Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It’s All They’ve Got

If you can’t come up with any new ideas, if your party’s current leader is the most unpopular president in a generation, if you’ve backed a lost cause like a war in Iraq, and you’ve got sex and bribery scandals popping up like toadstools on the lawn, what else are you going to do?

They mock her proposals, utter her name with a sneer and win standing ovations by ridiculing her ideas as un-American, even socialistic. She has become the one thing the Republican candidates for president can agree on.

Hillary Clinton.

[…]

Earlier this year, the senator from New York was the subject of an occasional laugh line from former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Now, the trickle has become a torrent as the leading GOP candidates seek to one-up one another in a Clinton-bashing contest aimed at energizing their party faithful.

“The competition inside the GOP for who’s the most anti-Hillary is going to pay dividends,” said Greg Strimple, a GOP pollster and consultant who is not working with any presidential campaign. “Looking for that piece of anti-Hillary energy is what you’re seeing right now.”

[…]

But Strimple said Republicans should worry that the increasing focus on Clinton is simply an attempt to distract attention from their own flaws.

“The use of Hillary Clinton allows every candidate to overcome the imperfections in their own candidacies,” Strimple said.

Which is a polite way of saying that the Republicans are up Shit Creek, they know it, and so all they can do is distract attention away from their innumerable flaws and find someone else to blame and be afraid of.

I used to think it was a bad idea for Hillary Clinton to run for just this reason; all we’d get would be years of this kind of crap. But watching the Republicans make complete fools of themselves, to see them outdo themselves with hypocrisy and lies — an amazing feat in itself — and to see the unfettered desperation wash over these stiffs is hilarious. I used to worry that it wouldn’t be good; all it would do is focus the campaign on the trivial and none of the important issues like health care, education, and the economy would be brushed aside. But what the Republicans are showing with great aptitude and ability is that they have nothing to offer other than the same old fear and demagoguery, and in this kind of campaign, we see their true selves.