Why Hillary Should Run in 2016

It’s absolutely silly to start speculating about the 2016 Presidential elections.   Absolutely. Silly. But, that hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating and it won’t stop me.   Hillary Clinton has been rather coy about whether she’ll run and sometimes she has outright denied it, but let’s be honest here — she’s totally running. And she should run. Her party isn’t going to win with Martin O’Malley (who?) and certainly not with Andrew Cuomo (too New York, living in sin). I love Joe Biden, but I just don’t want him to be my president and I don’t think most of America does, either.   He’s too much of a loose cannon for the top spot, despite his depth of experience.

Image courtesy of Donkey Hotey

I‘m a relatively recent convert to Team Hillary, but my warming up to HRC is on track with a lot of Americans. Growing up in a Republican family in a conservative corner of Iowa I understand how polarizing a figure she was for such a very long time. For some people she always will be the feminazi who tried to turn us all into socialists, but those people aren’t going to vote for any Democrat. By the time HRC ran for the New York Senate seat (I was living in New York City at the time) my politics had evolved to the left, but I was still not a huge fan. New York Republicans nominated the callow Rick Lazio and, as much as I hate to admit this, I voted for Hillary because I rather relished the idea of Mrs. Clinton having a triumph on the heels of the Lewinsky scandal. I don't think I was the only New Yorker who felt that way.     Also, Lazio was a twerp and an important state like New York needed an important senator. She may have been a carpet bagger, but she did a workman-like job for the state. Eventually, she even broke in her suspiciously crisp Yankees cap.

Fast-forward to 2008 and HRC was locked in a tough primary battle with President Obama.   I totally hated her again.   Like, you know, she was being such a bitch to my boyfriend…gahhhh!   And yet, five years later she has won me over. In fact, polls show that her popularity is at an all time high. The most traveled Secretary of State in history earned her stripes.   Now, she has far more than her husband’s record to run on, though her time living in the White House would no doubt help her.

1995, Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy New Delhi

There are some downsides to Hillary being the nominee. Conservative strategist David Frum suggests that a Hillary candidacy would shut down fresh ideas and fresh talent in the Democratic Party.   There is also a concern that all the tired non-scandals from the Clinton years would resurface, but does anyone seriously care about Whitewater and Vince Foster anymore? It’s more likely that she could be hurt by Benghazi, but I’m not entirely sure that anyone will care about this in three years unless there really IS something scandalous that we don’t yet know.   I also have reservations about having two political dynasties in the White House over a relatively short period of time — “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton.” doesn’t exactly point to a meritocracy (if Jeb Bush runs it’s worse). Despite these potential hazards, I still think she’s the best possible candidate for the Democrats in 2016 and here’s why…

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy New Zealand

Experience: A common problem with modern presidents is that they have a steep learning curve. Of the last five presidents, only George H.W. Bush had the experience to hit the ground running.   The others had to learn on the job — and learn fast.   Governors might know how to be administrators, but aren’t necessarily skilled statesmen or familiar with legislators. A senator might be a great policy wonk, but inexperienced as an administrator. Hillary ran the State Department, has been meeting with heads of state and international figures since she was first lady and spent eight years debating and crafting legislation in the Senate. Her time as first lady means that she is already intimately familiar with the problems and pressures faced by the president. The only person in the field of Democratic Party prospects that could match HRC in experience is Joe Biden. While he technically has more years in public service, she has greater breadth of experience and more time in the private sector.

Star Power: In my mind there is nothing more symbolic of Hillary’s transition from lightning rod to pop culture icon than the viral Tumblr, Texts from Hillary.     It’s a long way from the Clinton White House years when Hillary was slapped with demeaning labels such as “bitch,” didn’t quite fit the mould of the traditional first lady and Americans didn’t seem ready for a “first partner.”   The situation wasn’t helped by her sometimes brittle public persona and the failure of her healthcare initiative, but as the Lewinsky scandal unfolded there was a softening of the public’s attitude towards her.   The 2008 Democratic primaries were bitter, but she was the first woman to win state primaries and the way she and President Obama buried the hatchet won over disaffected Obama supporters and vice versa. Since then she’s been lauded (by some) as an outstanding Secretary of State and become every bit the political rock star that her husband is.

Bill:   He’s always a double edged sword.   If Bill’s shenanigans re-emerge it could hurt Hillary, but one hopes he’s learned a few lessons since the ‘90s. Also, he’s one of the most popular politicians on the planet. Americans remember the Clinton years fondly. If the GOP nominates Jeb Bush all she has to do, as suggested by Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast, is ask, “Okay, America, would you rather extend either Bill Clinton’s presidency or George W. Bush’s?”

 

Photo courtesy of IowaPolitics.com

She’s a Mom: Margaret Thatcher famously said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” I say, if you want something done, ask a mom. Moms are tough.   Moms clean up everyone else’s mess.   America really needs a mom to clean up its mess.