"Don’t go breaking my heart …" "… I couldn’t if I tried."
Sure, Election Day was almost eight months ago, but don’t tell the GOP that.
The GOP’s health care bill is having a hard time getting the support it will need to pass the Senate and get one step closer to becoming law thanks to a terrible CBO score and heaps of scorn and criticism.
So it makes perfect sense that the GOP decided to distract from the failure by targeting Hillary Clinton, their punching bag when things look bad with an attack tweet. Problem is, the GOP is really bad at Twitter.
Their burn was a swing-and-a-miss, opening the door for Clinton to shoot back with this fire, which riled up her base.
Right here. Includes radical provisions like how not to kick 23 mil ppl off their coverage. Feel free to run w/it.https://t.co/jBMFBJpSP7 https://t.co/zZoA16Ym03
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 5, 2017
It’s not like this is a one-time thing for the GOP, either. They’ve misfired before, like this failed attempt to meme James Comey’s statement before his testimony regarding his interactions with Trump.
For the GOP, Clinton is an easy target. There was so much vitriol directed at her in the campaign that she’s become a convenient way of distracting people upset by the Republican Party’s missteps (on both Capitol Hill and the White House). If things are going bad, just aim the Twitter cannon on Clinton (and other Democratic leaders — the GOP tweeted the same message to Bill Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Bernie Sanders), and that’ll soothe the roars for blood.
After all, this is a feud that’s been ongoing for at least 25 years, from Hillary’s controversial "baking cookies" comment on the 1992 campaign trail to the fight for health care in the early 1990s to her U.S. Senate tenure.
Maybe that’s why Trump has tweeted about Clinton by name thirteen times since his inauguration, five of those in June alone.
FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2017
Not surprisingly, most of Trump’s tweets about Clinton are, in some way, in reference to former FBI director James Comey or Russia.
At least when Trump tried to distract from the health care bill’s tough road he had the sense to put on his carnival barker hat. The GOP’s latest attempt at a Twitter drive-by was just lazy.
For her part, Clinton, whose pretty powerless politically at this point, mind you, isn’t exactly innocent of playing the Twitter distraction game.
Since that painful, close election loss, she’s peppered the GOP with her own shots, especially in response to ongoing Trump administration controversies, including criticism of his complaint that the job of president is harder than he thought it’d be and his travel ban that was blocked by three lower-court judges early on.
It’s not just tweets, though.
She’s also used public appearances to keep needling Trump and the administration, whether its teasing him about his inauguration crowd size while giving the commencement speech or taking a shot at the Russia investigation when asked to weigh in on the "covfefe" tweet at Recode’s 2017 Code Conference.
Clinton had plenty to say about "covfefe," too,
For Clinton, continuing to attack Trump and the GOP makes political sense in the context of the current climate.
Despite the 2016 electoral loss and ongoing hand-wringing about whether or not she’ll make another run in 2020, Clinton is a Democratus emeritus, destined to be a party figurehead much like her husband and Barack Obama.
Whether she has a leadership role in the Democratic party going forward, she’s going to remain a symbolic leader of the progressive "resistance."
Yes, some of Clinton’s responses seemed forced and like they were written by a committee (see: her covfefe tweet). The appearance of genuine spontaneity has never been her strong suit, but Clinton feels like she’s playing a role, at least.
Meanwhile, the GOP keeps rising to Clinton’s bait, even when it’s to their detriment. Whenever Trump or the GOP attack Clinton, it reeks of insecurity, of a group that still hasn’t moved on from an election in which Trump won the Electoral College but more people actually voted for Clinton.
The GOP and Trump are, technically, the victorious party. They don’t need to respond to Clinton’s shots. But they do, prolonging the fight and giving Clinton more chances to knock them down a notch.
Nothing good can come of these GOP attacks, not when they can’t even get their own cornerstone legislation passed. It comes off as a juvenile "I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I" misfire.
Clinton’s shots may not be the effortless, off-the-cuff zingers she intends them to be but at least she — and her team — make sure the punch still lands.
Meanwhile, the GOP will continue fighting one battle they already won in a poor attempt to distract from the battles their currently losing.
And, as they showed on Wednesday, they’ll keep giving Clinton the last laugh.