HILLARY’S MULLIGAN

Jack Kelly nails it at To The Point News

“I’ll restore faith in the country we all love,” Hillary Clinton pledged at a fund-raiser in Manhattan June 1.

To find out which country that is, we’ll have to check the list of donors to the Clinton Foundation, tweeted actor and former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson.

The Clinton campaign was awful eight years ago. Ready for Hillary 2016 hasn’t been an improvement. Things have gone so poorly since Ms. Clinton announced her candidacy April 12 she plans to take a mulligan.

Hillary will relaunch her campaign with a rally on Roosevelt Island this Saturday (6/13). By choosing that day without consulting the locals, Team Clinton forced cancellation of a long scheduled event for children, which generated bad press and irritated community leaders.

Better staff work can minimize such bungles. But not much can be done about the candidate. The more Hillary campaigned 8 years ago, the less people liked her. This year Ms. Clinton has spoken only to pre-screened audiences, said nothing of substance, refused to answer questions from journalists.

She’s dodged questions about scandals, but acting like a queen on the way to her coronation reinforces impressions she’s arrogant and out of touch. And even her toadies in the news media are irritated by her refusal to answer their questions. Hence the mulligan.

The Clintons deflected scandals in the past by stonewalling until the news media declared them “old news.” But this time, the “old news” keeps being refreshed by new, ever more seamy revelations.

Despite them, Hillary leads all GOP candidates — but probably not for much longer. She has narrow leadschiefly because voters don’t know enough yet about the Republicans to form an opinion about them.

It takes a lot — and a long time — to make much of an impression on a dumbed-down lo-of electorate heavily influenced by news media spin. But eventually, the drip drip drip of scandal permeates public consciousness.

“Eventually” may be now. More had an unfavorable than a favorable opinion of Ms. Clinton in CNN and ABC News polls last week. Responses to two questions CNN asked were devastating: Does Hillary care about people like you? (52 percent said no). Is she honest and trustworthy? (57 percent said no.)

Ms. Clinton can’t compensate for doubts about her character by stressing her experience, because her record as secretary of state is dreadful. She can’t talk much about issues either, because swing voters don’t like most of the policies she’s embraced.

Nor can Hillary count on enthusiastic support from the “progressives” she lurched left to court, because many suspect her views shift whenever her palm is crossed with enough silver.

To win, Ms. Clinton must attract the casual voters who turned out for Barack Obama, but not for John Kerry or Al Gore. So she must be alarmed by the response to the fund-raiser mentioned above.

What was to have been a $2,700 a plate lunch for 125 women only was thrown open to men because so few women bought tickets. Still, only 90 tickets were sold.

Aging Socialist Bernie Sanders drew more than 3 times that in tiny Kensett, Iowa (pop. 266) a few days earlier. (There was no charge for his event.)

The drip drip drip of scandal figures to go on for months, but isn’t likely to be enough for a longshot to upset Hillary in the primaries. But by yapping at her heels, they’ll reinforce doubts about her character.

Barring a killer revelation, Democrats will nominate for president a poor campaigner most voters don’t like or trust, with unpopular stances on hot button issues, who can’t talk about her record.

Hillary’s prospects won’t improve when millions get socked with huge Obamacare premium hikes next year. If the economy stalls out, or there’s a big terror attack here, election night 2016 could be the worst for Democrats in nearly 100 years.

Which is why it’s mostly Democrats who hope a smoking gun turns up soon. Republicans are content with drip drip drip.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan Administration.  He is the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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