The Continuous Travails of Hillary Clinton

hillary-clinton-old-hag-3In the continuing drama known as the race to the White House in 2016, Hillary Clinton seems to keep hitting speed bumps along the road.  The latest bump- the State Department and her private e-mail account- is just the most recent example self-inflicted blunders.  We can count among them her Benghazi testimony and the continued investigation, the roll out of her book tour, her claims of post-Presidential poverty (how many homes do they have?), her hypocritical demands for speaking engagement fees that would by the envy of any touring rock band, her dismal press conference to explain those e-mails, and a host of others.

All of these incidents should raise red flags among voters come November 2016.  But the sad fact is that by time any e-mails are released by the State Department (they have to go through some 55,000), this will be but a footnote in the final book on this election.  Most voters simply do not understand the reasons for or the intricacy of the Public Records Act, nor do they really care.  Clinton also has an adoring media fawning over her and anticipating her eventual coronation as the first female leader of the free world.  Look how quickly they jumped to her defense and “pooh poohed” this away.  Any one of the potential Republican candidates can pass gas in public and it would be a major scandal.  Clinton could do the same and that same press would be describing it as fresh as newly bloomed roses in the spring.

A few months back, I wrote an article on whether Clinton would even make a run.  There are actually many reasons for her not to run for President and one very good, practical reason for her to run.  This is a potential candidate who has not been politically tested since 2008 when she eventually wilted under the pressure.  To this date, there is still no one out there willing to pressure Clinton this time out.  This should be alarming to Democrats.  Do they really want their “leader” stepping on stage in September 2016 for a debate without going through the rigors of a primary campaign?  That strategy helps Clinton in the short-term: she can be cagey in her answer to questions about policy concerns to Americans.  She can, in effect, moderate her positions for a general election run without ever having the problem of explaining herself to the Democratic base.  She would be a stealth candidate leading into a general campaign.

And if Clinton has proven anything recently, it is that the rustier she is, the worse is her performance.  It is one thing to give speeches to friendly crowds and quite another to actually confront your adversary in a debate whether that adversary is Republican or Democratic.  Without any true opposition leading to a nomination, she would merely be preaching to the choir.  Unfortunately for Clinton, the Democratic choir is not really in synch.  The more liberal factions (the bulk of the Democratic Party recently) views her as hawkish on international relations and the military and moderate on fiscal issues.  That is why we hear the many cries on the Left for [mc_name name=’Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’W000817′ ] to run.  Can anyone really see the Democratic Party getting behind Ichabod Crane?  Er…I mean Bernie Sanders.

And one has to look at Hillary Clinton’s real claim to fame- her tenure as Secretary of State.  Can anyone with a straight face really point to any true accomplishment of her’s?  Libya?  Syria?  Iraq or Afghanistan?  Israeli relations?  How about Russia and that cute reset button?  Is China any less a human rights tyrant today than they were in 2009?  The so-called Arab Spring looks more like an Arab winter wasteland littered with severed heads.  Looked at more realistically from what is dribbling out now, she used the State Department as a conduit for the Clinton Foundation rather than as a vehicle for advancing American foreign policy goals.

And one has to look at her age also at the risk of being accused of ageism.  The Left used to poke fun at Ronald Reagan’s age and it was the subject of endless jokes and smears.  But Clinton would actually be older than Reagan was on his inauguration day should she win the Presidency.  Naturally, the Left would conveniently forget or ignore that history and somehow claim this is different because…well, its not Reagan.

The fact remains that Clinton is almost obliged to run because there is no realistic bench to back her up.  In reality, there is only one egg in the Democratic basket.  This was obvious the day after Obama was reelected.  Think about the Democratic bench: Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, [mc_name name=’Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’W000817′ ].  If people do not know a Scott Walker nationally, they know even less about a Sanders or a Webb.  There is only one name on the Democratic side that rings any bells and it is Clinton.

Clinton should also be very aware of the fact that after 8 years of Barack Obama and a Democrat in the White House, people are aching for a change.  If one looks at all the post-WWII elections, the party that ruled for 8 years is usually the party on the outs (an exception being 1988, but really?  President Dukakis?).  Some political forecast models have shown that Clinton would actually have a difficult time winning even 50% of the popular vote let alone the electoral vote despite the alleged built-in advantages to the Democratic Party.  Her chances would be dependent upon too many variables beyond her control and one within her control.  One model (the “Time for Change” model out of Emory University) predicts that for Clinton to win and overcome the bias against a party in power for 8 years, GDP growth must hum along at 3.5% and Obama’s approval rating must be above 50% in the second quarter before the election.  Fat chance on either of those things happening.

Despite models of political scientists and babbling by inside-the-Beltway political pundits, the one thing going against Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton.  As the book tour and the e-mail press conference showed, Hillary is not quite prepared for the rigors of a tough presidential race.  She still harbors a resentment against a “vast right wing conspiracy” out to get her.  She would enter the race with the force field of womanhood around her where any bona fide criticism would be called a “war on women.”  Yet she would still likely bungle and fritter away any built-in advantages a Clinton candidacy would entail.

She is obviously the most famous non-candidate right now.  Today, when she dominates the news cycle, it is usually in a negative light.  And should she announce her candidacy, that will likely change and there will be a honeymoon period before the real fight begins.  And in real fights, her record is not so good.