The wages of the refusal to fight is a drop in one recent poll!


Hillary Clinton’s numbers take a dive: Personally, we’ve never been sold on the idea of Hillary Clinton as a candidate in 2016.

(Not that there’s anyone else.)

We know, we know—our statement is shocking. On the One True Liberal Channel, the children have been telling us that Clinton would be a sure thing if she decided to run.

Serving comfort food to us rubes, MSNBC pushed this line quite hard around the time Clinton left State. If we might adapt the words of The Band, “We ourselves were among the ones who thought it was just a childish thing to do.”

Is it obvious Clinton will choose to run? It doesn’t seem so to us. Beyond that, it seems
to us that obvious problems loom if she decides to do so.

Clinton would be 69 in 2016. We don’t think that would be helpful. Beyond that, there is a pre-existing boatload of negative scripts about Clinton waiting to be re-activated.

The children don’t seem to understand that! But then, what else is new?

There are a million negative scripts about Clinton in the naked city. Most of these scripts were concocted out of whole cloth many years ago.

That said, these scripts are real, and everyone has heard them. They do exist, and they could easily be reloaded.

Unless you get your wisdom from MSNBC, this has been one of the obvious reasons for the endless attacks on Susan Rice over the past nine months. A cover-up was staged! It was designed to obscure the deaths of four brave Americans!

This bit of pathology comes straight from the pre-existing novel about Hillary Clinton, the dragon lady who will say and do anything to win. You just can’t believe what she says!

This brings us to Jake Tapper’s report on CNN last night. Tapper spoke with a trio of certified insider pundits. This explains the tapioca they offered:
TAPPER (5/31/13): I want to move to the next topic which is: In the next—most recent Quinnipiac poll, Hillary Clinton's favorability ratings have taken a hit. It was 61 percent which is huge, very, very strong. Now, it's 52 percent. The big question I guess is, why? Kevin, is this—

MADDEN: The wonderful confines of having an apolitical job in a very political city. And now once you step outside of those safe confines and you're then again put into the scrutiny of the political machine, whether it's on the media, opponents, and just the nature of politics itself, it takes a hit. And it's inevitable.

TAPPER: Do polls matter this early? We don't even know if she is going to run for president. But do they matter this early?

CUTTER: No, they don't. They don't really reflect ultimately how people are going to vote in primaries or, you know, general elections. It is an eternity between now and 2016.

BROWNSTEIN: Having said that, I mean, that is obviously true. But what this does show you is the natural kind of resting point in American politics right now is pretty close to 50/50.

TAPPER: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, we are very closely divided. Slight demographic advantage for Democrats in the presidential race but 61 percent, reality and gravity are setting in.
According to Brownstein, the new poll shows that “the natural kind of resting point in American politics right now is pretty close to 50/50.” Let’s put the airbrush away: It also shows how easy it is to reactive negative portraits of Clinton.

This is only one poll. It may turn out to be an outlier. But this poll should serve as a wake-up call for the dreamers at MSNBC. We’ll try to type very slowly now, helping them follow our point:

For twenty years, the right has been given free rein to create unflattering narratives about major Democrats. Clinton, Clinton and Gore were the early victims of this change in the culture.

It will be very easy to reboot the negative themes about Hillary Clinton. (To cite just one giant offender, Chris Matthews worked like a dog to create and advance those themes right through 2008. For now, he has been repurposed.)

These narratives won’t suddenly go away because the children want that. If Clinton runs, those familiar, highly unflattering narratives will be back with a vengeance.

Mainstream pundits will play along. Will the children be willing to fight them?

That Quinnipiac poll may be an outlier. But anyone with an ounce of sense would have understood all along that Susan Rice was being trashed to produce this drop in Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

For more than eight months, the children have run off and hid in the woods as Rice was trashed in ridiculous ways about what happened in Benghazi. But then, career liberal pundits have functioned this way for at least the last 21 years.

On the brighter side, they’re being paid very big money to make us feel good, to pleasure us with silly claims about the way Clinton can’t lose.

If Gore had run in 2008: A similar situation obtained in early 2006, after Al Gore had become the toast of the liberal world. For a real-time review, just click here.

