Since the day after Election Day, 2008, I’ve felt strongly that Hillary Clinton would run for President again in 2012, in a primary challenge to Barack Obama. I believed that even after she agreed to be his Secretary of State, and, since then, the bumblings of his administration, his tanking popularity, and the specter of an electoral disaster the Democrats face in 2010 have made me almost certain: she’s going to run. Back in 2008, I took to referring to her as “Lady Macbeth” because of her impressive will and near-naked lust for the presidency. She only stayed with Bill after the Gennifer Flowers revelations because (my guess) he promised her control of health-care policy and she saw him as her road to her own term in the Oval Office. She even put up with further humiliation in the Lewinsky scandal to keep that path open.
It’s not just that she wants to run; she can’t do anything but run. She could no more resist the urge than Gollum could his Precious.
Pete du Pont agrees with me that she could mount a formidable challenge; she did it in 2008, after all, especially in the late stages. But, unlike me, Pete thinks she’s qualified:
Second, she is physically and intellectually strong enough to take on a difficult campaign. She showed that running against Obama two years ago.
Third, she is one of the most experienced prospective candidates the Democratic Party has had in a long while: wife of a governor, U.S. first lady, senator and now secretary of state. This is a good record to run on as someone who knows how the government works.
Fourth, she is an experienced foreign-policy adviser who understands the threats to our national security: unresolved conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, rising threats of nuclear capability in Iran and North Korea, and uncertainties in Pakistan.
Fifth, experience will be even more important to voters in the 2012 presidential election, whose 2008 gamble on someone with little experience is proving costly.
Sorry, Pete. She was qualified for the presidency in 2008 only by comparison to Barack Obama. Let’s take foreign affairs first, since she’s now our top diplomat. Remember the reset button? How about her repeated betrayals of Britain over the Falkland Islands? How about one fatuous statement after another in pursuit of utterly impotent sanctions against the religious fascists in Tehran? The values we share with Venezuela? Or needlessly and arrogantly insulting Canada?
Hillary was the one who coined the term “smart power;” how’s that looking now, Pete? Still think she’s qualified?
In domestic affairs, Pete engages in some wishful thinking:
Finally, Washington’s deadly left-liberal policies that have propelled the American economy in a very bad direction can be turned around. If Mrs. Clinton made the case that America must get rid of the huge debt the current administration has created, must create much better economic growth with lower tax rates, and must strongly assist employer job creation, she would appeal to a broad voter coalition.
Are we talking about the same Hillary? The Hillary Clinton of 1993′s “HillaryCare” debacle? The Hillary whose 2008 health care proposal was little different from then-Senator Obama’s? The same woman who advocated a windfall profits tax on oil companies? The progressive-statist of It Takes a Village and about whom Jonah Goldberg wrote a whole chapter in his brilliant Liberal Fascism? She’s going to lead the way back to business-friendly, low-tax, free-market policies?
Don’t get me wrong, I generally like Pete DuPont and he has a lot of good ideas, but he’s way off-base here. Hillary Clinton is no centrist or classical liberal. She’s a dyed-in-the-wool progressive statist and, if in practice she wouldn’t go as far as Obama, it’s only because she bears the scars of prior battles. Her instincts are still those of the Left.
So, yes, she’ll run again, and the Democrats may well throw Obama under his own bus and turn to her out of buyer’s remorse and desperation, but let’s not pretend she’s qualified in either philosophy, experience, or character.
PS: I want to thank our hostess for her warm welcome and the honor she did me by asking me to become her co-blogger, and thanks to those who welcomed me in the comments; I hope you’ll enjoy what you read. Not everything I post at Public Secrets will be crossposted here, so feel free to come over for a visit. (We have cookies.) And yes, ST, I know we said I’d start Monday, but, like Hillary running for president, I just couldn’t resist.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)