Will Character Attacks on Hillary Work?
Although Jeff Greenfield at the Daily Beast frames it more definitively –“Why Character Attacks on Hillary Won’t Work” — and gives reasons for saying so, I see it more as a question, “Will Character Attacks on Hillary Work?”
Greenfield poses that if you’re Martin O’Malley, or one of the other Democrats pondering a race against Hillary Clinton, you’ve been presented with an unexpected opportunity — and a very, very tricky challenge…”
What is that unexpected opportunity?
After mentioning that the “spate” of recent accusations against Hillary Clinton have “opened up a line of attack against the prohibitive Democratic favorite that was once the province of her ideological foes” the “unexpected opportunity” — and the dilemma — is for “O’Malley or any of the other possible Democratic challengers to use the argument that the case against Hillary Clinton is a matter not of ideology, but of character.”
And what is the “tricky challenge”?
Greenfield compares Clinton’s potential (Democratic) challengers using the “financial behavior” of the Clintons and their “conduct” against Hillary to playing with nitroglycerin, “a potent substance [which] can also be highly dangerous”
Bill Clinton is the most admired man in America; and among Democrats, his approval rating is stratospheric. Up to now, there has been no significant unhappiness within her party at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton nomination—not to mention the significant cohort of voters eager to see a woman elected President. (Indeed, a recent New York Times poll suggests that Clinton has retained, even increased, her popularity among Democrats) There’s also the pragmatic argument that a frontal assault on the likely democratic nominee will do neither the party nor the advocates of such an assault any good.
Moreover, nothing is more likely to rally Democrats around Clinton than the assaults from across the political divide. Throughout their public lives, Bill and Hillary Clinton have benefitted enormously from the fury of their ideological enemies. Making a case that will persuade Democrats to move away from Clinton on character grounds will be the political equivalent of defusing a ticking bomb.
Only time will tell if character attacks on Hillary Clinton from her Democratic and Republican rivals and foes, respectively, will work.
Greenfield’s piece does make for some interesting reading. Click here.
For a totally different perspective, look here.