Muftic: The 2016 horse race begins
January 8, 2015
This year is going to be the first stretch in the 2016 horserace for the White House.
The GOP will be sorting out their candidates as the establishment and Tea Party wings battle it out in primaries and debates. Every poll and handicapper agree on the Democratic side: Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming odds-on favorite. If she does not balk at entering the starting gate, it will take an unforeseen earth shattering stumble to keep her from getting the nomination.
Republicans who fear her candidacy in the November 2016 presidential derby have done their best to undermine her. The GOP's strategy for the past two years has been Benghazi, Benghazi, and Benghazi. The attempt to tie her into the unfortunate death of Americans, including the much respected ambassador to Libya, in a terrorist attack in September 2012, has flat out failed.
She was charged by many in the GOP with orchestrating a cover-up. The Nov. 21, 2014, Republican-led House Intelligence Committee issued a final report that exonerated the State Department and placed the failure on the CIA. The report concluded the CIA failed to provide more security personnel even though before the attack the State Department had made such a request that was still pending at the time of the attack.
The CIA had not turned down any requests for help before or after the attack. Neither the Department of Defense nor the CIA turned down any requests for help or air support during the attack. Ambassador Susan Rice's inaccurate statements on a talk show were based on "the best available intelligence at the time," edited by the deputy CIA director, and the CIA was at fault for not getting more eyewitness accounts that led to faulty conclusions of the nature and motivation of the attackers.
What is left to the GOP is a regurgitation of old news long overcome by the Clintons: Whitewater, impeachment, and innuendos and personal attacks. Post-2008, Hillary Clinton moved on, stepped farther out of the First Lady shadow, and made her mark as an independent, competent, leader of the State Department that gained the respect of her colleagues, employees, and women worldwide. The GOP charges that she accomplished little should be directed toward President Obama who set the course she faithfully followed.
It is way too early to predict the presidential derby winner. Much depends on the nature of the GOP's outcomes or even if Clinton unexpectedly drops out. She will need to overcome dynasty fatigue but a Jeb Bush run would neutralize that. She needs to establish she is indeed a champion of the middle class, especially if the GOP' candidate favors economics that trickle down from an enhanced 2 percent wealthy.
If the GOP's candidate persists in turning off minority voters needed to win enough electoral votes, she would gain an advantage. As horse races are unpredictable, so are presidential derbies. Just ask George W. Bush who watched the economy go into a near death dive in the latter days of the 2008 campaign.
For links to Congressional reports, visit http://www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com