December 11th, 2012

Please, convince me I’m wrong here

Okay, I’ll get this Hillary Clinton thing over with.

I don’t usually go out on a limb with predictions this way, but I believe she will run in 2016, and that she has an excellent chance of winning. Here’s why (skip the rest if you don’t want to get depressed).

If you think Hillary is tired, think again. The prospect of becoming the first woman president will infuse her with energy like nothing else has before. Sixty-nine (in 2016) is not all that old for a woman in terms of life expectancy, and her parents lived to be 82 (father) and 92 (mother), a pretty good run for members of their generation.

She looks too old and worn out, you say? Ah, but she’s beyond fashion and into gravitas. She’s going for the dignified elder stateswoman look, and she’s nailed it (think Golda Meir, think Indira Gandhi). What’s more, she’s not trying to appeal to men to be elected. Her coalition will be the exact same one Obama assembled: the black vote in the 90-something percent range (which recent Democratic nominees have all received), the lion’s share of Hispanics, and women.

Ah, women. It’s women in particular who will vote for Hillary in even greater numbers than they did for Obama, and that’s saying a lot. To liberal and moderate women she is a role model, a hero(ine), an intrepid trailblazer (somewhat ironic, since her path to political prominence came through the traditional female route of linkage to a powerful male), and highly-respected star. Men would have to vote against her in a phalanx to overcome that advantage—and they won’t.

It was puzzling when Hillary agreed to become Obama’s Secretary of State after all the seeming bad blood between them back in 2008. But perhaps the explanation is that there was a “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” agreement between them. Hillary would get to burnish her resume with one thing it seemed to lack, significant foreign policy experience (Secretary of State isn’t usually an entry-level job for that, but so be it). Now that it’s been sufficiently polished—and she has carefully stayed away from getting too caught up in the Benghazi fracas, leaving Susan Rice in the position of being the administration’s Benghazi shill rather than the more obviously responsible Hillary—she’s ready. After obediently doing his bidding as Secretary of State, as well as husband Bill going on the stump and lending his formidable campaign skills to help re-elect Obama, the bargain is that in 2016 Obama will return the favor by anointing her his successor and campaigning for her.

Obviously I don’t have any inside info; that’s all speculation on my part. But it’s the one thing that makes sense to me in terms of why Hillary agreed to be Secretary of State, and Obama’s lackey, in the first place. If so, it was a canny move.

Of course, even if that was the deal between them, there was never any guarantee that Obama wouldn’t renege on it. But why would he, and what else has he got to do? Being the elder (although younger-than-Hillary) statesman helping to elect the next Democratic president to carry on his legacy and glorify his reputation could be appealing to him at that point, and although there are those who think Michelle Obama might want the job of president instead of Hillary, he is probably too realistic to believe that a complete political neophyte who has never held any elective office could win, even if she is his wife.

As for Hillary’s other potential rivals on the Democratic side, is there anyone on the horizon with anything near her combination of White House experience, Senate experience, and foreign policy experience? Forget the question of what she’s actually accomplished during all those years. As we’ve learned from Obama’s election, first term, and re-election, a record of positive accomplishments is no longer necessary for the job.

Republicans could try to play the identity politics game in return. You bid one female? We’ll raise you a female and Hispanic–which would be Susana Martinez, Republican governor of New Mexico, up for re-election in 2014. Or of course we have Marco Rubio, a Hispanic but a male. There’s also Condi Rice, who would present the interesting prospect of a double-female-former-Sceretary-of-State contest, although it’s highly doubtful Rice would choose to run. Nikki Haley has a chance, too, but although she’s a woman, the idea of electing the first Sikh president is probably only slightly more compelling than the idea of the first Mormon president was in 2012. Same for Bobby Jindal (not a woman), who is also of Indian extraction but is a Christian convert.

The American electorate appears to be highly motivated to elect “firsts” these days. It’s very likely that the prospect of electing the first black president was responsible for at least some of Obama’s initial attraction, and that same “first” impulse would be operating strongly for Hillary in 2016. And speaking of firsts, she would also be the first former First Lady elected. What’s more, Bill is very popular right now, and I bet he would love being the first First Man, not to mention the first former president to hold the position.

Remember, though, that GOP women (or GOP Hispanics or blacks) aren’t real women (or real Hispanics or real blacks).

