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A lot of Democrats are “Ready for Hillary,” but is she?
The doubts erupted after talked – and talked again – about whether she and Bill really are rich.
The Washington Post headlined: “Some Democrats fear Clinton’s wealth and ‘imperial image’ could be damaging in 2016.” It quoted “multiple Obama campaign advisers” saying anonymously that “they fear Clinton’s financial status could hurt her as it did Republican nominee Mitt Romney, whom Obama portrayed in 2012 as an out-of-touch plutocrat at a time of economic uncertainty.”
Today the N&O’s Barry Saunders jumped in. He put his finger on the real concern here: not wealth per se, but that elusive political quality of “touch.” He wrote, “Clinton is already one of the most polarizing political figures out there, so every word she utters is going to be parsed for ways to demean, denigrate or disqualify her. With her at-best imprecise language, she is merely providing ammo to those of her detractors who claim she is imperial and out of touch.”
This all harks back to 2008. After the fact, a strategist for John Edwards said research showed that Democratic voters had clear ideas about their three then-candidates. They agreed with Edwards on the issues (“Two Americas”), and they agreed that Hillary was best-qualified to be President (and that was pre-Secretary of State), but they just felt good about voting for Obama.
Yes, that was partly because voting for an African-American was making history. But so is electing the first woman President. Obama also had a cool charisma that voters responded to.
Being likable can take you a long way in politics. And vice versa. Obama himself presaged today’s “rich” kerfuffle in the 2008 debates when he famously snarled, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.”
For all her strengths and experience, Clinton has something of a distant and forbidding aura about her. People who know her say the reality is far different, that she is warm, funny and down-to-earth. But few people get that face-to-face experience. And she suffers by comparison to politicians who exude that “touch” – say, Bill Clinton.
She is no doubt ready for the job. But is she ready for the campaign? Are Democrats ready, as they often do, to fall in love with a charismatic challenger (see JFK, RFK, McGovern, Carter, Hart, Clinton, Dean, Obama)?
It’s hard to imagine a stronger candidate for Democrats in 2016 than Hillary Clinton. It’s just as hard to imagine Democrats sitting still for a coronation. This is her first test, and they’re watching.


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2 comments on “Is Hillary Ready?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m like you, Gary. If Hillary does decided to run for prez, it’s tough to imagine any democrat today actually beating her in a primary unless there is some kind of scandal the press actually allows to be talked about truthfully or unless between now and then some democrat catches the eye of the mainstream media.

    I really wonder if she’ll actually run. I think she’d be tough to beat by any current republican that is being talked about as a potential GOP presidential candidate. But, she’s getting a bit long in the tooth and she’s got more money than dirt. Yeah, yeah….I know it’s all about “The First Woman President” and all that, but when I see Hillary in candid photos, she looks very tired. So, I also agree with you and wonder if she is, in fact, actually ready for the rigors of a presidential campaign.

    It’s going to be interesting to see this unfold, I think.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gary relax. You got the one thing right, Coronation. There is no way the national media will let anyone on the face of the earth stop her at this point. We had to have a black president and now we have to have a woman president. No pretense what so ever about, say perhaps a good qualified president. No it must be a woman. The populace has been dumbed down to the point of an election almost being like American Idol. It doesn’t matter what she does or says during the campaign. Obama has perhaps the most corrupt administration ever and nothing touches him or the administration. Hillary could announce that when she is elected she will kill the first born in every family and the main stream media will say that’s OK. They may even try to spin it as a global warming rescue. Fewer people less global warming, what a brilliant woman. It looks bad for you to try and fake some kind of worry about how she will handle the campaign and will this or that hurt her chances. Give us more credit than that.

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