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THE “GOTCHA!” IRAQ HINDSIGHT HYPOTHETICAL: Charles Krauthammer: You want hypotheticals? Here’s one.

The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake? . . .

And the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, “is tragic foremost because it didn’t have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years.”

Do the math. That’s 2009 through 2011, the first three Obama years. And then came the unraveling. When? The last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.

Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.

All of these retrospective, if-you-were-omniscient hypotheticals are a waste of breath.  But at least this one focuses on the role that the current Administration has played in the disintegration of the region, rather than continuing their silly “It was Bush’s fault!” distraction game.  What I want to know is:  What, Mr. President, do you plan to do now to stop the region from becoming even more dangerous to U.S. interests?

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: “One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.”

THE LATEST ADDITION TO A LONG, LONG LIST: Another reason why Hillary Clinton does not deserve to be president.

MEMORY HOLE: Hillary Clinton Omits Failed Presidential Campaign on LinkedIn Resume. “What else is she hiding?”

Whatever she can.

INSECURITY: “We’re being prodded to think of the numerosity of the GOP field of candidates as absurd. (How will they debate?) I keep seeing GOP-disparagers calling the group a ‘clown car.’ What’s really going on? I say it’s displacement of anxiety over the extreme opposite happening on the other side: only Hillary.”

JOHN TABIN: Hillary’s private spy and their shady foreign policy.

RON FOURNIER: Why Bill and Hillary Clinton May Want to Throttle Me. “Rich, healthy relationships are complicated. Like mine with the Clintons.”

RICK PERRY ON HILLARY: “This is not a lapse of one’s memory. It is a lapse of one’s ethics.”

HMM: Poof! CNN’s Jake Tapper disappears from Clinton Foundation website:

Until late Tuesday afternoon, the Clinton Foundation website listed CNN anchor Jake Tapper as a “speaker” at a Clinton Global Initiative event scheduled for June 8-10 in Denver. After USA TODAY asked CNN about the event, Tapper’s name was swiftly removed from the Clinton Foundation website.

One reason for CNN’s quick reaction is easy to understand. Last week, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, once a political operative for former president Bill Clinton, was widely attacked after he failed to disclose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation even as he covered the Clintons.

Tapper has no comparable connections to the Clintons. But by participating in the event next month, while Hillary Clinton is running for president and the foundation is in the news, he too could face criticism for an overly cozy relationship with the Democrats’ most likely 2016 presidential nominee.

There seems to be a lot of coziness where the Clintons and the press are concerned. But perhaps Tapper withdrew.

UPDATE: More:

Tapper wouldn’t comment on the record. A CNN spokesperson, who asked not to be named, said Tapper was improperly listed as a speaker on the foundation website; he is scheduled to interview former president Clinton at the event and later moderate a panel discussion. The spokesperson said the network-approved interview will be televised. There will be no restrictions on the questions, and Tapper will not be paid by the foundation. Other details are still being negotiated.

That stands in Tapper’s favor, but it does not solve the problem for Tapper or CNN, which is scheduled to host three Republican presidential primary debates. After Stephanopoulos’ donations were reported by the conservative Washington Free Beacon, the ABC anchor withdrew from participation in a Republican debate, a blow to the network that reportedly signed a $105 million contract with the former Clinton White House employee.

Tapper has a far better reputation among Republicans than his controversial former ABC News colleague. But like Stephanopoulos, Tapper has a history on the liberal side of the political fence.

I’ve always known him to be a pretty straight-shooter — if occasionally prickly about what I say on Twitter — and there’s nothing wrong with a no-holds-barred interview with a former President. But the closeness of the Clintons with the press will undoubtedly lead people to wonder if this “get” was an effort to generate gratitude that will benefit Hillary later. Will it work? People will be watching to find out, I guess.

FLYING THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES WITH QUEEN HILLARY: MSNBC: Even when flying with the public, Hillary Clinton keeps it private. “Hillary Clinton has traded private jets for seats on commercial airlines as she embarks on her second, humbler presidential run. But even in this relatively more democratic mode of transit, the former secretary of state is mostly kept apart from the everyday Americans her campaign wants to champion. Clinton does not fly the commercial the way you fly commercial.”

SO HILLARY’S SCANDALS ARE ANCIENT HISTORY, BUT SLAVERY IS AS FRESH AS TODAY! DOJ Official: Slavery to Blame for Riots in Ferguson and Baltimore.

VIDEO: Reporter Dares To Ask Question, Hillary Is Having None Of It.

THE ATLANTIC: The Painful Loss of Ramadi: Islamic State control over the capital of Iraq’s largest province is a symbolic and strategic blow to the United States. Well, yes. A little history:


As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

ROGER SIMON: Watergate Redux? Will Sid ‘Vicious’ Upend Hillary?

Emails have surfaced from long-time Clinton bag man Sid Blumenthal indicating the whole Libya debacle was instigated by a cast of sleazy lowlife profiteers out of an Elmore Leonard novel. Smarmy Sid was pumping info from this dramatis personae to Hillary (at more than one email address) about goings on in that benighted country and our then secretary of state believed him — at least most of the time — passing his “knowledge” on to her underlings.

And this is a woman who wants to be president?

We know the results of this insider information: Gaddafi gone, four Americans killed in Benghazi, including an ambassador, with Libya a massively failed state overrun by ISIS goons who lop the heads off Christians by the seaside for sport. Good work, Hillary. Good work, Sid.

Ouch.

LOVELY PEOPLE, JUST LOVELY: Staff quit Clinton Foundation over Chelsea.

Chelsea Clinton is so unpleasant to colleagues, she’s causing high turnover at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, sources say.

Several top staffers have left the foundation since Chelsea came onBoard as vice chairman in 2011.

“A lot of people left because she was there. A lot of people left because she didn’t want them there,” an insider told me. “She is very difficult.”

Onetime CEO Bruce Lindsey was pushed upstairs to the position of chairman of the board two years ago, so that Chelsea could bring in her McKinsey colleague Eric Braverman.

“He [Braverman] was her boy, but he tried to hire his own communications professional and actually tried to run the place. He didn’t understand that that wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing,” said my source. “He was pushed out.”

Matt McKenna was Chelsea’s spokesman, and then he wasn’t. Now he works for Uber. Ginny Ehrlich, the founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, now works for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Chelsea has embraced all the trappings of a corporate CEO, with a personal staff almost as big as her father’s. “He has six. She has five,” said my source.

None of this would surprise her former co-workers at McKinsey and NBC News. At both the management consulting firm and the network, co-workers allegedly were told they couldn’t approach Chelsea.

A source at NBC, where Chelsea was paid $600,000 a year, said, “If someone wanted to talk to Chelsea about something, they had to go through a producer.”

Princess Chelsea. That’s the problem with dynasties. They breed entitled descendants.

BUT HILLARY AND BARACK KNEW AND DID NOTHING: U.S. Intel Knew Weapons Were Being Moved From Benghazi To Syria, Predicted The Rise Of ISIS.

ROGER SIMON: Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President: She trusts someone like Sidney Blumenthal.

