He was the supposed Republican shoo-in for president in 1948 against the incumbent Democrat Harry Truman.
On election eve, a headline in the Chicago Tribune screamed “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.”
The nation’s pundits were convinced of a Dewey victory. He had been elected governor of New York three times. He had been the Republican presidential nominee in 1944. He had been a sparkling prosecutor tackling corruption and organized crime. And his 1948 presidential campaign aimed to offend no one by remaining noncommittal to everyone — like a basketball team playing defensive ball after acquring an early commanding lead.
Despite his glittering paper credentials and emollient campaign rhetoric, Dewey was crushed by Truman in both the electoral vote (303-189) and popular vote (50 percent-45 percent).
Hillary Clinton is a Democratic carbon copy of Thomas Dewey.
She has impressive qualifications on paper: First Lady (1993-2001); U.S. senator from New York (2001-09); and secretary of State (2009-2013). She writes and speaks with benumbing platitudes in hopes of offending no one. Not a single word in her memoir “Hard Choices” would make your heart flutter or awaken you from stupefaction. As was said about former Democratic Party presidential aspirant Henry “Scoop” Jackson, if Mrs. Clinton ever gave a fireside chat, the fire would go out.
In an interview in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, she was asked: “If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be? She answered: “At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking. I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it. I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement.” (She declined to elaborate on which biblical passages influenced her support for exterminating American citizens abroad not accused of crime with predator drones based on secret evidence).
Mrs. Clinton has sneered at President Obama’s foreign policy of “Don’t do stupid stuff” as empty of ballast. True enough. But she has cobbled together nothing better. Last Wednesday, she provided a Georgetown University audience with an amateurish military approach to the sectarian convulsions in Syria: “Part of what we have to do in continuing to try to combat the depredations and criminal conduct of a group like ISIS, and continue to put pressure on Assad, is probably first and foremost a protective humanitarian approach.”
But the last humanitarian approach championed by Mrs. Clinton as secretary of State was the overthrow and murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi after he had abandoned weapons of mass destruction at our behest and insistence. Mrs. Clinton’s “humanitarian” caper predictably spawned hundreds of rampaging militias, a surge in radical Islam, the dispersal of Gaddafi’s conventional weapons into the hands of international terrorists, the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the evacuation of all U.S. embassy personnel, and hardened opposition in Iran and North Korea to surrendering nuclear ambitions or arms. If there ever were a definition of “stupid stuff,” fighting Mrs. Clinton’s humanitarian wars would fit the bill.
But there is worse.
Mr. Obama secretly craves her defeat. She has snipped at his foreign policy. She rejected his pleas that she remain as secretary of State during his second term. There was no love lost between the two in the 2008 presidential campaign. And Mr. Obama knows that Mrs. Clinton would repudiate large portions of his presidency to make a mark for herself and to diminish his political stature if she were elected. Mrs. Clinton as the first woman president in the history books would eclipse Mr. Obama as the first black president.
Mr. Obama will not encourage his huge black voter base to support Mrs. Clinton. He will not encourage youths to campaign for her. His impressive social media networks and voting data will not be shared.
Neither will Mrs. Clinton be enthusiastically received by Democratic Party progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, or New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. Mrs. Clinton champions perpetual global warfare indistinguishable from Senate Republican war hawk and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain. Her “guns and butter” spending motto echoes President Lyndon B. Johnson as he was driven from office in 1968 by Democratic Party doves. if Mrs. Clinton were elected in 2016, progressives would be in the wilderness indefinitely, which is why their support will be grudging or non-existent.
Be forewarned. If you read an Internet banner on election eve 2016 declaring “HILLARY FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT,” don’t believe it.
For more information about Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.