In April 2006, Ezra Klein wrote a front-page piece in The American Prospect, asking if Gore would run again in 2008. To us, that prospect seemed highly unlikely. Because he isn’t the world’s dumbest person, Gore of course understood the way it would work:

The very day he announced a new run, a string of old claims would be back with a vengeance. Al Gore said he invented the Internet! Al Gore doesn’t know who he is! Al Gore has a problem with the truth! Why does Gore exaggerate when the truth would be just as good?

Back in 2006, Ezra showed no sign of knowing that this is the way the game would be played. Seven years later, the children on The One True Channel seem to be equally clueless.


  1. I agree with Bob. IMHO the situation is similar for conservatives, but even worse.

    E.g., consider Senator Ted Cruz. His brilliance, his academic record, his experience, and his achievements ought to make him a stupendous candidate for President. However, the media are out to destroy him. The narrative of choice is that he's another Joseph McCarthy. This narrative is being pressed in some ridiculous ways. E.g., David Brooks of the New York Times wrote, "He has a face that looks a little like Joe McCarthy."

    1. Perhaps if Cruz hadn't prepared a list of Harvard communists, the Joe McCarthy
      comparison wouldn't have come up.

      He brought it upon himself with his grandstanding.

    2. Cruz is a nightmare, he deserves to be destroyed

    3. David's finally jumped the shark.

    4. "David's finally jumped the shark."


      The guy's the semi-official shark-jumper in residence.

  2. Yesterday's Benson cartoon in the Arizona Republic showed an elephant trumpeting, "An elephant never forgets!", while holding up a newspaper featuring "Scandalrama! IRS! CIA! JUSTICE DEPT! STATE DEPT! WHITE HOUSE!

    A tiny Uncle Sam declares, "American do..."

    But, as surely as jokes about a philandering Bill Clinton keep circulating, the elephant will start trumpeting all the dreck about Hillary Clinton if she decides to run. (Which I also doubt.)

    And "reporters" and voters will have forgotten everything but the big lies.

  3. This is the problem with Obama's manufactured victory. Now anyone with a year in the Senate considers himself sufficiently experienced to run for President. Here is Cruz's experience according to Politico:

    "To go from being a policy aide on George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign, to serving as the appointed solicitor general of Texas, to winning a Senate seat in an upset, to being president of the United States, would be an astonishing series of leaps."

    What exactly are Cruz's achievements?

    I agree with Bob that Hillary won't run and perhaps shouldn't because of her age. I think she is ready for a Bill Clinton--Jimmy Carter role in politics now. One of the arguments against Obama's nomination was that he would still be young enough to run in 2016 whereas Hillary Clinton would not. Clinton has always seemed more willing to put the party's interests ahead of her own. Can't say the same for our current President.

  4. It's only a feeling on my part, but I've become convinced that Clinton will not be the candidate in 2016 for some time. She MAY be in the bunch that announces they're after the nomination (as early as next month for all we know!) but I don't think she'll be in the last two or even the, uh, final four.

  5. What exactly are Cruz's achievements?

    According to Wikipedia

    He was the first Hispanic Solicitor General in Texas,[3] the youngest Solicitor General in the United States, and had the longest tenure in Texas history.

    Cruz was a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[4]

    He previously served as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, and as Domestic Policy Advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush on the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. In addition, Cruz was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation, from 2004 to 2009....

    Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1992.[15][1] While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship.[16] In 1992, he was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year and Team of the Year (with his debate partner, David Panton).[17] Cruz was also a semi-finalist at the 1995 World Universities Debating Championship....

    Cruz then attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995.[21][22][1] While at Harvard Law, Cruz was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.[15] Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant"....

    Cruz served as a law clerk to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States,[1] and J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.[24][3] Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[25]

    Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[1] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission under President George W. Bush.[23][1]

  6. Think of an individual. A human being, if you will. You find yourself in some sort of social situation and they say to you, "Man, I thought Hillary Clinton was kind of cool. I was seriously thinking of voting for her. But gosh, the Benghazi thing. I mean, that poor woman wasn't able to enjoy Mother's day because Hillary Clinton virtually killed her son. I mean, that's not fair, Hillary Clinton gets to enjoy Mother's Day because her child is still alive. And why did Susan Rice state in such certain terms that that movie was behind the whole thing? Hillary must have forced her to, seems to me."

