Why it has to be Hillary (but it shouldn’t be)

Hilary Clinton

No more than a fortnight since Barack Obama was re-elected, another two months until his second inauguration, and then four years during which the world will change immeasurably — and so the talk in America turns inevitably to one thing: who will be in the running for party nominations in 2016?

Yes, believe it or not, discussion has already begun as to the next presidential campaign. Shortlists are being compiled, and the long-suffering burghers and yeofolk of Iowa are already being polled on their preferences. Part of this is pure ritual of course, and a degree of mania. The campaign is so utterly consuming for so many months that even when it’s over, people simply can’t stop. The winners know they will have to turn to the business of government eventually, and the losers have, well, nothing to do — the campaigns dissolve and there is no official opposition at the presidential level. And Republicans simply went nuts, the loss prompting them to a new “find a Hispanic” strategy — Marco Rubio! Ted Cruz! Chico Marx! — like a cleaned-out gambler planning a new strategy for when he gets his pants back. Imagine if a brown guy was selling a policy that treated brown guys as little more than criminals! That’ll fix it!

That’s par for the course for the losers. It’s the mania that forestalls an advancing depression. But this year the Democrats are engaging in it too, out of sheer triumph. Barring a real disaster in the next four years, the Democrats have a far greater chance of retaining power than the GOP have of taking it. Though many of the state margins were narrow, to lock the Right out of all but a couple of swing states is a huge psychological edge. With continued demographic changes in the south and west, swing states can be made safe Democratic holds and other states — Arizona, Georgia and ultimately Texas — can be brought into play. The Democrats dream of another assured eight years from ‘16 onwards, and there’s no reason they couldn’t get it.

In that respect one candidacy becomes overwhelming — Hillary.

The prospect of a second-coming of the Clinton family, ushered in by the first woman president, has many Democrats salivating in the aisles. Hillary — the first-name designation has gone from being a clarifying necessity to that denoting legend — would sweep away many of the problems associated with a term-limited president, whose veep will be a little old to be the candidate presumptive. Hillary would bring an immediate authority and claim to the nomination: she banks the expertise of her secretary of state tenure, she would obviously nail the female vote, make inroads in the south and get some of the “good[sic] ol boys” back, those who wouldn’t vote for a Kenyan. She’d have Bill campaigning for her, acting as a force multiplier, and Barack and Michelle rounding up the black vote, to prevent any fall away from its current levels — 96% of 12% of the population — to backstop it.

Though she would not lack for challengers, the Democrat process would hold it within rationale limits. The GOP version will once again be a circus entirely populated by clowns and knife-throwers.

Moreover, if they did select a Hispanic candidate — still a long shot — any gains would be small, since their policies would remain resolutely anti-poor. And whatever gain they made via identity politics would be offset, were Hillary running, by a white flight to the Democrats. Nasty way to gain a vote, but nothing otiose would need to be done to gain it. Simply by being white in such circumstances, a Democrat candidate could be competitive in West Virginia, Georgia and other places that were once Democratic strongholds.

There is something dispiriting about the idea that the first woman president would be part of a holy family; that marriage, the traditional institution par excellence, would be the means by which such change was achieved.”

There is also a sense that Hillary deserves it. Had Obama stayed a senator (“turns out being Barack Obama is a pretty good gig” he said after gaining that office, with the big house, the best-selling book, the professorship, Michelle, daughters, etc) she would have been selected by acclaim, won easily, and been a more skilled, if less adventurous, progressive president. That people, above and beyond making a selection on policy, had to make a choice between the first woman president and the first black president was heartbreaking to many. Some feel, not unreasonably, that patriarchy proved to be a more deep-seated attitude than racism — by such logic “of course” a black man should be selected over a woman, in terms of elevating the more oppressed group.

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Categories: United States

48 Responses

Comments page: 1 |
  1. rationale limits”? Did you mean rational?

    by Daniel Young on Nov 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

  2. Um…Jennifer Granholm was born Canadian (Vancouver)…I think that rules her out.

    by Diana Simmonds on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm

  3. I still think it would be profligate for the Democrats to overlook such a well recognised talent as Hilary.

    by Gavin Moodie on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

  4. Warren/Colbert 2016

    by Cyndi on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

  5. dang ok, scratch granholm. pity, there’s also this, from a brief time when she was a struggling actress in LA

    by Guy Rundle on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

  6. On the Republican side Jeb Bush must be one of the front runners. It seems the names Bush and Clinton may have a stranglehold on US politics for some years to come.

    by David R on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm

  7. Clinton Family Inc, Bush and Sons Mutual, the list - if I could be bothered to scratch the surface - would go on and on.

