out of mind. There will be limits to this approach as it relates to a general election, since the issues will be brought up more forcefully by the Republican nominee and party and will reignite old debates about whether we all want to relive the scandal of the Clinton years and whether Hillary is trustworthy enough to hold such a high job. I can imagine that even if Trump does not win the primary, that he will serve as a useful attack dog going after Clinton from everything to her cattle futures, whitewater, her husband’s sex scandals and rape allegations that she lent a hand to silencing, Benghazi (where she is on record as having told media and family members a different story about the attacks being induced by a YouTube anti-Muslim video while she was busy telling foreign diplomats and her own daughter that it was a plotted act of terrorism), and her deliberate mishandling of classified information over a private server.
Two Wall Street Journal articles, The Democratic Crack-Up and The High Cost of a Bad Reputation published over the weekend by two of my favorite columnists, Kimberly Strassel and Peggy Noonan, respectively, provide a nice summary of the issues surrounding Clinton and the Democratic Party. They lay this issue out far more eloquently, and in Strassel’s case with far more effective biting wit, than I ever could. I should indicate that Noonan also takes aim at the deserved un-likability of Cruz, so those looking for an bipartisan approach to bad reputations will appreciate the Noonan article. What I appreciate about her article is its equal aim at tremendously flawed candidates that ought to make us stop and think before we vote. Strassel, as ever, provides a memorable synopsis in just a few words:
Some of Mrs. Clinton’s struggles are self-imposed. She’s a real-world, political version of Pig-Pen, trailing along her own cloud of scandal dust. Even Democrats who like her don’t trust her. And a lot of voters are weary or unimpressed by the Clinton name. For all the Democratic establishment’s attempts to anoint Mrs. Clinton—to shield her from debates and ignore her liabilities—the rank and file aren’t content to have their nominee dictated.