John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Slowing Down Hillary’s Quest for the White House

Posted on April 23, 2015
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The New York Times doesn’t much care for Hillary Clinton, and I can’t say I blame them too much.

Her record as Secretary of State is turning out to be one big scandal. She has an avowed hatred for the press and a special dislike for the characters who work at the Old Gray Lady. She is mean to people she doesn’t like and paranoid about people she doesn’t know. And she attracts scandals like bees attract honey.

Sadly, for me and the New York Times, there is no evidence any of this will slow her down in her quest for the White House.

She still easily beats every Republican in the field in a head to head match-up. She doesn’t have a real challenge in the primary. There is no Barack Obama (thus far) who will rise up and capture the hearts of liberal partisans and take Hillary by surprise. And she seems to have learned that tacking left is better now for her than steering for the center.

The reason Hillary is so formidable is because of her gender.

She is a woman and the country is ready to hear her roar.

She is not running on her record as Secretary of State. She is not running on her failure to pass Hillarycare as First Lady. She is not running based on her tenure as New York’s Junior Senator.

She is running because, dammit, she deserves it because it is time to put a woman in the White House. And Hillary is not only a woman. She is a grandma.

One of the great virtues of female candidates is that they are perceived to be more honest than male candidates.

I don’t know how you can make that case with Hillary, given all the sleaze surround the Clinton Foundation. But she has proven in the past to be able to survive each and every Clinton scandal, mostly because they primarily involve her husband, and let’s face it, Bubba is a lovable scoundrel.

Republicans have to think carefully about how they counter the Hillary as the first female President.

Pounding her relentlessly can backfire, so on many of these scandals, they have to follow the lead of the media, who won’t give Hillary the same kid-gloves treatment they gave Obama.

It would be smart of them to do in-depth research to find out what issues best resonate with women voters, especially married women voters.

Married women are the ones who decide elections in the country. And if the Republican nominee can win that demographic, they can carry the day.

It would also be helpful if they can implore Republican-dominated state legislatures around the country to stop passing anti-abortion legislation. All of these state initiatives filter up to the national conversation, and make it more difficult to win the married women demographic.

Republicans should also hope that the Supreme Court gives its okay to gay marriage, just to get that issue off the table.

Democrats believe that they can sweep Hillary in based on social issues, so they will pound away of those social issues time after time, and will look for ways to bait Republicans into the same kind of fight that battered Mike Pence in Indiana.

Republicans would be better off focused on economic security, national security and personal security.

Married women voters will vote for a candidate that will give them greater peace of mind that their families have a secure future, no matter what the gender of that candidate.

And finally, Republicans should start thinking seriously about putting a qualified, credible and compelling female candidate on the ticket with whoever the Presidential nominee will be. I don’t think Carly Fiorina fits that bill, but Kelly Ayotte certainly does. I am less enamored with Condi Rice, because that will put George W. Bush’s tenure squarely on the ballot, an outcome the GOP should avoid.

Obviously, Sarah Palin was a complete disaster, so it would be smart to start thoroughly vetting the proper VP candidate now rather than later.

Hillary can be stopped but it is not going to be easy. She is a formidable force to be reckoned with.