THEN SHE STOOD NEXT TO THE COFFINS OF THE DEAD AND LIED: Hillary Received Memo Describing Benghazi As Planned Terror Attack Within Hours. “New documents obtained by Judicial Watch and made public Monday show that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior officials under President Obama were given intelligence within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack describing how it had been planned at least 10 days in advance ‘to kill as many Americans as possible.’”

Also, they locked up a filmmaker for a year, just to support their cover story. Nice people.

ROGER SIMON: Bored To Death: Do Jeb and Hillary Really Want To Be President?

SO I GUESS ABC NEWS AND STEPHANOPOULOS HOPED THE SCANDAL WOULD DIE DOWN OVER THE WEEKEND. Since that didn’t happen, what will they do next?

Related: George Stephanopoulos Has Forfeited All Trust As A Newsman.

Plus: Stephanopoulos’s long, long record of loyal service to the Clintons. Including an astonishing finding by Judge Royce Lamberth.

IN 2010, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAS TALKING ABOUT IRAQ AS A SUCCESS. THEN IN 2011, THEY SKEDADDLED. NOW, IN 2015, IT’S GONE TO HELL AND THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT 2003. Ramadi falls.

Let’s put it bluntly: There is little evidence the president’s minimalist approach to fight the Islamic State is working. (Boot says bluntly: “The fall of Ramadi is a sign of the abysmal failure of the misnamed Operation Inherent Resolve launched by President Obama in August 2014 to ‘degrade’ and ultimately to ‘destroy’ ISIS. Operation Uncertain Resolve is more like it.”) Rather than recognize realities on the ground, acknowledge the Islamic State is gaining in strength and recruits and then reassess our strategy, the White House poses another false choice — do what we are doing or reoccupy the country. The alternative of course is what the military has consistently recommended — a more substantial U.S. ground force to provide training, intelligence, forward spotting, etc. Instead, Iraqi militias are cementing their relationship with Iran, which is becoming dominant in Iraq.

Boot argues, ” The real debate we should be having is not what we should have done in 2003 but what we should do now, today, to defeat ISIS and Iran — the twin forces, mirror images of one another — that are ripping the Middle East asunder. All of the candidates, including the silent Hillary Clinton, need to tell us what they would do.” But it’s so much easier to second guess a decision made 12 years ago than to set forth a workable plan to defeat the Islamic State and to stem Iran’s aggressive moves throughout the region.

And, as a famous man says, let me be clear: The press is asking about 2003 to give Obama cover for his policy failures now. And not for any other reason.

MARTIN O’MALLEY FLAUNTS HIS MALE PRIVILEGE: “Images of Martin O’Malley without a shirt are continually popping up as if to say look what I can do that Hillary can’t.”

HILLARY’S VIEW OF EXECUTIVE POWER:  William Jacobson has an oped in the Washington Examiner, asserting that an executive branch headed by Hillary Clinton would witness even more egregious, unconstitutional power grabs than the Obama Administration:

A President Clinton would almost certainly face a Republican House of Representatives in 2017, if not a Republican-controlled Congress.

Rather than trying to work with such a Congress, Hillary has made it clear she would be even more aggressive than Obama in expanding presidential power at the expense of Congress and the Constitution.

He’s right, of course. This is the problem with unconstitutional executive power grabs: Unless the courts or Congress can stop them, future presidents (of any political persuasion) can be expected to continue them, and consider them a baseline upon which they can “work around” Congress.

SHOCKER: USA Today: Stephanopoulos, ABC have not fully disclosed Clinton ties: Schweizer. “Hidden hand” journalism. (Bumped).

HILLARY’S #PRIVILEGE:  Noemie Emery has a terrific piece in the Weekly Standard, documenting the genesis of the “stacked deck of cards” that have been held by the Clintons:

The deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” Hillary Clinton has warned us, and she ought to know. Having been “at the top,” or close enough to it, since 1976, when her husband was elected attorney general of Arkansas at age 30—not the biggest job ever, but one with a whole lot of power to play with—she has leveraged every ounce that it held to bring to them ever and ever more money and power, until at this moment, 14 years after leaving the White House, she and Bill sit on a mile-high mountain of both. Their wealth is immense and their power unlimited, at least in their party. The very few viable national candidates left after the two midterm wipeouts that decimated Democratic ranks in the reign of Obama are so afraid to risk the Clintons’ wrath that she is cruising unopposed to the nomination for the first time since no one knows when. How did two penniless kids living in roughly 1,000 square feet in Fayetteville, Arkansas, reach such heights? Let us look back and see.

Read the whole thing.

THAT ASSUMES SHE HAD A SOUL TO BEGIN WITH:  Politico article: ”Hillary Clinton Sold Her Soul When They Accepted that Money.”

It’s certainly true that the Clintons have had a long—and lucrative—relationship with Morocco. Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who was traveling abroad during last week’s CGI meeting in Marrakech, nonetheless loaned one of his palaces to Bill and Chelsea Clinton to stay in during the meeting, according to attendees. The king was listed on a donor roll as having pledged as much as $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation to help build Bill Clinton’s presidential library (though the foundation says the donation never came through), while the state firm OCP has donated as much as $6 million over the years to the Clinton Foundation’s efforts. Both Clintons have publicly embraced the king in recent years as an example of an Arab moderate ruler with whom the U.S. should partner, and leaked Moroccan diplomatic cables show that Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state was seen by Rabat as among its most ardent supporters in the Obama administration.

There is no evidence that she tailored her official positions to suit Morocco’s preferences because of personal or financial relationships. But the overlap between her diplomatic portfolio and the funding for her family’s philanthropy illustrates the way nearly any foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation can be viewed through the prism of U.S. policy. And it highlights why countries, companies and individuals that could benefit from her past and possibly future public service might be inclined to support the foundation.

There’s “no evidence” of Secretary of State Clinton’s tailoring of her official positions because no one in the Obama Administration (or Congress, thus far) has investigated whether such linkage exists.

STAY QUIET AND WIN:  This seems to be Hillary Clinton’s electoral strategy for controversial issues upon which the polls don’t provide a clear consensus for the progressive/liberal base. Her latest non-position is on President Obama’s controversial trade deal.

If Clinton doesn’t answer questions from the press and doesn’t take a position on issues beyond those clearly embraced by the progressive/liberal base, the low information voter can be won, as research indicates LIVs are much more likely to vote for well known politicians accused of corruption.

DON’T BE SILLY. JEB’S BROTHER IS TOTALLY RELEVANT, BUT HILLARY’S BROTHERS BARELY EVEN EXIST. Hillary Clinton’s brothers could cause major problems for her presidential campaign.

THIS ISN’T HAPPENING BY ACCIDENT: We’re asking presidential candidates all the wrong questions.

Asking presidential candidates whether they support or would change past foreign policy decisions is the most common line of questioning among members of the media. It’s also the most pointless.

Should President Clinton have killed Osama bin Laden when he had the opportunity in 1990s? Should President Bush have sent the U.S. military into Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein in 2003? Should President Obama have withdrawn all troops from Iraq in 2011?

Such questions provide no real insight into future considerations. Whether or not they would have done anything differently no longer matters. Besides, since when is hindsight not 20/20?

Here is today’s reality: Iraq is aflame, Afghanistan rests on perilous ground, Yemen has descended into chaos, Libya has devolved into a failed state and the Islamic State not only threatens many parts of Africa but also inspires pledges of solidarity from around the world, including in the United States.

