Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Here’s the partial checklist of the endless ploys to torpedo a Hillary Clinton presidential bid. The vapid and phony Benghazi hearings, the baseless email scandals, the legion of cherry picked polls, the well-oiled and orchestrated campaign by the RNC, the dizzying array of right wing bloggers and websites, and shadowy super PACS, the loud calls for Joe Biden to run, and finally, the insurgent campaign of Bernie Sanders. Now add to this the two decade long GOP campaign of rumor, smears, and outright lies against Hillary and Bill Clinton both within and without the White House, and you have a pattern of deceit and duplicity against a politician virtually unprecedented in American political annals. Given the massive and relentless political assault on Clinton, she should be, as much of the media giddily taunts, a political dead duck. This isn’t and has never been even remotely the case. Polls now show that Clinton has a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders and would have an equally commanding lead over Biden if, despite the near hysterical begging and pleading for him to jump in the race, he ever did.
The reasons for Clinton’s steady lead aren’t hard to find. While the chatter about outlier inflammatory curiosities such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and the politically radical Sanders, awes, fascinates, and titillates the media and a wide body of the public, they are far from electable. Polls do show that the overwhelming majority of Americans, are sick of and disgusted with the dysfunctionality, deal making, and big money manipulation of American politics. Yet there is no evidence that this has now, or in the past ever translated into a repudiation of traditional party politicians at the polls. In September, a Washington Post/ABC poll found that no matter whether Democrat Republican, conservative, liberal, moderate, or independent, voters prefer a candidate who stands for reform not a radical overhaul of the system. The majority back a candidate with proven political experience over an outsider.
But there’s still the intriguing question of why a non-traditional political outsider always fails. You’d have to go back more than six decades to 1952 to find a non-office holding candidate who won the presidency. But to call Dwight Eisenhower an insurgent, radical, or inflaming candidate would be laughable. Eisenhower was a rock solid, revered military hero, with a track record second to none as a proven administrator, and political negotiator, and was courted by the political bosses in both parties. He was financially backed to the hilt by the GOP establishment. It would take nearly four decades after the Eisenhower presidency for another non-office holding candidate to stir real passion among supposedly frustrated and malcontent voters who purportedly wanted radical change. But Ross Perot’s wealth and insurgent campaign in 1992 crashed hard against the bitter reality that when the votes are in voters still punch the ticket for a traditional candidate on a party ticket. The two office holding politicians, who did bag their party’s presidential nominations, the ultra-conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964 and the leftist George McGovern in 1972 went down to flaming defeat in the general election.
The GOP’s great fear of Hillary is driven by the standard mix of business as usual cut throat partisan politics between the GOP and the Democrats, the long standing loathing of the Clintons, and the high stakes drama of a presidential election campaign. But most importantly, it is driven by the candidate herself. She’s been one of the best prepared White House candidates in years.
Her experience in international relations and her hands-on administrative experience in White House policy affairs have already insured the allegiance of millions of voters to her. Polls consistently showed two years before she declared her candidacy and in 2014 that she was the one sure Democrat who would beat any GOP contender.
Millions of women see Clinton as the gender Obama. Her presidency would mark a historic presidential breakthrough for women. She would be a role model and inspiration for millions of women young and old in the world’s top political power spot. There’s the perception that she has the political savvy to wage the blood battles with a GOP-controlled Congress. There’s also the political reality about the shape of a Clinton White House. She is a moderate, centrist Democrat who will give a hard nod to the interests of minorities, gays and women. She will continue and expand Obama’s policies that expand government programs and initiatives, hike spending on education, health care, and jobs and markedly increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy while enforcing and even tightening regulations on the banks and Wall Street.
There will be more polls that purport to show Clinton is failing, phony, manufactured Clinton scandals, calls for Biden to run, and starry eyed boasts that Sanders, not Clinton, is the party’s hope. But none of this will change the one constant about Clinton and that’s she’s still the only candidate who has the qualities that Americans demand when picking a president. That’s not a prescription for a Clinton failure.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Torpedoing Hillary: The GOP Plan to Stop a Clinton White House (Amazon ebook). He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Los Angeles and KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network