While Republicans running for president immerse themselves in primary and caucus battles (and plan for a possible contested convention), it’s worth considering well in advance how they should do battle with the eventual Democratic nominee.
Politics resembles business, sports, betting and board games in that winning requires not just making the right moves in real time but also anticipating the right moves for the times ahead.
In politics, victory requires you to define your adversary’s vulnerabilities long before their negative definitions of you solidify into concrete that traps you, as Barack Obama’s demonization of Mitt Romney trapped Romney in 2012, months before Romney’s nomination.
Republicans must intensify their case against Hillary Clinton now, before both parties’ national conventions in July. They can’t be outmaneuvered by Clinton’s pouring of concrete on them!
The vulnerabilities of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and determined underdog Bernie Sanders are apparent from public opinion polls. But Clinton is the higher priority focus.
In a fairly recent Gallup poll, voters described Clinton, as a “liar” (voters say she is “dishonest,” they “don’t trust her” and she has “poor character”). Voters identify Sanders as a “socialist.”
But let’s get real. The liar will defeat the socialist (Clinton triumphs by telling lies and selling lies). Even if the FBI uncovers strong evidence that Clinton committed criminal offenses with her personal email system, how likely is it that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department—controlled by Obama—will pursue those criminal charges?
So, let’s go with the conventional wisdom that Clinton’s nearly insurmountable delegate lead will make her the Democratic nominee (despite recent impressive primary wins by Sanders). And let’s examine where Republicans should call out Clinton for the harm she would do to the “everyday Americans” she claims to “champion.”
The evidence is in Clinton’s own misleading statements. According to the website On the Issues, described as “non-partisan and non-profit,” here are some citations, drawn from “newspapers, speeches, press releases, book excerpts, House and Senate voting records, Congressional bill sponsorships, political affiliations and ratings, and campaign websites from the Internet.”
Here are just some examples:
• Clinton has insisted that, “I am a progressive who gets things done.” Really? When asked by ABC’s Diane Sawyer what her “marquee achievement” was, Clinton “changed the subject and she fumbled over a similar question during a women’s forum in Manhattan last year. ‘I see my role as secretary [of state]—in fact leadership in general in a democracy—as a relay race. You run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton. Some of what hasn’t been finished may go on to be finished,’ she told [New York Times columnist] Thomas Friedman.”
Huh? Clinton’s clumsy attempts to distract from her lack of accomplishments provide Republican presidential candidates with target-rich opportunities to set the record straight.
As The Washington Post has reported, even many Clinton supporters have struggled to come up with any significant Clinton achievements.
Clinton herself provides little help as she twists herself in knots attempting to defend her defense of ObamaCare. She’s reduced to taking credit as the progenitor of the president’s unpopular health care reform.
She told Iowans in a campaign rally in January, “It was called HillaryCare before it was called ObamaCare.” But as The Hill (online) points out, “Clinton has had to tread carefully on ObamaCare throughout her campaign: Democrats support the law but are increasingly willing to acknowledge that it doesn't address the rising out-of-pocket costs.” And Republicans looking for a detailed prescription for how to repeal and replace ObamaCare are advised to consult a new book by my friend (and Fox News contributor) Steve Forbes, “Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code, and Reforming the Fed will Restore Hope and Prosperity.”
• Clinton has said, “What's true in our daily lives is also true at the highest levels of government. Keeping America safe, strong, and prosperous presents an endless set of choices.” But the damaging choices Clinton has made include her support of President Obama’s increasingly dangerous, disingenuous and deceptive Iran nuclear deal. Her other catastrophic choices as secretary of state range from her lies and failures of judgment about Benghazi and Libya at large to her massive mismanagement of U.S. policies regarding Syria, Russia, ISIS and other slaughterers of innocents, documented in The Huffington Post.
• Clinton called criticism of her by Republicans as “all a political ploy.” Well, it’s not a ploy for Republican presidential candidates to brand Clinton with her own words. As author and Donald Trump supporter Wayne Allyn Root suggested, “Do you remember [Clinton’s] Congressional hearings over the Benghazi disaster? Hillary famously said, ‘What difference does it make?’ when referring to four dead American heroes. Make her own that brand. ‘What difference does it make’ should become Hillary’s middle name. Make her run on Benghazi, Obamacare and Obama’s economy, and Hillary will soon find out what difference it all makes.”
The Republican plan to defeat Hillary Clinton is as simple as ABC: Always Brand Clinton—by quoting her own dishonesty and disinformation.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.