Well, That Was a Disaster

 

For all the conventional reasons, I’ve been bullish about Republican chances in 2016: Democratic policies are unpopular; President Obama’s not running; It’s been eight years; We’ve got a strong bench; and everyone’s tired of Hillary Clinton. Stipulating that it’s generally not a good idea to put much stock into a single poll — let alone one this early into the cycle — this piece from the WSJ has me re-evaluating:

The number of people who are unsatisfied with [Clinton’s] response to questions on the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound dropped to 38% in the poll, from 44% in a poll taken before she testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Oct. 22. The new poll found Republicans’ opinion remained largely unchanged, but among Democrats and swing voters, there was a significant rise in satisfaction with Mrs. Clinton’s response.

…In the Journal/NBC poll taken before the House hearing, 27% said they were satisfied with Mrs. Clinton’s response to questions about the attack, and 44% said they were not satisfied, with Republicans far more likely than Democrats to be unsatisfied.

The new poll conducted after the House hearing found the share of Democratic primary voters who were satisfied with Mrs. Clinton’s response rose to 72%, from 58%. The impact was not just among diehard partisans: Among people identified as swing voters, satisfaction jumped to 23% from 6%, while dissatisfaction dropped from 84% to 40%.

Bear in mind, this is a hearing that featured the revelation that — on the night of the attack — Clinton told her daughter a different story than the one she would tell the American people the following day, confirming the suspicion that the administration tried to hide news of an Islamist attack by rolling what happened in Benghazi into what had happened in Egypt earlier that day. This happened, of course, over her private server and resulted in the jailing of the video maker. And people think she came off well.

The ultimate blame for this, I think, falls on Republican House members: Kevin McCarthy poisoned the well in his comments last month and the committee members buried the lede under hours of tedium and grandstanding. And Clinton — for all she lacks her husband’s natural skill — is a strong player.

We need to get better at this. There’s time, but this is painful.

Published in Foreign Policy, Politics
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  1. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKosd0xJadE

    Will her supporters know about any of it?

    • #1
  2. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    So, for those who changed to “satisfied” in how she responded, would it be attributable to a lack of context/understanding (not enough info about what happened to conclude she lied) or are people now so committed to the “tribe” that being told the truth doesn’t matter?

    (I know I have my opinion, but I’m trying to put forward the best argument the change.)

    • #2
  3. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I wonder if any of the change is due to Biden’s announcement that he is (supposedly) not running.

    • #3
  4. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    I think the committed Democrat voter has a very low threshold for candidate satisfaction. So long as the candidate is saying what the voter wants to hear, all is well.

    • #4
  5. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Songwriter:I think the committed Democrat voter has a very low threshold for candidate satisfaction. So long as the candidate is saying what the voter wants to hear, all is well.

    I think this, too. I’ve read comments supporting Hillary that sound like religious devotion, but I can’t accept that any sane person would join such a cult. Nobody really likes Hillary. The thing that really unifies Hillary supporters is hatred of Republicans. And it’s a very strong bond.

    (Coincidentally, the same thing unifies Trump supporters!)

    • #5
  6. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Songwriter:I think the committed Democrat voter has a very low threshold for candidate satisfaction. So long as the candidate is saying what the voter wants to hear, all is well.

    I think this, too. I’ve read comments supporting Hillary that sound like religious devotion, but I can’t accept that any sane person would join such a cult. Nobody really likes Hillary. The thing that really unifies Hillary supporters is hatred of Republicans. And it’s a very strong bond.

    (Coincidentally, the same thing unifies Trump supporters!)

    Agreed. Leftism is a religion for sure.

    • #6
  7. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    The reason the Benghazi story never goes anywhere is because there is nothing to prove, nothing to reveal, nothing to learn.  Everyone knew that the “video protest” story was a lie within a day after it was rolled out.  How many times do the Republicans think they make news by “revealing” the lie?

    The Democrats who are “satisfied” with Hillary’s answers are not “satisfied” because they think she is telling the truth.  They are satisfied because they don’t care that she’s lying.  They write it off as typical political “spin.”

    Please, please, let us not find that three years from now a Congressional committee is “investigating” the Obama Administration for “lying” when it said that Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler was not in “combat” when he died last week.  Of course they were and are lying.  Everyone knows it was combat.  If that lie disgusts you, then it disgusts you now.  If you don’t care, then you never will.  That’s it.  Fini.

    • #7
  8. Susan the Buju Contributor
    Susan the Buju
    @SusanQuinn

    People on the left will vote on leftist principles. So whoever is the leftist running will get their vote. When I spoke to a friend recently about who she would vote for on the left, she said Hillary–she’d rather not, she said, given all that has come out on Hillary, but my friend is thinking about who will be appointed to the next opening on the Supreme Court. My friend and I are still talking, but not talking politics. I can’t bear it.

