Monday, April 13, 2015

Ready For Hillary?

I don't think I am.
Yes, Hillary Clinton is running for President. And she's going to focus on . . . the middle class! Be still my beating heart! Gee, where have I heard that before?
The more I see Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee for 2016, the more I'm convinced she's going to lose the general election, and not just because the Republicans have gone full tilt boogie in tearing her down.  It's also because she's fundamentally flawed.  Hillary is like a Sphinx - and, before you accuse me of sexism, as the Sphinx was a female deity known for killing men who couldn't answer her riddle, that's not what I mean.  I mean that people look at her and see whatever they want to in her.
Most people see Hillary Clinton as a feminist heroine, and in many ways she is.  She has spoken eloquently about the need to allow girls and women the world over to reach their full potential.  But on the issues, people see her as some sort of progressive figure who can revitalize a dormant liberal movement that everyone thought - mistakenly - that Barack Obama would revive. Others see her as a centrist who is tough on defense and is too close to Wall Street.  And Hillary hasn't made it easy for anyone to figure out what she's for.  She's been silent on issues such as Social Security expansion, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and the Keystone XL pipeline. Not to mention the Iran nuclear deal.  Alas, all of the evidence indicates that she is more of a centrist than a progressive in the style of Elizabeth Warren, who still refuses to run for President but wants to see liberal issues brought to the fore.
So far, no other Democrats have announced presidential bids, even as Hillary announced hers on social media yesterday, and the only names that come up as possible challengers to make her fight for the nomination and push her more to the left are two Northeastern ex-governors who are exploring the idea of running - former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee.  Political commentators, however, laugh at the mere mention of these names; neither of them are taken seriously as presidential contenders, and Ed Schultz hasn't even dignified them with a mention on his own show . . . because he's still too busy talking to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders about a possible Sanders presidential campaign.  So what if O'Malley had a strong progressive record as governor of Maryland?  So what if Chafee made a valid point about Hillary Clinton's vote for the resolution allowing George Walker Bush to invade Iraq to look for non-existent chemical weapons?  (As a Republican U.S. Senator, now-Democrat Chafee was the only Republican senator to vote against authorizing Bush to invade Iraq.)  As long as no one cares who they are - and as no long as no one cares also about a possible presidential candidacy from former Virginia senator Jim Webb (who is most likely confused with the guy who wrote "MacArthur Park") - Hillary has nothing to worry about.
Except, of course, the general election campaign, when she will appear as a squishy moderate in pastel hues running against a conservative Republican campaigning in bold colors.  (Remember 2004?)  Hillary Clinton may be the next Democratic presidential nominee, but she will be the standard-bearer for a party that doesn't seem to stand for anything other then winning elections with a few politically correct and blatantly obvious stands on the issues ("Inequality is bad!" "Save the planet!") without any substantial policies to espouse.  A party like that is not in touch with the people.  The Federalist Party of the early nineteenth century died because it was not in touch with the people, which hurt it even in an era when several states still chose presidential electors through state legislatures rather than by popular vote, and nominating a silver-tongued orator like U.S. Senator Rufus King of New York (who inspired Daniel Webster) for the Presidency wasn't the answer.  King was the Federalist Party's last presidential nominee in 1816, and Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party's last presidential nominee in 2016. 
So, are you still ready for Hillary?  

No comments: