The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Friday, June 19, 2015
Politics ...

I’m not a “Tweeter”, but nonetheless I have a short thought about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for the White House (following my two very long thoughts published a few days ago). My thought is actually a bit of a question. And the question it this: is Hillary in 2016 akin somewhat to McCain 2008? Certainly not in terms of campaign issues, but more in terms of historical trends. When McCain ran in 2008, it seemed like his time had past. In 2000, when he ran in the GOP primaries against George W. Bush, McCain had obtained a reputation with the press for being something of a “maverick”. I.e., he had the guts (or appeared to have the guts) to take positions that did not hew to “GOP establishment” doctrine regarding health care reform, tax cuts, campaign finance reform, immigration, climate change, gays in the military, etc.

McCain finally got his chance to be the standard-bearer in 2008, and quickly got in line with the establishment. The maverick was gone; McCain became a generic Republican. And that was no match for the wave of excitement that Barack Obama was building. Edward McClelland in Salon called McCain the “right man at the wrong time”.

Is Hillary’s “right time” also behind her? I can’t help but wonder. In 2007, she at first seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered to fix what GW Bush had broken. But as the snows of winter 2008 melted away, Hillary fumbled the proverbial political football and Obama recovered, taking it all the way to the White House goal line. In 2015, Secretary / Senator Clinton just doesn’t seem like the same person that she was in ’08 (although she still fumbles the issues, perhaps more than before). Her tacking to the left has eviscerated the “maverick of the Democrats” reputation that her husband had built up. She seems to be morphing into the standard Ted Kennedy-like, party-line liberal. After the routing that the Democrats took in the 2014 Congressional elections, I really wonder if that is what the country currently wants.

Perhaps Hillary will still win, perhaps she will garner enough turnout amongst women, people of color, and the young to overcome the seeming disadvantage of a doctrinaire leftist position in a national election. Perhaps her populist rhetoric about the martyrdom of the middle class will catch fire (although if the economy continues to slowly improve, it may not prove to be all that effective). The betting odds are still in her favor right now. But it’s not impossible that Hillary Clinton will be to the Democrats in 2016 as John McCain was to the Republicans in 2008. Stay tuned, as the 2016 campaign is definitely underway now.

Interestingly, I’m not the first person to wonder about this, see this 2004 article in the NY Times.

And of course, what then to say about Jeb Bush? Well, I’ll save that for another “quasi-Tweet”.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:30 am      

  1. Jim, I must say I’ve “kind of” been thinking the same tho’t you’ve been thinking about Hillary: She just might have missed her pinnacle and could be on the downward part of the “hill of life” (so much of it seems to be hills and valleys).

    Yet, I find that being a woman may be the biggest “strike” she has against her. There’s so much hidden prejudice against women in the U.S. that she may lose just because she’s a woman. I think it’s not as bad in some of the European countries.

    One thing I *do* like about Hillary (and there’s no politics at all involved in this “like”) is that she gives me the impression that she’s more likely to express herself in favor of controversial issues than not; she does it intelligently and without rancor – well, at least so it seems to me.

    On the other hand, I’m absolutely sure that she, who has learned politics at the side of her husband for how many decades now(?), is one who also will use (and I mean “use” in the pejorative sense here) whatever will benefit her. I remember seeing a picture of Bill Clinton shaking the hand of someone and looking about as sincere as it is possible for a human being to be; my initial tho’t was what a good guy he must be. The caption on the picture said something like: This is exactly the time *not* to trust him. It took me a second to get it; but then I realized: When he appears most sincere to the person with whom he’s speaking is exactly the time to be aware that he wants something from you and his sincerity is a “useful” way to get from that person what he wants.

    I think that Hillary likely has learned that “sincere ability” well and uses it to good effect when she needs it. So it’s possible that she may have “hidden” capabilities that just might get her the presidency.

    One more tho’t, if I may say this respectfully: There’s a difference between how women think and men think. Thus, for the male population to consider things the way men do and think that a woman will respond the way a man would may be a mistake. While a woman can understand how a man thinks (and use that when dealing with men), a woman also will think her “woman way”, which often men just don’t “get”, don’t care if they “get”, or give less consideration to “woman think” and miss the mark of what’s going on inside a woman’s mind.

    Hillary’s a woman and, while she’s learned “men politics” in the last many decades, she also evidenced her ability to stick to her “woman politics” while she was Secretary of State; and I think she did a great job doing that work. So, it may be too soon to consider that she’s on the “downhill” part of life and has missed her chance. Time will tell. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — June 20, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

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