Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Democrats’ Distress

With a bench of presidential contenders that is painfully thin, the party’s choices are Clinton and… uh, Clinton.

Charlie Cook, National Journal
September 11, 2015

Let’s start with the chil­dren’s book and re­cent movie, Al­ex­an­der and the Ter­rible, Hor­rible, No Good, Very Bad Day, then sub­sti­tute Hil­lary Clin­ton for Al­ex­an­der and year for day. Hardly ori­gin­al: A Google search of the re­vised title turns up more than 200,000 hits. But apt.

Clin­ton’s 2015 star­ted out look­ing so prom­ising. Her second shot at the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion was as clean as nonin­cum­bents ever get. The feel­ing that she had a good chance of win­ning the gen­er­al elec­tion was con­sol­ing even to Demo­crats who wer­en’t her biggest fans.

Now, Demo­crats are get­ting ex­tremely nervous: Her elect­or­al pro­spects don’t look so sure. More voters now view Clin­ton un­fa­vor­ably than fa­vor­ably. Her once-strong leads over Re­pub­lic­an op­pon­ents have shrunk to with­in the mar­gin of er­ror. Al­though most Demo­crats still dis­miss the sub­stance of the con­tro­versy over her State De­part­ment emails, even the most starry-eyed must ac­know­ledge it has ex­posed her can­did­acy as far more fra­gile than in their worst night­mares.

So, what’s an anxious polit­ic­al party to do?

It’s pretty clear that Joe Biden, the pop­u­lar vice pres­id­ent, hasn’t de­cided yet wheth­er to jump in. He’s ob­vi­ously torn between a lifelong pas­sion to oc­cupy the Oval Of­fice and the real­it­ies of launch­ing a can­did­acy less than five months be­fore the first bal­lots are cast. Sit­ting vice pres­id­ents don’t have the lux­ury of run­ning in­sur­gent, guer­illa-type cam­paigns; the se­cur­ity re­quire­ments alone would mean an ex­pens­ive cam­paign. Add to this the an­guish that Biden and his fam­ily con­tin­ue to ex­per­i­ence over the death just three and a half months ago of his 46-year-old son, Beau, and the ledger on his de­cision tips de­cidedly to­ward the don’t-run side. Maybe he’ll an­nounce his can­did­acy to­mor­row, but he prob­ably won’t, and every day that passes makes it less likely.

(More here.)

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