The fact that Hillary Clinton has no competitive rival for the Democratic nomination offers the candidate plenty of benefits. She won't have to worry about spending tens of millions of dollars, for example, to overcome intra-party competitors. Clinton can also keep an eye on Election Day, effectively running a 19-month general-election campaign.
But the downsides are equally obvious -- most notably the fact that there will be a massive field of Republican candidates, each of whom will spend every day of their campaigns taking shots in Clinton's direction. Every Republican committee, PAC, super PAC, oppo firm, and allied entities won't have to divide their attention or resources. They'll have one enemy.
They'll of course have to settle on a line of attack, and if this Politico report yesterday is correct, Republicans seem to be on the wrong track.
A consensus is forming within the Republican Party that the plan of attack against Hillary Clinton should be of a more recent vintage, rooted in her accumulation of wealth and designed to frame her as removed from the concerns of average Americans. [...]
The out-of-touch plutocrat template is a familiar one: Democrats used it to devastating effect against Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. While Hillary Clinton's residences in New York and Washington may not have car elevators, there's still a lengthy trail of paid speeches, tone-deaf statements about the family finances and questions about Clinton family foundation fundraising practices that will serve as cornerstones of the anti-Clinton messaging effort.
The headline said the Republicans' plan is to "turn Hillary into Mitt Romney."
Right off the bat, it's hard not to appreciate the dramatic shift in GOP thinking. In 2012, when Democrats rolled out the "out-of-touch plutocrat" line of criticism, Republicans spent months in fainting-couch apoplexy. Democrats are engaging in "class warfare," they said. Democrats are "trying to divide the nation," voters were told. Democrats are "condemning success," GOP operatives insisted.
Three years later, however, these same Republicans suddenly want to adopt Democratic talking points as their own? It's almost as if the pushback in defense of Romney was insincere.
But that's really just the start of the problem.