Before House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking defeat, the biggest story of the week was Hillary Clinton’s stumble out of the gate of her book tour, with a comment that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House and a clarification to a factual error in the memoir.
On Wednesday, a new Gallup Poll showed that her favorability rating had dropped to its lowest level since 2008, the year she lost her last presidential run.
The hard truth is that that things will only get worse for the former secretary of State before they get better, even if she and her team do everything perfectly.
Clinton’s numbers have been artificially high since she’s been out of partisan politics and are due for a correction as she wades back into the mudslinging of the daily news cycle and Republicans head to their battle stations.
As Jonathan Chait notes, Clinton as secretary of State and then a private citizen has been hugely popular for the same reason: “First ladies are almost always popular (the only recent exception being Clinton herself, a problem she solved by removing herself from the partisan spotlight), and it’s why even hated former presidents like Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush recover their popularity” when they leave office.
From the moment President Obama selected Clinton as his first secretary of State, and thus elevated her above the partisan fray, old Republican foes warmed to her, praising the choice and even using her to attack Obama. Clinton’s popularity peaked in early 2011, just after Republicans took control of the House and initiated the first debt-ceiling standoff, and then again as Clinton was stepping down and leaving government altogether.
But staying out of politics is obviously not something Clinton can do as she gets back into politics, so her numbers are bound to fall no matter how well she plays her cards before they settle at a more natural point.
Republicans have already stepped up their attacks in recent weeks, and Clinton has started weighing in on the political fights du jour, such as when she said in Chicago on Wednesday morning that Cantor lost because his tea-party opponent “basically ran against immigrants.”
Just because the correction is inevitable doesn’t mean it won’t be painful. Clinton will have to endure rounds of media speculation, stoked by Republicans, that the American people are rejecting her, or that she’s mortally wounded herself with a number of missteps. “The more she reminds people [of herself], the more she will drop,” Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted in response to today’s Gallup Poll.
Her allies have long feared that the press will “turn on” Clinton, and the winds indeed seemed to shift a bit on the first day of her media blitz, as rosy stories about, say, her guilty pleasure (chocolate), gave way to more incredulous dispatches from her meticulously controlled campaign-like event and hard-nosed analysis about her gaffes.
As things get even worse, Clinton may ask herself if another run is really worth it.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."