It’s worth keeping score on how progressives are reacting to the Clinton email problems. Some of them (like Eugene Robinson) are tentatively pushing the issue now, one assumes because they don’t especially like Clinton and think that this might be the moment to pull a more liberal challenger into the race. It will be interesting to see what these folks have to say about Clinton’s problems if she winds up as the nominee and takes fire from Republicans in the general election. I suspect their compunctions will be much diminished.
But while this prospective hypocrisy is interesting, what’s fascinating is how one lefty outfit is trying to have it both ways. I got a fundraising email from the group Democracy for America this morning. This is Howard Dean’s old campaign organization, which is now run by his brother, Jim Dean. And the DFA pitch is amazing:
Everywhere you look right now, you'll find media pundits are focused, almost exclusively, on one thing: Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.
In a week that saw Republican Senators deliberately undermining President Obama on foreign policy and countless other extremely serious news developments, all the DC press wants to talk about is how Hillary managed her email accounts.
This media feeding frenzy is completely out of control. But in modern American electoral politics, unfortunately it's par for the course. As you might remember, I have some personal experience with it. When my brother Howard ran for president in 2004, he was subjected to all kinds of gotcha questions and horserace nonsense -- even though he really wanted to focus on pressing issues like the Iraq War. [Bold in the original]
So: Hillary Clinton is innocent and beset by foolish distractions ginned up by the conservatives who dominate the media. Gotcha.
Dean then pivots to begging readers to help him encourage Elizabeth Warren to get into the race and challenge Clinton:
Let's get real. Income inequality is at its highest level since the Great Depression. Many Americans are struggling to get by in an economy that works best for the 1%. Our country and the world faces calamity at every corner, from global warming to nuclear proliferation.
In 2016, Americans aren't going to decide who their next president should be based on where candidates kept their emails. Voters are going to be more concerned about the issues that are relevant to their lives. Period. And yet, without a robust contest of ideas in the Democratic Party presidential primary process, Republican presidential candidates are dominating the discussion of these issues in the news cycle -- if these important issues are actually being discussed.
At this pivotal moment in our nation's history, we simply can't afford to cede these policy debates to Republicans like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. That's why the only way the media is going to cover the issues that really matter . . . is by having a truly contested Democratic primary.
If Elizabeth Warren runs for president, she will force the Democratic field -- and the media -- to engage in a robust and in-depth discussion of progressive priorities. . . .
If Elizabeth Warren jumped in the race right now, it would completely refocus the debate. We would hear less nonsense about emails and Benghazi and more real talk about making college affordable, minimum wage jobs more livable, and our social safety net more sustainable. And we'd be hearing those arguments from a candidate who entered the race because she heard the call from the voices that should matter most in our primaries: the grassroots.
An Elizabeth Warren candidacy -- and presidency -- would change the game for the better for all of our candidates and for the country. That's why we need to expand the reach of our Run Warren Run campaign right now, before the presidential primary feeding frenzy ramps up to a whole new level in the coming weeks. [All bold in the original]
So Hillary’s the innocent of meany conservatives in the media. And in order to save her, we’ve got to get Elizabeth Warren to run against her!
For the combination of chutzpah and cloying dishonesty, this ought to go in the fundraising hall of fame.