    • #8
  9. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    I never understood why people thought the whole Benghazi thing would matter for the election. That’s like thinking Reverend Wright was going to cost Obama the election. Most people simply don’t care when it comes down to voting and it happened eons ago with respect to politics.

    People thought Monika would bring down Bill. You need to stop thinking these scandals (mainly in Republican circles) are really going to matter when it comes down to it. These just turn into hopeless fantasies Republicans tell themselves because it’s easier than flat out beating the Democrats.

    • #9
  10. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Bear in mind, this is a hearing that featured the revelation that — on the night of the attack — Clinton told her daughter a different story than the one she would tell the American people the following day, confirming the suspicion that the administration tried to hide news of an Islamist attack by rolling what happened in Benghazi into what had happened in Egypt earlier that day.

    Max forwards me this piece from Andrew McCarthy arguing that the video thing was largely a ruse in Egypt as well.

    • #10
  11. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Bear in mind, this is a hearing that featured the revelation that — on the night of the attack — Clinton told her daughter a different story than the one she would tell the American people the following day, confirming the suspicion that the administration tried to hide news of an Islamist attack by rolling what happened in Benghazi into what had happened in Egypt earlier that day. This happened, of course, over her private server and resulted in the jailing of the video maker. And people think she came off well.

    Yes, but bear in mind that the media have done an excellent job pretending that the hearing revealed nothing. I guarantee you that the Democrats whose opinion of her has risen don’t know what actually happened in the hearing.

    You’re right that the lede was buried. Why didn’t Gowdy include the it in his opening statements? Why didn’t they ask her about it in the first 5 minutes?

    • #11
  12. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Larry3435: The reason the Benghazi story never goes anywhere is because there is nothing to prove, nothing to reveal, nothing to learn.  Everyone knew that the “video protest” story was a lie within a day after it was rolled out.  How many times do the Republicans think they make news by “revealing” the lie?

    That’s been my general feeling on the Benghazi thing, which is why I’ve written so little about it (honestly, I think the botched Libya policy is a much bigger, more damning story).

    But this is just egregious.

    • #12
  13. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    When Democrats talk about Benghazi, or the Swift Boat veterans, or whatever, they just refer to it as rightwing propaganda and leave it at that.

    The Democrats have a narrative that looks really good for them and really bad for Republicans, but you can see through if just ask serious questions, but most people don’t.

    • #13
  14. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    If these SuperPacs are all they are cracked up to be, maybe they should spend 50% of their resources supporting their candidate, and the other 50% unfairly and mercilessly attacking HRC. It would be helpful to see a caracature of Granny Hillary exposing baskets full of newborns. Have her laugh as an orphanage is bulldozed under because they could come up with a Clinton Global Inititiatve donation. I mean get nasty and completely unfair. Let the candidates tut tut and condemn all this as magnanimously and be as outraged as they need to be, it might be a plus for them to overdo the sympathy. Bottom line, She needs to be hit hard and relentlessly before we have a candidate to defend. Lest there be worry that She will use this to play the victim, fear not, it is going to happen regardless of attacks. She needs an overdose of ridicule, be made a laughingstock.

    • #14
  15. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Paul Dougherty: If these SuperPacs are all they are cracked up to be, maybe they should spend 50% of their resources supporting their candidate, and the other 50% unfairly and mercilessly attacking HRC.

    Let’s not forget: In 2012 liberal super pacs had ads claiming 1) Romney killed a woman 2) Ryan’s going to literally toss your grandmother off a cliff.

    We might think those claims are ridiculous (because they are), but guess what? Romney lost. I’m not saying these ads were solely responsible, because they weren’t, but they helped.

    Remember to that Harry Reid flat-out lied repeatedly (on the Senate floor) in claiming that Romney hadn’t paid any taxes in “ten years.” After the election he admitted there was no truth to it but justified his mendacity by saying, “well, he lost, didn’t he?”

    • #15
  16. Severely Ltd. Inactive
    Severely Ltd.
    @SeverelyLtd

    There used to be a little daylight between Democratic party member and low-info-voter. We had better hope that’s history, because if they know what she was doing and are supporting her anyway, we’ll never win. Better they’re ignorant than just throwing morality out the window because of partisanship.

    • #16
  17. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    lesserson:So, for those who changed to “satisfied” in how she responded, would it be attributable to a lack of context/understanding (not enough info about what happened to conclude she lied) or are people now so committed to the “tribe” that being told the truth doesn’t matter?

    (I know I have my opinion, but I’m trying to put forward the best argument the change.)

