CNN runs a somewhat credulous scoop (“First on CNN”!) about decidedly un-breaking news—the launch of America Rising PAC’s campaign Stop Hillary 2016. It’s interesting to read about the messaging tests playing out in “a series of e-mails to randomized groups of donors.” What moves people? Benghazi? The fear of “having to see another Clinton in the White House”?
Spoiler: None of this moves people. There have been Stop Hillary PACs, with that exact name, since 2005. They’ve been flops. Back in 2007 I tracked the progress of Stop Her Now and various Republican efforts to fundraise off of Clintonphobia, and found them ranging from disastrous ($25,000 for Stop Her Now, which got tons of coverage) to just weak (busted money-asks from John McCain and party committees). A raft of anti-Hillary books and bios were flops, leading with the “investigative” Jeff Gerth book that got reviewed everywhere and sold 18,000 copies.
What’s changed in 2013? Well, Hillary spent four years at State, a tenure that concluded with the Benghazi scandal that revealed, at best, an agency under her control that wasn’t ready to protect a consulate or its contest. There’s a fat Regnery book contract for someone who wants to write the Benghazi-and-Hillary book. But overall Clinton’s more popular, even among Republicans, than she was in 2005-2008. Anyone saying his/her PAC is going to tap into those wells of Clinton-hatred should be looked at skeptically.