Edge of Chaos is a political podcast starring Joe Ryan and Neurotoxin. Its aim is to have a free-flowing discussion of news and current events that also examines the empirical outcomes of public policy, avoiding biases based on ideology and policy intentions. Listener discretion is both advised and encouraged.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hillary's Campaign, err, Book Tour Interview Indicates She Doesn't Stand A Chance in 2016

As Hillary Clinton continues to insult America's intelligence with her pseudo-campaign, I continue to unapologetically predict that she will not come anywhere near the White House in 2016. In fact, I stand by the prediction I've made since she started campaigning the day after Obama's re-election that she will not even make it past Florida in the Democratic Primaries. I should mention that she IS liable to remain on the ballot as the Newt Gingrich of that year - old, washed up, white, detached, with a bottomless well of money, and representing a dying party establishment. It's no secret that I DESPISE Hillary Clinton, but this post is not about that. It is my attempt to convince you that my prediction is objectively founded in things she said in today's interview with CNN.

1. She is riding the fence on every issue.

Whether it's Benghazi, immigration reform, marijuana, the Middle East clusterfuck, or even gun control - Hillary seems incapable of taking a firm stance on anything. With the exception of gun control where she expressed tepid support for the failed Federal background check bill from early 2013, every answer cites ideological intentions and then alludes to mystical solutions that Hillary dubs bipartisan compromise. Even on Benghazi, which happened almost 2 years ago, Hillary still cannot produce a straight answer when asked what she would have done differently. Iran/Iraq/Syria, a rapidly evolving violent crisis, is a "wait and see". Immigration policy should consist of magically achieved reunions between 10,000s of children and their parents 2-3 borders away, with no explanation of feasibility, costs, or enforcement.

There was a time, say 20 years ago when Bill was President, when Americans swallowed up this idealistic, vague, centrist waffling and asked for more. Moderates ruled in the 1990s and the early 2000s, and the ticket to victory in any contested election was to get as close to the center as possible, counting on your base and winning over swing voters. But Hillary needs to check her what year it is. The country is more polarized than ever, with "bipartisan" and "compromise" being 4 letters words in DC. She, herself, lost in 2008 to a relative unknown because he moved closer to an energized, liberal base while she pandered to the center. Since then, we've seen 6 years of obstinate Tea Party stalwarts slaughtering moderate, establishment Republicans in Primaries, going so far as to unseat incumbents and refuse to vote with their party leadership. Moderate voters are far more rare now, and they're disorganized and jaded about politics. The bases, on the other hand, are energized; and they openly refuse to support moderate candidates. Advances in technology that make information cheap and easy to obtain have also given rise to a new, younger demographic of independent, issue-based voters. As we witnessed with Romney, waffling and refusing to give concrete answers alienates this demographic to disastrous proportions.

2. She is advocating Statism

Like us or hate us, but the libertarian tide is rising in both parties. And while those leaning toward it from the right and the left continue to have significant differences, the issues we agree on are the ones Hillary is placing herself on the wrong side of. First and foremost, foreign policy. All libertarians believe uncompromisingly in staying out of foreign conflicts, period. We see interventionism as executive overreach, violations of the human rights of locals, a counter-productive waste of resources, and contrary to the US's founding principles. Any politician that begins throwing out conditionals and excuses for it, acting as if funding/arming/supplying a side is acceptable because it's not "boots on the ground", or refusing to acknowledge the abject failures of both Bush Jr and Obama in this domain instantly loses every libertarian-leaning vote. Hillary's history of supporting Bush Jr's wars was a huge thorn in her side in 2008, but she still hasn't learned. Secondly, marijuana. Hillary's position on this is more insulting to libertarians than even simple prohibition. In saying she is waiting for the evidence from States like Colorado, she is implying prohibition as a reasonable default and placing the burden of proof on advocates of legalization, while glossing over the overwhelming evidence that marijuana prohibition has immense costs and no benefits at all, period. This double-whammy will destroy Hillary even in the eyes of libertarian-leaning conservatives who are not entirely comfortable with marijuana; because her stance supports Federal overreach they dried up on years ago. Gun control and immigration are slightly more divisive issues among libertarian-leaning left and right, but in suggesting trust in Federal authority to find the right solution she unites both in opposing her.

