Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why it will never be Hillary

If you've been paying attention to national politics for longer than two minutes, you know of the Clinton Legacy. No, not Bill. Hillary Clinton has become a prominent figure in national politics for years. From Presidential Primaries to Secretary of State, Hillary has been putting her name out there, and spinning the Clinton brand, for two decades.

There has been plenty of speculation regarding Hillary's future in the spotlight of national politics, with the biggest rumor being that she is planning to run for President in 2016. This rumor is talked about with a mix of interest and trepidation by the Democrats, and with scorn by the Republicans.

While I think that a female president would be great for our country, I don't think it will ever by Hillary.

First of all, I don't believe that Hillary is right for the Democratic Party. She's certainly an inspirational figure against the backdrop of history. She's probably the closest any woman has come to the most powerful job in the world. But she presents little that is innovative or inspiring, and doesn't seem to have much to offer a 21st century Democratic party. She has energy and passion for her ideas, but I don't recall her ever presenting an innovative or original plan that would solve any of our problems. In some ways, she's the Ron Paul of the Democrats: a perpetual candidate, with a die-hard base, but a message and plan that doesn't translate well to the broader public.

Hillary does have a key strength in her husband, however. Bill Clinton still commands a great deal of respect and loyalty in the Democratic camp, as well as among independents. Unfortunately, Presidents are not elected because of their spouses, no matter how good their spouse is at giving speeches.

Secondly, Hillary is already the primary target for the GOP. She has been a leading figure of Democratic Party politics for years. This has given the GOP ample time to evaluate Hillary as a candidate, learn where her weaknesses are, and develop a strategy to defeat her. The more likely it appears that Hillary will run, the more the Republicans are going to dust off their anti-Hillary strategies and go to town.

One of the reasons I believe Obama was so successful in the 2008 election was because he was an enigma to the Republicans. They had focused their attention on the big name in the race, Hillary Clinton. When Obama started pulling ahead, and then won the primary, the RNC had to scramble to get a handle on Obama. But the GOP has been ready for a Hillary Clinton candidacy for years. Ever since her husband's presidency and Hillary's subsequent popularity in presidential races, the RNC has been planning how they would defeat her. If Hillary were able to secure the primary, the Republicans would be more than ready.

If the Democrats are serious about keeping the White House through the next campaign cycle, they should be wary of getting too comfortable with Hillary. While she does have some great strengths as a candidate - experience, public recognition, and a strong support base among women and many Dems - I would be concerned about the apparent confidence the Republicans have regarding a general election battle with Mrs. Clinton.

That's not to say that I would disavow Hillary as a politician. In fact, I think Hillary could be a great asset to a Democratic Presidential candidate. Whether she's on the ticket as VP nominee, or is slated for a top position in the administration, utilizing Hillary in a supporting capacity could be the winning scenario. It brings her expertise and strengths to the platform, but limits her exposure to direct Republican attacks.

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