    Now, it's possible that such people exists. And no one can deny that the flames of Clinton hate have been stoked by the Press Corp's idiots over the years. But are these polls really going to tell us much of anything about even the 2014 election at this point? One thing Bob never admits about 2000 is that some of the piling on against Gore had played itself out, and probably helped him a bit in winning the popular vote. Yes, there is a backlash against this crap, and he fact that it's coming so early may bode well for a Clinton run.
    On the other hand, David in Ca might have us this time, just like he did with Mitt.

    1. I agree with Bob that Hillary was not likely to be the Dem nominee in 2016. However, it seems appropriate that Benghazi would affect her approval rating. She herself said she was responsible.

      Testifying before Congress for the first time since the September 11 attacks in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today took responsibility for the failures that led to those deaths...

    2. I was going to say, "Come on David, you're better than this," but then I thought it over.

    3. You have a point, CMike. I was kind of spoofing.

      In normal language taking responsibility for failure means the same as taking the blame. After all, there's no credit for failure.

      But, in politician-speak, being responsible for failure is considered different from being to blame for it. I don't quite understand what it means to be responsible for failure but not being to blame for it, but CMike is right. Hillary's statement that she's responsible for the failures that led to the 4 deaths somehow doesn't mean that she admits to being to blame for those failures.

  7. Like Romney, Palin, Bachman and Clarence Thomas, Cruz has the creep gene. And ten thousand pages of Wikipedia won't help.

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  9. Oh, man! I was so looking forward to a Hillary campaign. Trumpeting her achievements as SOS, with Morrisey singing "What Difference Does It Make?" referencing her proudest moment.

  10. "But anyone with an ounce of sense would have understood all along that Susan Rice was being trashed to produce this drop in Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers."

    This borders on delusional. This kerfuffle took place in the later stages of Obama's campaign, not Hillary's. Certainly many in the GOP thought the race was very close and that Obama's administration's handling of Benghazi could help Romney win that race.

    Susan Rice was has been on Team Obama for years and I don't think most observers see her as close to Hillary or as one of Hillary's people. Clinton was already planning to leave the Obama administration and Rice was, and is, rising through that administration.

    Other than both Rice and Clinton being Democrats, what's the connection supposed to be? There are lots of ways to criticize Clinton-- why would anyone "trash" an Obama campaign loyalist and appointee Rice in order to hurt Clinton's future poll numbers? That's equivalent to saying criticism of Holder is all geared to hurt Clinton's poll numbers.

  11. You sre wrong. This is a return of the Clinton era scandals. Susan Rice in this case is a surrogate for Hilary Clinton. If you don't get that, then you really don't understand the politics of the last 24 years. This is a return to the Clinton era type of scandalmongering. Watch out. It works. Democrats are naive. No doubt there will be bipartisan calls for a special prosecutor, and the witch hunt is on.

    1. Then can you name anyone in the Obama administration that is not a "surrogate for Hillary Clinton?"

    2. mark c,

      Do you realize that your comment is a series of 9 unsupported assertions without any reasoning showing any connection among them? Chanting that Rice is surrogate for Clinton doesn't make it so and doesn't convince anyone who thinks otherwise...

    3. Anonymous 12:23 PM:

      I have a suggestion for you. For your proof, read current and back issues of The Daily Howler.

      Here's a brief primer.

      Connection between Rice and Clinton? Rice, U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, was being named as a potential successor to Hillary Clinton. Rice has been endlessly scapegoated in the most outlandish of ways for her reasonable presentation of Benghazi talking points—as TDH has meticulously shown. The right wing-scandal machine has been trying to link Clinton as well as President Obama to supposedly politically ass-covering edits of the talking points Rice presented.

