Opinions

GOP Takes Aim at Hillary

The presumptive Democratic frontrunner for 2016 makes a big target

Keith Farrell

There is certainly a lot of hype surrounding Hillary Clinton and her possible run for the White House in 2016. The potential for Hillary to win the Democratic nomination for president is great.

Some Republicans are salivating over the possibility, seeing Clinton as an easy target with lots of baggage. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus told MSNBC his party would employ a “truckload” of opposition research against Clinton. If Clinton were to throw her hat in the race, and most speculate she will, she would undoubtedly face criticism over scandals old and new.

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The most damaging of these will likely center around her role as Secretary of State under President Obama, most notably the Benghazi scandal, a disgraceful display of dereliction of duty which resulted in the death of four Americans. It now appears that the CIA was smuggling weapons into Syria, using the Benghazi embassy as an operating base.

Clinton was instrumental in the administration’s cover-up, heaping blame for the attack on an internet video. When pressed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as to the cause of the attack, Clinton famously exclaimed “what does it matter?” A moment which will haunt her on the campaign trail.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Video:


Clinton will also have to face dirt dragged up from her husband Bill’s presidency, including the sordid details of his philandering. New details are now emerging thanks to the release of Diane Blair’s papers.

Blair, a close friend of Hillary’s until she died in 2000, kept written records of her conversations with Hillary. Now the papers have been released, and private and even embarrassing comments Clinton made about her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky are making old wounds visible.

Bill Clinton’s indiscretions have never hurt Hillary, to be fair. If anything, her popularity saw new heights as women identified with her as a victim. However, her husband’s behavior combined with his rock start like presence in the Democratic Party may put her between a rock and a hard place.

There is no doubt a Hillary 2016 campaign would center on women’s issues. The party certainly will not want to discuss the slew of failed policies during the Obama administration, the numerous scandals, or the party’s record of hypocrisy on matters of war and security. Instead a campaign centered solely on the idea of electing the first woman to the White House and shattering the glass ceiling will be designed to appeal to women and young progressives. However, Hillary’s base of feminists and progressives will have to face charges of hypocrisy, since the party has capitalized on Bill Clinton’s legacy.

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has already taken Clinton and the party to task over the matter. While some have criticized Paul for using the mistakes of Clinton’s husband to attack her, the points he is making are valid. The Democrats have crafted a narrative that the GOP is waging a war on women, and that women are victims of a patriarchal society.

This is at odds with the Democrats’ using Bill Clinton as a poster boy and fundraiser, a man whose sexual misconduct is legendary. Paul called Bill Clinton a “sexual predator” and suggested Democrats should return money he helped to raise for them. Paul has also said that Hillary is unfit for high office due to her mishandling of the attack on the Benghazi embassy.

Whether or not you feel Clinton’s affair with a consenting adult was predatory, the fact remains that he inappropriately conducted himself with an intern barely out of high school, and took advantage of her feelings for him, only to lie about it and slander her when the news broke.

Paul’s attacks give us a preview of what could expected from the opposition if Hillary does run. But do not be mistaken. Even with mud being slung at her from varying directions, Clinton is a formidable opponent. The Clintons have the friends, the pull, and the political capital necessary to win a national election. If she does run, there is a good chance she will be the 45th President of the United States.

 

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