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Benghazi

Virtually nothing important happened in politics yesterday, with 2 notable exceptions. First, Paul Ryan formally entered the race for Speaker of the House. (But then, that doesn’t appear to be much of a race.) Secondly, Hillary testified.

Ryan’s news was expected. He’s already been running for the seat since McCarthy bailed whilst trying his best to look disinterested. Then suddenly he’s ready! On a side note, his gaffe about family time was slightly amusing as well, truth be told. I’m sure he was thinking that the optics of wanting to be a good family man was probably a good thing – until the hypocrisy of his stated position on family leave was juxtaposed. Epic fail.

Onward to the Circus

As for Hillary, while many in the press have proclaimed there was no clear winner, I beg to differ. For Mrs Clinton, big, big win. Maybe the biggest win before the general election. With one fell swoop, the email and Benghazi controversies have come to an end. The Republicans got nothing. NOTHING. And they spent nearly half a day trying. In fact, they are probably worse off than before the testimony. Not only was there no smoking gun, but they came off as combative, partisan and the entire scene was at times chaotic.

They didn’t even get a good soundbite for their troubles.

If they couldn’t put anything useful together from their so-called ‘investigation’, then that’s the end of the road. What more is left? A ninth investigation?

When they finally release their findings, whatever negative feedback they offer will be seen as partisan. Who expects a positive report from this committee? And so nothing will come from it. I predict 1-2 days of punditry and then silence. With the election more than a year away, it’s difficult to see this as a prominent election issue.

October 22, 2015 in Politics

C-Day, as in Hillary Clinton’s Day to Testify

Everyone is anticipating the fireworks at today’s hearing. The stakes couldn’t be higher. If the Republicans can provoke a mistake from Hillary, it could follow her all the way to the election. Meanwhile, due to recent events, the Republicans are now at risk of making Hillary look like a sympathetic figure if they attack her like surely planned. This would have long-term consequences as well. If Hillary gaffes, the mistake will only embolden the Republicans which have been gravely wounded over the last few weeks, but if the Republicans come across as partisan, it will serve to insulate her from any similar lines of attack in the future.

Ryan’s In. Biden’s Out.

So who’s smarter? The prize goes to Joe Biden, who would be fending off the muscular political machine of Hillary Clinton only to face a blitzkrieg of unrelenting attacks during the general election. He realized the fight isn’t worth the effort, and probably isn’t winnable anyway. At least not for him. The nomination is pretty much already ordained in the eyes of most to go to Hillary, and the mood on the street is that she’s got a good chance at winning.

Meanwhile Ryan is in a for rough ride. Like Hillary, he’s currently the favorite in his own right to hold the speaker’s gavel. But the wave he’s riding will break into a swampy bog once he takes the seat. How exactly is this young neophyte supposed to avert shutdown threat after shutdown threat driven by the extremists? These people are more than willing to walk him down the plank should he veer off course. Eventually he’ll prove to be a paper captain, squashed under a ton of right leaning tomes. On the other hand, if he can make it past the upcoming budget and debt limit fights without serious bruises, then all bets are off.