Friday, July 17, 2015
Failure to Launch
The Hillary campaign seems to be languishing here in the early going largely because of her unwillingness to stake out any position on the pressing issues of this election cycle. She was met with skepticism and eventually derision in New Hampshire as she tried to lay out her position on climate change. She may be able to get away with this "neutrality" in the general election, but she still has a set of primaries to face and Bernie Sanders is from Vermont and should do quite well in the Granite State, especially since he is not afraid to stake out his position on climate change and other key issues.
Once again, we see Hillary acting like the primaries are hers for the taking. Granted, Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina are still a long way away, but with Bernie building momentum each week on the campaign trail, he could have a very healthy head of steam come next January and very easily overtake her in the initial primaries.
The other big problem is Bill. This guy is very anxious to get back in the spotlight again. Yesterday, he said that the Crime Bill he pushed through Congress back in 1994 was a big mistake. While it is nice to see some measure of contrition among politicians, it doesn't bode well for Hillary that her husband is essentially admitting to the current high rate of incarceration in this country, which may have put a dent in the overall crime rate, but has made prisons the fastest growing state-funded business enterprise in this country.
With so many states now having decriminalized marijuana use and a handful even making recreational use legal, you would think the Hillary campaign would seize on this issue as a means to reduce the number of drug-related sentences that lead to prison overcrowding. Several state governors are on record as supporting this move, not to mention police departments, with the notable exception of the NYPD. Yet, Hillary continues to duck the issue, like she does climate change, unwilling to ruffle the feathers of social conservatives who still represent a big chunk of the Democratic Party.
On Iran, Hillary has similarly adopted a wait-and-see stance, even though her husband pushed for a similar agreement with North Korea back in 1994. I suppose this is now seen as a mistake too, as nothing came out of it, even after George W. Bush tried to restart negotiations during his administration. This after labeling North Korea as part of the axis of evil. It makes one wonder what Hillary would have done if she was still Secretary of State. Would she be pursuing this current nuclear agreement aggressively as John Kerry is doing?
Hillary has had the last two-and-a-half years to sit on the sidelines, distancing herself from the Obama administration, as she plans out an administration of her own in the future. Unfortunately, it seems she has been spending the bulk of that time amassing an enormous war chest of campaign contributions which she doesn't want to spend in the early going. Content, it seems, to let Bernie have his say, while she bides her time for the primaries.
As the town hall event in New Hampshire demonstrated, she is not prepared to address any of these issues head on, which makes one wonder why she even invited unsolicited questions to begin with. All she could bring herself to say was that she would continue the Obama climate agenda, which hasn't exactly wowed environmentalists.
With the alternative being a Republican climate-change denier in the general election, I guess Hillary feels she doesn't have to spend much time on this issue, or any other issue for that matter as she will present herself as the voice of moderation, the comforting "mother" that her campaign manager seems to think Americans would prefer to the bellicose male candidates running against her.
That may be so but it doesn't inspire persons to come out to vote for her. Rather it creates an air of resignation, not much unlike that we saw in 2000 when Al Gore failed to ignite the base of the Democratic party.