      The results of this scandal mongering are obvious. Currently, the Obama administration is bogged down, unable to vigorously pursue its legislative agenda. President Obama has witnessed his approval ratings dip below 50%, decreasing any legislative leverage he once had.

      And alleging Hillary Clinton's connection to nefarious back room edits of those talking points adds another chapter to the right wing novel about the Clintons, which in turn has hurt her current approval ratings and will surely be used as ammo against her should she choose to run for president in 2016.

      Smearing leading Democrats through scandal mongering has become a cottage industry of the far right. This pattern of scandal mongering, aided and abetted by the mainstream media and documented by The Daily Howler for the past decade and a half, dates back to the 1990s and the Clinton administration and was on bold display during the 2000 election cycle.

      Again, try reading the Daily Howler for the gruesome details.

    4. So it appears that your answer is that there is no real connection except in Bob Somerby's mind.

    5. It appears you have nothing but hot air to blow.

    6. "Smearing leading Democrats through scandal mongering has become a cottage industry of the far right. "

      I wouldn't argue with that at all. But to say 8-9 months after the fact that attacks on Rice are really (secretly) attacks on Clinton is just a loony conspiracy theory. Do right-wing hacks attack all leading Democrats? Sure. Does this mean the particular criticisms of Rice are intended to lower Hillary Clinton's standings in a future poll? Only in TDH-world.

  12. Bob of course is absolutely right. He didn't mention however the shadowy segment of the democratic party who destroyed her run in '08 and are very happy to see her poll numbers drop.

    1. mm,
      By "shadowy segment," do you mean the huge number of supporters that sent donations under $1000 to Obama? Those small contributors may have been misguided, but they weren't really shadowy.

    2. Or NBC news, which, through Saint Tim Russert and Brian Williams, staged a hit on Ms. Clinton October 31, 2007, from which her candidacy never recovered.

    3. This is about correct. There are many "Democrats" who have been programmed to hate both Clintons, and who have internalized much of the anti-Clinton propaganda that they have heard all these years. Thus, Obama ran to Clinton's right in the 2007 primaries, but was lauded as a "progressive" alternative to Hillary, who represented, we were told, a continuation of Bill's hated "triangulation," and was not a progressive at all. One of the mock-clever things I heard several times and in several forms was "Bill Clinton is the last Republican I'll ever vote for." Of course, almost six years on and we've seen just how "progressive" Obama is, and some disenchantment has set in, not that the Obama True Believers will admit it. On the bright side, my sense is that the anti-Hillary sentiment, and the delusions that led to it, are much reduced on the left -- Obama has succeeded in, if nothing else, lowering the bar on just what a good "progressive" is. There are still people out there who will jump on the "anyone but Hillary" bandwagon (which is one of the things that led to Obama in the first place), but they are much reduced in number, even, from what I can tell, in the press corps, which is the cradle and eternal home of Clinton hatred. Whether or not the rump of irrational anti-Clintonism will be enough to beat her (if she even runs), remains to be seen. At this point it's hard to see anyone else out there with sufficient stature to make a compelling case.

    4. No, by shadowy I mean those folks who figured out how to award Obama delegates from florida and michigan that he never won. Never happened before and it will never happen again. But of course we were dealing with "Clinton Rules".

      Never again in my lifetime will a Democratic candidate win primaries in NY, NJ, PA, WV, CA, TX, MA, FL, MI, the "pivotal Ohio race" and not win the nomination because the opponent won a caucus in Wyomingl.

    5. mm, "those folks" were the majority of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC. Obama didn't win any delegates in Michigan or Florida, but then again, neither did Clinton. Primaries in both states were ruled in violation of DNC mandates and both states were stripped of their delegates. The R&B Committee, which sounds more hip than it was, decided upon the urging of both campaigns to reach a compromise that seated both delegations in some manner. Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, but 40% of the vote was for "uncommitted." Obama nominally picked up delegates he didn't win in Florida, but that's because the Edwards delegates switched to him.