43 Responses to “Please, convince me I’m wrong here”

  1. holmes Says:

    Probably right. Keep winning state governments over and worry about the local elections. More right-to-work laws, limiting public sector unions, and defunding the not-for-profit-Democratic-Union industrial complex.

  2. Ann Says:

    I had thought that Hillary wouldn’t be up for another run because the last one had at lest partially demoralized her, but, dang, you make a very good case that “the prospect of becoming the first woman president will infuse her with energy like nothing else before.”

    And, of course, everything else you say is spot on.

    Major bummer.

  3. George Pal Says:

    “Republicans could try to play the identity politics game in return.”

    That is, sadly, likely. George Bush may be the last white man to ever hold office. I suspect if I’m cursed to live long enough I will be witness to the first illegal Columbian immigrant, paraplegic, lesbian, Hispanicana, to be President. The victim trump cards probably number more than 52.

  4. Ann Says:

    Oops — make that “at least”.

  5. Ann Says:

    And just to make absolutely sure that she wins the presidency in 2016, Hillary will pick Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio who gave the keynote speech at this year’s Democratic convention, for her running mate.

  6. Lizzy Says:

    Just can’t think about Hillary, but wanted to pass this along:Christmas-themed jello!

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann: sorry!

    A couple of days after Obama’s election, the ideas in this post struck me. They were pretty much fully formed and came all at once while I was out taking my exercise walk. I keep trying to find a chink in them, but so far I can’t.

  8. M J R Says:

    I can easily — very easily — see the Democrat Party all agreeing within themselves to ^not^ “primary” Hillary, so she will not have to waste precious resources during the primary season.

    (Of course, the “R” Party will once again eat itself alive.) Therefore (ta-daa) we get at least an additional eight years of politically correct socialism to which we can all eagerly look forward.

    By then, Michelle Antoinette will be ready — a twofer!! The USA will be a one-party nation, at least at the national level.

    On the other hand, a month can be an eternity in politics, and the stoopidest thing anyone could do in that arena is predict many years in advance — so kindly ignore my preceding three paragraphs.

  9. Teri Pittman Says:

    Why does anyone think the Democratic party would back her? They basically stabbed her in the back the last time she ran. I’m not convinced they will back her this time. The Clinton side of the party seems weak.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    To liberal and moderate women she is a role model, a hero(ine), an intrepid trailblazer (somewhat ironic, since her path to political prominence came through the traditional female route of linkage to a powerful male)

    Hell, let’s go for the whole burrito, a 19th Amendment exacta: Hillary/Monica vs. Paula Jones/Juanita Broaddrick.

    Bring on the asteroid. The sooner the better.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Teri Pittman: I couldn’t disagree more.

    First of all (and second of all and third of all), Democrats want to WIN and keep winning.

    And the “Clinton wing” of the party (the Clintons themselves, that is) has either moved to the left, or has finally shown its true leftist colors and stopped pretending to be moderate. It is very strong, IMHO, as shown by the fact that Bill Clinton’s campaigning for Obama is widely credited both within the party and the MSM (sort of the same thing?) for helping haul Obama over the victory line.

  12. Sam Random Says:

    So, here’s my two cents on the subject:

    Although it’s another four years till the next election, I’d say it seems likely that the next time around Americans will want a return to normalcy kind of President, which is to say, a white Protestant male who’s popular with business elites. Jon Huntsman comes to mind.

    I really like Hilary, and I supported her over Obama in 2008- and having watched that play out, I get the feeling that by 2016 the Democratic party is likely to have their own crisis.

  13. Mac Says:

    Maybe I’m getting too detached from the actual real-world effects of these unpleasant elections, but one of the first things I thought of on reading this was “The liberals will be even more insufferable if they get to crow about another ‘first’ (as described in the next-to-last paragraph of the post).”

  14. Baltimoron Says:

    I’d agree that Hillary will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee in 2016. There just isn’t anyone else to compete with her.

    But her path from nomination to president isn’t that clear. Her biggest problem is that progressives just don’t like the Clintons. If they did, she’d be president already.

    Hillary won’t have the kind of energy behind her campaign that Obama did. Worse, she’ll certainly have to face a Howard Dean type in the primary (maybe more than one).

    Her second problem is that the Obama coalition is likely to crack up now that they no longer have to reelect Obama (similar to the way the Republican coalition cracked up in 2005-2006).

    Her third is the general fatigue Americans feel whenever one party has been in charge too long.

    She’ll probably have more, buts thats enough to start.

