May 16, 2019

CONRAD BLACK: Democrats Begin to Perceive the Debacle They’ve Created.

Given how verbally accident-prone Mr. Biden has been throughout his nearly 50 years of public life, his present formidable lead in the polls against an immense field of candidates should be seen as the fulfilment of Democratic yearning for someone who would not alarm the voters in policy terms. The only other such candidate is the relatively unknown Amy Klobuchar.

All Americans, even the president’s most strenuous supporters, should be comforted that the majority of Democrats can still think and count. It is a party infested with lunatics, but not controlled by them. This is in the same reassuring category as the Mueller investigation’s conclusion that no one in the United States colluded with Russians to influence the result of the 2016 election.

Beneath the initial success of the Biden campaign, the Democrats are sharply divided between those who are still trying to place their bets on the presidential unsuitability of the incumbent, those who seek a radical démarche to the left and over the political cliff, and those trying to get back to essentially the old slightly-left-of-center coalition of Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson.

President Clinton, and even, with a stretch, Mrs. Clinton, were also in that tradition, but the ominous approaching clouds of investigative curiosity about the Clinton Foundation and the malodorous ethics of the 2016 Clinton campaign have caused the Clintons’ party to stampede from under them.

Even Barack Obama, who was cozily settling into a good 30 years as a respected ex-president, is already in the crosshairs of the investigation, conducted against the Clinton campaign, of illegal espionage on the Trump campaign through fraudulently obtained FISA warrants and planted agents and sting operations. The rabidly Trumpophobic texting between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveals that “the White House” was closely monitoring the investigation of the Trump campaign, which raises the question of the involvement of the former president in illegal surveillance.

Mr. Obama’s name is still bandied about with respect by most of the Democratic candidates, especially Mr. Biden (“Barack and I . . .”), and he is still better esteemed by most Americans than the other ex-presidents. But apart from the admirable and necessary shattering of the bar of color, his entire legacy has been discredited.

Harsh, but fair.

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