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Most people believe that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq in 2003 without a plan for what to do once they had overthrown Saddam. But they DID have a plan. ONE plan. To replace him with a man named Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile that tried & failed for nearly a decade to convince the Clinton White House that Saddam possessed “stockpiles” of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and that he needed to be overthrown to avoid an inevitable attack upon the United States. He failed to convince the Clinton White House, but found a far more receptive audience once the Bush neocons took over. Suddenly a plan was set in motion (“from day one”) to overthrow Saddam and replace him with Chalibi. But when we invaded and those “stockpiles” were nowhere to be found, the Bush Administration wasn’t about to “reward” the man that duped them into launching America’s very first preemptive war, so they suddenly found themselves without a “Plan B”. Chaos broke out and Iraq has yet to recover from that lack of planning. Might Democrats be making the same mistake by not seriously considering another candidate should Hillary falter? Who steps up to fill the void? What’s our “Plan B”?

The GOP scandal machine was switched on the day after President Obama was re-elected to a second term and a Hillary candidacy seemed inevitable. There was “Benghazi!TM” on September 11th of 2012, followed by demands for an investigation into Clinton’s handling of the incident (just imagine how they might of reacted if four THOUSAND people had died that 9/11 instead of just four?) Republican tears over Romney’s loss weren’t even dry before Karl Rove suggested Hillary might have suffered “brain damage” as a result of a head injury that left her hospitalized that December, with some Republicans even questioning the “timing” of her injury as happening “conveniently” just before yet another hearing on “Benghazi!TM. They ridiculed her attempt to “hit the reset button with Russia” while not seeing the Ukrainian crisis coming (this is the Party whose own leader less than a decade before claimed to able to “see into Putin’s soul” and praise him as “a reformer”), and the latest scandals-du-jour are “email-gate” and (an old chestnut) the Clinton’s fund-raising from “foreign” donors (Republicans are proud to be bought & paid for by a handful of AMERICAN Billionaires. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”)

With no other “serious” opponents on the Left to focus on, all 37 Republican contenders can focus nearly every dime of their ad buys against a single candidate. The GOP can use its control of Congress to host countless partisan investigations (all funded by the taxpayer) to try and accuse Clinton of everything from being “incompetent” to an outright “criminal”. That’s a lot of negative attention & scrutiny focused on just one person.
 

What if something sticks? Then what?
 

The GOP knows that… with no other Democratic contender with a serious shot at winning the presidency… all they have to do is take out Hillary and a GOP victory in 2016 will be so easy they may not even worry about enforcing strict “Voter ID” laws (aw, who am I kidding? An election is no fun if they can’t screw over enough Democrats so that the margin of victory is wide enough to claim an imagined “mandate”.) That’s a lot of targets on Hillary’s back. If a dog keeps digging long enough, he’s bound to find a bone. What then?

For many, the obvious answer is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no matter how many times she insists she is not running. And as much as I adore Warren (having watched her as a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ NOW long before she ran for the Senate), I just don’t see her as “Commander-in-Chief” of the United States military. And besides, we REALLY need her in the Senate.

I have a personal preference for Bernie Sanders. I was stunned to see him give an interview to Fox “news” Sunday last week, and host Chris Wallace brought up the fact Sanders is “a self-described Democratic-Socialist.” I could hear the sound of every #FnS viewer across the nation (all 17 of them) audibly gasp at the revelation that “a NAZI” and/or “admitted COMMUNIST” is a serving United States senator thinking about running for president! While I personally WANT Bernie to run… and run as a Democrat in order to share the stage with Hillary in a debate that pushes her to the Left… if HE were the nominee, he’d be spending 90% of his time explaining to the Trailer Park Crowd that a “Socialist” is not a “Communist” or a “Nazi”. It’s the third largest political Party in the UK (after the Conservative & Labor Parties) and is currently the ruling Party in France. But to Bubba on his Bass boat or the Sarah Palin’s of the world chewing on Moose Jerky (and even a few reliably Liberal voters that just don’t know better), “Socialism” is either “watered-down Communism” or the foundation for the “National Socialist (aka Nazi) Party” (actually, Hitler’s Fascists took-over Germany’s Socialist Party to give themselves credibility, but were in fact Corporate neocons.) I’d say a Bernie victory is less likely than the election of the first black president that just happened to share a (middle) name with one of America’s greatest enemies (“Hussein”). Not impossible, but very very unlikely. It took a catastrophic economic disaster at the hands of the GOP to do it. Bernie will have no such advantage unless the GOP Senate goes completely off the rails between now and Election Day.

Then there is the former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley who is known for… uh… ummm… hmmm. I don’t think the former governor of Maryland is even known for being former governor of Maryland. If Hillary were to falter, does anyone see the nation rallying around Martin O’Malley?

That leaves Joe Biden. With the continued success of the economy, a stunning military victory in the Middle East could suddenly make a desire to “extend the Obama presidency to a (metaphorical) third term” very attractive. One big downside is Biden’s age, who… should he win… would be the oldest person ever elected president. It was Joe Biden who got the ball rolling on the sudden stunning wave of approval towards equal rights for gays, declaring his support for same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in the middle of the 2012 campaign when President Obama himself was reluctant to openly support gay marriage for fear of how it might play out in an election year.

It was Biden who first advocated for a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, once again forcing the White House to take a principled stand on an issue before they were ready.

While I’m not sure Biden should be actively challenging Hillary for the nomination, should there be a need for another candidate to step up, Vice President Biden is the obvious next best choice.

PS: And for your listening pleasure…

“You’re kicking the tires. Looking under the trunk.” (???) Hillary during a 2008 campaign appearance

 


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