Earlier this month, jihadists from Arizona drove to a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, to massacre hundreds of people. They might have succeeded if not for an off-duty traffic officer who skillfully killed them before they could harm anybody.

Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated — if not outright angry — as they read daily headlines such as “Enemy Inside: ISIS the ‘Greatest Threat since 9/11,’” “DHS Secretary: ‘New phase’ in the global terrorist threat” and “Former CIA official cites agency’s failure to see al-Qaeda’s rebound.”

The U.S. is losing the war against radical Islamists, and Americans want to know if there is anybody capable of doing anything about it. They are pleading for a commander in chief who can shine in the following three areas.

Yeah, but since we’re stuck with Obama, and the press wants Hillary, we get questions about 2003.

OF COURSE SHE DOES: Hillary Wants the Power to Ban Books and Movies that Criticize Her.

YET ANOTHER REASON TO OPPOSE HILLARY:  Like her cohort Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton told a group of supporters on Thursday that she will have a “litmus test” for her Supreme Court nominees:  They must agree to overturn Citizens United.

How typical of the Scandal Queen:  Citizens United involved a documentary film critical of Hillary called Hillary: The Movie. In upholding the free speech rights of Citizens United to air the film, the Supreme Court defended the First Amendment rights of groups of people (rather than just individuals), including corporations, unions and associations.  But of course the Court also allowed (gasp!) a criticism of Hillary to be aired.

So now the Queen is vowing payback for such criticism, and ensure it cannot happen again. Because, you know, a civilized country cannot allow citizens to question its political leaders.  Nice.

LLOYD GROVE: A Weak Apology Won’t End George Stephanopoulos’ Clinton Problem. The Brian Williams comparison has got to hurt: “Willams wrapped himself in the flag; Stephanopoulos cloaked himself in charity.”

Plus:

It is hard to argue that asking tough questions of a charity’s critic on the air—as Stephanopoulos did last month with Schweizer, whose much-publicized book Clinton Cash has been the target of war room-level pushback from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign—without bothering to mention that you’ve donated to that charity, is anything other than a serious breach of accepted journalistic standards. Or that letting viewers know about such a potential conflict of interest is “going the extra mile.”

Apparently Stephanopoulos still fails to grasp that there is nothing “extra” about what should have been a common-sense disclosure. What’s more, on GMA Friday morning, he didn’t see fit to mention the sheer size of his donations; no doubt many of his viewers would consider $75,000 real money, even for a television personality reportedly making double-digit millions.

Yes, it’s more than 150% of the average family inocme.

WELL, NOW, THERE’S A SELLING-POINT: Chelsea Clinton could take on role of first lady if Hillary wins, White House expert says.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Boeing Shareholder Challenges Ethics of Company’s Relationship to Clintons: Boeing contributed $900,000 to Clinton Foundation, paid $250,000 for Bill Clinton speech.

America’s largest airplane manufacturer Boeing is closely aligned with Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Boeing shareholders are now confronting company management about whether the relationship between Boeing, the Clinton Foundation, and the State Department under Hillary Clinton violated ethics rules, according to Fox News.

As secretary of state, Clinton had a beneficial relationship with Boeing. In 2009, she openly made “a shameless pitch” to a Russian airline to purchase Boeing aircrafts, leading to an eventual $3.7 billion deal for Boeing. Two months after the deal, the Clinton Foundation received a $900,000 donation from Boeing. Two years later, Boeing also paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to deliver a speech.

The chief lobbyist for Boeing, former Bill Clinton aide Tim Keating, also held a major fundraiser for Ready for Hillary Super PAC in 2014.

Fox News reports that Boeing shareholder David Almasi is challenging the company’s CEO on its relationship with the Clintons.

It’s all about the influence-peddling.

CARLY FIORINA: “I started out as a secretary. I have been underestimated all my life. I’m used to the pattern. I’m used to being underestimated and having to demonstrate competence.”

Quite a contrast to Hillary, who started out a Yale Law grad, but who never has.

ASHE SCHOW: Obama, the most sexist President ever?

If verbal sleights (or microaggressions) are equal to violence against women — and if you’ve been paying attention to the current state of college campuses, they are — then President Obama is one of the worst offenders in modern history, if not ever.

Exhibit A: Yesterday, Senate Democrats blocked a trade bill supported by Obama and Republicans (yes, you read that correctly). Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., led the revolt by Democrats. On Saturday, Obama said the following of Warren:

“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else. And you know, she’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that.”

Did you see the sexism? Did you see it? Those three sentences are teeming with sexism so wrong, so disrespectful, I’m surprised the outrage brigade isn’t calling for his head. . . .

This is just Obama’s most recent brush with sexism. After all, this is a man who has been waging his own “war on women” for years. In 2013, he was considering replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the Democratic National Committee, which is about as sexist a thing as anyone could do. Wasserman Schultz was prepared to call him out on it in such terms. Luckily for Obama, she was mollified by the patriarchy and allowed to keep her job.

And let’s not forget May 2008, when then-Sen. Obama called a female reporter “sweetie” during a visit to a Chrysler plant in Sterling Heights, Pa. A month earlier, he had called a female factory worker in Allentown, Pa., “sweetie” as well. And don’t forget his famous sexist response to Hillary Clinton: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

That’s a seven-year history of sexism for Obama.

They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney we’d have a president who was dismissive toward women. And they were right!

SO WITH ALL THE TALK ABOUT JEB BUSH AND THE IRAQ QUESTION, HERE’S MINE FOR HILLARY: Given that before the troop pullout in 2011, even the Obama Administration was touting Iraq as a big success — if you had it to do over again, would you yank the troops out and leave Iraq to ISIS?

Think anyone will ask her? Of course, first they’d have to ask her anything.

LIKE RATS FLEEING A SINKING SHIP:  Liberal pundit Alan Colmes says FBI should investigate Hillary Clinton’s potential conflicts with the Clinton Foundation while serving as Secretary of State.  Ya think, Alan?

DEMOCRATS CAN’T GO TO THE DOGS:   The Blue Dogs, that is.  Emma Dumain at Roll Call has an interesting 20-year retrospective on the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats in the House.   The Blue Dogs formally began in 1994, as a group of 23 conservative-moderate Southern Democrats.  Dumain observes that today’s Blue Dogs are trying to save the Democrat Party from its radical, progressive ideology:

In 2014, when Republicans shrunk Democratic numbers to their lowest since the end of World War II, a similar faction of fiscally conservative House Democrats came to a similar conclusion: The party’s progressives weren’t speaking to moderate voters.

The current political environment, with its ongoing debate over how Democrats can win elections and ugly fights over the “soul” of the party, makes for interesting parallels to what was going on 20 years ago, when the Blue Dog Coalition was born.

“We’ve learned the same lesson — at least some of us have learned the same lesson,” said Blue Dog Chairman Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. “You can’t continue to ignore big chunks of the American voter because you have certain ideological ideas.”

After 20 years, the Blue Dogs insist their mission is the same — they’re just trying to save the Democratic Party from itself.

