If you are playing golf and a thunderstorm occurs, one should not go stand under the tallest tree in the rough. An even worse choice is a solitary tree with no surrounding fellows. Why? The tallest tree is the most likely to be struck by lightning.

The same is true about politicians running for president. Hillary Clinton is the most likely person to win the Democratic nomination in 2016. And if nominated she is likely to win the presidency. The Republican brand is terribly stained by the foolish and often unpatriotic antics of the Republican-led Senate and House of Representatives. They shut down the government once. They allowed the debt ceiling to cause layoffs in government. Because of Republican antics, our national Standard and Poor's credit rating fell for the first time since such ratings have been created.


The rate of legislation passed in the House and signed into law this session was very low compared to recent years. They failed to pass a budget worthy of the name (the responsibility of the House) and then blamed the Democrats. They beat their collective chests over the growth of ISIL, yet failed to pass a new authorization to use military force, the modern equivalent of the Declaration of War described in the Constitution. On the question of Immigration Reform, they keep calling for the administration to seal the border. In fact President Barack Obama called for and got funding early in his presidency for many more border patrol agents and has had a much higher rate of deportation of illegal aliens than any previous president.

Instead, the Republican House voted to repeal Obamacare more than 50 times. Tellingly, their vote total on this effort is decreasing slightly. The reason? This half-way system does provide coverage for many who were not covered before. It works.

They voted to force the president to permit the disastrous Keystone pipeline, a gift to the Canadian oil industry but a violation of the treaty with the Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe.

How many times have they investigated the astonishing fact that the IRS actually enforces the law with respect to non-profit organizations?

But most of all they have tried to find a chink in Hillary Clinton's armor. She is the tall tree that attracts lightning strikes. How many times have the House Republicans investigated the raid on our consulate in Benghazi? And now they are worrying over Clinton's email correspondence. There is zero evidence that she violated any law.

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Forthy-seven Republican senators wrote to the Iran leadership hoping to sabotage the negotiations between our State Department and Iran over their nuclear capability. This was a clear violation of the Logan Act, which states: "Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

There was no Senate vote on that letter. The 47 senators are thus only 47 individual citizens. They ought to be indicted.

Clinton could do them all in. She could refuse to run. Then the Republicans would have to scurry around trying to dig up dirt on Elizabeth Warren, on Bernie Sanders, on Martin O'Malley, on Joe Biden, on a player to be named later. I wish she would withdraw, just to make the Democratic Primary more interesting and attract more voters.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every second Tuesday. Email him at cct@wexfordpress.com.