Giving former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton a ton of free publicity, the GOP brain-trust led by 42-year-old Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus began their preemptive attack on her health and age. After denying Hillary had medical problems when she delayed appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the Benghazi debacle, Priebus’s latest brainstorm fans wild speculation about possible brain damage. Former President George W. Bush chief strategist Karl Rove fanned the flames to the New York Post May 13, hinting that Hillary might have sustained “brain damage” from a concussion in Dec. 2012 and subsequent 30-day hospitalization. It’s now apparent that Rove’s comments were part of a carefully planned preemptive RNC strategy to discredit the likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
Hillary was treated at New York Presbyterian Hospital with anticoagulant treatment for a subdural hematoma following a fainting spell from a stomach virus sometime in Dec. 2012. “I think that health and age is fair game,” Priebus admitted, revealing, over two years before the 2016 presidential election, that the RNC has targeted Hillary. While there’s plenty of buzz about the possibility of Hillary running for president, no presidential announcement has been made. “It was fair game for Ronald Reagan. It was fair game for John McCain,” admitted Priebus, not recognizing that no one raised the issues before candidates officially announced their campaigns. RNC’s coordinated efforts to raise doubts about Hillary’s fitness-for-duty could not be better publicity for the odds-on-favorite to represent the Democratic Party in 2016, should she decide to run.
No matter what happens in the 2014 Midterm elections, including the very real prospect of the Senate turning Republican, all eyes are already on the 2016 presidential race. Priebus recognizes that Hillary would run an historic campaign to become the first woman U.S. president. Fighting a long-overdue destiny of a woman president in the U.S., the GOP knows that no matter whom they run they’d face an uphill battle to stop Hillary. Rove’s May 13 comments to the New York Post show just how worried the GOP has become over two years out from the 2016 presidential elections. “There was nothing to it . . . She is strong. She is doing great,” said former President Bill Clinton, dismissing the RNC’s rumor-mongering about Hillary’s health. Bouncing from Benghazi or Hillary’s health, the GOP admits the very real possibility that it can’t run a competitive candidate in 2016.
Hoping that they had their man in 51-year-old New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, all indications point that the Bridgegate scandal will continue to hang over Christie’s head for the foreseeable future. As long as none of the material witnesses connected with the George Washington Bridge lane-closings are allowed to testify, Christie will have the Bridgegate cloud hanging over his head. Former Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted the RNC’s attempt to discredit Hillary. “I thought his remarks just were outrageous,” Bloomberg told CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation.” Calling Hillary a “great American” and “spectacular candidate on the Democratic side,” Bloomberg echoed the deep division inside the GOP when it comes to national politics. Raising Hillary’s age and health before she announces her candidacy mirrors anxiety inside the GOP.
Hillary’s anticipated presidential candidacy is met with great expectations because she’s the most qualified woman in America to break the long-overdue barrier of a woman president. Republicans have harped on the Benghazi debacle where 52-year-old Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed Sept. 11, 2012 in a carefully planned al-Qaeda-affiliated terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Forming a House Select Committee and opening up another investigation into Benghazi May 9, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hoped to drag the Benghazi debacle into at least through the November Midterm elections. Trying to hang the debacle on Hillary hasn’t worked for the GOP. Keeping the controversy going only shows how desperate the GOP has become to use a tragic terrorist attack halfway around the globe to make political hay.
Hillary’s expected 2016 presidential candidacy only gets more buzz from the RNC’s latest strategy of questioning Clinton’s physical fitness to run for president. Instead of focusing on Hillary’s health, the GOP should look at the fitness of its own expected candidates that could make for tough sledding in 2016 race. Focusing on Hillary doesn’t change New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s radioactivity, forcing the GOP to look to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to rescue the Party. Unlike most the viable GOP candidates named for 2016, Hillary fits squarely in the mainstream of American politics, not on the right wing fringes that frighten so many voters. Being a woman only adds to the national appeal that the country’s ready to break another barrier in 2016. “You can’t ask somebody to do more that she has done for her country,” said Bloomberg, echoing the sentiments of excited mainstream voters.