Yeah, good luck with that.  The current Democrat Party has no soul, other than “win at all costs.”  While I empathize with the Blue Dogs’ alienation in an Obama-worshipping progressive Democrat Party, their effort to “repackage” their party as “moderate” is putting the cart before the horse in today’s political environment. Before they can convince Southern moderates–particularly white males–that the Democrat party “speaks” for them, the Democrat Party needs to actually speak for them–and at the very least stop being openly hostile to them.

I used to work on the Hill for a Southern Democrat from Texas who, while not a Blue Dog, was truly a moderate.  But that was back in the day, when the Democrat Party was a big tent, that welcomed even (gasp!) conservatives and moderates, at least on fiscal issues.  Those days are long gone, and will continue to be until the Democrat Party stops being the party of division and -isms (racism, sexism, genderism, classism, etc.) and starts putting the interest of America first.  I’m not confident they’re capable of doing this anytime soon, given that their 2016 presidential candidates– Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders–are already pledging fidelity to the “divide and conquer” strategy that has worked so effectively for Obama.

For the indefinite future, the Blue Dogs are stuck in the Democrat dog house.

ASHE SCHOW: Politifact strikes again.

The website carlyfiorina.org claims that Fiorina laid off 30,000 Hewlett-Packard employees and said she wished she had laid them off faster.

Despite this being a completely untrue statement, Politifact rated it as “half true” because 30,000 people were indeed laid off from HP.

Of course, this is not how truth works. The person who purchased the Fiorina domain claimed that the 2016 presidential candidate was referring to the 30,000 laid-off employees when she said: “I would have done them all faster.” The Politifact researcher even acknowledges that this is not true — Fiorina was not referring to 30,000 people laid off when she said she would have “done them all faster.” And that means there is nothing true about the statement at all.

“Rather than musing that she should have laid off 30,000 people faster, the full article suggests she’s referring to a select group of high-ranking executives,” Politifact researcher Louis Jacobson wrote.

He’s referring to an article in Fortune Magazine from 2005 where Fiorina was talking about laying off a select group of high-ranking executives faster, not 30,000 employees:

“Fiorina does not agree, naturally, that there’s been a brain drain. In fact, she believes that one lesson she’s learned while running HP is that she should have moved more quickly in ejecting certain people,” Fortune’s Carol Loomis wrote. “Smartened up now, she says, ‘I would have done them all faster. Every person that I’ve asked to leave, whether it’s been clear publicly or not, I would have done faster.’”

But because the domain name mentioned 30,000 workers first, Politifact is okay making a Republican look bad.

And you don’t have to take my word for it — you can take Politifact researcher Louis Jacobson’s word.

In his ruling on the Fiorina statement, Jacobson wrote: “The claim is partially accurate, but takes some things out of context, so we rate it Half True.”

Now compare that reasoning to this one about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her foundation’s charitable spending: “The claim contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rate it Mostly False.”

It’s as if their “fact-checking” is more about protecting Democrats.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: “I deal through the Clinton Foundation. That gets me in touch with the Haitian officials.”

Related: Report: Clinton Foundation CEO tried to strong-arm influential charity watchdog.

Plus: Michael Walsh: NYT to HRC: Your Family’s Fair Game. They really want her out and Elizabeth Warren in. Hillary’s obvious next more: Destroy Warren so there’s no alternative. No matter how unhappy the NYT — or the left-media establishment generally — is with Hillary, they’ll back her to the hilt if the only alternative is a Republican.

HEH:  Carly Fiorina buys HillaryClinton.net.  She’s also bought SethMeyers.org and ChuckTodd.org, after both men lambasted Fiorina for failing to register CarlyFiorina.org.  They all redirect to CarlyforPresident.com.  I like her.  She fights.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: The battle to define Hillary Clinton is on—and she’s losing.

THE CASE FOR CONSERVATIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. Hey, if Hillary flouts the law, and Al Sharpton doesn’t pay his taxes, why should the rest of us pay attention?

It’s a review of Charles Murray’s new book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.

MOTHER’S DAY, PROGRESSIVE STYLE:  Kentucky child protective services has forcibly taken 10 children from their parents, Joe and Nicole Naughler, based on an anonymous tip.  Their “crime”? The parents are Mormons who live off the grid and to “un-school” their children, a type of homeschooling that emphasizes learning through life experiences, play, household management, travel, family and reading books– you know, the way children have been raised for much of history, before “public” schools were invented by statists in the latter half of the 1800s.

The Naughler family may be off-the-grid, but they’ve had a Facebook page called “Blessed Little Homestead” for several years.  On the Facebook page, the Naughler’s have posted recent pictures, including a picture of an “emergency custody order affidavit” issued by child services, in which the affiant (whose name is whited out) “the family is residing on property with only one makeshift shed and two makeshift tents.  Allegations are that there is no running water and no septic and the mother and father refuse to cooperate with the Cabinet and the police. Children are not living in appropriate conditions and are no [sic] enrolled in school.  The parents refuse to cooperate with the investigation.”  They also provide pictures of the sheds in which they live and the children, who all look healthy and happy.

It seems to me the “crime” this family has committed is living unconventionally– off-the-grid, and outside the public school system.  While I wouldn’t want to live this way personally, people must have liberty to do so, if there is to be any liberty at all. Parents must have the right to raise their children as they see fit, short of evidence of child abuse, which in this instance, seems utterly lacking.  The Supreme Court, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), invalidated an Oregon law that required all children to attend public school, concluding:

[It] unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excluded any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right and the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.

A famous progressive brief in the Pierce case, penned by the State of Oregon, argued that the mandatory public school law was necessary to properly educate “the State’s children” and thus overrode any parents’ right to direct the upbringing of their own children.  This notion– of children as belonging to the State, rather than the parents–is a persistent theme in progressivism/communism.  Just ask MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry.  Or Hillary Clinton, who famously proclaimed in 1996 that  ”[W]e have learned that to raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us.  Yes, it takes a village.”   And in Komunistka, published in 1920, the communist vision of children was articulated:

Under capitalism children were frequently, too frequently, a heavy and unbearable burden on the proletarian family. Communist society will come to the aid of the parents. In Soviet Russia the Commissariats of Public Education and of Social Welfare are already doing much to assist the family. We already have homes for very small babies, creches, kindergartens, children’s colonies and homes, hospitals and health resorts for sick children. restaurants, free lunches at school and free distribution of text books, warm clothing and shoes to schoolchildren. All this goes to show that the responsibility for the child is passing from the family to the collective. . . .

The playgrounds, gardens, homes and other amenities where the child will spend the greater part of the day under the supervision of qualified educators will, on the other hand, offer an environment in which the child can grow up a conscious communist who recognizes the need for solidarity, comradeship, mutual help and loyalty to the collective. . . . There is no escaping the fact: the old type of family has had its day. The family is withering away not because it is being forcibly destroyed by the state, but because the family is ceasing to be a necessity.

Sound familiar?  It should.  The forcible removal of the Kentucky 10 children reminds me a lot of the Massachusetts girl, Jessica Pellietier, who was removed from her family and spent 16 months in State custody based on ridiculous, unfounded concerns of doctors at Boston Chidren’s Hospital, who second-guessed her existing Tufts University doctors’ diagnosis.  Or how about the removal in January of 7 children from an Arkansas home, after an anonymous caller said the children were running barefoot in the snow.  The parents were religious “preppers” who have homeschooled 9 children (two were grown and lived outside the home at the time the other 7 were taken by the State).  The children are still in State custody.

