The Return of Stop-Hillary Suckerism

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 22 2013 3:35 PM

The Return of Stop-Hillary Suckerism

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.

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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.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.