Hillary Clinton is not the Democrat frontrunner, she has never acted like the Democrat frontrunner, and at last night's Democrat debate, she gave every indication of believing in her heart of hearts that her campaign is about to implode, given the frenzied, maniacal fashion in which she threw herself at the Democrats' leftwingnut electorate.
And she managed to botch even that:
Facing fresh campaign anxieties, Hillary Clinton is attaching herself to Barack Obama, hoping to overcome liberal enthusiasm for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with a full-throated embrace of her one-time rival and boss.
Central to that strategy: shoring up her standing with African-American voters who helped make Obama the first black president and who could determine her fate if she falters in the first-to-vote contests of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Feh. This was standard Donk boilerplate, just, for her, at a higher shrieking volume. But black voters see two old white fossils on that stage, one with a penis, one (allegedly) without, and while any Democrat nominee is going to carry the lion's share of that demographic, they're not going to turn out in anything like the proportions for an old white cracker as they did for the First Black President.
It's the umbilicalization to The One that is curious at best - which is to say, appallingly awful - strategy, showing her political tin ear yet again:
[Mrs.] Clinton's alignment with Obama, who remains popular with Democrats, was on full display at Sunday night's final debate before the Iowa caucuses.
Presenting herself as his heir-apparent, [Mrs.] Clinton warned that Sanders' universal health care plan threatened to reopen a contentious debate with Republicans that could undermine [ObamaCare]
"To start over again with a whole new debate is something that I think would set us back. The Republicans just voted last week to repeal the [Una]ffordable Care Act, and thank goodness, [Barack] Obama vetoed it and saved ObamaCare [against] the American people," [Mrs.] Clinton said.
Sanders countered that his "Medicare for all" proposal was the natural evolution to the health care law, reminding [Mrs.] Clinton that he played a role in its passage. "I'm on the committee that wrote the [Una]ffordable Care Act," he said.
There's so much wrong with this strategy, it's difficult to know where to begin.
1) I'm not so sure that The One is as popular in his own party as Hillary wants to believe he is. But first of all, this angle writes all the "Obama fatigue" GOP attack ads this fall for us:
Splice the three quotes I started this piece with into a TV ad. Throw in a visual or two of Obama and [Mrs.] Clinton laughing or hugging. And whammo! You’ve got a terrific negative ad that puts lie to [Mrs.] Clinton’s past insistence that she won’t simply be a continuation of Obama’s policies.
Now Republicans were already making that attack. And with or without [Mrs.] Clinton’s strong defense of Obama on Sunday night, Republicans were going to keep making it. But the strongest (read: most effective) ads in this cynical time are the ones featuring the candidate herself saying things that seem to contradict other things she’s said. [emphasis added]
An already indelible reputation of hers and a chief reason why the Donk base doesn't trust her.
[Mrs.] Clinton handed that ad to Republicans on Sunday night. She might have had to do it — you can’t win the general election if you can’t get to the general election — but it comes with a major downside that [Mrs.] Clinton will feel if she is the Democrat nominee this fall.
2) She may actually be right in a realistic sense about letting discretion be the better part of valor and not risking O-Care on a going-for-broke lunge for single-payer when repeal has a much greater chance of coming out of a GOP Congress than Universal Medicaid ever will. But that's not what the Nutroots want to hear:
There are still lots of questions about how the middle class would fare under his new plan. But it’s clear they would definitely do better than the rich.
Employers would put up about half of what Sanders’ staff think the campaign would cost. They’d pay a new payroll tax of 6.2%, equal to the amount employers already pay to Social Security. That tax would raise $630 billion a year, the campaign projects.
Most Americans would have to pay a “premium” – although unlike a premium for a conventional insurance plan, this fee would increase with the household’s income. That premium amounts to a 2.2% increase in taxes on earnings that would raise about $210 billion a year. With the standard deduction, it would apply to households earning at least $28,800 a year, according to the campaign.
The rich would pay through the nose. In addition to the premium, Sanders would increase the marginal rate on those earning at least $250,000 a year. Those earning between that amount and $500,000 would pay 37% on that income. Income between $500,000 and $2 million would be taxed at a rate of 43%; income between $2 million and $10 million would be taxed at a rate of 48%.
Or, distilled down to a single word....
"Preserve ObamaCare" is treading water, it's breaking even, it's playing it safe, it's DINO "moderation". Weekend Bernie is promising "MORE". It's a crackpipedream, but it IS what the Nutroots want to hear.
So Herself can't even pander and prostrate herself competently. Add atop all of that that Sanders took blunt aim at the Empress's bottomlessly lucrative Wall Street connections, donations, speaking fees, et al and despite all her fellating of The One last night, she probably emerged from that encounter worse off with Democrat voters than when the evening began.
Exit question: Might all that Obama cheerleading have been aimed less at persuading Democrat voters not to "feel the Bern" and more at Loretta Lynch in the context of the FBI's drive to criminally indict Mrs. Clinton in Emailgate?