The "Free Enterprise Friday" roundtable on CNBC's "The Kudlow Report" means the always gracious but relentless Larry Kudlow focuses his panel of three guests on very specific subjects.
Larry's table Friday included Richard Socarides, Democratic strategist and former Clinton White House official, New York City radio talker Mark Simone and me. After Larry led us through a dissection of the brutal opening of the 2014 edition of the Obamacare follies, we all turned our collective attention to the Senate races of 2014.
The very amiable and unflappable Socarides played the "war on women" card immediately, arguing that the GOP and the "Koch brothers" were targeting Democratic women in the Senate. I was quick to point out — as every conservative should be — that this is a very hard argument to make when GOP candidates like Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan and Amy Stephens in Colorado are leading the war on the Democrats' and Harry Reid's long and disastrous hold on the U.S. Senate. Not just hard-to-make, in fact, but desperate, and that's what Senate Democrats are right now: desperate.
That Socarides was so quick to dust off the canard of 2012 tells us much not just about the Left's strategy for the year ahead but also about Hillary Clinton's for 2016 — and Socarides is very much the Hillary supporter. Blocked by the record of Obama-Clinton abroad from running on America's "new standing" in the world, or "reset" buttons pushed, or Arab Spring flourishings, Hillary will have to run on domestic issues, and there she finds ... Obamacare.
There is only one way out. The Right's edgier partisans will be recalling that "Warriors bled and Hillary fled" and "an ambassador was assassinated and Hillary procrastinated" as Benghazi looms over her attempt to defend her frequent-flier-miles tenure at Foggy Bottom, and Hillary will find herself forced to confront "what difference does it make" video every time talks turns to her record and Obamacare when it turns to Obama.
She has only one choice: To run left. Hard left. The left that animates New York City's new mayor Bill de Blasio. The left of Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco and of President Obama's community organizer roots.
America's seven lean years of economic growth, including the panic of 2008 and the long ruinous recession and non-recovery recovery date to this month's passing in 2007 of the gavel in the House to Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi only had four years of power. But that brief two years when she ruled the House, Reid the Senate and a newly-elected Obama demanded and got Obamacare, the failed "stimulus" and Dodd-Frank haunt the country still even as Hillary's time at State will haunt American interests abroad for decades.
The "war on women" rhetoric, unveiled by George Stephanopoulos in New Hampshire in early 2012 as a cudgel with which to pummel Mitt Romney, and de Blasio's attack on the "far right" for preaching "the virtue of trickle-down economics" in his inaugural address last week are the only tricks left in the Left's bag, and thus Hillary's. Straw men burn quickly and don't provide much warmth, for de Blasio, for the Democratic Senate candidates in 2014 or for Hillary in 2016.
The seven lean years are coming to an end even as left-wing progressivism reaches its end stage in New York City, the bankrupt cities of California and in the chaos of America's made-over health care system. November cannot come soon enough.
HUGH HEWITT, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.