by Thomas Lifson
All is not well in Hillaryland. Despite the media consensus that Hillary Clinton would not only cruise to an inevitable nomination as the Democrats’ nominee, if she runs, but also likely defeat any potential GOP candidate, Democrats are expressing a certain angst over the “inevitability” of it all.
Articles in both The Politico and The Hill let the cat out of the bag.
Maggie Haberman in Politico:
Everyone knows about the “Ready for Hillary” Democrats — the rapidly proliferating parade of elected officials and activists getting behind Hillary Clinton’s increasingly likely 2016 presidential campaign.That “not outwardly opposing” phraseology is revealing. The fact is that Hillary Clinton is not loved, but rather feared. While many Democrats seem to feel affection for Bill Clinton, who cheated on her and thereby elevated her status to the coveted position of victim, Hillary, with her cackling laugh, shrill voice, inappropriate gesticulations, and overall demeanor, is simply not an attractive individual to many. Her well deserved reputation as vindictive, the fixer who managed the “bimbo eruptions” squad wayback when, does not endear her to many.
But there’s also a smaller but increasingly vocal group making its presence felt lately — call these Democrats the “Wary of Hillary” Democrats. They’re not outwardly opposing a Clinton candidacy. But they are anxious about the spectacle of a Clinton juggernaut, after seeing what happened when she ran a campaign of inevitability last time.
The there is her collapse in 2008, when she blew the nomination that was believed to be hers as inevitably as this year, by allowing Obama forces to out-organize her in the Iowa caucuses, and parlay the image of a “historic first” black president who is “clean, articulate” and sports elite educational credentials into momentum. The fear that without a primary challenger she would be vulnerable to a similar collapse before a GOP nominee is being expressed in the cautious terms one might use in disagreeing with a pope:
“She is an enormously capable candidate and leader, but I do worry about the inevitability, because I think it’s off-putting to the average voter,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a longtime Obama ally, told CNN earlier this month. “And I think that was an element of her campaign the last time. As an enthusiastic Democrat, I just hope that the people around her pay attention to that this time around.”But foremost, at least to what Howard Dean used to call “The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party,” is her example of establishmentarian flexibility when it comes to money and power.Niall Stanage in The Hill:
For many on the left, Clinton is the woman who supported the Iraq war, ran to the right of President Obama and is associated with the Wall Street-friendly centrism espoused by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.There’s that fear factor again. I wonder how many party loyalists will be inspired to ring doorbells for someone they fear, instead of someone they love?
Progressives feel they are in a political golden age in which questions about income inequality are growing louder, anti-gay marriage laws are falling and the growing Hispanic electorate regards the GOP with skepticism. Given all that, they don’t want to be stuck with a standard-bearer they see as too centrist.
So far, few on the left are mounting full-frontal attacks on Clinton, at least publicly.
Combining the two sets of fears – she needs a challenger to toughen her up + she needs a left wing challenger to move her to the left, it looks like Hillary may well find herself facing one or more challengers.
Many progressives yearn for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to run, though she has been adamant she will not.Now the really interesting point here is that if Hillary doesn’t run, and given her age and health problems that can’t be ruled out, the Democrats are left with lame candidates who are not terribly inspiring to anyone to the right of a socialist.
If she were to run, she would be the leading candidate on the left. With her out, others are auditioning for the role of the un-Clinton.
“I am prepared to run for president of the United States,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told The Nation, perhaps the closest the left has to an in-house publication, in March.
Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) caused a stir last week when he was the subject of a lengthy Wall Street Journal profile assessing his 2016 chances.
But neither figure possess the star power that would make for a real risk to Clinton, assuming she runs.
Democratic strategists are deeply skeptical that candidates other than Warren could have the financial or logistical support to mount a meaningful challenge.
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