Hillary Clinton has achieved her dream. She is finally inevitable.
That’s the upshot of Joe Biden’s decision not to run for the Democratic nomination. He was the only candidate of stature who could still oppose her, especially given the prospect that he might have done so with the tacit support of President Obama.
“Stature” is a relative term. Biden would be a terrible candidate in any other lineup. He is a famous blowhard who talks first and thinks afterward (if at all), who has a reputation as a foreign policy sage despite being wrong on just about every foreign policy decision of his career, and who is even more associated than Secretary Clinton with the downward spiraling mess of this administration’s foreign policy.
But he was the last hope for any competition to Clinton.
It’s fashionable for lefties to refer to the Republican primary as a “clown show.” But the Democratic primary is a sideshow. Jim Webb is out of the race, waiting for the call to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate on the Independent ticket. The remaining Democratic field is a couple of nobodies—Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee [update: also out] are the kind of politicians who have to begin a debate by telling viewers outside their home states who they are—and Bernie Sanders.
Sanders has proven he doesn’t really want to win. It’s not just the way he covered for Clinton on her e-mail scandal, but it’s also that he spent the following week insisting that he really is a radical socialist. And he’s planning to double down, making socialism the theme of his campaign.
Obama has already established the successful formula for a far-left candidate to run for president: You have to send enough signals to the lefty base to let them know that you are one of them, but when cornered on your views in mainstream interviews, you hedge your responses and try to look like a reasonable moderate. Obama’s political genius consisted of a willingness to let others see in him whatever they wanted to see. Lefties saw a fellow traveler, moderates a moderate.
Sanders, bless him, wants to be seen for what he is. But even among members of his own party, which is arguably becoming a socialist party, you still can’t quite get a majority to say they support socialism.
This means Sanders is the Ron Paul of the Democratic Party. He’s not running to win. He’s running to get a platform from which to preach his ideology.
So that leaves the Democrats with Hillary Clinton. And I suspect they’re going to regret it.
Yesterday’s Benghazi hearing is being hailed by the mainstream media as a triumph for Hillary Clinton. But then again, what choice do they have? If she is the inevitable Democratic nominee, then it’s TINA time: There Is No Alternative. So they had their narrative planned in advance.
But there are two new things we’ve gotten out of this hearing that indicate why she’s going to be a vulnerable candidate in the general election.
First, it underscored the degree to which she was primarily responsible for pushing the US into the war in Libya—and that she did so with no plan for what to do afterward. Haven’t Democrats just finished a decade of blaming everything on George W. Bush because he supposedly did the same?
But the big news from yesterday’s hearing is that she knew all along that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate, not a spontaneous demonstration about a YouTube video. Three e-mails unveiled by the Benghazi investigation—one to her daughter and two that are notes of her phone conversations with the leaders of Libya and Egypt—show that she knew and acknowledged the truth in private while at the same time she was telling a different story to the American people. Yet all her responses to this sort of question can be summed up in the ultimate Hillary Clinton meme: the real-life “shruggie.”
Yes, I know. “Hillary Clinton Lies”—and in other news, “Dog Bites Man.” But a party’s primaries are supposed to be the arena in which you test your candidates, probe for weaknesses, and see how bad they are before you reach the general election. By failing to find and consider any real contenders, Democrats aren’t doing this.
If Republicans can put forward a candidate who makes a plausible commander-in-chief—which still remains to be seen—then Democrats may come to regret that they left themselves no other alternative.