Muftic: GOP sets sights on Hillary’s character |

Muftic: GOP sets sights on Hillary’s character

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

The GOP primary candidates are revealing common threads in their strategies besides the past year GOP themes. While the past issue positions still are referenced, they are also attempting to do as much damage to their presumed opponent Hillary Clinton early in the game since she still polls well ahead of any announced and unannounced Republican candidates.

Many individual voters still ask elected officials “what have you done for me lately?” Off-setting pocket book issues in the minds of voters are party affiliation, demographic identification, the importance of ideology over other considerations, and personal dislike of the candidates’ traits. Which traits are important vary depending on party affiliation. “Caring for people like me” is important to Democrats,” for Republicans,” trustworthiness, strong leader.”

The GOP presidential candidates are all now hanging their hats on ideology and attacking Clinton’s trustworthiness. Those hooks have weaknesses outside the GOP base in a general election. Clinton’s strategy is to focus on what she would do to solve problems plaguing “kitchen table” concerns.

Clinton can put the GOP ideologues on the spot who say they “want to take back America.” She can challenge them to be specific about just what programs they want to eliminate and whose middle class ox they would gore. By just saying “no” to whatever Clinton proposes and not offering credible alternatives to solving the same problems, they will appear to be not caring.

Some GOP aspirants have proposed constructive ideas, but if there are hints that government has a new or continuing role or they would cost any upper income taxpayer a dime, there are plenty in the GOP waiting to shoot them down.

GOP candidates to date have launched a campaign of character assassination. Their theme is that Clinton is an untrustworthy person because she kept her own email server, and seems secretive and untruthful. That she used her personal email was never a secret in Washington since everyone who communicated with her in the State Department saw her email address on the “from” line. Stonewalling requests from Congress is an inside Beltway political game. She broke rules, but unless somehow the contents of her emails are discovered to disclose back dealings, that issue will not have much resonance with those who are more consumed with solving daily problems.

One weak hook is Benghazi, held up as an example of incompetence or dishonesty. Never mind after two years of Congressional investigation, the Republican dominated congressional committee concluded screw-ups were the CIA’s fault, not the State Department’s. Benghazi is old news that has never gotten traction outside the GOP base.

Some try to paint her resume as weak. That argument is a tough sell. No emerging GOP candidate has a comparable depth of experience in foreign or domestic affairs.

A new attack is Clinton does not represent the future. Being the first woman president is the future to many. Polls are showing that factor has only widened the gender gap that plagues the GOP. For others, solving problems left over from the past is their future.

For llinks to polls and other sources, visit

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