In 2012, Mitt Romney and the GOP apparently believed it was sufficient to talk about Obamacare, spending during President Obama's tenure, and everything else unpopular Obama had done, presenting Romney as "not Obama." Given the lack of success of Republican candidates in winning the primary as "not Romney," the inefficacy of that approach should have been apparent. But they don't call the GOP the "stupid party" for nothing.
Next year, we will learn whether you can teach dumb elephants new tricks. Because if their pointing out Clinton's flaws is not a small element of their campaign, overshadowed by their own positive vision for where they can lead the country, they will be sitting on the Capitol lawn come Jan. 20, 2017, watching Bill grin as Hillary is inaugurated.
Even to the extent negative campaigning is helpful, Clinton will not be undone by the Benghazi findings and email scandal, short of an actual indictment (the prospect of which was pretty much extinguished when
Joe Biden said he wasn't going to run
, likely signaling the White House will quash any attempt to charge her no matter what the FBI turns up in its own investigation of the emails).
For a start, they should try pressuring Clinton to say if she would have done as Obama did yesterday and
vetoed a bipartisan defense spending bill
for reasons unrelated to defense spending or policy.
Oh, Obama dredged up a few security-related excuses to justify his action. But it has been clear all along that his real aim is to force Republicans to give in on his demand that they lift the caps on domestic spending imposed by sequestration. It is rather rich to hear Obama and his supporters, having brazenly taken credit for the modicum of fiscal discipline that congressional Republicans forced on him via sequestration, now say those caps should be lifted everywhere or else military members won't get their paychecks. For all the cries about partisanship in Washington, it will be instructive to see if enough Democrats can muster the courage to do the right thing and help override his irresponsible veto.
Either way, Clinton should not be allowed to skate on this question. She wants to be commander-in-chief; she should say whether she would do as Obama did, or instead stand with our soldiers and their families. In 2008, she suggested Obama wasn't ready to take the proverbial
3 a.m. phone call
. But more often, the problem for Obama has been the 3 p.m. phone call -- the one he hasn't made to members of Congress to work toward a resolution, or in this case, the one he took about a piece of bipartisan legislation that passed over his objections and veto threats.
The Benghazi investigation is telling us much about Clinton's character and judgment. But Americans also deserve to know whether she'd play politics with the military as Obama is doing.