The Corner

Hillary’s ‘Republicans Are My Enemies’ Line Was a Mistake

Asked last night to name “enemies” of which she was “proud,” Hillary Clinton rattled off a list that included “Republicans.”

I haven’t seen a great deal of discussion about this in the aftermath of the debate, and I must say that I’m slightly surprised about that. It’s one thing to say you’re proud that, say, the NRA is your enemy; you can always explain that you respect gun owners and the Second Amendment but oppose the “crazies.” But the other majority political party in the country? The party for which almost half of voters pull the lever? That’s not smart.

Why not? Well, because it opens you up to an obvious attack. When Clinton said it, I could just hear Marco Rubio saying this in a presidential debate:

Secretary Clinton, you said during the primaries that your biggest enemy was “Republicans.” I think that your comment provides the voters with a perfect example of how we differ. I’m a Republican, and, on some of the issues at least, I have some disagreements with the Democratic party. But it is not my enemy. Those who vote for it aren’t my enemies. They’re my neighbors, my colleagues, my friends, the men and women who teach my children, the people I see every day all around my state. On November 8th of this year, I will be asking all Americans for their votes — Democrats, Republicans, independents, everybody. For far too long now we’ve had a political class that refuses to work together; that draws lines around itself based upon its party affiliation; that forgets why it was sent to serve. I want to end that. I want to lead this country into the future as the president of everybody — even those who aren’t sure about me. If you believe that half of the country is your enemy — if you believe that a majority of the people you’ll have to work with are your enemy — you won’t be able to do that. I will.

Is that largely saccharine nonsense? Probably, yes. But don’t underestimate just how well it connects (see: Obama, Barack).

To watch how quickly debate viewers turn off when candidates start attacking one another is to understand how keenly most voters think of themselves as being above the fray. Sure, the line may have endeared Hillary to the crowd last night. But if she’s going to run as an out and out partisan who regards the other side as a nuisance that needs destroying, she’s opening herself up to profitable attack.

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More