At a major gathering of conservatives here this week, it’s already August 2016. The Democratic presidential primary is over and Hillary Clinton is in the party’s nominee – now if only Republicans could settle on a way to attack her.
Over the 30 years Clinton has spent in the public spotlight, the only constant in the way critics have gone after her is the degree of their ferocity. First, they called her a radical liberal feminist, later they tagged her as a corporate sellout.
Who will she be in 2016, according to 30-second attack ads? Republicans aren’t quite sure yet, in large part because they aren’t sure who they will be.
Bashing Clinton may be the one thing that unites a Republican party whose deep fissures heading into 2016 were on display here at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The conference, where Republican presidential hopefuls throw red meat to conservative activists by beating up on Democrats, offers a window into the myriad ways Republicans will try to redefine Clinton.
John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, who is exploring a presidential run as an anti-Rand Paul hawk, spent the bulk of his speech going after Clinton on Benghazi. “Let’s not ever forget Benghazi,” he said. “That is a demonstration of her fundamental inability to understand what’s at stake in the war on terrorism.”