It is getting far, far too easy for idiotic progressives to impose their views, and take children out of their homes based on their belief that they aren’t getting the “right” care, the “right” education, or the “right” modern amenities.  There is a major difference between “unconventional” parenting and child abuse.

For all of you good, loving parents out there: embrace your children and teach them well.  Happy Mother’s Day.

STATE DEP’T STICKS HEAD IN THE SAND:  . . . on high-level corruption and refuses to review the propriety of Hillary Clinton’s violation of her State Department Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. This is ironic, since the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, in the following Feb. 26 exchange, to direct their questions about the violations to the State Department:

Q    Josh, are there are any regrets here on the Clinton Foundation story that the ethics deal that White House aides, administration officials negotiated with Secretary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation failed to prevent the Algerian government from contributing half a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation the very time that they were lobbying this White House, the State Department?  Wasn’t this what the President was trying to prevent?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, Ed, let’s go back to 2008.  At the end of 2008, there was a memorandum of understanding that was drafted between the then-transition team and the Clinton Foundation, and the goal of that memorandum was to ensure that the excellent work that is being done at the Clinton Foundation could continue. . . .And that memorandum of understanding went beyond the baseline ethical guidelines.  It put in place some additional requirements to ensure that we could — that the Clinton Foundation could continue its work, and that the Secretary of State could do her work without even the appearance of a conflict of interest.  And we are –

Q    But it failed then, because then a half million dollars came in from a government that was accused of human rights abuses and was lobbying this administration for relief.  How do you explain then, given these wonderful ethics rules that this mistake was made?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, again, for compliance with the memorandum of understanding, I’d refer you to the State Department.  They’re ultimately responsible for executing the agreement.  And obviously there was some responsibility at the Clinton Foundation to live up to it.

Q    — the White House’s reputation on the line.  This was a negotiation between, as I recall, very senior people like Valerie Jarrett.  This is not just the State Department, not just a foundation.  Does the President have any concerns?  You laid out all the wonderful work the foundation does.  No dispute there.  But what about the appearance of impropriety, these foreign governments trying to get access and wield influence in this President’s administration?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, it is the responsibility of the Department of State to determine how compliance was enforced when it comes to the memorandum of understanding.

Q    Or not, right?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, again, it’s their responsibility to monitor the agreement.  And so I’d refer you to them for questions about this.  But I can tell you that the President is obviously very pleased with the way that Secretary Clinton represented the United States around the globe during her tenure over in Foggy Bottom.

At a State Department Press briefing Thursday, reporters followed up, asking Acting Deputy Spokesperson Jeff Rathke if the State Department intended to investigate Clinton’s violation of itsMOU:

MR. RATHKE:  Now at this point, our role has changed. Secretary Clinton is no longer at the department, for questions about the foundation or the health access initiative or any of the offshoots and their funding, we’d refer you back to them. The State Department has not and does not intend to initiate a formal review or to make a retroactive judgment about items that were not submitted during Secretary Clinton’s tenure. The department’s actions under Secretary Clinton were taken to advance administration policy as set by the President and in the interest of American foreign policy. . . .

QUESTION: Okay, but why not? I mean, why do you not intend to –

MR RATHKE: Again, we aren’t aware of any actions taken –

QUESTION: Oh, I know you’re not aware, because you haven’t looked into them, right? (Laughter.)

MR RATHKE: Well, but again, let’s go back to what we did do during her tenure. Over the course of her tenure, we reviewed dozens of entities each year. The Clinton Foundation also is a charitable organization, so we would not have had the obligation to review their donation beyond what was committed to in the MOU.

QUESTION: Right. But the – but what they committed to in the MOU in terms of the – listing the private donors, whether or not the State Department had to review them or was supposed to review them beforehand to see if they were okay or not, it would seem to me to make sense that if they didn’t live up to their end of the MOU you would at least go back and take a look at the private donations and see whether that might raise any questions. But maybe not. I mean, I don’t – it seems like you’re not aware of anything, and there may not be anything there, but the reason that you’re not aware of anything is because you’re – not you personally, but the reason you’re not aware of anything is because the building is refusing to go back and look at it to see if there’s anything that might raise a flag.

MR RATHKE: Well, again, these private donations were – there was never any expectation that they would be reviewed.

QUESTION: Right. But there was an expectation that they would be made public and so that you could go and look and see, well, hmm, and then they weren’t made public. And so now that they are being made public, wouldn’t it make sense – and tell me if I’m wrong, maybe it doesn’t make sense – but wouldn’t it make sense to go back and take a look at them and see whether there – that there’s any – any questions raised, any red flag that might get raised? I don’t understand why you would just close your eyes to it, because they have admitted that they didn’t live up to their end of the MOU on this.

MR RATHKE: Yeah. And they’ve – but they have subsequently –

QUESTION: I know. But you’re not –

MR RATHKE: – taken steps to address that.

QUESTION: Right. But you’re not going and looking at what they’ve done to address that to see if it brought them into compliance. It’s almost as if they had an agreement that they didn’t follow through on, but since she’s no longer the secretary of state you’re saying, well, that doesn’t apply anymore and so it just doesn’t matter. But –

MR RATHKE: Look, what we have –

QUESTION: You don’t know if it doesn’t matter or not because you’re not looking into it.

MR RATHKE: I think what we’ve seen – what we’ve seen is speculation. We haven’t – we’re not aware of any actions taken that were influenced by those donations.

QUESTION: Right. But you – but you’re not aware –

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Yes. What has been put out there is – are questions. But you’re saying that the State Department doesn’t – either doesn’t have the same questions or isn’t interested in finding out what the answer to those questions is. That’s what it sounds like you’re saying because you’re saying that you’re not going to go back and look to see whether the violations of the MOU might raise questions or raise red flags about what was going on, right?

MR RATHKE: Well, again, we have – I think I don’t have anything to say beyond what I’ve said.

Okay, so let me get this right:  There was an MOU insisted upon by the State Department (and White House) to ensure that, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, there was full transparency of any foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, to protect against the possibility that foreign donors to the Foundation might be giving their money in exchange for favorable treatment by Secretary of State Clinton.  And that MOU was violated repeatedly.  Now, the Obama Administration is refusing to even investigate whether Clinton’s violation of the MOU may have actually caused the sort of bribery problems the MOU was designed to prevent?

Okay, so why have an MOU in the first place, if violations of it were not going to ever be investigated, or the agreement otherwise enforced?  Was it all just a dog and pony show, to allow Clinton to become Secretary of State and deflect possible criticism of her taking the post, given the potential for conflicts of interest?  The questions answer themselves, of course, but the fact that the Obama Administration is so blatantly and flippantly disregarding this nation’s interest in preventing corruption (at the highest level) is breathtaking– and telling.