      Perhaps in your lifetime you'd be happier in the Republican Party, where they have winner-take-all primaries. The Democrats have an arcane system of awarding delegates based on Congressional districts, statewide results, and margins of winning. Perhaps that's unfair, but these aren't "Clinton Rules" put in place to thwart HRC. Your argument is with the DNC that put in place the rules that might make Wyoming's delegates important. Stop trying to make it sound like you have a legitimate beef with Obama for following those rules.

    6. I've been following politics for a long time, and nothing you can say is going to persuade me that what I witnessed didn't in fact happen.

      The only reason the R&B committee had a hand in this was Obama was too much of a coward to agree to a second primary. He wasn't on the ballot because he was 45% behind in the polls and made a cynical calculated decision to not be on the ballot.

      What happened to her was unprecedented. Major forces in the D party (and some of our most "progressive" bloggers) started pushing her to end her campaign right after Iowa.

      What you've written here just supports my original point. She kept winning big primaries down the stretch and superdelegates kept switching to him. Bizarre. She wins WV 67% to 26% and the next day Byrd pledges his superdelegate vote to Obama. Governor Bill Richardson promised to support the winner of his state only to change his mind as soon as she won it, because as he so eloquently stated, "There's just something about Obama".

      It's not that I want winner take all. But the selection of the candidate is never purely objective. Obama limped home to the finish line getting his ass whipped in major primary after major primary that were supposed to be theoretically pivotal, yet a whole bunch of superdelegates somehow mysteriously kept switching to him.

      My only point was that I agreed with Bob. There is this weird segment of the D party that has been conditioned to hate her and that's not gonna change.

    7. mm, I gather from your post that you witnessed the following: 1) a politician made a calculated political decision, 2) partisans of one candidate pushed for his opponent to get out of the race, and 3) a segment of the party has an irrational hatred of a particular candidate. I'm not going to say anything to try to persuade you that what you witnessed didn't happen because I think these things happened. I just think they're not terribly remarkable.

      Obama may or may not have been a coward when he opposed second primaries in Michigan and Florida. But it wasn't up to him. In both states it would have required the concurrence of the DNC and the state party apparat. In Michigan, it would have taken the state legislature as well. And the party would have had to pick up the costs.

      There's nothing bizarre or mysterious about superdelegates who don't support primary winners. That, in fact, is why superdelegates were invented after the losses in 1972 and 1980. Superdelegates are supposed to throw their support behind the candidate they think has the best chance of winning the general election, in spite of popular support for a McGovern or a Carter who would doom a ticket to disaster. In 2008, superdelegates were a solution for a problem that didn't occur -- I think Clinton would have beaten McCain -- but the superdelegate machinery operated the way it was designed. That may be fair or unfair, but because you didn't like the way it operated doesn't make it bizarre.

      You don't seem to grasp the fact that Clinton's winning big primaries didn't mean that she whipped Obama's ass. She didn't because winning big primaries in the Democratic Party doesn't mean what it does in the Republican party.

  13. "That said, these scripts are real, and everyone has heard them. They do exist, and they could easily be reloaded."

    Yes they exist, and when they were put forth back then there was no rival structure in place on the left to combat these generated scripts. Nowadays there is. This structure includes your vilified MSNBC, MoveOn, MediaMatters and a host of blogs. While its not smart to overestimate the importance of these entities it is not wise to underestimate them either.

    The Rightwing simply has not been as successful with their manufactured scandals recently. Solyndra? Fast Furious? Whiff.

    At this very early stage, Hillary is the clear favorite like it or not. In fact she bests the only decent national candidate the Republicans have - Christie, even in his own home state. Christie of course currently serves as a Tea Party punching bag.

    1. HRC was the favorite in 2008 and couldn't beat a first-term Senator in the early Democratic caucuses and primaries. Banging the drum for more wars in the Middle East raises a lot of money, but doesn't draw so many votes.

      Is everybody supposed to be cheering for Hillary poll numbers now?

  14. "Yes they exist, and when they were put forth back then there was no rival structure in place on the left to combat these generated scripts. Nowadays there is. This structure includes your vilified MSNBC, MoveOn, MediaMatters and a host of blogs."

    BWAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!! Oh, man, that was good. I almost spit Dr. Pepper all over my screen ...