As the presidential election of 2016 approaches (it’s almost a year and a half away, but in the world of politics, that’s considered looming), more and more people are starting to express doubt that Hillary Clinton will run for president.
One pattern I’ve noticed, however, is that it seems mostly to be liberals who express such doubts, not conservatives. One obvious reason for this is that they are trying to deflect criticism of Clinton’s horrible job as President Obama’s secretary of state. They figure that if they can get Republicans to believe Clinton is not running, then they will stop scrutinizing her job in the Obama administration, thus giving her some breathing room before she formally announces that she is running.
Still, Tom Bevan, co-founder and executive editor of RealClearPolitics.com, gives some compelling arguments why he believes Clinton will not run.
First, Clinton is “just not that good at campaigning,” he says. “People still seem to believe that the Clinton name is synonymous with political skill, but that assumption is only half-true: If Hillary possessed even half of Bill’s political talent and acumen, she wouldn’t have lost to Barack Obama in 2008.” I think Bevan is wrong here. Even if Bill Clinton ran for president in 2008 (let’s say for the sake of argument that that would have been legal), Obama still would have won. He was young, hip, liberal, and, most important above all else, black. Jesus Christ Himself would have lost the election to Obama.
Second, Bevan believes Clinton doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” anymore. Does she even want to spend 16 hours a day campaigning instead of making $200,000 a year giving speeches? Bevan says no; I say yes. The Clintons live for power. Plus, having a new grandchild to parade around on the campaign trail, like Sarah Palin did in 2008, will be a great PR prop.
Third, Bevan says that the media will be too tough for Clinton’s liking, asking her questions about Benghazi and the other scandals in the Obama administration that she would rather not associate with. But Clinton will rest knowing that whatever scrutiny she receives from the media will pale in comparison to how the Republican nominees will be treated.
The fourth and fifth reasons that Bevan says Clinton will not run are his most persuasive arguments: “Obama is leaving a mess” and “The country wants real change.”
“President Obama’s second term,” writes Bevan, “is complicating matters significantly for Hillary. His foreign policy, which Clinton helped direct for four years–is adrift. The situation has unraveled dangerously in Syria and now Iraq….Hillary will not want to be seen as running for Obama’s third term, yet she won’t be able to distance herself too far from his record.”
“Eight years later [six, actually], Obama has failed to deliver much of what he promised on uniting the country and changing business as usual in Washington. As a result an even stronger populist, anti-establishment, anti-incumbent fervor is coursing through the electorate. That does not bode well for Hillary Clinton, who embodies the elite establishment–and the past.”
Another good point.
But it’s hard to tell if Bevan is a conservative who is just engaging in the the typical Mark Levin- and Sean Hannity-style naïveté that conservatives so often exhibit to convince themselves that things are going to go well for them in 2016 (which would require Clinton not to run); if Bevan is a liberal trying to get conservatives to ease off of Clinton by convincing them she’s not running; or if Bevan really believes she’s not running.
So what do you think? Will she run?