Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took questions at a campaign event in Coralville, Iowa on Tuesday, and found herself addressing the concerns of a most unusual voter: Clarabelle, the Rescue Dog. Through spokesperson Max Rubin, Clarabelle expressed her frustration on the issue of border security:
Max Rubin, spokesman for Clarabelle the Dog: Her issues are that, um, there are rabbits that keep coming into our yard, but our landlord won't secure the border. We're trying to figure out what to do.
Hillary Clinton: Well, there are several approaches that one might take. Now, is she afraid of the rabbits?
Rubin: Oh no, she wants to go get those rabbits.
Hillary Clinton: Yeah, well, I think in the case of rabbits, that's all right. It's okay to chase the rabbits out of your back yard. If it were people, I'd have a different answer.
Hillary dodged a bullet when she asked if Clarabelle was a rescue, because what was she going to say if she wasn't? "Way to murder a shelter dog, Max?"
As it turns out, this is not Clarabelle's first foray into presidential politics. According to Rubin, she has met seven candidates so far, and plans to try and meet all of them. Here she is meeting with former Governor Martin O'Malley in August:
Clarabelle also met with polling blip Bobby Jindal:
And here she is with former Governor Mike Huckabee, whom Clarabelle also asked about the rabbits:
I look forward to Bernie Sanders scolding Clarabelle for not sticking with substantive issues like the millionaires and billionaires who control the rabbits, and maybe this makes me a bad person, but also to Clarabelle getting roughed up by Trump's security team. Jeb Bush will probably make her his campaign manager. No disrespect to Max and Clarabelle, whose immigration metaphor is actually uncomfortably clever, but this whole thing just made me angry, for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is the degree to which I hate Iowa, or more precisely, the way Iowa gets sucked up to by anyone who ever hopes to run for president.
Try that move at a campaign stop in New Jersey, and Max would be rinsing pepper spray out of Clarabelle's eyes. It's because of Iowa that we have to listen to people like Rick Santorum and Ben Carson. I'm probably also in a foul mood because of all the chatter about the off-year election results from Tuesday, which will no doubt send Democrats into a panicky rightward sprint. Matt Bevin won the governorship of Kentucky, so he can throw all the poors off of Obamacare, legal weed in Ohio was harshed by a wide margin, Republicans retained control of the Virginia state senate, and Houston voted down the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Hillary Clinton tweeted her displeasure at that last result:
This bill was passed into law last year after after a provision related to public restrooms was removed, but the remaining law was still enough to panic 61% of the people who voted, which consisted of about a quarter of Houston's registered voters.
My knee-jerk reaction, as a liberal, is to say "'Tis but a scratch," because only people with a bug up their ass vote in off-year elections, but the media is already pushing Kentucky as a bellwether for a brutal fight over healthcare. That's the kind of thing that makes national Democrats reach for a cold six-pack of Republican Lite.
The pot vote was apparently more a rejection of Ohio's specific monopolistic proposal than of pot itself, and considering this is an off-year election, Democrats holding steady in Virginia isn't a disaster. If Bevin acts quickly in Kentucky, his constituents' misery might actually end up helping Democrats, right?
But then there's the other part of me that agrees with Ben Carson that a significant number of Americans are dumb enough to vote for anyone, even Ben Carson. In the first post-debate poll of general election match-ups, Carson is kicking Hillary Clinton's and Bernie Sanders' asses, including 56% support from independents against each of them. In fact, every Republican beats Hillary and Bernie with independents, and only Trump loses to them overall. Part of me worries that Trump and Carson have captured and exploited a wave of white resentment (although Carson does manage 19% black support versus Hillary), and maybe all that noise could win.
The slightly more comforting notion is that this is a function of the media's blitzkrieg coverage of the Trump/Carson phenomenon, and the Republican debates. It's only slightly comforting because as long as that Republican primary rages on, there's very little the Democrats can do about it, especially since they've hidden their debates away on Friday night. On MSNBC. My hope is that when there finally is a GOP nominee, Hillary Clinton will crush him in debates and on the campaign trail. My fear is that Carson is right, and after being bombarded for a full year with Republican names and Republican talking points, the soft-headed independents will decide that Trump and Carson are the 'droids they're looking for.
So that's why Clarabelle the Dog annoys me.
Cross-posted from Mediaite