Friday, January 16, 2015

James Pethokoukis, a conservative...

...columnist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute, has some sage advice for his fellow Republicans:

“Rule No. 1: Acknowledge reality.”

I thought of this when I was scrolling through Real Clear Politics this morning and came across, "Why Hillary Clinton won’t run for president," by Wesley Pruden, the editor emeritus of The Washington Times. 

(In case you're not familiar with the Times, it was founded in 1982 by the founder of the Unification Church, Sun Myung Moon "to combat communism and be a conservative alternative to what he perceived as the liberal bias of The Washington Post." So consider the source.)

But I had to chuckle a little because I'm so used to hearing my own mother say how much she hopes Hillary won't run in 2016. (My mom is a great indicator of what Fox News is talking about on any given day. Aren't all seniors?)

Pruden's piece is full of the usual bile one would expect from the right wing (all emphasis mine):

Most men despise her. She reminds them of their ex-wives.

She’s stiff and wooden as a public speaker, as if trying to prove Dr. Johnson’s famous aphorism that a woman preaching is like a dog trying to walk on its hind legs. Hillary is tone-deaf besides. She’s always starting on her “back foot,” as the English say, and she’s a mediocre campaigner, too. Bubba would never have said the family, with millions in the bank, was “dead broke.Not because it was a lie but because everybody in America knew it was a lie. A skilled politician would never have asked, after the Benghazi debacle, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Whatever gift for politics she has, she got from imitating Bubba. Voters won’t be satisfied with a pale imitation, and nobody listens to two-time losers.

Sheesh. But then there's this:

At 67, does she really want to spend her golden years working 16 hours a day, eating bad food, sleeping in a strange and uncomfortable bed every night, shaking the hands of strangers in a drafty gym in Iowa, and rubbing elbows with indifferent diners in New Hampshire? She could live the luxurious life at her own pace, delivering the same canned speech written for her, enjoying a new granddaughter, making speeches for $200,000 a pop and watching the millions accumulate at the Clinton Global Foundation.

And the kicker:

Hillary can’t win, and that’s why she won’t run.

This is where Republicans need to get a grip on reality. In the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Mrs. Clinton is leading her closest competitor, Elizabeth Warren (who said -- again -- this week that she's not running for president), by 49 and a half points! Also, according to Paddy Power, Mrs. Clinton is a 2/5 favorite to win the Democratic nomination and a 5/4 favorite to win the general election.

Want more? Long-time Clinton supporter John Podesta announced this week that:

...he will leave the White House next month, according to a senior administration official, and will help Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid if she launches one.

Podesta has told Clinton "that if she decides to run" he "will do whatever" he can to help her, according to an official who asked for anonymity in order to discuss internal personnel matters.

Clinton is likely to announce her intention to seek the Oval Office this spring, according to her advisers and Democratic strategists.

While no one can guarantee, of course, that Mrs. Clinton will indeed run for president in 2016, I sure don't see much evidence for Mr. Pruden to think otherwise.

And this "difficulty" in dealing with reality reminds me of all the pieces I read this week about how Mitt Romney (and many other Republicans) were "shellshocked" when the GOP lost in 2012. (The polls must be skewed!)

My brother-in-law, whose business partner in 2012 was very well connected in Wisconsin Republican circles, told me his partner was certain the Romney/Ryan ticket would prevail, to which he confided to me that, "I think they're drinking their own bathwater!"

(And that's just one of the many weaknesses Republicans have: they only talk to each other.)

I could go on and on (global warming, anyone?), but the point is that acknowledging reality is a big problem for Republicans. I hope for their sake -- and ours -- that they start heeding Mr. Pethokoukis's advice.

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