Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton does not want to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) anymore, specifically avoiding a debate in New York, which is her current home state but also a place whose Democratic voters might be more receptive to Sanders. Her campaign has signaled it will refuse to participate in any further debates unless Sanders changes his tone.
"This is a man who said he'd never run a negative ad ever. He's now running them. They're planning to run more," Clinton's chief strategist, Joel Benenson complained to CNN. "Let's see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions."
The Clinton campaign has been complaining about "negative ads" since January.
Hillary Clinton, who at a debate last year said Republicans were the enemy she was proudest of, is trying to engage in tone policing. It gets more ludicrous. At a speech in Wisconsin, Clinton sought to blame the rise of Donald Trump, who she calls an "extremist" like Ted Cruz, on Republicans in Washington not rolling over for the president.
"The same obstructionism that we've seen from Republicans since the beginning of the Obama administration, the same disregard for the rule of law that's given rise of the extremist candidacies of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz," Clinton said at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, "it's corroding our democracy and it has to stop."
Wisconsin was the site in 2011 of mob politics, with protesters seeking to "occupy" the Capitol to prevent Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.) from working toward union reforms. A small but loud minority, backed by powerful union special interests, tried to shout down the "democratic process" Clinton says she cares about. Walker's legislation passed and he survived a recall. Liberals have even compared Walker to Hitler, and with frightening regularity challenge the intention of Walker and other non-liberals around the country. Such a polarization, naturally, contributed to the rise of Donald Trump, but heaven forbid anyone take responsibility for their roles in the rise of Trump instead of merely blaming the other side.
Clinton's comment about "disregard for the rule of law" is particularly unbelievable. Clinton is currently embroiled in an FBI investigation over her use of a private server for her government email, which appears to be against the plain letter of the law. She continues to defend U.S. intervention in Libya, despite that intervention receiving no Congressional authorization and contributing to years of instability that have now allowed ISIS to take hold in that country. She was also secretary of state while the Obama administration massively expanded its drone bombings, which amount to little more than extrajudicial killings. She's cheered as President Obama has sidestepped Congress to act unilaterally and in constitutionally dubious fashion on a slew of issues from immigration to healthcare reform.
If Donald Trump wins the presidency and takes power at the White House, his ability to act as a strongman will be thanks to the decades-long project of building an imperial presidency and consolidating executive power, one Barack Obama lamented when George W. Bush was president but embraced once he occupied the White House himself, with slogans ranging from "we can't wait" (code for: I don't want to treat Congress as a co-equal branch) to "I've got a phone and a pen" (a naked celebration of a strong executive made possible by an underlying disregard for the rule of law.)