Thank you, Crank, Tom, and Yastreblyansky, for some great posts while I was gone. And now ... well this, from The Hill, is just silly:
The GOP can't live with Hillary Clinton running for president, but they can't live without her either.Well, maybe now that's true, but it won't be if circumstances change -- the smear machine will fire up just as much hate and anger against Biden or Warren or Sanders or O'Malley or, hell, Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand, or whoever else you might see as a possible Democratic nominee, if Hillary falters or doesn't run. Elizabeth Warren as "Fauxcohontas"? Who saw that coming in 2012? That's how it's done. The opposition research never stops and the noise machine never goes silent.
Most Republicans see the former secretary of State as a formidable challenger, albeit a flawed one. Her sheer presence does perhaps more to excite the GOP base than any other Democratic Party figure alive today, aside from President Obama.
It's the Clinton paradox: The candidate they're most worried about beating is also the candidate they may most want to run against in 2016 to both draw out their voters and open up donors' pocketbooks....
To Republicans at all times, the most evil person imaginable is whatever Democrat currently has access to the most power. It was Bill Clinton in the 1990s and John Kerry in 2004 (and Howard Dean from a couple of months before that). It was Nancy Pelosi in 2007; it's Barack Obama now, and it'll be whoever emerges as the Democratic front-runner two years from now, even if it's someone who's currently a relative unknown. And if all elected Democrats are even more thoroughly cowed than usual, as they were in 2002 and 2003, it'll be the Dixie Chicks or Barbra Streisand or Sean Penn. Republicans are always primed to hate one or more enemies. They just need Fox and talk radio to tell them which people to hate and why.
So don't take this seriously. The base will be at maximum motivation no matter who tops the Democratic ticket.