  15. vanderleun Says:

    Now that Demi’s done with them maybe Hillary will just pick up on Vito Schnabel or Ashton Kutcher and get a life.

    Odds that Bill will depart this mortal coil before 2016 are high.

  16. mizpants Says:

    Vanderleun — I was just thinking the same thing about Bill. He doesn’t look long for this world to me either. In death he would become, instantly, a full-blown member of the Democratic pantheon, no smaller in their imaginations than Martin Luther King Jr. or FDR. As his widow, Hillary would take on an Olympian dimension, and be all the more powerful.

  17. Paul in Boston Says:

    George Pal, “I will be witness to the first illegal Columbian immigrant, paraplegic, lesbian, Hispanicana, to be President”. When I first read that I thought you’d written Harmonica, which would be infintely preferable to what we’re going to get.

  18. Mr. Frank Says:

    Remind me again what Hillary has accomplished. Anne Althouse has asked the same question.

  19. Bob from Virginia Says:

    At least she will be better than Obama. Of course the same statement could be made about that monkey in a coat running through that IKEA store.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank: well, she stood by her man.

  21. Mr. Frank Says:

    It seems like this identity politics thing is erasing the need for an actual record of accomplishment in politics. I guess that is the heart of affirmative action. In areas of performance that people really care about like professional sports or business, carefully measured performance and results are required. If you don’t do that, games or money are lost.

    Many years ago I figured out that there was no push for affirmative action among commercial pilots. Could it be because politicians fly all the time?

  22. davisbr Says:

    neo-neocon: Actually, not only do I agree with most of your analysis, I think it’s worse than you describe. For the GOP.

    If Hillary would have been the Democrat nominee in ’08, and McCain had NOT chosen Sarah Palin, I would have unhesitatingly voted for her.


    I disliked McCain Just That Much.

    And I didn’t dislike Hil’ “just that much”. (And I made that point, often, in 2008 discussions …pre- the Palin announcement.)

    I in no-way believe she would have been near the disaster that Obama has been.

    I don’t believe her policies in general would have paralleled the cultural and ideological political revanchism of Obama …and I actually think she would have made – and would make – an adequate CIC …probably better than her husband lol …because I think she has the big brass ones in that duo.

    She’s not Obama, regardless of her SecState tenure.

    Mulling it over, I think she “gets it” actually.

    So IF a Hillary Clinton run in 2016 against a typical GOP RINO nominee is forced down my throat …the “no place else to go” argument is weak sauce, and is not going to make me automatically pull the GOP lever.

    Screw ’em.

    She’s not a demon. She’s not an unknown quantity. I think I understand the Clinton’s at this point. I ain’t got a problem with her.

    I know a bunch of people won’t agree with me on the subject.

    Regardless, if my preferential analysis is even close to being of predictive-value, it is indicative of a HUGE problem for the GOP …if they trot out another only-nominally-conservative candidate.

    Fair warning. That dog don’t hunt.

    …I think my conservative bona-fides are pretty well established here; at the least, I’m hardly a liberal sleeper.

    And if she can reach out and touch me, she doesn’t have that high a hurdle to jump to reach the Oval Office.

  23. davisbr Says:

    LOL. I just read through the other comments, and I see that my position puts me to the LEFT of Sam Random (not a dig, SR).

    …see, Sam: conservatives really are a fractious bunch. 😉

  24. Jim Nicholas Says:

    You ask “what else has he got to do?” after his presidency? He may well be interested in the Supreme Court.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Jim Nicholas: I will go out on a limb again and say absolutely not.

    First of all, Obama is not particularly interested in the law. He barely practiced law. Also, as a law prof (or lecturer, whichever term you prefer) he specialized in the area of racial constitutional law, a narrow subspecialty. He never did any legal writing past law school (I assume he did the minimum amount to graduate there, but did none while on the Law Review, and none while teaching law, a previously-unheard-of lack). SCOTUS appointments require a level of scholarship and interest in law that he completely lacks, and the power is shared among nine (Obama doesn’t share power). Plus, it is for life. Obama is much too bored with one thing to have a lifetime appointment, especially that one.

    No, he will have made his mark by appointing very liberal (and no doubt young, and almost certainly minority) justices during his second term as president. That will affect the Supreme Court more than his actual tenure there could ever do.

