SAN DIEGO – Hillary Clinton is so thoughtful. As busy as she is peddling a book that blames her election loss on everyone but herself – including members of her own party – the 2016 Democratic nominee still makes time to worry about others.
And lately, she has been worried about, of all things, her chief nemesis: the GOP.
“There are a lot of things that I worry about,” she recently told ABC News. “This is actually on my list, of what I worry about. The Republican Party is imploding.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
The former Goldwater girl insists she is not alone in reaching this conclusion.
“We’ve seen in the last week, we’ve seen Bob Corker, we’ve seen Jeff Flake … there are a lot of other people in the Republican Party who feel exactly the same way.”
Neither Sen. Flake nor Sen. Corker are seeking re-election, and so they can speak freely. Both have been critical of President Donald Trump and his policies, and they’ve been hammered for their defiance on Fox News and conservative talk radio.
Clinton thinks the implosion stems from the fact that the GOP has purged the moderates and been taken over by extremists.
“It is becoming a far-right, captive party to ideological religious and commercial interests,” she said.
No argument. Clinton is spot-on when she talks about what has become of the Republican Party in the Trump era.
But imagine how much more effective her criticism would be if some of it were aimed at her own party, and – even better – at herself. When she talks about the Republican Party being “at the mercy of its financial backers and a cabal of leaders who … maintain power for themselves and those who are like-minded,” she could just as easily be talking about the Democratic Party. The two parties are twinsies.
Of course, Clinton won’t admit that she and her husband, and all the shady dealings in Clinton World dating back to the 1970’s, have hurt the Democratic Party. But it’s true.
That’s what made Clinton’s comments about how the Republicans are imploding so surreal. Apparently, she is much better at self-deflection than she is at self-reflection. Does she honestly not see that her own party is also coming apart?
Take a peek behind the Democratic curtain, and you’ll see it’s a mess back there: The elites have left behind the working-class. The white ethnics who helped put the Democratic Party on the map in the 20th century can’t see any common cause with the Latino and Asian immigrants who will help define the 21st century. Democrats haven’t even started the homework assignment they were given a year ago when Trump vanquished Clinton; instead of coming up with an economic message to win back the disaffected white Democrats in Rust Belt states who put Trump in the Oval Office, Democratic leaders have bet the farm on Special Counsel Robert Mueller III and Russia, Russia, Russia.
Hillary has only made the mess worse. Not only did her campaign conspire with the Democratic National Committee to short-circuit Bernie Sanders, she had the gall to write a book in which she blamed Sanders for creating the impression that she was dishonest and untrustworthy. Not only did she alienate – or at least fail to inspire – Latinos, youth, and African-Americans, she then blamed them for not turning out to vote for her.
Then you have the scandals. Just as Democrats want the country to focus on Mueller’s 12-count indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, they have to contend with questions about why the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee may have paid for a yet unsubstantiated dossier alleging immoral and improper behavior by Trump. And there are fresh accusations from within her own party that the Democratic primary was rigged by the Clinton campaign against Bernie Sanders.
About all this, the Democratic Party would like Clinton to say, well, nothing. But she won’t be ignored, or keep quiet. It was vintage Hillary who told attendees at the annual Women’s Media Awards that she doesn’t “intend to be silenced.”
Republicans have to be delighted to hear that, and Democrats must be filled with angst.
It makes you wonder: Whose side is Hillary really on? You know the answer: Hillary’s.
Instead of constantly demonizing Trump, the Democratic Party needs to confront the real threat. Here’s a hint: She is wearing a pantsuit.
Ruben Navarrette’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.