    It’s the family business, like Steptoe and Son.

    by TheFamousEccles on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  8. @ David R

    I agree on Jeb Bush, who as Governor of Texas had a reasonable position on relations with Mexico, and therefore I presume on undocumented residents.

    by Gavin Moodie on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

  9. America loves royalty and are always on the lookout for a new Camelot, so, obviously:

    Chelsea ‘24

    First gen Y prez (44y)?

    by michael r james on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm

  10. @Gavin M.

    Jeb was gov of Florida and the relevant Hispanics/Latinos are Cuban and Puerto Rican (versus Mexican and Central American in Texas, Arizona, NM, Nevada etc). But his wife is one of them, he is a fluent Spanish speaker and he (and Rubio) has already pronounced Mitt Romney’s and the GOP’s policy on minorities as braindead. Since, as Guy says, the GOP is unlikely to reform itself fundamentally on this question, it is likely to remain wary of going all the way to Marco Rubio (other than the sop of Veep) so, yes, Jeb is a distinct possibility. By then the taint of his surname will have receded.

    by michael r james on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  11. A comment from a US list I’m on - “The last thing that I want to see as Prez Hillary boards Marine 1 and
    salutes is her arm wattle flapping in the breeze. Ew.”

    by Mike Smith on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

  12. Mike Smith has instantly lowered the tone of this conversation lower than his dangly old balls.

    by Diana Simmonds on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

  13. Don’t they have to drop before they can dangle?

    by floorer on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm

  14. @ michael r james

    Thanx; I mixed up my Bush governors.

    by Gavin Moodie on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

  15. It’s what the US think, Di, and you’re contributing in no small way to the tone yourself…

    by Mike Smith on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

  16. Pot calling the kettle something or other Mike. And you’re wrong - check out the polls and figures on Hillary and these days they don’t give a damn about her arms.

    by Diana Simmonds on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm

  17. Make it Elizabeth Warren, I say.

    by Down and Out of Sài Gòn on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

  18. My bet is that Bill will be dead by 2016 …

    by Diana Simmonds on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

  19. Unless sense prevails I suspect the GOP will have Paul Ryan at the head of their ticket, he of the unmoving hair and dead eyes. My guess then is Susanna Martinez as VP (Gov, New Mex) although her resume suggests she should maybe be on top.

    I still think Hillary letting her hair down was the big tell that she won’t run again and any talk only feeds the Clintons bank account with speaking appearances and book sales.

    Gillibrand sure, but what would that do to Cuomo’s ambitions? Similar potential conflicts between the Senators Warner and Kaine in Virginia.

    I wouldn’t discount Janet Napolitano , a single woman who was elected Attorney General and then twice as Governor in red Arizona and has been Homeland Security supremo. Apparently her face is in every WalMart!

    Now back to 2012…

    by Western Red on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

  20. ”..It seems the names Bush and Clinton may have a stranglehold on US politics for some years to come…”

    That’s because they are all related and belong to the same Club of descendants.

    by Black Spot on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

  21. Paul Ryan is a weird little man who’s going to disappear, Elizabeth Warren impressive but surely too close to what the Americans call left. Agree with Western Red about Clinton letting her hair down or grow out, thought the same thing. I’m open to being corrected about the Clinton theory by any women ( I hope I’ve phrased that correctly). A long bow I know but check photos of LBJ after he retired.

    by floorer on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  22. Why not Michelle?
    The kids will be be enough, the world will be ready.

    by arnold ziffel on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  23. I meant ‘big enough’

    by arnold ziffel on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  24. ya gotta love the way in the 21st century a article on the possibility of the USA’s first female president is discounted because of whom she married.

    by SBH on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm

  25. Oh, come on, guys — it’s quite possible that both presidential candidates in 2016 will be people that most commenters here have never even heard of. A lot can happen in four years.

    by on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm

  26. an article

    by SBH on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm

  27. Of course for those who can’t tell the difference between other presidential wives and Hills, well maybe you weren’t watching.

