And now the real fun be­gins

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN

The pri­maries are at last over, and not a day too soon. Now Democrats and the Repub­li­cans can turn to dis­man­tling each other in pur­suit of the pres­i­dency. This should be a cam­paign to re­mem­ber.

Bernie San­ders talked to Pres­i­dent Obama Thurs­day. No­body got a tran­script of re­marks but when he emerged from the White House the sen­a­tor from Ver­mont sounded more like a vale­dic­to­rian than the rough­house pur­suer of Hil­lary Clin­ton.

He re­peated the usual applause lines — “a Trump pres­i­dency would be a dis­as­ter” and “I’ll work as hard as I can to make sure Don­ald Trump does not be­come pres­i­dent of the United States” — and seemed pleased to bask in the shade of Pres­i­dent Obama. But like a de­feated can­di­date who can’t quite give up the ghost, he promised to mon­i­tor “a full ac­count­ing of the votes in Cal­i­for­nia,” though it’s not clear why. He said he’s sure the full ac­count­ing will show the results will show “a much closer vote” than the lick­ing by 400,000 votes he took Tues­day, though to what pur­pose he did not say. There won’t be a re­count.

Thurs­day was a Demo­cratic day in Wash­ing­ton, and Hil­lary could for once keep the noise level down as she did her own bask­ing in the shade of her pants suit. The White House re­leased a video of the pres­i­dent sup­ply­ing the fem­i­nist noise — “she’s wo­man and hear her roar” — and promised to join her on the hus­tings next week in Wis­con­sin.

Mr. Obama sounded as if au­di­tion­ing for car­ni­val shill, say­ing that he doesn’t think “there’s ever been some­one so qual­i­fied to hold this of­fice.” Bet­ter than Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton? John Adams? Thomas Jef­fer­son? Abra­ham Lin­coln? Franklin D. Roo­sevelt?

Well, that’s what the man said. Mr. Obama, in all fair­ness, is not a stu­dent of Amer­i­can history, and he might not have heard of all the pres­i­dents on that honor roll of the na­tion’s great­est chiefs. He’s the pres­i­dent who once spoke of the na­tion’s “57 states.” The Amer­ica he does not know well ob­vi­ously bores him.

His en­dorse­ment of Hil­lary was in­evitable, but it’s not at all clear how much, if at all, en­dorse­ments, whether by a pres­i­dent, a gov­er­nor or even a news­pa­per, have ever ac­tu­ally de­ter­mined the win­ner in an elec­tion.

This week a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Post, ever at­ten­tive to the in­ter­ests of Repub­li­cans, spec­u­lated how Paul Ryan might “with­draw” his en­dorse­ment of Don­ald Trump. This is surely not wor­ry­ing the Don­ald be­cause Amer­i­cans are a per­verse and stub­born race and imag­ine them­selves fully qual­i­fied to make up their own minds. Be­sides, con­gress­men don’t pack much weight this sea­son.

Both Hil­lary and the Don­ald are well ad­vised, as the pitcher Satchell Paige fa­mously said, to never look back, “be­cause some­thing might be gain­ing on you.” What’s gain­ing on Hil­lary is the out­law me­dia, so called be­cause it is not re­strained by the con­ven­tional wis­dom, and what sev­eral film­mak­ers have ready for her. The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter re­ports that up to eight “right-lean­ing” films are due in the­aters and on tele­vi­sion screens be­tween now and the No­vem­ber elec­tion.

The first one, “De­po­si­tion,” on YouTube now, is a re-en­act­ment of tes­ti­mony taken from Hil­lary aides about what she did, and more im­por­tant, what she didn’t do about the seizure of the Amer­i­can con­sulate in Beng­hazi, where four Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing the U.S. am­bas­sador, died. The tes­ti­mony is re-en­acted be­cause a judge sup­pressed the video of the real de­po­si­tion. In it, Hil­lary’s close ad­viser Ch­eryl Mills uses some ver­sion of “I don’t re­call” or “I don’t re­mem­ber” to an­swer 189 ques­tions. This is the de­vice fre­quently pre­scribed by de­fense lawyers be­cause not re­mem­ber­ing, even if ev­ery­one in the court­room knows the wit­ness is ly­ing, can’t be pros­e­cuted as per­jury. Who can say what some­one else re­mem­bers (or doesn’t want to re­mem­ber)?

The Hil­lary film with the big­gest bud­get is “Hil­lary’s Amer­ica” by Di­nesh D’Souza, pro­duced for $5 mil­lion with an­other $5 mil­lion for prints and ad­ver­tis­ing. The pro­ducer, Ger­ald Molen, who won an Os­car for “Schindler’s List,” de­scribes “Hil­lary’s Amer­ica” as a primer on racism in the Demo­cratic Party. “Stu­dents know noth­ing about history, noth­ing about Amer­ica,” he says. “They don’t know that 600,000 peo­ple died in the Civil War, most of them try­ing to pro­tect black Amer­i­cans from Democrats who sup­ported slav­ery.”

That’s a some­what fan­ci­ful read­ing of Civil War history — it would be news to many Union sol­diers that they were fight­ing to pro­tect slaves or end slav­ery – but it’s likely to find a big au­di­ence when it opens in Los Angeles and again in Cleve­land on the eve of the con­ven­tions.

No one’s count­ing on Hil­lary to give two thumbs up. She’s more likely to use an­other fin­ger. Wes­ley Pruden is editor in chief emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton

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