“I write a weekly column awarding someone — usually a political figure — the “Worst Week in Washington.” It’s just what it sounds like. At the end of the year, I write one big piece about who had the “Worst Year in Washington.” President Obama won it in 2013 and 2014. This year, I named co-winners:Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.
Well, not so much outrage, as just hilarity and laughter at how silly a choice this is.
“How could I compare Jeb(!) with Hillary, people screamed. One is barely relevant in the presidential race; the other is a clear front-runner for her party’s nomination. Naming Clinton as a co-winner was either evidence of my “both sides do it” obsession or the latest example of me being just plain dumb.”
Yes, I would agree that just as Reince Priebus is the chair of the RNC and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of the DNC, Cillizza is the chair of the Both Sides Do It party’s national committee.
He felt that mocking Jeb was partisan unless he mocked someone equally on the Dem side and so he drew a false equivalence between Jeb and Hillary.
“Roughly 1 billion people sent me this tweet from ESPN’s Nate Silver, which provided further proof of my (a) bias or (b) stupidity.”
“Hillary Clinton, whose chances of becoming the 45th president have risen from ~35% to ~55%, has probably had the best year in Washington.”
“First of all, it’s important to define the terms of “Worst Year.” This “award” is not meant to be predictive. It’s focused on the self-contained year and how a politician did in those 365 days. Obama had the Worst Year in 2013 and 2014; he had, arguably, his most successful year in office in 2015. By giving Clinton the Worst Year, I had no intent making some sort of statement about her chances of winning the primary or the general election in November; those odds, as Nate notes, are pretty darn good — and always have been.”
Now, to Clinton herself. There’s no question that her past few months have been quite good. Starting with her strong performance in the first Democratic presidential primary debate, which was quickly followed by Vice President Biden ruling out a run of his own and her 11-hour star turn in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Clinton turned the narrative of her campaign around.”
Right so how can someone whose odds of of winning the White House are pretty darn good of had the worst year in Washington? Worse than say Reince Priebus? And it’s silly to look at the year in a self-contained way-you should look at it in relation to where they are at the end of it. Otherwise it’s a wholly senseless exercise.
“But all of that started to happen in October — the 10th month of the year. The previous nine months were, if not disastrous for Clinton, certainly something well short of how she and her campaign dreamed they might play out.”
But what matters is where you finish not where you start. In 2011 the NY Giants were 7-7 after 14 games. It was questionable whether they’d make the playoffs. They won their last two over the crosstown Jets and hated rival Cowboys and went on to win all four playoff games culminating in another upset of the New England Patriots.
By Cillizza’s framing this was a subpar year as they were only 7-7 till late December. But where you finish is what matters.
“The biggest problem was, of course, her botched handling of the revelation that she had exclusively used a private email address (and a private server) during her tenure as secretary of state — the first person in that job to use such a setup. Clinton and her team misunderstood the depth of the problem from the jump and spent the spring and summer fighting a fight — that this story mattered — that they had already lost. Her numbers dipped accordingly as the controversy over her email setup reinforced many of the things — paranoia, a sense that the rules don’t apply to them, etc. — that people already didn’t like about the Clintons.”
I don’t think it’s people, but rather what the Beltway media tries to tell people they shouldn’t like about the Clintons. They’ve been trying to sell this tired narrative for 24 years without success. At the end of the day, most pubic officials have used private emails and Cillizza and friends have never been able to explain why it’s so much worse in her case than all these other cases.
And this is what I think is going on here. Cillizza is miffed that the email thing wasn’t the big deal he and his fellow Beltway pundits said it would be. The issue has totally fizzled. Yes, he argues that it could be used again in teh general. I’m sure in taht case it would be as effective as it was in 2015-not very.
What is really going on is that Cillizza is miffed. The Clintons have this quality that drives the media crazy-sort of like how Trump does. They hammer and hammer and hammer about emails, or Whitewater, or Monica Lewinsky and it has no impact whatsoever on the future standing of the Clintons.
Maybe this is Cillizza trying to suggest ‘Sure she’s in good shape now but she’d be in even better shape if I and my fellow pundits hadn’t blown up the emails for all those months.’
I’ve argued this is why the press got so up in arms about Trump-he breaks their rules. He’s supposed to heal when they tell him he’s been a bad boy. Similarly the Clintons have always been teflon to all their phony attacks. Cillizza is desperate to believe they had some impact this year.
Yet I’d argue she’s about where she would have been anyway.
Like in 1998 when Clinton had an approval rating of 70 percent or above, surely Cillizza was arguing then that it’d be even better had it not been for him and his frontrunning Ken Starr’s phony investigation.
I think you can argue that the Beltway has had a terrible year.
1. They were wrong about Trump either not running or not having staying power or being ‘over’ at his or that juncture.
2. And they were wrong about Hillary all year too. We’re not even touching on the Beltway’s absurd pushing of Biden”s faux campaign.
Cillizza ought to just quite while he’s behind.