Hillary Clinton speaks after being inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame in New York on Monday. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The Democrats are as predictable as their talking points are moldy. Perhaps it is why MSNBC is collapsing — who wants to listen to the same diatribes, the same voices, the same positions (don’t touch entitlements, more taxes on the rich, “engage” foes, bash Israel, war on women, etc.) we have heard for years now? A party this stagnant has as its perfect standard bearer Hillary Clinton. The flacks have not changed in two decades, and the excuses for her imperial behavior and grotesque greed have not either (Clinton is a victim, the media are mean to her, etc.). The latest mantra is: Hillary Clinton needs competition.

Even conservatives seem to have adopted the argument that the Democrats’ main problem is a lack of competition. Byron York writes, “Republican candidates are taking shots at each other, pointing out their rivals’ weaknesses, whispering that this or that candidate is not ready for prime time. Democrats are defending Clinton, most recently in the State Department email affair, and waiting for talking points from Clinton Central to tell them what to say next. Put it all together, and it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say the Republican race is alive — indeed teeming with life — while the Democratic race is dead.”

I would suggest, however, the bigger problem is not lack of competition but Clinton herself. If the 22nd Amendment were repealed and Bill Clinton was the presumptive nominee, few would be decrying the lack of competition. They’d be measuring the Oval Office drapes and hiding the White House interns.

The notion of getting a workout pony for Hillary Clinton is simultaneously patronizing — like saying she could use more exercise, but not anything too strenuous — and self-delusional. If only she had a competitor then . . . well, then what? Would she stop dissembling about her secret e-mail system? Would she tell us what she really thinks about an Iran deal that gives the mullahs thousands of centrifuges and a pathway to an industrial-size nuclear weapons program? Would she have any new domestic ideas? Would she lose the grating, phony laugh and give back the millions to Goldman Sachs and the oil kingdoms? The plea for a competitor assumes Hillary Clinton has some reservoir of creativity, ethics and candor, which can bubble up to the surface if only a competitor arrived.

It is far more likely that, if a competitor could be dragooned into the race, the Clinton attack dogs would simply try to shred the recruited opponent. Indeed, few opponents would press her, precisely because they would fear the onslaught from the Clinton attack team. By calling for a sparring partner, the Democrats avoid the harder questions: Why are they backing her at all?

The problems with Hillary Clinton will not be solved by a competitor. The Democrats seem to acknowledge her poor campaign skills, lack of creative ideas and ethical shortcomings while simultaneously insisting that she is their best candidate and would be a fabulous president. There really is no need to stick by a candidate this devoid of ideas and ethics. There is no reason to force the party and its spinners to defend her shoddy record and money-grubbing. Yet they cannot help themselves. Like the cartoon character walking off the cliff, they collectively refuse to look down for fear they will crash. So they keep running straight ahead, eyes skyward as if the only problem is lack of a pace horse. Look down, Democrats. Your 2016 hopes are resting on nothing but denial and thin air. Get a challenger or not. It does not matter. Unless and until you dump the Clinton circus, your hopes rest solely on the GOP nominating an even worse candidate than yours. Maybe that is a good bet, but it takes the party’s destiny out of the hands of Democrats and assigns it to GOP primary voters.