Thursday, December 27, 2012

For conservatives, will Hillary ever be a Clinton again?


Mitt Romney and New Gingrich both deified the Clintons during the 2012 race -- primarily to draw a contrast with Barack Obama, but also to hang with the cool kid in school in hopes some of it would rub off on them.

But if Hillary Clinton runs for president, the GOP love can't last for long.

The question, which Maggie Haberman asks in a new piece, is whether the anti-Hillary voices will be as loud as they once were.

In other words, it’s not clear whether the anti-Hillary cottage industry will ever exist the same way it once did.

Haberman:

“Hillary’s not … a high-profile candidate now,” said conservative leader Richard Viguerie. “We’re not thinking Hillary. We’ve got all we can do to handle the Senate Democrats and Harry Reid and Barack Obama.”

....Faith & Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed, who worked to turn out evangelical voters in the last cycle, believes the return of Hillary-hating is a when, not if.

“The intensity of the opposition to Hillary Clinton on the right has abated somewhat during her years at the State Department for obvious reasons,” he said. “She’s been a diplomat, not a candidate. But should she begin to test the waters of a presidential candidacy, there will be renewed scrutiny by both the media and her critics, and at least some of the old dynamic will likely return, perhaps with renewed vigor.”

Two months ago, I would've said the anti-Hillary group would grow, but never reach anything like what it used to be.

But the Benghazi issue, fairly or unfairly, has stirred conservatives up and threatens to turn her into a political figure again -- not a beloved stateswoman -- much sooner than normal.