By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Whoever emerges from the 2016 GOP Primary isn’t just running up against the universally-known Hillary “Hilldawg” Clinton and her formidable machine, Save Jerseyans. They’re up against the mainstream media, the extended limousine liberal money machine, an American inclination towards divided government, and another manufactured historical aura (the first woman president!).
And one more thing: an airbrushed recollection of the 1990s, too, which we’re going to be endlessly reminded was a Clinton-engendered Golden Age (sorry, Newt; no soup for you).
In short, it’s going to be one hell of a fight no matter who wins.
The latest proof:
According to the results of a new Bloomberg poll released Monday, Hilldawg is edging Chris Christie in a hypothetical one-on-one 2016 match-up by 6-points, 42% to 36%.
He’s nevertheless at the top of the field of polled potential challengers to the throne. Clinton leads Mitt Romney (45% to 39%) and Jeb Bush (43% to 37%) by the same margin among likely voters; she’s also up on Rand Paul by 8-points (45% to 37%), and Ted Cruz by 13-points (46-33%).
The truly funny part? Clinton boasts solid double-digit leads over all candidates on two question: (1) “being a strong leader” and “caring about people like you.” Only Romney (49% to 42%) pulls within single-digits on the leadership question. Clearly, Madam Benghazi’s exorbitant speaking fees aren’t common knowledge among likely voters.
That’s the prospective GOP field’s fault. The messaging out there right now is horrible. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are competing for the anti-NSA vote. Chris Christie is still pushing bipartisanship. Jeb Bush is muddying the immigration debate waters and Mitt Romney is bending over backwards to sound reasonable on the minimum wage. Gov. Christie is at least trying to beat the Keystone XL drum; all the same, most of the voters supporting the pipeline are already skeptical of a second President Clinton.
Self-interested red meat salesmen want to make it a conservative vs. “moderate” thing. It’s not. The least consistently conservative Republican 2016 hopeful is decidedly to the right of Ronald Reagan during his California gubernatorial tenure.
The real issue is a strategic failure. To date, no one is taking the fight directly to the queen by echoing the battle-tested themes from the successful 2014 campaign trail.
Hilldawg isn’t Barack Obama. She doesn’t possess half of his charisma. She also doesn’t have the benefit of his pre-2008, media-protected blank slate. Half of her own party doesn’t particularly like her; in some ways, she’s their John McCain (a respected but flawed senior statesmen who is “next” on deck). In short, she’s vulnerable, but we can’t wait too long because modern campaigns aren’t fought from Labor Day to the first Tuesday in November. There isn’t “plenty of time” to redefine her. Hillary is a known entity. Her inevitability (and the entire “first female president” narrative) needs to be challenged from day one.
Bloomberg might’ve came up with different results if ANY of our contenders were acting like it.