The 2016 presidential campaign, in both parties, kicked into high gear Wednesday in congressional hearing rooms.
In the least surprising development ever, a whole bunch of people had preconceived opinions about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony, and those opinions broke exactly along party line.
In her last trip to Capitol Hill until the 2017 State Of The Union, Clinton 45 - not a bet the beret prediction, I just love teasing my Republican readers - Clinton 45 locked horns with at least two likely Republican contenders. It was as close as America can get to that grand moment of the British Parliament, Prime Minister's Question Time. And no one was ever better at it than the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. Hear, Hear.
Marco Rubio at least managed a minimum of decorum while he postured for the primary voters, and almost anyone would look good in juxtaposition with Wisconsin tea party cipher Ron Johnson. (How can the same state send Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to the Senate? I mean, even Harkin and Grassley can agree on basic facts like "corn is good." But Johnson and Baldwin aren't even in the same dimension. It's like my third favorite lightbulb joke. How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Blue.)
But Rand Paul looked foolish by being too presumptive. “Had I been president at the time, I would have relieved you of your post,” fantasized A.J. Spiker's favorite son, the likely winner of a rump 2015 Iowa Straw Poll over Alan Keyes and the ghost of Thaddeus McCotter. (And the Paulistinian flaming in my comments section will start in 3, 2, 1...)
That's two fantasies in one for Rand Jong Un, because firing Hillary once and for all is almost as big a Republican dream as the White House itself. The loathing rage Republicans felt for both of the Clintons from 1992 until the moment Barack Obama burst onto the scene has never really gone away. Because if there's anything the Know-Nothing, cultural Luddite base of the current, sad incarnation of the Republican Party hates more than the idea of a black president, it's a strong woman.
Democrats, female Democrats in particular, went nearly as far the other direction in their laudatory praise. A lot of that praise was earned, but all politicians are self-interested and Madame Secretary remains beloved with the base.
The Clintons are also known to keep score; well worth noting that The Big Dog's campaign stops for downballot Democrats were almost exclusively made on behalf of those who were with Hillary rather than Barack in 2008.
That was a long, long time ago politically, and Secretary Clinton has followed the one path available to any future ambitions she may have: doing the best job possible for the President and the American people. That leaves her as the frontrunner for next time... but of course, we said that in 2005, too.