Hillary and the Continuum

Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast:

The presidency was once described by some historians as a prize, won in one election by this team, in another by that team. The metaphor suggests that elections are discrete and separate from one another and that the stakes aren’t much greater than those encountered on a game show. But that’s not the case anymore. Prize is the wrong metaphor for how we ought to see the presidency today. Now, we ought to see it as an instrument through which progress can either be advanced or retarded, and rather than thinking of each election victory as a prize, we ought to think of each as a step on a continuum.

This will be especially true in 2016, when a Republican victory would put at mortal risk the gains of the Obama years. So the next election will be no time to leave all this to chance—or to Andrew Cuomo or Martin O’Malley or even to Joe Biden. Hillary has to do it. She could handily beat the whole parade of Republicans. They’re children next to her. None of them is even in her weight class except for Jeb Bush, but he seems to me pretty easily disposed of with one question: “Okay, America, you’re being the given the choice to extend either Bill Clinton’s presidency or George W. Bush’s. Which way do you want to go?”

. . . The Democratic Party’s leaders and money people won’t be able to force others not to run, but they should do everything within their power to signal to the political world that it’s Hillary and just get on the damn bus.

I am highly sympathetic to this. Though I worked briefly for the Hillary presidential campaign in 2007/2008 (I had to leave due to health problems) I had begun to sour on her candidacy in the trench war between her and Obama. Common wisdom had it that whoever the Democratic nominee was in 2008, all they had to do was not get into a scandal (cough – Edwards – cough) and they’d get a walk to the White House, so it became an extraordinarily emotional choice for Democrats and progressives as to who nabbed that nomination.

But we do live in a zero-sum political universe these days, perhaps now more than ever, a time in which it’s not as though a GOP win would mean a status-quo administration with a tilt to the right. That’s what we thought we’d get with W., and not only did he turn out to be a radical conservative, he’s now considered too liberal for the current GOP. In other words, this is no game. It’s crucial that, every time out, the Democrats nominate a freaking stone-cold winner.

And yeah, that’s Hillary right now. I hate anointing candidates, I hate nepotistic, legacy-based candidacies, but Hillary Clinton as a person unto herself is serious as a heart attack. And we can’t afford to screw around.

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10 thoughts on “Hillary and the Continuum

  1. Oh, and Hillary Clinton is also a member of “The Family”. I don’t see how any atheist or liberal could possibly support her as a candidate for the nomination – although of course if she does get nominated, she’s bound to be preferable to the Rethuglican alternative.

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  2. Yes, I agree.
    Things could change, but at present it looks as if Hillary would have a relatively easy path to the White House in 2016.
    I was an early Obama supporter in 2008, partly because Hillary was too closely associated with the decision to go to war in Iraq. I was further turned of by her primary campaign. However, she has redeemed herself in the fantastic job she has been doing as Secretary of State.
    And her candidacy will give the Tea Party people a fit of apoplexy.

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  3. Let’s not forget Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who has a far more varied experience then any of the others, being a successful entrepreneur, successful governor, and senator from a purple state. The only problem I see for Warner is the issue of same sex marriage, which has been endorsed by Clinton, Cuomo, O’Malley, and Biden. It’s still not on the radar in Virginia.

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  4. Hillary Clinton will be 69 in 2016. However fit she is (and in all recent photos I’ve seen she looks exhausted), she will not have the stamina or resilience of someone in their 40s or 50s.
    More important, I’d prefer a progressive candidate. Clinton is an uncritical supporter of Israel, must be assumed to support the drone attacks, would attack Iran to prevent it getting nuclear weapons, completely failed to oppose WalMart’s anti-union policies when she was on its board, is on record as opposing marriage equality and the decriminalization of marijuana, supports the oxymoron of “clean coal”, and voted for the PATRIOT Act.

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  5. Now, we ought to see it as an instrument through which progress can either be advanced or retarded, and rather than thinking of each election victory as a prize, we ought to think of each as a step on a continuum.
    And that is why, like Nick Gotts, I cannot support Hillary Clinton.
    This also makes Tomasky’s piece contradictory. He says this, but then, in the next breath, says Clinton has to be the nominee because she can beat the Republicans, which suggests a team attitude…the one he had just said we need to reject. *facepalm*

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  6. I don’t think it’s possible to speculate on who could or would win this far out. I don’t think anybody in their right mind would have guessed back in 2004 that Barack Obama would be elected for a first term in 2008, let alone a second term in 2012.
    Hilary looks like an attractive candidate based on the state of the GOP as of today. We have 4 years to go until the next election though. Who knows what they’ll come up with or how they’ll try to reposition themselves during that time. I think the 2014 midterm elections will have a huge impact on that. There’s a pretty growing voice within the republican party that’s calling for backing away from some of the hard right social conservationism that’d sunk the party in the last several years. If they find a way to shake some of the crazies and move back towards the center, I don’t think her chances are nearly as good as one would think looking at a race by today’s standards. Frankly I don’t think she even would have won in 2008 had she been the nominee. McCain lost in large part because of Sarah Palin, a choice he likely would not have made with Clinton being the nominee on the left. Nevermind the Clinton era scandal that she’ll be wearing around her neck, contrived as it may be, will have an impact on her chances of getting elected. It’s also worth noting that like it or not, she is NOT Bill. She is not by any means what many would consider a progressive democrat. While she may be sympathetic to progressive issues than some – she’s far more centrist, even conservative leaning than either Obama or even her Husband. That makes any “continuation” argument a difficult one to make (and is part of why I don’t think she would have beaten McCain, they’re too similar to begin with).

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    • if we just boil it down to such simple milestones – why not Sarah Palin then? I mean, she’s female (or whatever the equivalent is on her home planet).

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