The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee
New York Times
By Maureen Dowd
WASHINGTON — SPEAKING of crazy …
All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old.
They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.
The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.
They can’t go with Donald Trump. He’s too volatile and unhinged.
The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump’s propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.
Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens.
Pushing her Midwestern Methodist roots, taking advantage of primogeniture, Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile.
Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000.
Unlike Trump, she hasn’t been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary’s charms.
Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast, “Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss.”
She has finally stirred up some emotion in women, even if it is just moderate suburban Republican women palpitating to leave their own nominee, who has the retro air of a guy who just left the dim recesses of a Playboy bunny club.
The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed “incongruent” by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America.
Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam’s apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary.
Hillary has written that Kissinger is an “idealistic” friend whose counsel she valued as secretary of state, drawing a rebuke from Bernie Sanders during the primaries: “I’m proud to say Henry Kissinger is not my friend.”
The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that “the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted.”
And Isaac Chotiner wrote in Slate, “The prospect of Kissinger having influence in a Clinton White House is downright scary.”
Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights?
Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about “Second Amendment people” taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS. And he still blindly follows his ego, failing to understand the fundamentals of a campaign. “I don’t know that we need to get out the vote,” he told Fox News Thursday. “I think people that really wanna vote are gonna get out and they’re gonna vote for Trump.”
Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don’t shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone.
You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving “aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda,” repeating the Bush administration’s phony case for war.
If you want to carry the G.O.P. banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky.
As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, “the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.”
And that’s how Republicans prefer their crazy — not like Trump, but like Cheney.