    I’d say the latter.  We’re at an interesting time in American politics; David Limbaugh said it on the last Flagship, that “the ends justify the means” when it comes to Democrats.  I think that is largely true.

    • #17
  18. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: The ultimate blame for this, I think, falls on Republican House members: Kevin McCarthy poisoned the well in his comments last month and the committee members buried the lede under hours of tedium and grandstanding.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves and face the unfortunate truth. The ultimate blame falls upon the American people. We are choosing, either actively or through indifference, to become a banana republic.

    • #18
  19. Roadrunner Inactive
    Roadrunner
    @Roadrunner

    DrewInWisconsin: (Coincidentally, the same thing unifies Trump supporters!)

    This is hilarious from somebody from Wisconsin, a state where political conservatives can suffer nighttime arrests that have the look of the Soviet Union.  If you are familiar with police work, the nighttime warrant is a difficult sell because all kinds of mistakes can be made in the dark that lead to unnecessary death.  Not in Wisconsin if you are trying to get revenge on your political enemy.  Wisconsin’s entire legal system, police and judges, has been compromised and I hear nothing from the sheep that make up the state.  Instead you fix your insults on some faraway target of Trump supporters.  Your problems are closer at hand. It is possible to see Hillary’s behavior and the corrupt behavior of the people of Wisconsin as both wrong.  Hillary has a long way to go to get to Wisconsin level shame.  The conspiracy of silence on immigration led to the Donald and the demographic changes due to immigration will lead to future abuses that will make the above seem minor.

    • #19
  20. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    All that Hillary had to do at the hearing was maintain her poise and the coverage was going to say she was “unscathed,” a word I heard a lot afterwards both in the press and people I talked to.

    Republicans don’t have any chance of winning these thing until they realize this is a problem before they get started and trying to figure out how to solve the problem.

    • #20
  21. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    lesserson:So, for those who changed to “satisfied” in how she responded, would it be attributable to a lack of context/understanding (not enough info about what happened to conclude she lied) or are people now so committed to the “tribe” that being told the truth doesn’t matter?

    Truth or falsehood doesn’t even come into it, it’s indifference. From what I have seen Democrat voters simply do not care about Benghazi in any respect and do not even understand why Republicans are so outraged by those events. Literal inability to understand is what I have come across, people who are actually perplexed as to why some think what happened is important.

    Some people died, it happened ages ago why are Republicans still talking about this? Basically that attitude.

    • #21
  22. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Mike H:I never understood why people thought the whole Benghazi thing would matter for the election. That’s like thinking Reverend Wright was going to cost Obama the election. Most people simply don’t care when it comes down to voting and it happened eons ago with respect to politics.

    People thought Monika would bring down Bill. You need to stop thinking these scandals (mainly in Republican circles) are really going to matter when it comes down to it. These just turn into hopeless fantasies Republicans tell themselves because it’s easier than flat out beating the Democrats.

    I was a Democrat in 1998, but I was one of the few that paid attention to what was happening.  I watched the Lisa Myers interview of Juanita Broaddrick.  I still voted Democrat, because I agreed with them on most issues, but I regretted that many Republican congressmen were kicked out of office for doing the right thing (James Rogan from California stood out for me).  I voted for Gore in 2000, but I would have voted for Nader if Gore hadn’t distanced himself from Bill Clinton.

    Although I didn’t change my politics in 1998, it did move me in the right direction.  I finally did switch after 9/11.  My point is that while it is hard to change minds, it can be done.  99% of the time when a mind is changed, you won’t see it happen.  It will happen later after reflection.

    • #22
  23. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    There are a lot of people, sometimes I am included in this, that can hardly remember yesterday, let alone weigh tomorrow.

    However Hillary! is eminently paintable as an archaic moral black hole, lacking the political presence of the Socialist.  Eight years ago Drudge posted a picture of her with her face looking like a topographical map with lines and dips and crags.  She looked old then and time hasn’t worked in her favor.

    The Democrats should have offered up a physically attractive individual, or Elizabeth Warren who doesn’t show the physical or psychological wear and tear of Hillary! but lacking that wit they’ll put Hillary! out there and prop her up.  They don’t have any choice barring an indictment of some sort.

    Then every time Bubba shows up, we’ll do the comparison and that will work against Hillary!  I don’t like Bubba but he has aged well, which might be why he doesn’t spend more time around her.  She reminds him that his wife has grown old without him being around.

    • #23
  24. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Roadrunner: This is hilarious from somebody from Wisconsin, a state where political conservatives can suffer nighttime arrests that have the look of the Soviet Union… Wisconsin’s entire legal system, police and judges, has been compromised and I hear nothing from the sheep that make up the state.

    You are slightly behind the times, and inaccurate on the chain of events.

