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Being a moderate is NOT trending

October 20, 2015

Are you a Republican, or do you at least lean in that direction politically?

Apparently, you are now officially on the front-running Democratic presidential candidate’s list of enemies.

Everyone expects over-the-top hot air in an election. Usually, when candidates and their supporters call out their opponents or even outright say “I don’t like him” it’s pretty focused.

When a person who would be king (or queen) says “I consider 50% or so of the American people to be my enemies”, that’s far beyond disturbing.

To be fair, Mrs. Clinton was responding to a question during the Democratic debate as to who she considered to be her #1 enemy, rather than making an off-the-cuff remark.

It was somewhat interesting that she couldn’t seem to narrow her enemies list down to one, leaving only the press off her list, perhaps in deference to the setting.

But after all, it was a stage show and it got her audience and media attention.

In the aftermath of the debate, you sort of expected her to spin the remark.  Maybe she “misspoke” or  “she was taken out of context.”  Maybe she just meant her Republican presidential campaign opponents.

After all, surely there were probably more than a few people in the 15.3 million folks watching who maybe have not yet picked a candidate to support yet, so it might have behooved her to at least act like she cared about them.

Politicians do that all the time. When Mitt Romney said on a hot mic that 47% of the people weren’t going to vote for him no matter what he did, he tried to correct the impression quickly.  When House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy popped off about the political effect of the Benghazi  hearing committee’s focus on Mrs. Clinton’s White House bid, he too tried to walk it back.

To date, there doesn’t seem to be any such retraction or clarification coming out of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

Today, that seems to have figured heavily into Democratic contender Jim Webb’s decision to drop out of the race, at least as a Democrat.

Webb, who is sort of the Democratic mirror image of  moderate Jeb Bush (without the money obviously) spoke candidly to the issue of ideological polarization in his farewell to the race.

The former Virginia senator never did fit into this year’s race. First, he is an authentic decorated war veteran. Second, he doesn’t believe all guns should be confiscated, ala Australia. Third, he actually seemed to want to build consensus among the members of Congress, rather than figuratively execute all the Republicans at sunrise.  And fourth, he isn’t independently wealthy.

Ideologically, while he is into some Democratic social issues, he actually seems to have thought about what he wants to support and what he would prefer to see changed.

In the immortal words of a politician, what does it matter anyway?

Given the enormous amounts of money needed to mount a campaign against his party’s elite, Mr. Webb never had the chance of a snowball in hell of catching on anyway.

And that’s a shame. Just as Bernie Sanders and now apparently Hillary Clinton personify the extreme left, and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz the far right of their parties, Jim Webb was a lone Democratic voice trying to represent the moderate left.

It didn’t work for him any better than it’s working for Jeb Bush on the other side of the coin.

It’s unlikely that Mr. Webb will find enough wealthy supporters for an independent run in a country that’s begun to look like the U.S. version of the Shia-Sunni blood feuds in the Middle East.

Thanks for trying though, Mr. Webb.  FYI -Trump seems to be onto something with this Twitter thing.

From → op-ed

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