  26. davisbr Says:

    Uh. Can retired presidents even be considered for the Court? Jeezus. I would have thought the Framer’s would have caught that …sorry, on a tablet, so too hard to Google it.

  27. Cleaver Says:

    As for Hillary’s other potential rivals on the Democratic side, is there anyone on the horizon with anything near her combination of White House experience, Senate experience, and foreign policy experience?

    No. There wasn’t in 2008, either. And yet who got the nomination?

    Hillary’s campaign was flawed, but she still overpowered Obama in most states that held actual primary elections (rather than rigged caucuses rife with cheating). And Obama’s lead in pledged delegates (including “superdelegates”) was so slim and tenuous that the Obama forces had to strong-arm Hilllary’s delegates into backing Obama at the convention, and Hillary herself had to be denied the right to have her name placed in nomination, so fearful was Obama of the floor fight that would have ensued if Clinton had been nominated — as even Ted Kennedy had been after challenging a sitting president in 1980.

    I agree with Teri Pittman and Baltimoron.

    Whatever there is to be said about the Democratic Party that nominated Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and even John Kerry, it’s something else in Barack Obama’s hands (or in the hands of those who are pulling his strings). I don’t see the Obama faction fading away quietly or allowing Hillary Clinton to claim the nomination in 2016, no matter how qualified she is or how well she does in the primaries.

    Past is prologue.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Cleaver: but what if Obama endorses her, as I suggested might happen?

  29. parker Says:

    Interesting speculations in neo’s post and the comments above. The Clintons may have made a deal with Obama for his support in 2016, but why would a man with no sense of honor honor the deal? He’s untouchable both within the party and the MSM. The Clintons’ influence within the party is fading away. The messiah will remain the messiah at the end of term 2. He will anoint someone he has a degree of influence over.

  30. Otiose Says:

    A lot of gloomy thinking dominating here.

    Obama and his minion, Bernanke, are holding a very hot potato. Bernanke in order to finance the run away government spending on the entitlement programs Obama is refusing to reform is buying the long dated bonds – monetizing it’s called. The longer this goes on the deeper trapped the Fed (& Obama) become in continuing the practice and the more likely (and sooner) it will end badly with the Fed losing the current illusion of control over interest rates they like to project.

    If we weren’t monetizing we would probably end up following the pathway Japan has been on for the last 20 years – ever increasing debt financing crony Keynesian stimulus spending.

    However, we’re skipping thru the interim steps much more quickly – straight to monetizing – and that means probably before the end of Obama’s term that the Fed will lose control of interest rates.

    There are of course a wide and varied menu of choices and outcomes, but two stand out. If the Fed and Obama/politicians (Dems) refuse to stop the monetizing we’ll get a true hyperinflation and collapse – something we don’t have personal experience with in this country. If the Fed and Obama stop the monetizing then interest rates will go up.

    Either way the adjustment process will be painful.

    When Reagan was president he took a lot of flack until things righted themselves and then he took a lot of credit. To a large extent Reagan understood the process and also initiated / allowed other healing steps to occur – something I doubt Obama and the leftist academics he surrounds himself with are likely to do.

    I doubt that history will repeat in the sense that Obama will get credit for leading the nation thru the very painful economic adjustments that will soon be forced upon us (and much of the rest of the world).

    Obama, Hillary, and the Democrats could end up politically radioactive by 2016. If Hillary does step out of the spotlight for the next few years that would probably be the best thing for her prospects.

    One thing I’m sure of is that the political calculations that seem obvious today will be forgotten by the time 2016 rolls around.

  31. parker Says:


    I agree with your comments about monetizing the ever increasing debt. This can not end well. However, I think it is possible to continue the can kicking for a few more years. And given how clueless most people are about this issue and all things financial in general I doubt the democrats will become radioactive anytime soon. We can only hope enough voters will one day connect the dots.

  32. davisbr Says:

    Q – Can retired presidents even be considered for the Court?

    A – Yes. And one actually was: Taft. And the Chief Justice, at that.

    …I think we need a new constitutional amendment.

  33. Cleaver Says:

    Neo, if Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton — a big IF, as can be confirmed by even a brief look at how he habitually treats his patrons and enablers (Jeremiah Wright, Caroline Kennedy, Oprah, Tony Rezko, Nancy Pelosi, black Americans, the JOOZ, and even Hillary herself, as when Obama hypocritically approached her as an acolyte and prospective mentee upon entering the US Senate) — by 2016 his endorsement might well be political poison.

