Apart from being friendly to each other in the past, what do Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic Party presidential candidate, and Donald Trump, Hillary’s counterpart in the Republican Party, have in common?
Both are leading in the polls, and both are flawed candidates; Mr. Trump because he’s a shallow thinker, however entertaining, and Mrs. Clinton because both her distant and recent past are pockmarked with irregularities.
Judging from the crowds flocking to Mr. Trump’s corner, one would never guess that he is a one-man Barnum and Bailey sideshow. Mrs. Clinton, having nailed down an early lead in the polls, is determined to hang on to it by the skin of her teeth. She has so far successfully maintained an “invisible” presence. The less she says, the better; the more Mr. Trump says, the better. People are unconcerned that Mr. Trump finds it difficult to put together a coherent sentence, so long as he continues on his profitable path of pumping himself up, like a giant political pufferfish, and denigrating the spineless Republican political class that appears to have been co-opted by the near irresistible collegiality that serves as a protective shield and a binder yoking together the time-serving politicians of both parties who really ought to be hurling thunderbolts at each other.
The Republicans have a strong reserve bench of potentially successful presidential candidates, some of whom are approaching the White House from outside the usual incumbent box. Carly Fiorina has all the virtues Trump supporters like without Mr. Trump’s numerous disadvantages: She is a businesswoman, highly intelligent, and her core conservative backbone is in working order. The same may be said of Ted Cruz, a thorn in the side of time-serving, politically co-opted, dry-as-dust Republicans. Rand Paul is a Constitutionalist of rare metal, and Marco Rubio, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, may be the Mohammed Ali of the New Republican Party. Who needs Trump?
Before the appearance of oddly flashy socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from the People’s Republic of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton appeared to have a lock on the Democratic Party nomination. Ethical and political problems have for the past quarter century hovered like clouds of doom above the Clintons, dispersed, in Bill’s case, by a combination of political chicanery, a charming bad-boy personality and lower than usual expectations. Bill Clinton’s vices and virtues are not, however, Hillary Clinton’s vices and virtues, most of which spring from the dislocative 60-70's. The times, prophet and prescient philosopher Bob Dylan promised us in the Clinton’s heyday, “they are a’changing.” And they HAVE changed – not for the better. The wreckage is all around us; and, some people have concluded, the 60-70’s generation is part of the flotsam. Marco Rubio’s formulation is revolutionary: “Yesterday is over.”
Though she is yesterday, it is not clear yet whether Mrs. Clinton is over. She has high hurdles to surmount. Mrs. Clinton appears to have used a private server to circulate top secret information, and the Clinton Foundation may be in part a laundering service to speed foreign money in the Clinton’s direction. Will the younger generation – overtaxed, over-regulated, indebted up to their ears, broke and jobless – be willing to pass the torch BACKWARDS to the spawn of the 60-70's generation? Like Prometheus bound to his rock, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are tied to their formative years. Is it possible to put new wine in such worn wineskins as Mrs. Clinton, who will be 69 in 2016, or Mr. Sanders, the elder of the two? Remember, the 60-70's years are not a time span only; they are a frame of mind, a way of judging the world, and as we judge, so do we shape the future.
All the members of Connecticut’s Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation are in the tank with Mrs. Clinton – friends will be friends – as is Governor Dannel Malloy, who while stumping for Mrs. Clinton in New Hampshire let loose a whopper. Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail tar pit, Mr. Malloy told the group, was overblown, an attempt by enemy Republicans to tarnish a sterling reputation: “They don’t tell you the prior two Republican secretaries of state kept their email system the same way.”
Not true, noted Factcheck: Neither Colin Powell nor Condoleeza Rice made use of private servers. In the background, Benghazi continues to throb. For anti-war Democrats, Benghazi is Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s Iraq. The Obama administration overthrew a dictator, the intolerable Muammar Gaddafi, who in the recent past appeared to have acceded to American demands to rid his country of weapons of mass destruction. Terrorists who destroyed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens, the personal representative of Mr. Obama, likely were aware that the compound was being used to transfer weapons through Turkey to anti- Bashir Assad insurgents in Syria. The subsequent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq soon created vacuum in northern Iraq now filled by ISIS, Islamic extremists who regularly behead innocent civilians and Christians.
At some point, all these difficulties will become an issue for Mrs. Clinton. Indeed, recently Mr.Obama has aspersed his Vice President, Joe Biden, with compliments taken by some as an invitation to Mr. Biden to throw his hat into the presidential campaign ring. Unlike Connecticut’s major Democratic politicians, Mr. Obama appears to be hedging his bets.