    What happened is that some of the victims refused to obey the gag order and proved the prosecutors didn’t have the nerve to follow through. And far from being “sheep” Wisconsin’s conservative media have spoken out very clearly.

    Only one corrupt judge in Milwaukee gave the green light: afterwards, the judiciary at every level blocked the investigation until the State Supreme Court sweepingly and scathingly ruled it unconstitutional: not corrupted.

    That done, the conservative legislature is addressing the law. They cannot stop Milwaukee electing dangerously partisan DAs, but they can address the bad laws that gave him an opening, and they can get rid of the corrupt oversight board that allied itself with him.

    The bill dumping the GAB is working its way through the Senate, and so are changes to the campaign finance laws.  But the horrible law that allowed a political investigation to proceed in secret and impose gag orders — the John Doe law — is no more. Finished, done, signed into law by the governor.

    Conservatives from Wisconsin have all the credibility they need.

    • #24
  25. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Tom,

    I think the momentary perception was what did the trick. You are right about McCarthy and the loss of an opportunity to really knock her out. What I am waiting to see is how this plays out over time. If people had been really paying attention she would be on the floor. Since they were only watching from a shallow point of view they won’t remember this long.

    Meanwhile, the story of her illegal classified emails, her perjury, and Clinton Cash continues. Let’s see if the bump she got is lost soon. If so she may continue on down. More important this so called victory won’t stop the continued negative stories.

    If the Justice Department actually has any Justice left it will indict her.

    Stay tuned.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #25
  26. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    I fear that placing hope in the FBI to correct injustice may be as satisfying as relying on the Supreme Court to strike down O-care.

    • #26
  27. Roadrunner Inactive
    Roadrunner
    @Roadrunner

    Leigh: Conservatives from Wisconsin have all the credibility they need.

    Maybe from you.  Mike Nifong found himself disbarred for pulling legal shenanigans.  That is the reaction that is needed when the legal system takes off on political tangents with an enemy’s list.  As I wrote, this kind of nighttime warrant could have led to deaths for what amounted to political reasons.  This is the action of a fascist state.  It did what it was supposed to do, intimidate.  That is corrupt and needs a political as well as a legal response, not an all’s well that ends well smoke screen.  You are a very understanding soul on many fronts.

    • #27
  28. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Roadrunner:

    DrewInWisconsin: (Coincidentally, the same thing unifies Trump supporters!)

    This is hilarious from somebody from Wisconsin, a state where political conservatives can suffer nighttime arrests that have the look of the Soviet Union. If you are familiar with police work, the nighttime warrant is a difficult sell because all kinds of mistakes can be made in the dark that lead to unnecessary death. Not in Wisconsin if you are trying to get revenge on your political enemy. Wisconsin’s entire legal system, police and judges, has been compromised and I hear nothing from the sheep that make up the state. Instead you fix your insults on some faraway target of Trump supporters. Your problems are closer at hand. It is possible to see Hillary’s behavior and the corrupt behavior of the people of Wisconsin as both wrong. Hillary has a long way to go to get to Wisconsin level shame. The conspiracy of silence on immigration led to the Donald and the demographic changes due to immigration will lead to future abuses that will make the above seem minor.

    Well, that escalated quickly.

    • #28
  29. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    When a democrat goes to the polls they are voting for something. More government all the time, everywhere, fairness (however defined in their mind), caring for the poor, etc. There isn’t any doubt what a democrat is and what they are voting for. That the democrat isn’t a republican is a bonus, not the reason they went to the polling place.

    Lately, it seems like the biggest argument folks can make for republicans is ‘not democrat’.

    Until republicans give us something exciting vote for – legal status for illegal immigrants and growing government slower only excites illegal aliens and a handful of southern democrats – they will continue to lose nationally.

    If held today HRC would beat any republican on the stage in a national election by a margin greater than Obama’s victories.

    We can scream all we like about outlandish dem policies in their debate, but they are a consistent lot.

    • #29
  30. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I think the analysis in Tom’s penultimate paragraph is spot-on.  Despite the well-poisoning, the committee members could have done a better job of pursuing the truth by hammering Ms. Clinton on that single question:  Why did you say one thing privately and another thing publicly?

    Andrew Breitbart understood the importance of repetition.  He demonstrated it in the drip-drip-drip of the ACORN videos.  Repetition makes things harder for the MSM to ignore.  If she had been asked that single question in different ways, by multiple questioners, it might have gotten some play by the MSM.  Instead, her cool, allegedly-presidential demeanor became the story.

    Congressional Republicans are incompetent in using the media to their advantage.  Just as Trump says that we are outsmarted by China and Mexico, the Republicans are consistently outsmarted by Democrats.  C’mon, guys, it’s not rocket science!

    • #30
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