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Hillary Clinton should be disqualified, not Scott Walker

The mainstream media are ready to write off Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as a coward and unfit for the presidency because he wouldn’t denounce Rudy Giuliani’s comments questioning the president’s love for America. One can think it was ill advised (as a number of GOP contenders, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as well as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, have said), but it is a strange standard to apply (Denounce an ex-official’s rants, or get out!). Who else has not commented on others’ remarks?

I have not heard Hillary Clinton denounce the leaks from the administration badmouthing the prime minister of Israel. She has not criticized the president for misleading Americans that they could keep their health-care insurance and their doctors. She did not decry the president’s assertion that gunning down Jews in a kosher market in France was “random.” She never condemned the remarks of former Middle East negotiator Martin Indyk blaming Israel for the breakdown in peace talks or of her successor in suggesting that America couldn’t protect Israel or stave off boycotts of Israel if it didn’t make peace with the Palestinians. And let’s not get started on all the idiotic utterances Vice President Joe Biden has made. While President George W. Bush was in office, Clinton never denounced a host of comments questioning his motives, honesty, etc. Frankly, she has not been asked about such things because, well, why would she have to answer for everyone in her party who ever said something off-putting? If they can drag her into an interview, the media should ask her all these questions and more. If she refuses to answer, out of the race, they must declare! Yeah. Right.

Forget comments about others’ comments. Clinton won’t tell us — for she is in perpetual hiding — what she thinks about the compelling issues of the day. She can’t give her opinion on the Keystone XL pipeline. Anyone ask her if she thinks we are winning the war against the Islamic State, if we have improved our standing with Arab allies, if we have violated our promise to Ukraine to provide security in exchange for having given up its nukes, if Iran can be allowed to just “unplug” its centrifuges as the U.S. negotiators are apparently suggesting, or her opinion on any of hundreds of other knotty foreign or domestic issues? Isn’t it pure cowardice for her to remain silent about an imminent deal that would leave Iran with thousands of centrifuges? Really, now is the  time for candor and leadership. Knowing how untenable a nuclear-armed Iran would be, her silence is irresponsible. I wonder why the media aren’t pestering her for her position and decrying her silence as disqualifying for the job as commander in chief.

If one had to identify the single candidate in either party who most consistently refuses to take firm, public stances or criticize the candidate’s own party (including its president), you would be hard pressed to come up with a worse offender than Clinton. She wrote a book devoid of substance, but rather than declare her too timid to be president, the media yawned and said the book was pretty dull. And since her book tour disaster, she has been unwilling to present herself to the media for serious questioning.

And, of course, not a soul in the mainstream media suggests that a woman who takes millions from corporate titans who would have demands on her administration or who uses millions from foreign governments to fund her foundation (that, in turn, funds her luxury travel and employs a coterie of loyalists) has disqualified herself from high office. Brian Williams cannot stay on the air for telling stories of courage under fire, but Clinton’s gunfire-on-the-tarmac tale is long forgotten.

When they demand that Clinton get out of the race for not criticizing Democrats or even disclosing her views, then the mainstream media’s criticism of Walker might be taken more seriously. Until then, maybe, to borrow the president’s phrase, they should get off their high horse before running out to banish an up-and-coming Republican candidate whose youth, blue-collar persona and political courage contrast so favorably with Clinton’s age, clueless 1 percent status and political cowardice.

One can be critical of Walker ducking an easy question about the president’s patriotism and even more so for his refusal to acknowledge that the president is a Christian. (I would agree with my colleague Michael Gerson, who observed on “Meet the Press“: “Well, I think Republicans have a specific problem, the dangerous feedback loop between partisan media and populist candidates. And feud is the worst discourse. And all of a sudden, talk radio is the voice inside your head. And you can’t address the country that way. It’s too inward looking.”) Walker cannot win simply by appealing to the anti-MSM base of the GOP, but must also assure donors and moderate voters he is ready for prime time. But trying to run Walker out of town on a rail is both a gross overreaction and evidence of the deeply embedded double standard in the mainstream media. Voters, not the media, ultimately will assess Walker’s fitness for office. In the meantime, the media would be advised to start demanding candor from Clinton and then judge her by the same standard they apply to Walker.