While libertarians are still clearly a minority, we are a colossal political juggernaut. Pew Research has consistently identified us as the most organized and politically educated/active affiliation in the country. We vote religiously, and we have 0 allegiance to either major party or even to our own. We will unapologetically research the necessary political steps to sink a politician we don't like, such as registering with their party for the Primary; and we are impossible to convince of anything using partisan propaganda or middle school tactics like support pledges. If you think I'm bluffing or exaggerating, I suggest a quick phone call to Eric Cantor's office. It's true that libertarians dislike Hillary to begin with, but her answers provoke an active hostility that was not always present. This will bite her in the ass remarkably in the 2016 Primaries, especially considering the first 2 States are libertarian bastions. All those Ron Paul voters that gave him 20%+ in Iowa and Vermont WILL switch parties JUST to destroy Hillary, and they'll BRAG about it.

3. She is an elitist sociopath, and her base is an absolute joke.

The primary reason I dislike Hillary is that she is extremely dishonest, even for a politician. It's rare for politicians to tell the whole truth about their motives, but Hillary's lies and political excuses are so disgustingly obviously that I can hardly hear her speak without cringing. Take the all-but-forgotten controversy over the 2008 Democratic Primaries in Florida and Texas - States that had been stripped of their delegates to the convention by the DNC for holding the contests too early. Hillary won the Primary in both large States, knowing full well it would be strictly for PR purposes, and moved on. Then, when it became clear Obama would clinch the nomination unless the weight of those States tipped the balance in the convention, she began a sleazy PR campaign claiming her "concern" for the "disenfranchised voters" in FL and TX. Americans weren't stupid enough to take this seriously, so she dropped it. As Secretary of State, she used similarly intelligence-insulting excuses for her support of murderous dictators Zine and Mubarak to their last days in office, her highly politicized dodging of responsibility for the blunders exposed by Wikileaks, and then of course for her flat out lies and denial of accountability surrounding Benghazi. Then as pseudo-candidate there was her recent claim of poverty, and just the concept of masquerading a campaign as a book tour.

Hillary demonstrates a pervasive pattern of narcissistic contempt for the average citizen, perpetually underestimating their intelligence and refusing to acknowledge her mistakes. Her answers in this interview follow this pattern very closely. This approach is reflected in her base. In my personal experience, Hillary supporters tend to be older, highly disorganized lifetime Democrats that are clueless about politics. This demographic is notoriously fickle in electoral turnout, and isn't much use as campaign workers. They're also relatively easy to sway and lead away from a candidate, or simply to discourage from turning out for her. I unapologetically remind you that the 2016 campaign has NOT started, and Hillary's apparent popularity depends heavily on a lack of alternative candidates. The first Democrat with a decent field and PR team will break her base instantly with a few well-placed attack ads, then woo her voters away with ease.

To wrap up, Hillary is running a 1990s campaign in 2016: dumping unprecedented amounts of money and starting unprecedentedly early, waffling and riding the fence to appeal to moderate voters, advocating trust in central government and executive authority, and lying persistently and unequivocally counting on her image as an elder stateswoman to make this acceptable. These were the strategies used by Bill Clinton and both Bushes and they worked splendidly, but Hillary is in denial about the fact that was a generation ago and the political field has changed. Primaries are more relevant than ever with increased competition and cheap information making spending and starting early less of factor. Advocating Statism and centrism breed widespread disgust from fringe elements that are crucial in Primaries and known for unapologetic, oppositional mischief. Being a seasoned politician is seen increasingly in a negative light, and coupled with a pattern of dishonesty and lack of accountability it brings hostility and contempt. So, barring a fundamental 180 on her strategy or something else very unforeseen, I predict Hillary Clinton's campaign will collapse catastrophically no later than Florida.

To go with my theory that Hillary's proponents are clueless sheep useless in political strategy; I've yet to see a reasonable counter-argument to this prediction. The choir is large and loud; but all of them seem to believe that Hillary's election is a given and that anyone who disagrees simply doesn't like her, dismissing political analysis because it is hopelessly over their heads. If YOU have a reasonable, founded argument for why Hillary stands a chance in 2016, I would love to see it. I don't recommend coming at me with ad hominem and hyperbole about how I'm "afraid of a strong, liberal woman being in office", however. I have no patience for folk wisdom trying to discredit empiricism, and am liable to shatter your ego in response.


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