MICKEY KAUS: Team Hillary Knows It’s Pandering. “It’s worth noting because it suggests: a) Activists care more about work permits than citizenship, which gives the lie to the central conceit of the Gang of 8 bill (which assumes illegals want citizenship so much that their advocates would never block enforcement measures, even after they have work permits, if it might prevent them from becoming full citizens); and b) Hillary is wary of voter antipathy to executive amnesty, so when talking to a general audience she stresses a contrast with Republicans on a legislative issue (citizenship). That’s all the triangulation we’re going to get, apparently.”

HE’S PRETTY IMPORTANT: Is Matt Drudge the second most influential man in America? “MSNBC may claim it is liberal and Fox News may be the house organ for conservatives, but if you turn on either in the morning, you will often see the guiding hand of Drudge. The New York Times may consider itself the finest newspaper in the world, but while one of the Times’ political reporters is reduced to writing ditties complaining that Hillary Clinton does not answer her questions, one entry on the Drudge Report can trigger 100 questions to any politician in America. Network anchors come and go, but Drudge remains, the omnipresent force who is required reading for political editors, television producers and campaign managers from all parties.”

THE IGNORANCE, IT BURNS!:  The New York Slimes Times editorializes about “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech.”  Versus?  Ugh. The progressive stupidity about free speech is actually getting dangerous.  So-called “hate speech”–which is defined by progressives as speech they deem “hateful” (i.e., which disagrees with their worldview)–is fully protected by the First Amendment.  As the Supreme Court said in the Westboro Baptist Church case, Synder v. Phelps:

Such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt. If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment , it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. Indeed, “the point of all speech protection … is to shield just those choices of content that in someone’s eyes are misguided, or even hurtful.”

Exactly. But the NYT editorial is just the tip of the progressive iceberg to roll back free speech. That’s what totalitarians do.

ASHE SCHOW: Carly Fiorina Is Doing It Right So Far. “The obvious comparison for Fiorina is to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, since they’re both women. But while Fiorina’s campaign has been all about introducing her to Americans, Clinton’s campaign has been all about hiding and damage control.”

COULD CLINTON GO FURTHER ON EXECUTIVE AMNESTY?:  Yes.  She says so, and when a President makes up categories– out of thin air–of individuals who are entitled to stay (and obtain work authorization) in the name of “prosecutorial discretion,” the next President can just keep making new, additional categories.  That’s why it’s lawless, and utterly unconstitutional. But unless Texas and the other 25 States succeed in their legal challenge to President Obama’s immigration actions, future Presidents will be able to do whatever they want.

Next question?

MEET THE VAGINA VOTERS: The women voting for Hillary because she’s a woman are setting feminism back a hundred years.

“I intend to vote with my vagina.”

Have you ever read a more squirm-inducing sentence than that? It appeared in a pro-Hillary piece in Dame magazine, written by a person with a vagina who intends to vote for Clinton because she also has a vagina.

Let’s leave aside the unfortunate image conjured up by that sentence (“You can hold a pencil with that thing?!”) The bigger problem with such unabashed declarations of “vagina voting” is that they confirm the descent of feminism into the cesspool of identity politics, even biologism, and its abandonment of the idea that women should be valued more for their minds than their anatomy.

Kate Harding, the vagina voter in question, isn’t only going to vote with her vag—she’s also going to tell everyone about it. “I intend to vote with my vagina. Unapologetically. Enthusiastically… And I intend to talk about it,” she wrote in Dame.

She thinks Hillary would be a great president because she “knows what it’s like to menstruate, be pregnant, [and] give birth.”

Well, okay then. You know, if you could show this kind of stuff to the suffragettes of a century ago, I wonder if they’d have just gone home and abandoned the 19th Amendment as a bad idea. I can’t imagine they’d be impressed.

INSERT HILLARY EMAIL JOKE HERE: Two-dimensional material seems to disappear, but doesn’t. “When exposed to air, a luminescent 2D material called molybdenum telluride (MoTe2) appears to decompose within a couple days, losing its optical contrast and becoming virtually transparent. But when scientists probed further, they found that the disappearance is an illusion: the material remains structurally stable, and only its material properties change.”

WELL, TO BE FAIR, HILLARY DID ORDER CHIPOTLE THE OTHER DAY: With Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Are Republicans Having a Latino Moment?

ANNALS OF THE .01 PERCENT: Hillary Favorite Candidate Among Millionaire Voters.

STUCK IN THE 1990S: What The Clintons Haven’t Learned. “The Clintons just don’t seem prepared for the modern media world and its tendency to relentlessly pry away at the smallest details. In the end, this may be a bigger problem for the Clinton campaign than whatever Schweizer’s book reveals. . . . The Clintons clearly understood that there was a threat, which is why one presumes that Hillary’s e-mails were shielded from FOIA requests. But that also looks like a tacit confession that the Clintons didn’t really understand what they were dealing with.”

YEAH, THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT: Hillary’s Biggest Problem Isn’t That She’s Old, It’s That She’s Corrupt And Incompetent.

Well, when you “gotta pay the bills,” you’re going to cut corners. As an aside, what’s wrong with Bill in this picture? He looks like he’s getting the Al Sharpton Lollipop physique.

UPDATE: Hillary’s Honesty Numbers Nosedive. “The bad news for Democrats is that the chinks in Clinton’s armor are growing wider. A year ago, only 29 percent of voters gave her a “very poor” grade in being honest and straightforward. Now that has risen to 43 percent in the wake of her e-mail and Clinton Foundation scandals. Only 42 percent of voters overall view her positively, and that number falls to 34 percent among independents. . . . What is remarkable about Team Clinton’s efforts to contain the e-mail and fundraising controversies is that they have until recently relied on a string of old-time loyalists such as James Carville and Lanny Davis to defend their position on television. When that didn’t work, they wheeled out Bill Clinton, the master communicator. But he apparently isn’t easily coached and was much less convincing than Team Clinton hoped.”

TRUE: Carly Fiorina: Hillary Clinton ‘clearly is not trustworthy.’

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is officially running for president, and she’s quite explicitly framing herself as the Hillary Clinton antidote.

Hillary Clinton “clearly is not trustworthy,” Fiorina told ABC Host George Stephanopoulos on Monday. “She peddled a fiction about [Benghazi, Libya] for a month, she hasn’t been transparent about her server and her emails and now we see now all of these foreign government donations to the Clinton Global Initiative.” . . .

At least part of Fiorina’s appeal is her ability and willingness to combat the Left’s “war on women” narrative — in particular her ability to counteract Clinton’s strategy of collecting votes just for being a woman.

I like her. She fights.

USUALLY, YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE ELECTED TO START STONEWALLING: Clinton refuses GOP request to testify twice on Benghazi. Alternate headline: Subpoenas are for the little people!

USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES: Only the Clintons seem blind to foundation’s conflicts: Our view.

As it is, the foundation is a mess. With Hillary Clinton running for president twice and serving as secretary of State in between, it was bound to be viewed as a way for foreign donors to get close to the Clintons — a danger the foundation appears to have discounted.

Much like the Clintons themselves, the foundation has seemed intent on playing by its own rules, and is highly defensive when confronted on its errors.

Its efforts at limiting influence-seekers have been, at best, weak. Earlier this year, the foundation admitted that it had accepted $500,000 from the government of Algeria, violating an agreement struck with the Obama administration to accept gifts only from governments that had a record of giving before Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.

