May 9, 2015


Hillary Rodham Romney (Matthew Continetti, May 8, 2015, Daily Signal)

Hillary Clinton is moving so quickly to the left that it's hard to keep up. Her aides are telling the New York Times she wants to "topple" the One Percent, she's pledging solidarity with union bosses over lunch meetings at Mario Batali restaurants in Midtown, she supports a constitutional amendment to suppress political speech, she's down with a right to same-sex marriage, she's ambivalent over the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she's calling for an end to the "era of mass incarceration," she wants to go "further" than President Obama's illegal executive amnesty. It's called pandering, but the press is too frazzled or sympathetic to call her on it. There's desperation to Clinton's moves, an almost panicked energy, to close the gap between her and her party's base. If Elizabeth Warren called for full Communism, Clinton would be at the barricades the next day.

Warren's the reason for the policy shuffle. Clinton is so terrified of losing the Democratic primary--again--that she's willing to trade consistency for security against an insurgent from the left. But she may be trading electability too. The Democrats have an advantage in presidential elections, but last I checked the country hasn't turned into a really big MSNBC greenroom. One day Clinton will have to defend her positions against a non-witch Republican, and she'll have eight years of Obama to answer for as well. She doesn't have the gall, the rakishness, or the aw-shucks charm that allowed her husband to slither out of such difficulties, and judging from Bill's most recent interviews he's losing his abilities too. Indeed, the politician Hillary Clinton reminds me most of lately isn't her husband or Warren. It's Mitt Romney.

Like Clinton, Romney ran twice. Like Clinton, he established his political profile under a different set of circumstances than when he ran for president. He got his start as the modern, technocratic Republican, fixing the Olympics, delivering universal health insurance to Massachusetts, and projecting moderate sensibilities on many issues. But the dynamics of Republican presidential primaries forced him to swerve right, mix up his identity. He's not Disraeli so the moves caused him trouble. The press mocked his "severely conservative" remark, his desire to "double Guantanamo" (a fantastic idea, by the way), and his support for the "self-deportation" of illegal immigrants. There had always been a false assuredness to Romney, the Eddie Haskell feeling that he was putting you on, trying a little too hard. The policy shifts played into this aura of inauthenticity, and by the time Eric Fehrnstrom was likening Romney to an Etch-a-Sketch, the battle to define the Republican nominee was close to lost.

...was that people on the left simply assumed he was liberal enough because he was black.  No amount of Austin Goolsbee assuring the Canadians and the markets that he was a free trader was ever going to shatter the delusion.

Posted by at May 9, 2015 9:37 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus