Hillary Clinton has suddenly decided to champion civility. Campaigning with House candidate Donna Shalala on Wednesday, Clinton told a Florida crowd that the bomb scare should unite the nation. "But it is a troubling time, isn’t it?" said the failed presidential candidate and former secretary of state. "And it’s a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together. We also have to elect candidates who will try to do the same."
It isn’t that she is wrong. The nation is divided, good leadership is needed in Washington, and we should stop hating our neighbors. The problem is that she doesn’t believe what she is saying.
A couple of news cycles ago, Clinton straight up called for a national divorce on CNN: "You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Clinton told Christiane Amanpour. "That's why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that's when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength."
But Clinton has rediscovered the need for civility and it is hardly a coincidence two weeks ahead of the midterm elections.
Before the attempted bombings, Democrats were with her and against showing grace, decency, and even politeness toward people with other views. They embraced the Hashtag Resistance and the scorched-earth partisanship that comes when protesters shriek at lawmakers and chase legislators out of restaurants.
Now, that won’t do. Democrats have shifted from a strategy of aggression to victimhood. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have used this week's mail-bombing scare as a springboard attack against Republicans ahead of the midterm elections. They accuse President Trump of pouring tribal gasoline on an already-burning partisan fire.
"We listened with great interest to the President's remarks this afternoon. We all take an oath to support and defend the constitution and protect the American people, and that is our first responsibility," Schumer and Pelosi wrote in a statement responding to Trump’s condemnation of the bombing attempt. "However, President Trump's words ring hollow until he reverses his statements that condone acts of violence."
Perhaps they have a point. Regardless, Clinton can’t make that point and simultaneously demand power as a condition for becoming civil again.