Slowing down the bulldozer

I used to think the eventuality of a Hillary Clinton presidential run was “no problem,” because surely the brain trust at the tippy-top of the GOP has been working out this strategy, utilizing higher math, the alignment of the stars, dumpster-diving and elaborate drills and simulations, for a decade. Her candidacy, I figured — as Carl Rove says — was a gimme for the Republicans, and all we had to do was let the Democrats step into the trap of nominating her, and then — fwip! — we’d have her figuratively hanging by her ankle in a net. “Heh,” right.

No such heh. I saw the Republican leadership in 2006… saw them mishandle the immigration debate… watched the porkathon of 2007 with horror… and saw the GOP become the face of gross political corruption. Unless “simulate utter political incompetence” is really one of those grand Roveian master plans, it’s going to take a lot more than the party that keeps giving us the likes of Trent Lott for leadership, to avoid this bad dream:

Clinton yesterday said she would meet with Iran without preconditions. “I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don’t really understand how Iran works,” she said.

Because we don’t really understand how Iran works“?!

Save us, God!

So, how do you stop a bulldozer? Usually, you don’t, no matter how heartfelt or determined you may be about it. But sometimes it’s worth seeing if there’s some way to at least delay the inevitable, or perhaps just knock the progress of that “incoming” off a degree or two so that perhaps the impact won’t be quite so strong or won’t hit quite down the middle.

So what can be done to slow down the President Hillary bulldozer?

One thing is to get real about this point: She’s the One. Earlier in the year I was reluctantly respectful. She had the nerve — at a moment when left-wing anti-Bush frenzy was at a positive fever pitch — to condemn the British fantasy television depiction of the assassination of the President of the United States. That was something significant, amazing as it is to say. She was among the first of the Democratic candidates to refuse to insist on unilateral withdrawal from Iraq as a platform of her candidacy. Again, the moral and tactical argument for unilateral and immediate withdrawal, i.e., surrender, are not even worthy of discussion, but they were all the rage until about a month ago.

But notwithstanding the bulldozer to the nomination, which is quite unstoppable, it is time for conservatives to ask what our realistic political strategy is to keep her out of the White House. I happen to think that undermining good (not perfect) candidates on our own side, such as Rudy Giuliani, is a terrible idea. It may or not be true that was does not kill me, makes me stronger; but there are limits to the usefulness, even as a “character building” exercise, to what my friend Scott Kirwin rightfully calls fratricide. Conservatives who are talking about third party games in the event of a Guiliani nomination may as well skip the costume stores for Halloween in a couple of weeks and just get out their old Ross Perot masks — they’ll be handing the election to this Clinton the way their like handed a previous one to a previous Clinton. This would be error.

That’s my idea of the first and best idea to stop the bulldozer: Choose the candidate who will win, and remember that the perfect is so often the enemy of the good. Rudy Giuliani is a very good candidate. And remember, once George Bush — who has let me down, often and painfully, but who is a good man fundamentally and who will be treated well by the long run — but George Bush, who is in the driver’s seat during much of the decline of his party, was “perfect.” We need to determine what the plan is, and to be honest about what’s going to make that plan work. And we may as well start doing that here, because if we know anything by now, it’s that the grass roots are the GOP’s only hope — and we know all too well how Hillary Clinton “works.”

Cross-posted on Likelihood of Success.

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