Monday, May 19, 2014

Wash, Reince, Repeat...

RNC Chair Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus appeared on Meet the Press this weekend and, according to Newsweek, refused to distance himself from Karl Rove's suggestion that Hillary Clinton's health would be an issue if she runs in 2016.  He also added that her age was fair game.

This is certainly a failed strategy.  Americans aren't going to care about Hillary's health issues.  They are going to care about whatever issues are important to the campaign in 2016.  It will probably be those bread and butter issues that we know so well starting with good-paying jobs and a foreign policy that keeps our troops at peace.  It's not something Republicans are good at crafting, so it's no wonder why Reince is going back to that tried and true GOP playbook.

They tried to portray President Barack Obama as a man who made terrorists his pals in 2008.  Didn't work.  In 2012, they tried to show how reelecting him would take us down the path to socialism.  Uhh...nope.  Now they think Benghazi is going to bring down Hillary along with raising doubts about her health and her age.

Nevermind the fact that Mitt Romney is actually a year older than she is, and he's being talked about as a candidate.  If her health is a factor, can we ask questions about how an obese man like Chris Christie will survive four years in the White House?  What about Rick Perry whose noted sleep difficulties clearly affected him when he ran.  Is it fair game to talk about Bobby Jindal's participation in an exorcism?  What about Marco Rubio's apparent chronic dry mouth when he makes a national speech?  Are all of these things fair game, too?

Listen, we knew health care would be an issue, but we didn't know that it was going to be about the candidates.

Age will become an issue in these campaigns only when the candidate selects their running mate.  If, for example, you are a 72-year-old cancer survivor, you might not want to pluck the unknown Governor of Alaska who clearly was not ready for the moment out of obscurity to be your Vice Presidential nominee.  John McCain showed lack of judgement when he selected Sarah Palin.

Still, it's not as much of a lack of judgement as Reince Priebus showed in basically opening up the 2016 campaign to things that really don't belong in it as campaign issues.  Be careful what you wish for, Reince.

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