More recently, the foundation admitted errors in not listing thousands of contributions on tax forms. One came from Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, who has many issues before the U.S. government and has given the foundation millions.

In 2005, Giustra won a lucrative mining concession in Kazakhstan shortly after visiting there with Bill Clinton. Then, in 2013, he won approval from the U.S. government to sell his company to the Russian government, giving Vladimir Putin vast uranium resources around the world, including 20% of U.S output.

There is no evidence of a quid pro quo for the Giustra contributions, or from any other source. And Hillary Clinton was not involved in the decision to allow the Russian purchase.

Even so, the appearance of impropriety is hard to avoid.

Yeah, it’s more than just an appearance.

ROGER SIMON: Carly & Ben’s Excellent Adventure. “A Big Tent indeed: a pediatric neurosurgeon and former CEO (the anti-Hillary) simultaneously enter the GOP presidential race.”

If the GOP field were the Democratic field, and vice versa, we’d be hearing a lot from the press about diversity and dynamism opposed to old, white establishment faces.

FLIP OR FLOP: Jacob Sullum: Hillary Clinton Is Suddenly Interested In Criminal Justice Reform. “For critics who have long argued that our criminal justice system puts too many people behind bars for too long, Clinton’s words of outrage were welcome. But they were also hard to take seriously given her history on this issue. While condemning overincarceration, she glided over her own role in promoting it and exaggerated her efforts to correct it.” History is patriarchal, and a concern with past behavior is misogynist.

DOING THE JOBS AMERICAN JOURNALISTS WON’T DO: #AskHillary hashtag provides plenty of material for stumped, starstruck reporters.

THE MORAL IMPERATIVE OF CAR CONTROL!:   Motor vehicle accidents killed 35,369 Americans in 2013.  So I’m sure the Democrats will be calling for “car control” soon.  Right?  We need to take these dangerous instruments out of peoples’ hands!  Too many people are dying because of cars!

The accidental discharge of guns, btw, was involved in only 505 deaths.  And of course there’s that pesky Second Amendment that impedes progressives’ gun-free nirvana.

FLIP OR FLOP: Flashback: Hillary Clinton Attacked Obama for Backroom Deals with Nuclear Industry Donors.

WELL, THAT’S CERTAINLY NOT AUSPICIOUS: Creator of ‘The Wire’ Blames Martin O’Malley for Riots. I wonder how Hillary got to him. . . .?

FLIP OR FLOP: Hillary Clinton 1994: Lock Up Offenders Forever, Build More Prisons.

HILLARY CLINTON: CONGENITAL RULE-BREAKER:  Ron Fournier over at National Journal excoriates Hillary for her history of being above the law.   Fourier’s opening salvo:

Hillary Clinton doesn’t play by the rules.

That’s not a partisan attack. It’s not a talking point. It’s not a fantasy. It’s a fact—an agonizing truth to people like me who admire Clinton and her husband, who remember how Bill Clinton rose from a backwater governorship to the presidency on a simple promise: He would fight for people who “work hard and play by the rules.”

The evidence is overwhelming and metastasizing: To co-opt a William Safire line, Hillary Clinton is a congenital rule-breaker.

Ouch.  Read the whole thing.

ED MORRISSEY: The Stagnant Economy Spells Trouble for Democrats. “The parallels between Hillary Clinton and George H. W. Bush already exist, especially since her appeal to Democrats will be her ability to lock in the policies begun by Barack Obama. Her age and her long history in Washington DC make her the establishment candidate, with Republican candidates claiming youth and outside-the-Beltway credentials. If Democrats nominate her for the presidency as expected, the argument for her election would be continuity – to ‘stay the course,’ as Reagan himself put it, on the route that Obama created. That makes Democrats especially dependent on not just the reality of a strong economy, but the perception of economic strength as well.”

WASHINGTON POST: How Hillary Clinton is running against parts of her husband’s legacy.

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t just running against Republicans. She’s also running against parts of her husband’s legacy.

On issues large and small, the Democratic presidential contender is increasingly distancing herself from — or even opposing — key policies pushed by Bill Clinton while he was in the White House, from her recent skepticism on free-trade pacts to her full embrace of gay rights.

The starkest example yet came Wednesday, when Hillary Clinton delivered an impassioned address condemning the “era of incarceration” ushered in during the 1990s in the wake of her husband’s 1994 crime bill — though she never mentioned him or the legislation by name.

Well, that would be kind of awkward. But it’s worth noting that the 1994 crime bill was an awful piece of legislation, rammed through by the Democrats . . . and that it led to the Republicans taking the House later that year.

Related: Paul camp accuses Clinton of running from husband’s legacy with prison reform speech.

Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign mocked Hillary Clinton’s call Wednesday for justice reform, claiming she’s running from policies her husband advocated during the Clinton administration. . . .

His campaign sent out an email accusing Clinton of pushing ideas that would “undo some of Bill Clinton’s work — the same work she cheerfully supported as First Lady.” His campaign cited the Clinton administration’s “war on drugs” focus, pointing in part to a Salon.com report that highlighted the findings of the Justice Policy Institute. They found “the number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled” under the Clinton administration.

Paul’s campaign accused Hillary Clinton of trying to reverse that legacy while also “emulating proposals” that Paul himself has pushed — like moving away from mandatory minimum sentencing.

Still, the campaign said: “We welcome her to the fight.”

Hillary’s problem is, the more she runs away from Bill’s legacy, the more she has to explain what she, in particular, has to offer America. Which, basically, boils down to her being Bill’s wife.

Related: Hillary’s “let’s not send people to prison” speech is exactly what you’d expect from someone who just destroyed a mountain of evidence.

Heh.

YET ANOTHER SOCIALIST ENTERS THE FRAY: Bernie Sanders: ‘I am running for president.’

Hillary Clinton got her first official challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination Wednesday night, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announcing he intends to seek the White House in 2016.

“I am running for president,” Sanders said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Sanders will likely make an official public announcement Thursday. The Hill previously reported the senator will hit the launch button through a low-key event or statement, followed by a kick-off event in his home state in early May, and likely trips to the early-voting states to follow.

Sanders has set a noon press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill to discuss his agenda, which will likely include a huge boost in infrastructure and entitlement spending, free college tuition, higher taxes on the wealthy and initiatives meant to keep money out of politics.

The Vermont independent, who has previously embraced the “socialist” label, believes he is well-positioned to be the liberal alternative to Clinton, who is far and away the frontrunner to be the party’s standard-bearer in 2016.

“People should not underestimate me,” Sanders told the AP. “I’ve run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country.”

And he’s helping to broaden the Democrats’ diversity by making sure that they have the old white man demographic covered as well as the old white woman demographic! I mean, is this not the face of diversity?

Hey, he’s got the Montgomery Burns demographic locked down!

UPDATE: From the comments: “He’s just a prop to make people not notice Clinton’s age.” Well, she does look younger by comparison.

IT’S POTEMKIN ACCENTS ALL THE WAY DOWN: Speech Pathology: Tracking Hillary Clinton’s Use of Every American Accent East of the Mississippi.