  34. Otiose Says:


    Not anytime soon- not tomorrow or next week, but sometime. And whoever is holding the hot potato when the monetizing finally breaks thru to causing rising interest rates is very likely to get burned.

    So far the Great Recession has stretched things without really breaking anything. Once a serious inflation gets started and people on fixed income from pensions for the government are left with nothing, and after people have seen their savings / investments zeroed out, then the voters will look for someone to blame.

    There are enough blogs, newspapers, news shows etc that will point the finger towards the guilty parties that (I hope) they cannot escape.

  35. Oldflyer Says:

    I have a tummy ache.

    We have four years. (When you are 77, is that an optimistic or pessimistic statement?)

    Maybe something good will happen.

    Maybe the country will come to its senses.

    Nah! Maybe something else.

  36. parker Says:


    Here is what I think is an astute, although simplistic, take on what awaits us:

    Things can stumble along for months, years, and even decades until a crack too big to patch occurs. Confidence in currencies, equities, bonds, banks, and governments is seldom based on ‘the numbers’, on the fundamentals. Confidence is largely based upon manufactured PR psychology. Obviously, this also applies to elections.

  37. Occam's Beard Says:

    is there anyone on the horizon with anything near her combination of White House experience, Senate experience, and foreign policy experience?

    Sure – Jamie Gorelick. She too has effed up everything she’s touched.

    Time in office is irrelevant. Hillary has failed to accomplish anything positive in anything she’s done, pretty much in life, as far as I can tell.

  38. Jack Says:

    Michelle Obama will be elected president in 2016.

    Unless the Clintons cut a deal with Barack to keep a lid on the dirt they have on him in exchange for allowing Hillary to run unopposed, there’s no way Michelle loses to Hillary in a primary.

  39. RobP Says:

    Hillary will be the nominee, just like McCain was the nominee after Bush. The Media loves her, and it will harken back to a golden age. I’m not sure she will get the minority support that the President has gotten, since white women are not a minority.

    Please, do not forget that Obama held off a lot of the negative consequences of economic policies. He did cut taxes, extend tax cuts, provide health benefits without cost, end the wars, etc. Even his energy policy did not slow down energy production. Dodd-Frank is not fully implemented and there isn’t a down turn to feel the effects. Remember, George Bush never vetoed anything and printed money so that he had a growing economy going into his second election. The president decided pretty early that he was going to run a 2004 campaign.

    The housing prices have increased because of the Fed printing money and pressure on the banks not to forclose on the mortgages. ACA is now going to be implemented. Dodd-Frank will be implemented. Taxes are going to go up. There will be another recession since no-one has figured out how to change the business cycle. The fiscal stimulous is going to decrease since the Democrats are not going to negotiate so the Republicans are not going to negotiate. The country voted for gridlock since they do not want their politicians to do anything. I remember during 2008 where everybody thought that the housing prices would just remain flat. I just don’t see how Americans are going to be able make a lot more money to pay for all the government spending. I do not know about inflation because the Fed is printing money, but the banking regulation, i.e. capital requirements, is slowing down the velocity of money.

    As far as the Republicans, they need to find someone who can carry his home state. There is a lot of regionalism in politics, and the reason the primary went so long is that Republicans did not want to vote for New England Liberal. Seriously, they always lose. I thought he was qualified, but I think a lot of people thought that gridlock partisanship is better.

    Hillary has a chance because the 6pm news shows will love her, but the comics will be able to make fun of her, while they can’t make fun of the president.

  40. Rich Says:

    In general, you make a good case. However, there is a faction in the Democratic party which reflexively votes against “the Establishment”. To this group, much of Obama’s appeal was precisely the fact that they didn’t know anything about him – “he’s new, so he must be cool”. Hillary, on the other hand, is very much an insider; her experience could actually be a drawback to some voters.

  41. McHenry Bob Says:

    Doesn’t anyone remember the 90’s? Who was the amoral narcissist who didn’t quite get it who wrote Vince Foster’s suicide note? Was (is) it an open secret in D.C. that the Clintons murdered people? You’re a clinical psychologist, What would you say to a patient who said her problems were caused by a vast right wing conspiracy or a f****** jew bastard?

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    McHenry Bob: I’m not a clinical psychiatrist.

    And no one murdered Vince Foster.

  43. parker Says:

    I agree Vince Foster committed suicide. The untold mystery is why.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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