    by SBH on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm

  28. At the risk of being offensive to wives everywhere. I must ask every time I see Hillary being promoted in MSM I think what was Monica giving that Hillary was not ? Edward James

    by Edward James on Nov 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

  29. Ah EJ, Hillary was giving lip service while Monica wasn’t.

    by floorer on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm

  30. Love that observation floorer. Edward James

    by Edward James on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  31. Mr James. There is a politically correct sniper behind every tree here on this discussion board. But my shoulders are broad and I will award you .5 for encouragement at your effort of humour, although it was bad…very bad!..extremely bad!

    by Black Spot on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  32. Why does Hillary have crows feet around her eyes? it’s a joke, come on, what’s the answer?

    by Black Spot on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

  33. I am aware and weary of those politicians and there supporters who populate the “grassy knoll” Edward James Yes sorry to the Kennedy family

    by Edward James on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm

  34. I checked out google and wasted my time. Just as it may be a waste of time for anyone wondering who will live to vie for president of the united states in two years time. Edward James

    by Edward James on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm

  35. phfffftt(((((….phfffuuurrr))))), ah, dat better mun.Listen up here Eddy my mun, you gotta chill out ordya gonna bust dat pooper dare. All da politicians are hidin on dat “grassy knoll ” and all dem should be a suckin on da weed infstead of f da white mun trash dey are a dishin up evry day and a masqeradin as decent folk.I gotta go ders a white girl waitin for me over on da beech haw haw haw and she a wanna da soosage a sunk. By mun.

    by Rasta Masta on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  36. EJ, floorer & BlackSpot and assorted Crikey reprobates.

    If you’re into salacious First Lady jokes I am old enough to remember this Nixon one — for which you need to know that his wife’s name was Patricia, and this was also the era when this famous movie mainstreamed p0rn.

    Richard Nixon had to watch Deep Throat three times before he got it down pat.”

    by michael r james on Nov 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

  37. hahaha..that’s good, very good!.. but wil someone please go to the fridge for me?

    by Black Spot on Nov 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

  38. Misogyny is very good. Thanks bro.

    by Brian English on Nov 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm

  39. What a log of baloney, Guy. Hilary would be great. A novice President takes the first term to understand the game. Hilary would be off to a gallop.

    by Salamander on Nov 21, 2012 at 11:27 pm

  40. Sorry, spelling - Hillary.

    by Salamander on Nov 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm

  41. If my math is right HC would be sworn in older than Reagan was.

    by owlcode on Nov 22, 2012 at 12:14 am

  42. I think Clinton would be about 2 years younger than Reagan for what it’s worth. In any case, why not break two records at once. Especially if you’re as smart as she is and showing no sign of brain fade (unlike Reagan).

    by Salamander on Nov 22, 2012 at 12:42 am

  43. i didnt say Hillary wouldnt be great, Salamander (?). In fact I said that if she had won in 08 against Obama, Hillary would have made a more succesful President if less adventurous. Do read the article before commenting.

    As regards ‘16, I said she would face some problematic attitudes towards ageing, one deep-seated, and one more recent.

    by Guy Rundle on Nov 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

  44. I take your point, but I agree with others who have pointed out that familial connections aren’t unprecedented in presidential (or congressional or state, etc.) politics in the US. There are surely other connections that are less obvious than shared names. So…if the option is to select someone competent and educated in her own right, who knows her way around US politics at all relevant levels (remembering Bill Clinton’s time as a governor), I’m not bothered by the fact she is married to a former president. In fact, it may give her unique qualifications for the position of president, as First Lady is surely as close to the role of president as is the Vice-President, who is officialy destined to be a replacement if necessary.

    by Laura on Nov 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

  45. As an aside, if you want to find people/persons more out there than the birther, Tea Party, Donald Trump, unskewedpolls people, have a look at the hillaryis44 site (use Google).

    by owlcode on Nov 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm

  46. So Guy you agree that Hillary would make a great President, and your headline that she shouldn’t be elected is just the Ed’s misreading of your article?

    by Salamander on Nov 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm

  47. So you think the Democrats should move to putting up ‘candidates by turn’, that has served the Republicans so well? She wasn’t good enough to beat Obama in the last run for Democrat preselection, give someone else a chance, rather than go for this pathetic calling in of favours. (dare I say it, someone less than retirement age)

    by Mike Smith on Nov 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

  48. Like it or not, the fund raising laws mean that whoever gets nominated will ahve to be either 1) very rich or 2)capale of raising lots of money from corporate interests. I’m wondering if someone like Michael Bloomberg may be attractive to either side (if they can convince him to join their side).

    by Chapman Bob on Nov 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

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