Friday, September 9, 2016

Receding Tide

Pat Buchanan suggests that the Clinton campaign is losing momentum and a lot of people, including people in her campaign, are puzzled as to why she's not running away with this race given Trump's uncanny ability to shoot himself in the foot whenever he's given the opportunity.

Here's Buchanan:
Sixty days out, one senses she has lost momentum – the “Big Mo” of which George H.W. Bush boasted following his Iowa triumph in 1980 – and her campaign is in a rut, furiously spinning its wheels.

The commander in chief forum Wednesday night should have been a showcase for the ex-secretary of state’s superior knowledge and experience.

Instead, Clinton looked like a witness before a grand jury, forced to explain her past mistakes and mishandling of classified emails at State.

“Of the two candidates,” the New York Times reported, “Mrs. Clinton faced by far the tougher and most probing questions from the moderator, Matt Lauer of NBC, and from an audience of military veterans about her use of private email, her vote authorizing the Iraq war, her hawkish foreign policy views...”

On defense most of the time, Clinton scored few points.

And with a blistering attack on Lauer, the Times all but threw in the towel and conceded that the Donald won the night. “Moderator of Clinton-Trump Forum Fields A Storm of Criticism,” was the headline as analyst Michael Grynbaum piled on: “Mr. Lauer found himself besieged on Wednesday evening by critics of all political stripes, who accused the anchor of unfairness, sloppiness, and even sexism in his handling of the event.”

When your allies are ripping the refs, you’ve probably lost the game.

Moreover, when it comes to her strongest suit, foreign policy, before Clinton can elaborate on her vision, she is forced to answer for her blunders.

Why did she vote for the war in Iraq? Why did she push for the war in Libya that produced this hellish mess? Does she still defend her handling of the Benghazi massacre? What happened to her “reset” with Russia?

Most critically, when facing the press, which she has begun to do after eight months of stonewalling, she is invariably dragged into the morass of the private server, the lost-and-found emails, her inability to understand or abide by State Department rules on classified and secret documents, and FBI accusations of extreme carelessness and duplicity.

Then there are the steady stream of revelations about the Clinton Foundation raking in hundreds of millions from dictators and despots who did business with Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

And with thousands of emails still out there, the contents of which are known to her adversaries, she will likely have IEDs going off beneath her campaign all the way to November.
My hunch is that polls will continue to show Trump gaining, especially in the battleground states. Hillary seems to be casting about for a way to damage Trump but, despite the fact that he offers so many targets for her to aim at, he seems so far to be made of teflon. This must be galling for the Clintonites because every time Trump opens his mouth he seems to say something that should make him a laughingstock, yet Clinton can't effectively criticize him because every accusation made by her or her supporters seems to boomerang back on her or her surrogates.

For example, George Stephanopolous, a Clintonite and host of a Sunday talk show on ABC, asked Trump's campaign manager, Kelley Ann Conway, whether she thought it was a good idea to have a sexual harasser (i.e. Roger Ailes) advising Trump. This might have been an effective question if made on behalf of any other candidate, but an obvious retort to the Clintons, if anyone presses Ailes' access to Trump, is to ask whether it's a good idea for Hillary to be taking advice from the sexual harasser to whom she's married.

Again, Hillary avers that Trump is lying about his university, Trump U, and he probably is, but when Hillary calls someone else a liar people laugh out loud at the absurdity and chutzpah of an allegation of mendacity coming from the woman whose name is almost synonymous with duplicity.

Others have said that Trump's not qualified to be president, and of the 17 original Republican candidates he's surely the least qualified, but most of the people scoffing at Trump's qualifications voted for Obama in 2008, a man whose qualifications for serving as president could have been listed on a post-it note in 50 pt. font.

A final example: Daughter Chelsea has called Trump a misogynist which would be a serious charge indeed were she not the daughter of one of the most notorious users and abusers of women ever to walk the halls of the White House.

"Meanwhile," Buchanan writes, "Donald Trump’s message has begun to come through – loud, clear and consistent."
He will secure the border. He will renegotiate the trade deals that have been killing U.S. manufacturing and costing American jobs. He will be a law-and-order president who will put America first. He will keep us out of wars like Iraq. He will talk to Vladimir Putin, smash ISIS, back the cops and the vets, and rebuild the military.

Other than being the first woman president, what is the great change that Hillary Clinton offers America?
Unfortunately for Trump, Hillary may well start off the evening on November 8th with 240 of the 270 electoral college votes she needs to win just because she's a Democrat and all but certain to carry big states like California and New York. It'll take some tectonic events between now and then to overcome that math and shift it into Trump's favor.