July 18, 2017


Stop Talking about Hillary Clinton and Start Thinking about Jimmy Carter : If the present trajectory doesn't change, Republicans will learn what Democrats learned after their 1980 landslide defeat. (David French, July 18, 2017, National Review)

After Carter's narrow victory, Republicans won three consecutive landslides. Democrats, stung by defeat after defeat, kept tacking right in national politics -- culminating in a Clinton presidency that in many respects was to the right of both national parties today. Can anyone imagine a crime bill such as the Clinton-era crime bill passing today? Is anyone even trying to balance the budget, much less create a surplus? With the collapse of Obamacare repeal, is there any reform on the horizon comparable to Clinton's welfare reform? Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and implemented the now-hated "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military. As for immigration, is there a national Democrat alive who'd make comments like this, from Clinton's 1995 State of the Union address?

In true-believing leftist circles, Clinton's presidency (aside from judicial appointments) was still part of the long, dark night of national political conservativism, and his "moderate" Democratic coalition, embodied by the Democratic Leadership Council, is anathema to the modern Left. Even today, you can find think-pieces spitting venom at the DLC's efforts to move the Democratic party to the right. Part of the leftist ecstasy at Barack Obama's victory in 2008 (and his reelection in 2012) was the realization that the Democratic party had elected its first "genuine" progressive of the modern era.

In other words, after Jimmy Carter's failure, there were twelve straight years of Republican rule (featuring no less than 568 federal judicial appointments, including five justices of the Supreme Court), and arguably 28 years of moderate to center-right rule before the Left reclaimed the political throne.

What's the lesson here? Yes, nations change and political coalitions can shift and fracture, but also that failed presidencies have serious consequences. That's why "better than Hillary" simply isn't an argument. Trump has to be good. Trump has to be effective. Hillary won't be on the ballot in 2020, and she's not the alternative today. She is no longer the measuring stick, and any callback to her failures signals that the person making the argument is bereft of a meaningful Trump defense.

...and the Deep State is preventing even Donald from deviating.

Posted by at July 18, 2017 2:23 PM