ROBERT TRACINSKI: Jim Webb: The Democrat Who Could Win, But Won’t. “I happen to think the most terrifying prospect for Republicans would be a challenge to Hillary from the right: the candidacy of Jim Webb, an old-fashioned, truly moderate ‘Reagan Democrat’ with military credentials—Vietnam veteran and former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan—and a lot of appeal in places like Appalachia, and among blue-collar types. That’s a large part of the reason Webb managed to win a term as Senator from Virginia in 2006.”

ORGANIZED CRIMINALITY: Vox: 181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied Hillary’s State Department. Funny, a lot of lefty outlets are happy to dish dirt on Hillary all of a sudden.

I’LL BE ON SIRIUS/XM’S POTUS CHANNEL IN A FEW MINUTES, talking about Hillary Clinton’s scandals and the Democratic primary field.

ROLL CALL: Trade Fight Galvanizing the Left.

With the first round of appropriations bills and a possible budget conference report on the House floor this week, the chamber’s progressive contingent is looking farther down the road at the storm brewing over so-called Trade Promotion Authority, or “fast track.”

Legislation allowing President Barack Obama to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement would ordinarily be divisive within the House Democratic Caucus, but progressives say there’s even more at stake in this most recent fight: 2016.

If they can’t stop the TPA bill, the nearly 70 voting House members in the Congressional Progressive Caucus are determined to make such a ruckus that the party’s 2016 candidates — presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in particular — realize Obama’s middle-of-the-road approach to trade, or any major policy area, is not acceptable.

“I think if we were to keep fast track from happening here, then the message is pretty clear to the national campaigns, Hillary’s in particular, that this is an issue that’s going to energize the base,” said CPC Co-Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz.

“I think it kind of sets a tone nationally,” Grijalva said, “My point being, if the vast majority of the Democrats in the House are willing to confront their president, it only makes sense that any candidate for that position is on the line.”

Every candidate should be asked.

OUR LEADERS: As Baltimore Burns, O’Malley Speaks Out, Hillary Tweets About Bumper Stickers.

“BECAUSE THIS CAMPAIGN ISN’T GOING TO BE ABOUT ME”:   Oh, Hillary, bless your sweet little heart.  Clinton’s puff-piece op-ed in today’s Des Moines Register is a pitiful attempt to divert attention away from her abominable, treasonous behavior as Secretary of State.  It’s now all about Hillary and her ethics (or lack thereof).  The only real question is:  Who will take the mantle of the Democrat party when she is forced to drop out?  Somehow, I doubt it will be Martin O’Malley.  But then again, nominating a white male would be a smart move for a party that has shown absolutely zero interest in, and downright hostility toward, this segment of the population for the past 6+ years.

BUT YOU WROTE A PIECE CALLED “IF HILLARY CLINTON WERE MALE,” YOU’D BE A SEXIST PIG. The Hill: If Carly Fiorina Were Male.

In truth, all Hillary ever did was marry well. But you’re not allowed to say that, because if you kept pointing it out, it might hurt the Democrats. Fiorina, of course, enjoys no such protection from the press, so she gets hit pieces like this one from reliable lefty hack Brent Budowsky.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary’s Scandals: Who Wins, Who Loses?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary’s Scandals: Who Wins, Who Loses?

THEY SHOULD BE: Are Democratic Insiders Starting To Panic About Hillary?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary’s Scandals: Who Wins, Who Loses?

TOO GOOD TO CHECK? Hillary Furious as Thousands of Americans Send Cigars to Her Office.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, INDOCTRINATION EDITION: Rutgers University offers Hillary Clinton-centric class called ‘A Woman for President?’

OH, PLEASE. I MEAN, SURE, SHE’S PUT ON A LITTLE WEIGHT, BUT . . . ‘Hillary Thinks She Is Bigger Than God.’

JOURNALISM: NYT Refuses To Publish Pushback Letter From Cruz’s Debate Partner.

Rob Marks, the liberal who served as Sen. Ted Cruz’s college debate partner, is alleging that a recent New York Times article “greatly mischaracterizes” Mr. Cruz’s career as a Princeton debater, and “ignores the context of some of these debates.”

The Times has posted at least four articles on the subject, but has declined to publish Marks’ letter to the editor, now obtained by The Daily Caller. . . .

Cruz’s spokesman responded in the Times story, saying that “25-year-old alleged college campus recollection stories, based on anonymous hearsay and reported as ‘fact,’ shouldn’t be taken [seriously] at all. This is ridiculous.”

Hey, the Times is actually publishing bad news about Hillary. You can’t expect them to simultaneously publish things that benefit a Republican candidate.

UNRAVELING: Liberal Common Cause demands Clinton Foundation, Hillary audit.

The financial issues plaguing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign have become too much even for liberal groups, and now Common Cause is calling for an independent audit of donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Amid suggestions that foreign governments donated to the foundation in hopes of getting special treatment from President Obama’s State Department when Clinton was his top diplomat, the group on Friday said a “thorough review” is needed.

The Clintons’ spin yesterday — that this was all a dastardly “conservative” smear — is looking even weaker.

MICHAEL WALSH: Hillary Clinton: Dead Candidate Walking.

ROGER SIMON: ‘Voters for Hillary’ Calling—A True Story.

MITT ROMNEY ON HILLARY’S URANIUM DEAL: “It looks like bribery.” Well, that’s because it is.

OUCH: The Disastrous Clinton Post-Presidency. “The qualities of an effective presidency do not seem to transfer onto a post-presidency. Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president. Bill Clinton appears to be the reverse. All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around the web of connections between Bill’s private work, Hillary Clinton’s public role as secretary of State, the Clintons’ quasi-public charity, and Hillary’s noncompliant email system. But the best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.”

As Rick Wilson said on Twitter, when you’ve lost Jonathan Chait. . . .

FROM JON GABRIEL AT RICOCHET, A bullet-point summary of the New York Times’ 4500-word story on Hillary’s corrupt uranium deal. Key bit: “Hillary’s State Department approved the deal and Russia bought Uranium One. Putin can now sell this nuclear fuel to Iran.” Actually, they’re all key bits.

Related: NYT Reporter: Clinton Officials Lied About a Meeting Taking Place, Unaware of Photo Evidence.

UPDATE: Politico: Hillary Clinton struggles to contain media barrage on foreign cash.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Hillary’s Free Trade Meltdown May Pull Warren into Race.

FLASHBACK: Watch Hillary Defend “Heterosexual Marriage” As A Fundamental, Bedrock Principle. “It wasn’t long ago that Clinton sounded much more like a staunch social conservative than a gay rights champion on the issue, describing marriage as a ‘fundamental bedrock principle’ going back ‘into the mists of history’ that was primarily about raising children. During 2004 Senate floor debate, Clinton argued that though she opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have amended the Constitution to make marriage between a man and a woman because she thought the issue should be a state matter, she wanted to make it crystal clear that this in no way suggested she wanted to change the definition of marriage.”

SHE’S INHERITED OBAMA’S MIDAS TOUCH: Thanks, Hillary: Chipotle Sales Plummet. “Less than a week after Hillary Clinton stiffed the servers at a Chipotle, the company admitted they didn’t hit their first quarter numbers. Forbes magazine is concerned that the lackluster performance might indicate a slowdown for the vibrant burrito sector of the American economy.”